Several months ago, my homegirl Sonya told me that The Interrupters would be a film to watch out for in 2011. And not just because she’s involved with its outreach campaign. The trailer itself is a powerful piece of documentary film. It comes from Steve James, a filmmaker who co-directed one of my favorite docs of all time, 1994’s Hoop Dreams, and Alex Kotlowitz, the doc’s producer and author of There Are No Children Here, a book about brothers growing up in the city’s Henry Horner projects. It is top-shelf literary nonfiction.
The new film follows a group of Chicago community workers known as CeaseFire. (That’s Ameena Matthews in this post’s lead photo.) As former convicts themselves, they attempt to curb the violence in a few Windy City hoods by “interrupting” conflicts before other victims get hurt.
At a hefty 160-minutes according to the good folks at Shadow and Act, the doc is headed to Sundance next week. If the first scene in the trailer below is any indication (dude’s head and face are bandaged up like a mummy but he is still talking “all that was in my mind was to retaliate”), the film looks like it’s packed with high emotion and some riveting stories.
Just hope there’s less gratuitous footage of the black folks suffering and killing each other and more evidence of definitive violence-stemming results. I’ll be sure to keep tabs on whether it gets a distributor.