City of Necessity, a 22-minute documentary from 1961, explores race, class, life, and culture in midcentury Chicago. WBEZ writeup by Lee Bey.
Tonight Frontline aired the documentary film "The Interrupters", the video is available on Frontline's website. On WTTW, Chicago's major PBS affiliate, a special "Chicago Tonight" followed the presentation. It featured a panel discussion with Violence Interrupters Ameena Matthews, Eddie Bocanegra, and Cobe Williams, an interview with the filmakers and an interview with former Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis and CeaseFire Director Tio Hardiman. [more inside]
The Interrupters is a new film from Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and Alex Kotlowitz (There Are No Children Here) about the work of CeaseFire's Violence Interrupters (previously), who work to prevent violence in Chicago with direct intervention and mediation. The film follows Ameena Matthews, the daughter of of a notorious gang leader; Eddie Bocanegra, who teaches art to children and is driven by remorse for a murder he committed when he was seventeen; and the charismatic Cobe Williams, who recently joined James and Kotlowitz for an interview with WFMT's Andrew Patner. Some of the videos contain strong language and scenes of violence.
"I realized that I was one of those extremely rare individuals who was a former POW of the drug war, and who got out and had the opportunity to share his story with the world." "It kind of makes an activist out of you when 3 helicopters land in your backyard and guys jump out with guns and destroy your place before your very eyes." Exile Nation is a documentary [complete film] [trailer] and an ongoing memoir, a work of “spiritual journalism”, and eventually "a documentary archive of interviews and testimonies […] revealing the far-ranging consequences of the War on Drugs to the American Criminal Justice System." [more inside]
"It's a stretch of pavement both enriched and torn apart by class and ethnic divisions. When you go over a bridge or under a viaduct on this street you've left one country for another. It's the American melting pot at full boil." Halsted Street USA. (1995, 56 minutes, Color)
Working With Studs is a radio documentary about Studs Terkel. You will like it. Good production and tech notes, courtesy of Transom.org
"[The customers] come in here, by my grabbing them and touching them and screaming at them they become human beings."
Jerry's Deli (starts at 1:02) by Tom Palazzolo, 1976. A short documentary on deli owner Jerry Meyers, who's been screaming abuse at his loyal customers for 30 years. (Clipstream/Java video. Click on lower right corner of the video to enlarge. Or here's a Youtube with out-of-synch audio.) [more inside]
Another Country is the name of Chicago Tribune photographer Scott Strazzante's long-term documentary project. Presented in diptych form, he shows the lives of two subjects on the same piece of land separated only by time. From the Cagwin family farm to a sleepy suburban Chicago subdivision, the striking images magically embody the old saying- the more things change, the more they stay the same. [more inside]