The city of Chicago has given anti-violence group CeaseFire a US$1 million grant to help police reduce conflict in the town, after Mayor Rahm Emanuel saw documentarian Steve James’s film The Interrupters (pictured), which profiled the organization.
The documentary, coproduced by Alex Kotlowitz and Kartemquin Films, profiles a group of reformed convicts who now work to reduce Chicago’s high body count, diffusing conflicts between rival gangs and drug dealers.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Emanuel saw the documentary – which was released last year and scooped top doc prizes at the Indie Spirit Awards, Cinema Eye Honors, the Miami International Film Festival and Sheffield Doc/Fest – and threw his backing behind a one-year pilot program, details of which were laid out by city officials on Tuesday (June 28).
Under the program, CeaseFire will receive $1 million and hire 40 workers, who will be assigned to two police districts that have experienced some of the worst of the city’s increased street violence. The pilot program will begin July 13.
Despite the film’s awards haul across 2011, The Interrupters was controversially overlooked at this year’s Oscars, after which the Academy’s board of governors announced plans to revamp the rules surrounding the doc nominee selection process.