CeaseFire Illinois, the Chicago-based violence prevention organization featured in our 2011 film The Interrupters, will immediately stop "all program activities" due to losing almost 60 percent of its funding from the state of Illinois in the proposed 2016 budget from Governor Bruce Rauner.
The Interrupters focused on three CeaseFire Illinois "violence interrupters" named Ameena Matthews, Eddie Bocanegra, and Cobe Williams, as they worked to intercept the spread of conflicts in their communities as part of the CeaseFire program founded by Dr. Gary Slutkin.
Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz's film, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, was released in US theaters by Cinema Guild, and aired on PBS Frontline, was among the most acclaimed documentaries of the past decade, winning an Emmy, a duPont-Columbia Award, and the Independent Spirit Award and Cinema Eye Honors for Best Documentary, among many other accolades. It was also a finalist for the BritDoc Puma Impact Awards for its outreach and audience engagement campaign, which led to over 500 public community screenings of the film and a global discussion of the violence interrupters methodology.
Our film showed the complexities of the CeaseFire method, and the vital, diligent, and heartfelt efforts of its staff to improve their communities. We hope those affected by these cuts can continue to prosper in spite of this setback.
With a noted tradition of nurturing emerging talent and acting as a leading voice for independent media, Kartemquin is building on more than 50 years of history as Chicago’s documentary powerhouse.
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