Shot over the course of a year by acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and bestselling author Alex Kotlowitz, the award-winning documentary, The Interrupters, tells the moving stories of three CeaseFire Chicago “Violence Interrupters”— who have credibility on the streets because of their own personal histories — intervening in conflicts before they explode into violence.
These Interrupters include Ameena Matthews (former drug ring enforcer and daughter of Chicago’s notorious gang leader Jeff Forts), Cobe Williams (spent three stints in prison for drug related charges and attempted murder), and Eddie Bocanegra (spent 14 years in prison for a murder he committed when he was 17).
CeaseFire was founded in 1995 by an epidemiologist, Gary Slutkin, who believes that the spread of violence mimics the spread of infectious diseases, and so the treatment should be similar: go after the most infected, and stop the infection at its source. One of the cornerstones of the organization is the “Violence Interrupters” program, created by Tio Hardiman, who heads the program.
Watch the trailer for The Interrupters below.
Head over to PBS to watch the full-length documentary. [Duration: 2hr. 5min.]
World-renowned ballerina Misty Copeland has teamed up with author/director Nelson George to bring forth her feature-length documentary, A Ballerina’s Tale. However, they need your help in order to make this film come to life and there’s only 9 days left!
At age 13, Misty Copeland was attending the Boys and Girls Club of San Pedro, California, when a dance instructor asked if she’d be interested in participating in a ballet class.
At age 15, Misty was one of the top ballet prospects in California and was being profiled in a PBS documentary on a state wide arts competition.
At age 17, Misty was in New York City and a member of the American Ballet Theatre, one of the world’s leading ballet companies. She danced the title role of the Firebird at the Metropolitan Opera House, making her the first black woman to play that signature character in a major ballet company. Making this accomplishment that much more impressive, she performed this part with six stress fractures in her shin.
This journey would have been unique in the world of dance on its own. Learning ballet at such an “advanced” age and making it to a premiere company made Misty an anomaly. But Misty was also a black woman with womanly curves which, based on the standard popularized by the father of American ballet, George Balanchine, meant she didn’t have the body for ballet. The skinny, long limbed swan with a thin neck and European features has been the ballet standard for half a century. Misty’s career is a challenge to every stereotype of what the ballerina symbolizes and should be.
A BALLERINA’S TALE, directed by Nelson George, will look at the values of a European cultural expression that has tried to maintain its values in the face of an aging audience base and its increasing irrelevance to mainstream culture. Misty’s life embodies a number of themes that speak to the larger culture and her personal challenges. Race, body image and Euro-centric perspective are mixed in with her own physical challenges.
Misty will narrate the film, bringing us intimately into her world. Several of Misty’s favorite ballets will be filmed in multiple camera shoots that will bring us close to dance in ways less frantic and more realistic than the popularized Hollywood film, Black Swan.
Watch Misty Copeand’s A Ballerina’s Tale Kickstarter video below. [DONATE]
Cassette tape junkies and potential tapeologists, this one’s for you.
THE MAGNETIST is a short documentary about Micke, also known as ‘The Magnetist’, whose life revolves around cassette tapes. Most of his time is spent on various tape-related projects; his blog, his music, and he has a monthly tape club in his hometown Stockholm. Sometimes it’s a struggle. Here’s an insight to Micke’s life as a tapeologist.
Watch the short doc of The Magnetist below. [English subtitles]
Professor Christopher Emdin‘s The Science Genius Program, a collaborative project he has worked on with GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, brings the battling and rapping aspects of Hip-Hop into the classroom. Top students from nine New York City public schools took it to the stage in the program’s B.A.T.T.L.E.S. (Bring Attention to Transforming Teaching, Learning and Engagement in Science) competition. Watch the rap competition and the students’ stories below.
Designer Peter Han moved past the conventional way of sitting and sketching in favor of a chalk art form on canvas-like blackboards, known as dynamic sketching, that requires the whole body to move. Han explains his craft while creating some amazing pieces in this Adriel de la Torre-directed mini documentary entitled Pardon My Dust.
Watch Pardon My Dust below.
Classically trained virtuoso Sujari Britt, who has been playing music since age 2 and the cello since age 4, tackles a piece of music even her instructors say is far beyond her years in this mini-documentary by THNKR. This child prodigy has performed for President Obama at the White House and has additional accolades under her belt at the tender age of 12.
Watch Sujari Britt’s musical journey in the mini-documentary below.
Watch Sujari Britt’s performance of Bach’s “Suite No. 3 in C Major” below.
You can’t talk about electronic music without mentioning Detroit. That’s why in the second edition of Real Scenes, RA and Bench went to the city which birthed the genre we now call techno.
Detroit has always had a creative streak, due in large part to the boom and subsequent bust of the auto industry. Quite simply, Detroit is a city of extremes, and its music reflects that. These days, Detroit’s importance in the global electronic music scene is often referred to in the past tense. When we visited the city, though, we found a number of artists with their eyes (and ears) firmly set towards the future. After our time in the Motor City, it’s clear to us that Detroit will endure and innovate for years to come.
Watch “Real Scenes: Detroit” below.
“His production methods, his ear, his inner ear…the way he heard music was unlike any other producer, ever.”
The late legendary hip-hop producer J Dilla needs no introduction.
His mother Maureen and friends J. Rocc, DJ Spinna, Frank Nitt and Grap Luva celebrate his life and open the storage locker of his vinyl collection, never-before-seen to the public, in this segment of Fuse’s profile series, Crate Diggers.
If you’ve never heard of this iconic producer before, you are definitely in for a treat.
Watch “J Dilla’s Vinyl Collection – Crate Diggers” below.