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Film Screening: The Interrupters

Levan Cinema of Substance Series

The Interrupters tells the stories of three “violence interrupters” who protect their communities. Following a screening of the documentary, director Steve James and interrupters Eddie Bocanegra and Ameena Matthews will come together for a conversation on their unique journeys.

Critically acclaimed director and USC School of Cinematic Arts alum John Singleton will introduce a screening of The Interrupters, an incredibly moving and surprising documentary that follows three “violence interrupters” who work to protect their communities from the violence they once employed. From acclaimed director Steve James and best-selling author Alex Kotlowitz, this film is an unusually intimate journey into the stubborn persistence of violence in our cities. Shot over the course of a year, The Interrupters captures a period when Chicago became a national symbol for urban violence. During that time, the city was besieged by high-profile incidents, most notably the brutal beating of Derrion Albert, a high-school student whose death was caught on videotape.

The film’s main subjects work for an innovative organization, CeaseFire. It was founded on the theory that the spread of violence mimics the spread of infectious diseases, and so the treatment should be similar: go after the most infected, and stop the infection at its source. One of the cornerstones of the organization is the Violence Interrupters program, involving people whose personal histories on the streets give them credibility to intervene in conflicts before they explode into violence.

Following the screening, USC School of Cinematic Arts Vice Dean Michael Renov will moderate a fascinating conversation with two of the subjects in the film, violence interrupters Eddie Bocanegra and Ameena Matthews, along with the film’s director, Steve James.