9 lives

The short story goes... On December 28, 1991, Sean "P Diddy" Combs promoted a concert, headlined by the late Heavy D, at the City College of New York gymnasium, following an AIDS charity basketball game. The event was overcrowded since it was oversold to almost twice capacity, while thousands without tickets were outside. To keep them out, Combs' people shut the only door to a stairwell and put a table behind it, though the crowd jammed inside was pounding on the door and pleading for help. When the crowd outside broke several glass doors in an attempt to get in, a stampede ensued inside the gymnasium in which nine people died.

In memory of that night, a director’s cut world premiere screening of Jason Swain's 9 Lives - a documentary that is said to pay tribute to the 9 victims (including his brother Dirk), who he lost their lives that night - will take place on Wednesday, December 7, 2011, at 7PM at the Harlem International Film Festival’s Hi Wednesdays series, which will close out this year's fest.

Swain's film...

Unravels the moments in the countdown to disaster and the circumstances that needlessly took nine youngsters from their loved ones. 

With Rodney King's video-taped brutal beating making headlines in the Spring of 1991 and the Crown Heights riot spinning New York City into turmoil that August, this examination of the City College 9 disaster seeks peaceful reconciliation, artfully avoiding finger-pointing to let us witness first-hand how institutionalized prejudices combined to allow something as simple as a charity basketball game in Harlem to spiral out of control. 

The screening will happen at Maysles Cinema is located at 343 Lenox Avenue (Malcolm X Blvd.) between 127/128 St.

The director will also be present for a discussion after the screening.

Watch the preview below: