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The Interrupters
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The Interrupters (2011) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 6 | slideshow) Videos (see all 3)
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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Up 57% 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 & 15 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A complete portrait of the roots of urban violence 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 .... 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

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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:
Soul Power '74See more »


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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
A complete portrait of the roots of urban violence, 7 September 2012
Author: Movie_Muse_Reviews from IL, USA

The problem with gang violence in Chicago hasn't changed much (for better or worse) in decades. In that light, "The Interrupters" can't be considered timely, and it certainly doesn't expose a new and growing problem. But in focusing on a group of dedicated violence interrupters, writer Alex Kotlowitz and documentary filmmaker Steve James ("Hoop Dreams"), stepping away from his usual sports focus, capture the cycle of violence in such a complete way that you can finally start to see how it could in fact end.

CeaseFire is a violence prevention group that largely consists of former convicts and people who have spent time in prison. They dedicate a large portion of their time to being present in the communities where violence strikes and stopping conflicts before they escalate into violence. They also make themselves available as resources and confidants to individuals in need of a calming influence.

Essentially, these interrupters do what the police can't, even though none of the subjects come out and say it directly, nor does James imply it in a heavy-handed fashion. The people in these neighborhoods don't trust the police and fear the police, whereas these interrupters are adult role models who they can relate to/who can relate to them, people they respect.

James chronicles a year from summer through spring, or the most violent time of year to a time of year when hope grows anew. He focuses on the efforts of three violence interrupters and a few of the young people they each reach out to during the course of this year.

The first is Ameena Matthews, daughter of notorious Chicago gang leader Jeff Fort, who at one point became involved in a drug ring. She's easily the most magnetic figure in the film and given that families of violence victims seek her comfort specifically, it says a lot about her strength as a community leader. Throughout the film she delivers powerful and moving speeches suggestive of her strength, but as she works with a loving but emotionally troubled teenager named Caprysha, we learn even she has moments of doubt.

Next is Cobe Williams, more soft spoken, but whose prison time give him a street cred that finds him able to talk to and work with some hostile individuals. His work with a gangbanger named Flamo, who he comes into contact with at a serious boiling point, is one of the more powerful arcs in the film.

Lastly there's Eddie Bocanegra, who does art work with students but spent half his life in prison for murder. His redemption story proves more than any that there's hope for those who make these fatal mistakes.

"The Interrupters" explores the deepest depths and root causes of violence, enough to even the most self-assured pacifist consider reality that is the cycle of violence and that it's not simply a matter of just not letting it be an option. Many of the subjects discuss the role of parents being there or not there and how they are role models whether they want to be or not, as well as how violence has become part of the culture because of the value placed on pride and ego.

Like any great documentary, "The Interrupters" is a conversation starter. Yes, it's edited in a powerful way will elicit emotion, but there are so many discussions worth having based on what the subjects say and do and what we observe. It's really hard to capture the entire spectrum of the conversation on a subject as general as violence, but somehow James manages to do it. And nothing he presents is black and white (not referring to race); if you pay attention through the entire film, you rationally cannot make generalizations about the roots of violence.

There are moments when the film drags a bit as it takes a step back to cover the human interest element of the film, the tragedy of it all. That's important, but its call to action is loud and impossible to ignore, so much so that you want it to continue its search for an answer, or in this case, to see if the work CeaseFire does really makes a difference.

It certainly does. "The Interrupters" proves as much. At the same time, we become so aware of how they can only be in once place at a time. A handful of occasions during the film we hear someone talk about some act of violence unfolding somewhere else right now as the camera is rolling. It's a wake-up call that unless the City of Chicago or the government take an extensive, grass-roots approach to ending violence, there's no way that even these amazing individuals can end it.

~Steven C

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