Monday, 7 November 2011

'The Interrupters' to screen exclusively at ACMI

The Interrupters
The Interrupters

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) presents the Melbourne premiere season of one of 2011's most talked about documentaries, The Interrupters, which will premiere exclusively at ACMI from 15 to 31 January 2012.

Described as "direct cinema at its most engrossing" (Film Comment, 2011), The Interrupters follows a year in the lives of three dedicated individuals who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they themselves once employed.

Chicago is a city drowning under the tide of youth crime. The shocking truth is 2009 saw more casualties on Chicago streets than US military losses in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Surmising that violence spreads like a communicable disease, CeaseFire is an organisation working outside the law and lawmakers to interrupt violence - in the moment and on the street.

Ameena Matthews, Cobe Williams and Eddie Bocanegra are 'violence interrupters'. Like their CeaseFire comrades, they come from gangland and prison royalty. Ameena, for instance, is the daughter of one of the city's most notorious gang leaders, Jeff Fort, and once herself a drug ring enforcer until she turned her life around. As one interrupter points out; "We have over 500 years of prison time at this table. Man, that's a lot of wisdom". With an unending belief in their communities, they listen and educate at flashpoint without judgment or fear.

ACMI Film Programmer Kristy Matheson says that The Interrupters is absorbing. "The Interrupters is an exceptional film full of drama, hope and redemption that showcases the power of the documentary medium and the skill of veteran director, Steve James."

In his signature long-form observational style, acclaimed director Steve James' unobtrusive camera offers an intimacy with the subjects and an immersive experience that is unshakable.

James is best known as the award-winning director, producer and co-editor of Hoop Dreams (1994), which won numerous critics awards and earned him the Directors Guild of America Award, the MTV Movie Awards Best New Filmmaker and an Oscar® nomination for editing. At the Death House Door (2008) was Steve's fourth film to be officially short-listed for the Academy Award, among a string of accolades. The Interrupters is James's fifth film to play at the Sundance Film Festival and was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Miami Film Festival.

The film's Producer Alex Kotlowitz is an award-winning author, journalist and broadcaster, known for his critically acclaimed bestseller There Are No Children Here (1991).

The Interrupters will screen exclusively at ACMI from 15 to 31 January 2012. For more information and tickets, visit

Praise for The Interrupters:

"The most necessary film of the year... full of vibrant, complex real-life characters whose troubles and joys will stay with you long after the movie's done" - Slate

"It's as compelling as The Wire and it's all true" - Sight & Sound Magazine

"A masterpiece of documentary filmmaking" - RealScreen

"James's approach is not analytical but emotional; his depiction of people bearing inextinguishable pain is empathetic and powerful, and the struggle toward stability of one profound and troubled soul (a thirty-two-year-old man who has spent fifteen years in jail) has a Dostoyevskian intensity." - The New Yorker

Further information

Claire Butler
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2415 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 654
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