I watched The Interrupters on Sunday at E Street Cinema in Washington, D.C. and was blown away by the story it told. It's a must-see film that will floor you, enrage you, break your heart, and inspire you to action. The documentary film tells the story of three community activists--Ameena, Cobe and Eddie--that "interrupt" the cycle of street violence and work with their peers to diffuse conflict in Chicago. The main characters in the film are from the organization CeaseFire, which uses a public health model to stop violent killings, like treating infectious diseases. Just like people in one affected community might think they'll grow up and die of tuberculosis, the young people in these Chicago communities believe that they'll grow up and die of a shooting. The solution: Stop the infection at the source.
The filmmakers include Oscar-nominated director Steve James of Hoop Dreams, in collaboration with author Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here. Now that The Interrupters has opened at select theaters nationwide, its creators have embarked on a community outreach campaign "to engage audiences and communities in reflection, discussion and action around the structural causes of street violence, and creative approaches for interrupting the cycle of retaliatory violence." Here are two ways to get involved:
- Host a community outreach screening in your community. Email Graham Swindoll at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Teach your students. Click here if you are a school or university interested in an educational DVD for classroom use.
We hope to show a screening at our upcoming Benevolent Media Festival on November 4-7 in Washington, D.C. We'll keep you posted if we're able to get the right resources together.
One of the scenes in the movie deals with the power of art to heal and inspire. Watch Eddie, who murdered someone when he was 17 years old, make up for the mistakes in his past and help children through the art of painting, asking them to depict something that is important to them.