January 11, 2012, 4:59 pm ET
FRONTLINE PRESENTS THE TELEVISION PREMIERE OF
On Feb. 14, FRONTLINE presents the television premiere of the award-winning documentary The Interrupters, the moving story of three dedicated “violence interrupters”—Ameena Matthews, Cobe Williams and Eddie Bocanegra—who, with bravado, humility and even humor, work to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they themselves once employed. Their work and their insights are informed by their own journeys, which, as each of them points out, defy easy characterization.
From acclaimed producer-director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and best-selling author-turned-producer Alex Kotlowitz (There Are No Children Here), The Interrupters is an unusually intimate journey into the stubborn persistence of violence in our cities. The New York Times says the film “has put a face to a raging epidemic and an unforgivable American tragedy.”
The interrupters work for an innovative organization, CeaseFire, which is the brainchild of epidemiologist Gary Slutkin, who for 10 years battled the spread of cholera and AIDS in Africa. Slutkin believes that the spread of violence mimics that of infectious diseases, and so the treatment should be similar: Go after the most infected, and stop the infection at its source.
Shot over the course of a year out of Kartemquin Films in Chicago, The Interrupters follows Ameena, Eddie and Cobe as they attempt to intervene in situations before those situations turn violent: two brothers threatening to shoot each other; an angry teenage girl just home from prison; a young man heading down a warpath of revenge. The film captures not only the interrupters’ work, but reveals their own inspired journeys from crime to hope and, ultimately, redemption. As they venture into their communities, they confront the importance of family, the noxious nature of poverty and the place of race. And they do it with incredible candor and directness.
The Interrupters is a Kartemquin Films production for WGBH/FRONTLINE and the Independent Television Service (ITVS) in association with RISE Films. The producers are Alex Kotlowitz and Steve James. The director is Steve James. The co-producer is Zak Piper. The executive producers are Justine Nagan, Gordon Quinn, Teddy Leifer and Paul Taylor. The executive producer for ITVS is Sally Jo Fifer. The executive producer for special projects for FRONTLINE is Michael Sullivan. The series senior producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath. The executive producer of FRONTLINE is David Fanning.
FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and by Reva and David Logan. Additional funding is provided by the Park Foundation and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund. Additional funding for The Interrupters is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, and The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. FRONTLINE is closed-captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers and described for people who are blind or visually impaired by the Media Access Group at WGBH. FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of WGBH Educational Foundation.
Promotional photography can be downloaded from the PBS pressroom.
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