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The Interrupters
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The Interrupters (2011) More at IMDbPro »

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The Interrupters -- The Interrupters tells the moving and surprising stories of three Violence Interrupters who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once employed. Shot over the course of a year, The Interrupters captures a period in Chicago when it became a national symbol for the violence in our cities.
The Interrupters -- A year in the life of a Chicago non-profit whose mission is to work to resolve issues of conflict and violence.
The Interrupters -- Clip: Ameena Matthews
The Interrupters -- Clip: Duke's Funeral


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Down 37% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Alex Kotlowitz (New York Times magazine article)
View company contact information for The Interrupters on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
12 August 2011 (UK) See more »
Every City Needs Its Heroes
A year in the life of a city grappling with urban violence. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
11 wins & 14 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
The Interrupters know firsthand the consequences of violence & they are pushing for change See more (14 total) »


  (in credits order)
Tio Hardiman ... Himself
Ameena Matthews ... Herself
Toya Batey ... Herself
Cobe Williams ... Himself
Gary Slutkin ... Himself
Earl Sawyer ... Himself
Bud Oliver ... Himself
Kenneth Oliver ... Himself
Caprysha Anderson ... Heraelf
Sheikh Rasheed ... Himself
Alfreda Williams ... Herself
Mildred Jones ... Herself
Mildred Williams ... Herself
Lillian 'Madea' Smith ... Herself
Rashida ... Herself
Malcolm Malik ... Himself
Bob Jackson ... Himself
Anjanette Albert ... Herself
Rhaea Albert ... Herself
Eddie Bocanegra ... Himself
Andrea Williams ... Herself
Quinn Williams ... Himself
Latrell Williams ... Himself
Qu'vonnay Williams ... Herself
Dre Williams ... Himself
Norman L. Kerr ... Himself
James 'China Joe' Lofton ... Himself
Flamo ... Himself
Rodney 'Hot Rod' Phillips ... Himself
Joel Sanchez ... Himself
Spencer Leak ... Himself
'Lil' Mikey' Davis ... Himself
La Shawn K. Ford ... Himself
Fernando Bocanegra ... Himself
Alex Bocanegra ... Himself
Paula Bocanegra ... Herself
Kathryn Saclarides ... Herself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Derrion Albert ... Himself (archive footage)
Richard M. Daley ... Himself (archive footage)
Arne Duncan ... Himself (archive footage)
Jeff Fort ... Himself (archive footage)

Eric Holder Jr. ... Himself (archive footage)

Jesse Jackson ... Himself (archive footage)

Directed by
Steve James 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Alex Kotlowitz  New York Times magazine article

Produced by
Raney Aronson .... series senior producer: Frontline (as Raney Aronson-Rath)
David Fanning .... executive producer: Frontline
Sally Jo Fifer .... executive producer: ITVS
Steve James .... producer
Alex Kotlowitz .... producer
Teddy Leifer .... executive producer
Justine Nagan .... executive producer
Zak Piper .... co-producer
Gordon Quinn .... executive producer
Michael Sullivan .... executive producer: Frontline, special projects (as Mike Sullivan)
Paul Taylor .... executive producer
Original Music by
Joshua Abrams 
Cinematography by
Steve James 
Film Editing by
Steve James 
Aaron Wickenden 
Production Management
Aaron Wickenden .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Richard O'Connell .... director of production: ITVS
Art Department
Damon Locks .... poster designer
Sheila Sachs .... typesetting: poster
Dan Sharkey .... graphic designer
Matt Sharkey .... graphic designer
Sound Department
Steven Aguilar .... audio post assistant
Alex Kotlowitz .... additional sound recordist
John Mathie .... additional sound recordist
Zak Piper .... sound recordist
Rich Pooler .... additional sound recordist
Risé Sanders-Weir .... audio producer (as Risé Sanders)
Martin Stebbing .... audio post assistant
Patrick Tillmann .... additional sound recordist (as Pat Tillman)
Drew Weir .... sound re-recording mixer
Camera and Electrical Department
Damon Hennessey .... additional camera
Jackson James .... additional camera
Dana Kupper .... additional camera
Zak Piper .... additional camera
Mirko Popadic .... additional camera assistant: "a" camera
Adam Singer .... additional camera
Keith Walker .... additional camera
Aaron Wickenden .... still photographer
Editorial Department
Joe Flanagan .... producer: Nolo Digital Film
Nora Gully .... assistant editor
Michael Matusek .... digital colorist: Nolo Digital Film
Elliot Rudmann .... assistant: Nolo Digital Film
Elliot Rudmann .... on-line editor
Boris Seagraves .... engineer: Nolo Digital Film
Boris Seagraves .... on-line editor
Music Department
Joshua Abrams .... music recordist
Joshua Abrams .... musician: acoustic bass, electric bass, percussion, drums, MPC, piano, Wurltzer, MS20
Jason Adasiewicz .... musician: marimba, vibes
David Boykin .... musician: bass clarinet
Linda Cohen .... music supervisor
Nicole Mitchell .... musician: flute, alto flute, bass flute
Jeff Parker .... musician: guitar
Tomeka Reid .... musician: cello
Neil Strauch .... music mixer
Neil Strauch .... music recordist
Other crew
Yvonne Afable .... bookkeeper: Kartemquin
Claire Aguilar .... vice president of programming: ITVS
Jacinta Banks .... production staff: Kartemquin Films
Ethan Barnowsky .... intern: Kartemquin
Jennifer Bjornberg .... legal council: Kartemquin Films
Jim Bracciale .... series manager: Frontline
Jessica Bradish .... intern: Kartemquin
Mia Capodilupo .... bookkeeper: Kartemquin
Ranjani Chakraborty .... intern: Kartemquin
Sonya Childress .... outreach and civic engagement
Kate Donalek .... intern: Kartemquin
Latoya Flowers .... intern: Kartemquin
Latoya Flowers .... production assistant
Michael Foley .... intern: Kartemquin
Nick Fraccaro .... intern: Kartemquin
Kevin Fullam .... intern: Kartemquin
Brett Hanover .... intern: Kartemquin
Tristan Hanson .... intern: Kartemquin (as Tristan Steinfeld)
Emily Hart .... researcher
Tim Horsburgh .... communications manager: Kartemquin
Shelly Hubman .... translator
Dylan James .... transcriber
Peter Jaszi .... fair use consultant
Liz Kaar .... technical consultant
Ian Robertson Kibbe .... translator (as Ian Kibbe)
John Kostka .... intern: Kartemquin
Robert Labate .... legal council: Kartemquin Films
Lauren Makholm .... translator
Aaron McGrath .... transcriber
Jim Morrissette .... technical supervisor
Elizabeth Neufeld .... production staff: Kartemquin Films
Aubyn Niemi .... intern: Kartemquin
Lesley Onstott .... transcriber
Manu Pandey .... production assistant: RISE Films
Allison Pichert .... intern: Kartemquin
Brittany Piper .... transcriber
Joe Riina-Ferrie .... transcriber
Hannah Rothman .... intern: Kartemquin
Cate Ryan .... bookkeeper: Kartemquin
Dinesh Sabu .... production staff: Kartemquin Films
L. Anton Seals Jr. .... outreach and civic engagement
Robby Sexton .... transcriber
Ayesha Siddiqi .... intern: Kartemquin
Philister Sidigu .... intern: Kartemquin
Leslie Simmer .... production staff: Kartemquin Films
John Stack .... production assistant: RISE Films
Anne Stulz .... publicist
Lisa Sullivan .... contracts manager: Frontline
Emily Thomas .... intern: Kartemquin
Stanzi Vaubel .... intern: Kartemquin
Cassie Wierenga .... intern: Kartemquin
Adora Wilson-Eye .... intern: Kartemquin
Shuling Yong .... intern: Kartemquin
David Magdael .... publicist (uncredited)
Claire Aguilar .... special thanks
Ines Lagos .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
USA:125 min
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

