The Interrupters took home the top award from Sheffield Doc/Fest today, winning the Special Jury Award at Britain's premier documentary film festival. Director Steve James was on hand to collect the prize.
The Doc/Fest Jury described the documentary by Alex Kotlowitz and Steve James as "an epic and ultimately uplifting film which chronicles the difficulty of breaking generational cycles of violence, and the potential for redemption which lies within every one of us." Variety also reported that the Jury praised the film for its "powerful depiction of modern day heroes" and in the Guardian Jury member Danny Leigh revealed that The Interrupters was "a unanimous choice" for the main prize, calling it "a film of immense gravity that never tips into earnestness, and where glimpses of optimism and even humour exist without glib promises of happy endings for all."
IndieWIRE reported that, when collecting the award, Steve James said: “It’s such a great time to make documentaries. There’s such incredible work being made right now. Thanks so much, and I guess now… more drinking, right?”
The major honor makes it two award-winning festivals in a row for the film, after it took home the audience award at Little Rock Film Festival last weekend, and its sixth festival award so far this year. Here's top documentary critic/programmer AJ Schnack's take on what the Doc/Fest prize means for the film:
"The jury win by THE INTERRUPTERS solidifies the belief that the film will be a strong, and perhaps the leading, contender for end-of-the-year awards and honors. The film is certainly one of the best nonfiction features in recent years and a classic example of verite filmmaking that has largely been supplanted by the more constructed work of the past decade."
The Interrupters opens in cinemas in the US starting July 29 in New York, and on August 12 in the UK.