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Hatch hosts screening of Darryl Hunt film to increase awareness, promote healing

January 24, 2007

In an effort to raise the awareness of students and the community at large about injustice and promote racial healing, Wake Forest University will host a screening of the documentary film, “The Trials of Darryl Hunt,” at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 in Wait Chapel.

The film, which premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, has only been screened once for the public in Winston-Salem.  Tickets for the screening are free for Wake Forest students with valid ID.  Tickets are $10 for the general public.

Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch, who attended the public screening of the film at the Stevens Center in April 2006, said it was important to him to bring the film to campus.

“One cannot help but be deeply affected by Darryl Hunt’s story,” Hatch said.  “Having become familiar with Darryl’s story, and the way in which the events surrounding the case contributed to such deep rifts in our community, I was convinced that it is a story our students should know as well.

“I hope that by showing this film on our campus we can continue to be part of the healing that needs to take place, and just as importantly, help to prevent the kinds of injustice that Darryl Hunt suffered for so many years.”

The movie chronicles the brutal 1984 rape and stabbing death of Deborah Sykes, who worked as a copy editor at the Winston-Salem Sentinel, an afternoon newspaper, and the aftermath of the killing.

Hunt, a black man, was convicted twice of killing Sykes, a white woman.  He served 20 years in prison for a crime he was exonerated of in 2004 after DNA evidence linked the murder to Willard E. Brown, who confessed and pleaded guilty to the murder.

“The Trials of Darryl Hunt,” produced by Break Thru Films in association with HBO Documentary Films, has been seen at many prestigious film festivals and garnered several awards, including an audience award at the Sedona International Film Festival, a documentary jury prize at the Newport International Film Festival and a best feature award at the Nantucket Film Festival.  The film will be shown on HBO in April 2007.

The Rev. Carlton A. G. Eversley, chairman of The Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice and pastor of Dellabrook Presbyterian Church, said it was very rewarding when Hunt was exonerated in 2004, but there is still much healing that needs to take place in the community.

"The Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice is thrilled by the leadership demonstrated by President Nathan Hatch andWake Forest University in educating the public about Darryl Hunt’s case by hosting this film,” said Eversley, who is an adjunct professor in the Wake Forest Divinity School and at Winston-Salem State University.  “Wait Chapel is a beautiful venue for a large number of people to learn more, and become more committed to fighting injustice and building community.”

Tickets for the film will be available on campus in Wingate Hall, Room 118. 

Tickets will also be available at several area churches, including Emmanuel Baptist Church, Knollwood Baptist Church, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church and St. Anne’s Episcopal Church.  A limited number of tickets will be available at the door.

For additional information, contact (336) 758-5461.

Press Contacts:

Jacob McConnico
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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