By MCN Editor

Cinema Guild Takes The Interrupters For Summer Release

New York, NY, March 28, 2011—The Cinema Guild announced today the acquisition of U.S. theatrical and non-theatrical rights to Sundance Festival favorite “The Interrupters,” a gripping and inspiring documentary about modern-day heroes, former gang members who disrupt violent situations as they happen, from acclaimed director Steve James and bestselling author Alex Kotlowitz. “The Interrupters” will open in theaters across the country this summer. It will be broadcast on PBS FRONTLINE and released digitally and on home video by PBS Distribution in 2012.

An unusually intimate journey into the stubborn persistence of violence in our cities, “The Interrupters” tells the stories of three Violence Interrupters who try to protect their communities from the violence they once employed.  Shot over the course of a year out of Kartemquin Films, “The Interrupters” captures a period in Chicago when it became a national symbol for violence in America. During that time, the city was besieged by high-profile incidents, most notably the brutal beating of Derrion Albert, a Chicago High School student, whose death was caught on videotape.

“The Interrupters” received its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. It won the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Miami International Film Festival and was the recipient of the 2011 True Life Fund at the True/False Film Festival.

Steve James (Producer/Director/Cinematographer) is best known as the producer-director of “Hoop Dreams,” winner of every major critics prize in 1994, including a Peabody and Robert F. Kennedy Award.  James won the DGA directing award as well.  His other award-winning works include “Stevie,” “The New Americans,” “No Crossover: The Trail of Allen Iverson,” and “At the Death House Door,” which was his fourth film to be short-listed for an Academy Award.

Alex Kotlowitz (producer) is the author of the national bestseller, There Are No Children Here, which the New York Public Library named one of the 150 most important books of the 20th century. His other critically acclaimed books include The Other Side of the River, and Never a City So Real. A regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine and public radio’s “This American Life”, Kotlowitz has received numerous awards including a George Polk Award for television, a Peabody for radio, and the Robert F. Kennedy Award for print.

“Both an immersive cinematic experience and an epic feat of storytelling, ‘The Interrupters’ grabs you from the first tension-filled moments and never lets go,” commented Ryan Krivoshey. “We are extremely excited to be working with Steve, Alex and Teddy as well as the entire Kartemquin team on a film that will surely spark much needed debate on violence in America among audiences and throughout the media landscape.”

“We are thrilled that our partners in public television are committed to having the film play in theaters,” said Steve James. “And we couldn’t have a more perfect distributor than Cinema Guild, who have demonstrated a great passion for the film.”

“The Interrupters” is James’ sixth film produced with Kartemquin Films of Chicago, and a first co-production with Rise Films of London.  The deal was negotiated by Amy Letourneau of PBS Distribution with Ryan Krivoshey of the Cinema Guild, and Executive Producer Teddy Leifer, of Rise Films.

For more information on “The Interrupters” visit the official website or follow at and

The “Interrupters” is a production of Kartemquin Films for WGBH/FRONTLINE and the Independent Television Service (ITVS) in association with RISE FILMS.

Cinema Guild is a distributor of independent, foreign and documentary films. Recent theatrical releases include Jeff Malmberg’s “Marwencol,” Matt Porterfield’s “Putty Hill” and Manoel de Oliveira’s “The Strange Case of Angelica.” Upcoming releases include Cristi Puiu’s “Aurora” and Vadim Jendreyko’s “The Woman with the Five Elephants.”

# # #

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon