December 2, 2010 2:29 pm
The Interrupters will have its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The film, from acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and bestselling author Alex Kotlowitz (There Are No Children Here) will be part of the Documentary Premieres category, which Sundance created this year for “master filmmakers debuting their new docs about big subjects.”
The Interrupters is Steve James’ fifth film to screen at Sundance and his sixth documentary to be produced with Kartemquin Films, which will kick off a yearlong celebration of the organization’s forty-fifth anniversary at Sundance.
“We are thrilled that The Interrupters will have its world premiere at Sundance,” said Justine Nagan, Executive Director of Kartemquin. “It’s been eight years since we’ve had a film at the festival, and this is the perfect way to begin our anniversary celebrations.”
The Interrupters tells the moving and surprising stories of three “violence interrupters” – two men and a woman – who with bravado, humility and humor try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once employed. Shot over the course of a year out of Kartemquin Films, the documentary follows these individuals as they attempt to intervene in disputes before they turn violent: a family where two brothers threaten to shoot each other; an angry teenaged girl just home from prison; a young man on a warpath of a revenge.
The Interrupters is an intimate journey into the stubborn persistence of violence in American cities, and captures not only each interrupters’ work, but reveals their own inspired journeys from crime to hope and redemption. The Interrupters is presented by Kartemquin Films for WGBH/FRONTLINE and the Independent Television Service (ITVS) in association with RISE Films.
“The violence interrupters will attend the festival with us,” said Steve James. “Having a world premiere at Sundance is important not just in introducing The Interrupters to the film world, but also in helping to raise awareness of the issues at its heart.”
The Interrupters will air on FRONTLINE and screen across the country as part of an extensive civic engagement campaign, designed to ensure that the film inspires a national discussion on violence prevention and is seen by the communities most affected by the issue. On December 7th, Kartemquin and the University of Chicago will host community leaders, academics, and organizations working to stem urban violence at a summit designed to develop this vital outreach program.
The 2011 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 20-30, centered in Park City, Utah. Earlier this year, the Sundance Documentary Film Program selected The Interrupters as one of only 18 recipients out to 750 applicants to receive a grant for production funds. Previously, Steve James and Kartemquin Films showcased Hoop Dreams at the 1994 Festival, where winning the Audience Award helped launch the now classic film. In 2003, James’ Kartemquin film Stevie also won the festival’s Cinematography Award.