The film is Steve James' sixth feature length collaboration with his long-time filmmaking home, the non-profit Chicago production studio Kartemquin Films, and is also his fifth feature to screen at the Sundance Film Festival.See more »
Movie Connections:
Me & RicoSee more »


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3 out of 34 people found the following review useful.
The Interrupters know firsthand the consequences of violence & they are pushing for change, 19 September 2011
Author: chaz-28 from Rockville, MD

The Interrupters is frustrating. The three 'violence interrupters' which this film follows must have an endless supply of optimism and an iron will to go out there every day and try and convince people, who mostly are not looking to be convinced, that there are better choices than resorting to violence and revenge. A normal person would give up, probably on the first day, but not the CeaseFire interrupters.

Most of CeaseFire's violence interrupters are ex-cons. This is actually a plus on their job application for a position like this. They know firsthand the consequences and utter futility which comes with choosing the violent option in an argument on the street. Their goal is to intervene in an argument's 'front end' before pistols are drawn from waistbands.

Chicago has drawn national attention for the number of murders which happen on its streets every year, especially involving adolescents. The Interrupters follows a year in the life not just of the CeaseFire organization, but specifically three of their most committed mediators. The most engaging and interesting person by far is Ameena Matthews. She is the daughter of Jeff Fort, one of Chicago's most notorious gangsters, who made mistakes in her youth but is now out in force and ready to get in your face to show you just how wrong a choice violence is. With no fear, Ameena will walk in the middle of a large group of young gangbangers and give them a lecture on just where they are headed. Amazingly, these lectures usually work. You do not want to disappoint Ameena Matthews; she is one of the most persuasive and enigmatic people ever to show up in a documentary.

Her fellow mediators are not as engaging as she is though. Cobe Williams is usually an interesting guy to follow, especially when he is trying to calm down a man known as 'Flamo'. Flamo has a particularly bad day when he first meet him and appears to be 100% ready to charge down the block and start a shooting spree. Cobe listens, nods his head, and then offers to take Flamo out to dinner thereby putting some distance and time between him and his problems. We check in with Flamo every now and then and he provides some segments of comic relief and even some hope.

The third mediator is Eddie Bocanegra. He comes in a distant third on this list of three. Most of the time, he is with the family of a deceased young man who made some poor choices and ended up in a coffin. Eddie strikes up a relationship with the boy's sister and encourages her to draw to deal with her grief. The rest of the time, Eddie leads an art class in a local elementary school to teach the kids who are just a few years away from their prime ages of vulnerability to think through their choices to their logical conclusions. Eddie is never shown actually talking down violent situations like Ameena and Cobe are. He acts as more of a peripheral mediator rather than a down in the mud violence buffer, at least that is how the editing process shows him.

The filmmaker, Steve James (Hoop Dreams), checks in with various at risk youth throughout the year. Some start off in very shaky and turbulent places but steadily pull themselves up and out of the gutter. Others, however, leave you shaking your head at the end acknowledging that there will most likely be many more failures for the mediators than successes. Happy endings really do seem few and far between in the streets of Chicago, even when there are extremely persuasive interrupters who guarantee that if you pull the trigger, you will not win in the end.

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