The Interrupters, an award-winning documentary by director Steve James and author Alex Kotlowitz, is generating quite a buzz this month.
The movie tells the story of three violence interrupters who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once employed. All three work for Ceasefire , an innovative organization founded by Gary Slutkin, an epidemiologist who believes violence mimics the spread of infectious disease and requires similar treatment: attend to the most infected and stop the infection.
The documentary, which received Official Selection at Sundance 2011, is scheduled to be aired at 9 p.m. Eastern time Feb. 14 on PBS's "Frontline," followed by a special panel discussion on WTTW's Chicago Tonight.
Hoping to amplify the film's potential to inspire anti-violence activism, distributor Kartemquin Films is organizing house screenings across the country throughout this month and next. Viewers are encouraged to support the American Youth Act, a House bill that provides funding for youth and gang violence prevention.
And Thursday, Stephen Colbert, God bless him, interviewed Ameena Matthews, one of the film's protagonists. The daughter of a notorious Chicago gang leader and once a drug ring enforcer herself, Matthews is now a remarkably courageous advocate for peace in her community.