Director Steve James (Hoop Dreams
) and longtime friend Alex Kotlowitz (author of the best seller There Are No Children Here
) produced this stirring documentary about CeaseFire, an organization founded by epidemiologist Dr. Gary Slutkin. Upon his return to Chicago after he'd spent a decade in Africa battling cholera, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS, Slutkin took the radical approach of treating urban violence like an infectious disease: to contain it, target its outbreaks, and check the virulence before it spreads. The movie follows a year in the lives of three former criminals who now work as "violence interrupters" for CeaseFire. Hardwired into the Englewood and South Lawndale neighborhoods, where the numbers of murdered young men are disproportionately high, these resourceful, insightful peacemakers talk their clients into resolving disputes by means other than gunplay. Searing in its depiction of at-risk children in poor communities, the film is also the bracing, life-affirming story of residents who are beginning to reclaim their streets, one corner at a time.
See our full review:
A gang crimes cop points out what The Interrupters missed
Filmmaker Steve James and author Alex Kotlowitz team up for a documentary about short-circuiting street violence