US Mayors get inspired by The Interrupters

When director/producer Steve James and producer Alex Kotlowitz set out to make The Interrupters, their hope was to change the conversation around violence.  As James said back in February, “we hope the film will play some role in communities-in-need and [The Interrupters] will be part of the solution to these issues.”  The Mayors of Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Toronto are among the civic leaders who are now working with Kartemquin to make this a reality.


On Sunday, November 27th & Monday November 28th the City of Milwaukee will bring these issues to forefront with two free screenings of The Interrupters at the Times Cinema sponsored by the Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation, with support from Harley-Davidson Motor Company. RSVP.


Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who will be attending the Monday 7 PM screening, explained, “Screening The Interrupters in Milwaukee will provide an opportunity for some blunt discussions about violence, the consequences of violence, and violence prevention.  It also shares some very human messages about hope in some seemingly hopeless situations.”  The screenings are separated with Monday’s screening being for adults while Sunday’s 4 PM screening is tailored towards Milwaukee’s youth and will feature a conversation with two of the film’s featured interrupters, Eddie Bocanegra and Cobe Williams. 


David Weber of the NIDC hopes the youth screening and discussion will show Milwaukee’s young people that there are consequences to committing violence and “that’s its possible to turn your life around despite your past”.


This Milwaukee screening is just the first in a series of community screenings of The Interrupters that will partner with national and even international city halls.  Scheduled for 7pm on December 5th is another free screening sponsored by Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter and the Mayor's Commission on African American Males at the Pearl Theatre.  This screening is anticipated to bring together a myriad of the city’s organizations from the Philadelphia CeaseFire to youth-led dance troupe, The Dollar Boyz. RSVP.


Meanwhile, the City of Toronto is finalizing details for late January for their own citywide screenings of The Interrupters.  The Mayor’s office anticipates coordinating a city hall screening for municipal workers while also holding screenings of the film in three neighborhood communities for the citizens of Toronto.  Stay tuned for more details on how The Interrupters is trying to make an impact at the local government level.  


The inititiatives follow on from political impact made already at the United Nations and on the government of Bermuda. The film also recently screened at the Department of Justice's National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention Working Session on October 31 in Washington DC.  Gary Slutkin was in attendance and introduced the film to an audience 100 guests -- federal partners and representatives from the National Forum on Youth Violence Preventions' six cities (Boston, Chicago, San Jose, Salinas, Memphis, and Detroit).


Finally, we are honored that The Interrupters will be the first recipient of the Channel4 Britdoc Connect Fund, with a grant directly aimed at supporting audience engagement. Read about the news in Variety.