Synopsis by Mark Deming
Award-winning filmmaker Steve James delivers another powerful look at life in urban America with this documentary. As gang violence became more common (and deadly) in the city of Chicago, social workers, activists, and educators founded a group called CeaseFire in 2000 to help curb the tide of aggression. CeaseFire's counselors work with at-risk youth in communities heavily impacted by violence to teach them that there are better ways to resolve personal conflicts than with guns, believing that the biggest problem isn't gangs but the notion of violent retribution so deeply ingrained in their culture. Many of CeaseFire's volunteers have backgrounds in youth gangs and understand all too well the lives of the people they work with, and in The Interrupters James spends a year following a handful of CeaseFire activists as they try to educate teenagers about the true consequences of gun violence one person at a time, sometimes with immediate success, sometimes with frustrating results. The Interrupters received its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
activism, counselor, gang-violence, social-worker