The Interrupters tells the moving and surprising story of three “violence interrupters” in Chicago who with bravado, humility and even humor try to protect their communities from the violence they once employed.
Shot over the course of one year, The Interrupters are: Ameena, Cobe and Eddie, all who have stories and histories of violence and gang activity. These “violence interrupters” (their job title) use their own personal experiences and street credibility to work in the communities, interjecting where violence is prone to erupting and working with families to stop the infection and spread. Their work and their insights are informed by their own journeys, which, as each of them point out, defy characterisation.
Founded by Gary Slutkin, an epidemiologist who has worked throughout America and the world battling diseases such as cholera and AIDS, CeaseFire works on the principle that the spread of violence mimics that of infectious diseases, and so the treatment should be similar: go after the most infected, and stop the infection at its source.
Their work is fraught with moral dilemmas. They have to step between adversaries, often people they know. They need to acknowledge people’s grievances while simultaneously pulling them back from acting on them. As they venture into their communities, they confront the importance of family, the noxious nature of poverty, and the place of race. And they do it with incredible candour and directness.
- "The new film from Hoop Dreams director Steve James chronicles a daring initiative to tackle violence on the streets of Chicago. It’s as compelling as The Wire, says Michael Brooke – and it’s all true" – Sight and Sound
- "A sweeping portrait of hard-knock lives that's already drawn comparisons to The Wire" – The Guardian
- "The Interrupters earns an extra star for getting the group's members to talk so candidly about their own exploits and troubled pasts" The Daily Mirror –
- "A vivid documentary about Ceasefire, an organisation that seeks to stem violence among young people in Chicago " The Times –
- "This long, persevering, richly documented film sets out to argue, “Chicago hope” is not just a soap opera title" The Financial Times –
- "A titanic piece of documentary filmmaking destined to have a real impact" Little White Lies –
- "This incredibly powerful documentary could not be released at a more opportune moment" Camden New Journal –
- "Inspirational and extremely moving, this is a gripping, powerful and important documentary that demands to be seen. Don't miss it. " View London –
- Sheffield Doc/Fest: Steve James on The Interrupters: 'When they knew I'd made Hoop Dreams it clicked I wasn't a cop' - video — The Guardian
- 'Steve James hails a 'golden age of documentary film-making' — The Guardian
- Film Weekly podcast — The Guardian
- The Interrupters and Elite Force 2 – city violence spreads to the big screen — The Guardian
- Steve James: Director — Ideas Tap
- The Interrupters — Dazed and Confused
- Interview with Steve James — Picturehouse Podcast
- Meet Chicago's Interrupters… — The Observer
- Violence in the Streets: On making The Interrupters — The Arts Desk
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