OUT IN THE NIGHT follows a group of African American teenagers who went to a gay-friendly neighborhood in New York City for a night out. These lesbian and gender non-conforming friends, Patreese, Renata, Terrain and Venice, were confronted by an older man on the street. They defended themselves. Strangers jumped in to support them and a fight ensued. Only the women were rounded up by police and charged and convicted as perpetrators of gang assault. They became known as The New Jersey 4.
The film follows their journey to Rikers Island, to the courtroom, and through slanderous media coverage that labeled them a “Wolfpack” and “Lesbian Gang”. While exploring the fight from all sides through the security camera footage that captured it, that hot August night in 2006 can be seen from many perspectives. But our film’s purpose is to examine the events after the fight: biased media coverage likening the women to “man-hating” animals, and unprecedentedly harsh sentencing by the court. This story shows how four young, queer women of color were unfairly criminalized for defending themselves.
** 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival