Videos » Features

The Interrupters (T/F 2011) by Steve James

Available from PBS.

2011 True Life Fund film.

The latest film from the director of the seminal Hoop Dreams (working with journalist/producer Alex Kotlowitz) bears a lot in common with that documentary classic. Once again, we’re in the south side of Chicago, immersing ourselves in the hopes and dreams of those who call it home. But this time, almost all we see is violence and its aftermath. Enter the Interrupters, a group of former gang leaders, many infamous in their day, who treat violence like a disease and act as sort of a rapid response team to try and quash an outbreak before it spreads. It’s amazing work, but without James amazing sense of where and when to be, coupled with a clear brilliance for deciding early in a project who he should be pointing his camera at, we could only peer through the glass at the work they’re doing. But The Interrupters takes us deeper, and we learn about the histories (and possible futures) of these real-life superheroes. There are amazing stories contained within this film and we’??re lucky to have such a capable tour guide.

Watch Steve James tell a Campfire Story about the film at T/F 2011.