CO-EDITOR / POST PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR
“ For ordinary moviegoers in search of an enthralling experience... this film is heroically life-affirming” - TIME
The Interrupters tells the moving and surprising stories of three Violence Interrupters who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once employed. Shot over the course of a year, the film captures a period in Chicago when it became a national symbol for the violence in US cities. The film’s main subjects, ”The Interrupters”, work for an innovative organization, CeaseFire; they have credibility on the streets because of their own personal histories and intervene in conflicts before they erupt into violence.
We had an unusual amount of freedom in structuring the film since there was no simple narrative story to follow. Editors Steve James (who also directed the film) and Aaron Wickenden choose to interweave the stories of our main subjects with all the unfolding dramas of the people they were working with. The result is a film that is structurally quite complex, but that allows the audience to experience the same journey of surprise, revelation, humor, and tragedy that we experienced in capturing the story. At times we want to plunge the audience in and be on the edge of their seats, and at other times be at some remove and more analytical about what was happening. Because the goal ultimately was not to just immerse the audience in these neighborhoods and these lives, but to have them think deeply about the violence and what brings people to that place, and what can be done about it. But we didn't want to do it with experts, charts and flashy animation. As journalists and storytellers we gravitated to the raw power that can come through from simply being present and on location. And we wanted the subjects of our film to act as the real “experts” on the violence and its causes and solutions.
As the film evolved in editing, we wanted to connect the viewer with our subjects in a deeper way so that they understand Cobe, Ameena, and Eddie’s personal stories of redemption and see how they and the people they work with, ultimately, don't want to be violent. Editorially, this is underscored and symbolized by the overarching structure of using the four seasons to mark the passage of time. The film begins in the heat of the most violent season, the summer, and ends in the spring, a time of rebirth and hope. The hopefulness at the end we feel is genuinely earned, as well as tempered by the reality that individually and socially there's still much work to be done. Ultimately, through editing, we distilled a journey we made over the course of fourteen months of shooting down to two hours.
WHO SAW IT:
44 festivals in 15 countries. World Premiere at Sundance 2011
16k viewers at community screenings in 44 out of 50 states (including over 100 in Chicago)
41k viewers in the cinema
2.9 million television viewers across 9 territories including PBS Frontline, SVT, BBC4, DRTV, NRK, and Canal Plus France.
20k DVD sales
14 Awards and Prizes including:
- Emmy® Award nomination for Aaron Wickenden for Best Editing
- Emmy® Award: Outstanding Informational Programming: Long Format
- Alfred Dupont Award: SILVER BATON
- Cinema Eye Honors: OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN NONFICTION
- Independent Spirit Awards: BEST DOCUMENTARY
"The Interrupters" : Official Trailer