Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Interrupters (2011)

Directed by Steve James Produced by Danny Glover


The Interrupters (James, 2011) is a documentary film that tells the story of a group of ex-gang members called the CeaseFire organization who work with gang members to stop the ongoing violence in their Chicago communities. The film follows three main subjects, Ameena Matthews, Cobe Williams and Eddie Bocanegra, all of whom are ex-gang members.


Ameena Matthews was a “drug ring enforcer.” Her father is a former gang leader who is in prison and was upset by his daughter’s involvement with his former gang. After “having children and finding solace in her Muslim faith” she left the gang life. After going to prison multiple times, Cobe Williams also left his gang to better himself and support his family. Eddie Bocanegra served a long prison sentence for murdering a man when he was seventeen years old. He works with CeaseFire as a way to redeem himself for his past. All three of the main subjects now work with local gang members and their community to try to stop the gang violence that is constant in their community.

(Information found on )


The film’s director, Steve James, has worked on six feature length collaborations with Kartemquin Films, a non-profit production studio. The Interrupters is his fifth film shown at the Sundance Film Festival.

(Information found on

Film list:

Crips and Bloods: Made in America (2008)

Concrete Hell (2006)

World's Most Dangerous Gang (2006)

Links to Film Reviews

Sources Used

Giant, Dizzy . "About the Film." Kartemquin Films. 2011. 20 Feb. 2011. .

"The Interrupters 2011." Internet Movie Database. 2011. 20 Feb. 2011. .

1 comment:

  1. Hi Birchall,

    This was my favorite film of the bunch. I really enjoyed the way the film's style, the way the camera worked, allowed for me to feel like I was right there on the ground watching - like a "fly on the wall." No narration, no talking heads, just footage of day to day life. Long takes that allowed for contemplation. No intrusion from the filmmaker telling us what we were seeing or what we should make of it.

    Everything about the film felt so real! I am wondering if during your research you found anything that revealed any of this footage to be "staged," "rehearsed," or shot in multiple takes?


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