What We’re Watching: LA92 premieres at Tribeca

04 20 2017

LA92 is an evocative documentary from National Geographic that details the race riots in Los Angeles following the brutal beating of Rodney King. The film celebrates its premiere this week at Tribeca, with a screening on April 21st.

LA92 uses unseen footage alongside familiar imagery to give a face to the turbulent time in Los Angeles’ history. STALKR producer Beatrice Read worked on the production, and researched footage from universities, footage libraries, local TV and radio stations, LA city departments, stringers, photographers, and more to find a variety of material for the directors to work with. The production team spoke to people across Los Angeles and the world who had witnessed the riots, including footage in the Korean and Spanish-speaking archives, lending a more holistic understanding of how the riots affected the greater cultural landscape of Los Angeles.

The film looks at not just the events of 1992 but what led up to the riots. Including the Watts riots in 1965 and Latasha Harlins’s shooting in 1991. Helping to understand it was not just one act of violence that led to the riots but a complex history of injustice that continues today.

While the film is comprised of entirely archival footage, there’s one fantastic piece that’s original – the soundtrack. It was composed and recorded with a full orchestra, specifically for the film. As Beatrice notes, “I’ve worked with archive for over ten years and it’s very rare that I’ve seen it treated with such respect and not interrupted by talking heads or reconstructed drama. To see this for 90 minutes with such an appropriate soundtrack is a true privilege, and all thanks to the two very talented directors, Daniel and TJ.”

LA92 screens on April 21st at Tribeca, followed by its broadcast premiere on April 30th on National Geographic.