By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

DVD, Blu-ray, and Television Launches of Award-Winning Chicago Documentary The Interrupters

Star Ameena Matthews to appear on The Colbert Report

Kartemquin Films has produced independent documentary films in Chicago since 1966. We’re pleased to announce the February 14th DVD, Blu-ray and US television premieres of our film The Interrupters, the Chicago Film Critics Association’s “Best Documentary of 2011.”

PBS will release the DVD and Blu-ray editions of The Interrupters on Feb. 14. That same evening, PBS FRONLTINE will air the television premiere of The Interrupters at 9p.m. EST / 8p.m. CST.

Chicago’s WTTW will host a roundtable discussion immediately following the Feb. 14 broadcast, featuring violence interrupters Ameena Mathews, Cobe Williams Eddie Bocanegra and Director for CeaseFire Illinois Tio Hardiman.

Ameena Matthews, one of the stars of the film – awarded “Chicagoan of the Year in Film” by the Chicago Tribune and ranked as one of TIME’s “Top 10 film performances of the year” – will be featured on The Colbert Report Wednesday, February 1, at 11:30p.m. EST / 10:30pm CST on Comedy Central.

Colbert’s on-air persona is known to put his guests in the hot seat, but Matthews is no stranger to pressure. “I’m so excited,” she says. “I just hope I won’t need to kick his ass!”

In celebration of Kartemquin’s first-ever Blu-ray release, pre-orders for The Interrupters are available at a 20% discount through the Kartemquin’s store. Randomly selected pre-order purchasers will also receive posters signed by cast members and producers.

The Interrupters was released in 2011 to far-reaching acclaim both within the city and around the world, and cited as one of the best films of the year by Village Voice, IndieWIRE, Chicago Sun-Times, Boston Globe, Slate, and The New Yorker.

The Interrupters’ director Steve James will attend the Director’s Guild of America awards this Saturday as a nominee for Best Documentary. Most recently, the film won Best Film and Best Director at the Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking. When it screened at the Gene Siskel Film Center in August, The Interrupters became the biggest box office success in the venue’s 40-year history.

In 2008, Chicago received national coverage for its increasing levels of violence. The Interrupters follows three “violence interrupters,” who attempt to stop disease of violence at its core. Ameena Matthews, Cobe Williams, and Eddie Bocanegra work with troubled Chicagoans whose stories capture the traumas of violence, poverty, families, and race relations in a city fraught with tension. The Chicago Tribune called the film “Chicago to the bone yet universal in its implications.”

The Music Box Theatre presents a special screening of The Interrupters on Sunday, February 19, along with Barbara Kopple’s 1976 documentary Harlan County USA, which depicts a lengthy coal miners’ strike in rural Kentucky. The Interrupters producer-director Steve James will appear for a post-film discussion with author Robert Elder, for the third installment of “The Film That Changed My Life” series. 

Kartemquin Films is a home for independent media makers who seek to create social change through film. This Chicago-based documentary powerhouse has won every major critical and journalistic prize, including an Emmy, a Peabody and an Oscar nomination. With seven new films in progress, Kartemquin is building on more than 45 years of history as Chicago’s documentary powerhouse. www.kartemquin.com

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How do you see film evolving in this age of Netflix?

I thought the swing would be quicker and more violent. There have been two landmark moments in the history of French film. First in 1946, with the creation of the CNC under the aegis of Malraux. He saved French cinema by establishing the advance on receipts and support fund mechanisms. We’re all children of this political invention. Americans think that the State gives money to French films, but they’re wrong. Through this system, films fund themselves!

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