FOR IMMEDIATE USE
June 20, 2016
Chapel Hill, NC – The award-winning documentary Unverified: The Untold Story Behind the UNC Scandal is set to be released on June 30, through the online platform Vimeo On Demand. The film follows director Bradley Bethel for a year after after he leaves his job as a UNC writing tutor to defend his two colleagues who were unfairly blamed for the scandal that has made national headlines.
Unverified had its world premiere in Chapel Hill on January 8 and then played in Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh before screening at six film festivals across the country during the spring. The film was selected for the Riverside International Film Festival in California, and the film won “Best Documentary” at the University of North Georgia’s Skyline International Film Festival. In Bethel’s hometown, Toledo, OH, Unverified won the “Audience Award” at the Glass City Film Festival.
Bethel is an unlikely documentary filmmaker. An Ohio native, he studied writing at The Ohio State University and went on to earn a master’s degree in English Education from the University of Toledo. In 2011, at about the same time a Raleigh-based reporter began raising suspicions concerning UNC’s now infamous paper-classes, Bethel accepted a position as a full-time reading and writing specialist for student-athletes at the University. Over the next three years, he became increasingly frustrated with the news media’s sensationalism of the scandal, which ultimately compelled him to leave his job in February 2015 to begin production of Unverified.
“Journalists are supposed to hold the powerful accountable,” Bethel says, “but in this case they were so desperate for an athletics scandal that they focused almost exclusively on low-level employees associated with athletics.”
Since its premiere in January, Unverified has received positive reviews from commentators and audiences alike. Art Chansky of Chapelboro.com called the film “riveting.” Aaron Mandel of Clarion Content wrote, “Unverified pulls back the curtain on one small slice of America’s failures.” At theatrical and festival screenings across the country, viewers have expressed being moved by the heartbreaking story of Bethel’s colleagues.
Unverified can be pre-ordered for $12.99 ahead of the June 30 release at Vimeo On Demand.