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Sundance Hit Steve James Doc The Interrupters Lands Distributor

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood March 28, 2011 at 4:04AM

U.S. rights for Sundance documentary favorite, The Interrupters, have gone to the The Cinema Guild. The film, from director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and author, producer and collaborator Alex Kotlowitz (bestseller, There Are No Children Here and author of the 2008 NYT article that inspired the film, Blocking the Transmission of Violence), follows three "Violence Interruptors" in Chicago -- former gang members who intervene in violent situations as they unfold in order to protect their community. The film will have a theatrical release this summer, followed by a PBS Frontline broadcast and a digital release by PBS Distribution in 2012. The Interrupters premiered at Sundance and won the Doc Grand Jury Prize at the Miami International Film Festival and True/False's 2011 True Life Fund.
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Thompson on Hollywood


U.S. rights for Sundance documentary favorite, The Interrupters, have gone to the The Cinema Guild. The film, from director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and author, producer and collaborator Alex Kotlowitz (bestseller, There Are No Children Here and author of the 2008 NYT article that inspired the film, Blocking the Transmission of Violence), follows three "Violence Interruptors" in Chicago -- former gang members who intervene in violent situations as they unfold in order to protect their community. The film will have a theatrical release this summer, followed by a PBS Frontline broadcast and a digital release by PBS Distribution in 2012. The Interrupters premiered at Sundance and won the Doc Grand Jury Prize at the Miami International Film Festival and True/False's 2011 True Life Fund.

The Cinema Guild's Ryan Krivoshev calls the film “both an immersive cinematic experience and an epic feat of storytelling…[it] grabs you from the first tension-filled moments and never lets go." Here's the film's website, Facebook and Twitter pages. Watch the trailer below.

In his review, THR's John DeFore, writes:

"It is astonishing how effective these men -- and the few women with the experience required to work with them -- can be. We see as they confront both hotheaded individuals and tense mobs, speaking to each audience in a language few social workers could pull off. The extent to which they manage to defuse things would simply not be believable in a fiction film."


Adds indieWIRE critic Eric Kohn:

By letting the experts do the talking, “The Interrupters” thoroughly inhabits that wisdom. Conventional standards would imply that, at 2 hours and 42 minutes, the movie runs too long. But the lengthy middle section allows for a fascinating immersion in the details of the interrupters’ efforts, and the final scenes wind down with a series of reconciliations between reformed criminals and their victims. The entire movie is one long resolution to a widespread problem and ends with the lingering feeling that the work has just begun.

Ray Pride covered the debut at Sundance.

This article is related to: Directors, Genres, Video, News, Independents, Documentaries, Trailers


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.