Edit 7/23/12 - Read an ACLU recap of the event.
In the past year Kartemquin's The Interrupters has had over 400 community-organized screenings worldwide, on top of an additional 130-plus theatrical bookings, and a huge PBS FRONTLINE broadcast. But, one of the most important screenings of the film may come just next week as the film screens for elected officials on Capitol Hill in an event organized by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Following last year’s Sundance Film Festival premiere, director Steve James said he hoped, “The Interrupters [would] be used by people who care about the issues of violence and by those who work on these issues.” Now eleven months after the film’s theatrical premiere, producer Alex Kotlowitz and interrupters Cobe Williams and Ameena Matthews will meet with policymakers and other government officials at a Capitol Hill discussion of The Interrupters. The June 20th event will feature highlights from the film, remarks from Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott, members of ACLU, as well as members of Student Peace Alliance.
The goal for the screening and discussion is the continued support for the Youth PROMISE Act, a bipartisan bill authored by Congressman Scott that will financially support local programs aiming to end youth violence. Back in March, Kartemquin's Interrupters Outreach Team, in collaboration with Student Peace Alliance, coordinated over 100 Viewing Parties of The Interrupters in support of the Youth PROMISE Act. The office of Senator Robert Casey of Pennsylvania has cited the momentum around The Interrupters Viewing Parties and screenings as inspiration to introduce the bill to Senate. Hopefully the June 20th Capitol Hill event will not only increase Congressional support, but as Interrupter Cobe Williams added, he wants the screening and discussion to bring a greater understanding – “As an interrupter, we try and meet people where they are coming from and hopefully the Senators and Congressmen in attendance can see a glimpse of what young people have to deal with everyday.”
The Interrupters Capitol Hill Panel Discussion starts at 6 PM on Wednesday, June 20th at the Capitol Hill Visitor Center – North Orientation Theatre. To RSVP for the event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.