The Fabulous Picture Show
The Interrupters
How the art of negotiation defuses confrontation on the streets of Chicago.
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2011 09:53

Internationally acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) joins Amanda Palmer and the FPS audience for a Q&A on his searing new documentary The Interrupters, about preventing gang violence on the streets of Chicago.

Embedding himself in a violence prevention movement called Ceasefire, Steve takes his camera to the volatile neighbourhoods where a wrong word or a provocation can get you killed. The self-described Interrupters, armed only with their street smarts and negotiating skills, try to defuse confrontations before the bullets start to fly.

The Interrupters have all had first-hand experience of Chicago street culture. Eddie is a former member of a notorious gang, Cobe has served prison time for drug trafficking, and Muslim convert Ameena is the daughter of one of the city's most famous gangsters.

The crux of the film is that violence can be seen as an infectious disease that engulfs communities if left unchecked. With an epidemic of gang violence affecting not only Chicago, but cities all around the world, The Interrupters provides a timely exploration of the causes of violence, and the ways it can be tackled.

Steve James talks to the FPS audience about the inspiring volunteers who are putting their lives on the line for this pioneering project, and explains how building trust in the community was crucial to keeping the crew safe on the Chicago streets.

Wu Xia

Wu Xia

Wu Xia, which literally means martial arts, tells the story of quiet paper-maker Liu Jinxi, who lives a tranquil life in Yunnan, China.

When he expertly kills two bandits during a robbery, Liu falls under the suspicion of Detective Xu Baijiu.

Could the humble paper-maker be a former member of the murderous 72 Demons clan? 

Director Peter Ho-Sun Chan talks to FPS about paying homage to the genre, directing martial arts veteran Jimmy Wang Yu, and how making films is his own personal therapy.


Austrian director Markus Schleinzer's debut feature Michael tackles the harrowing subject of a paedophile who keeps a 10-year-old boy trapped in his basement.

Exploring their unusual relationship, Schleinzer ventures into territory where other filmmakers would not dare to go.

Following a spate of high profile criminal cases across Europe, Schleinzer's decision to portray the main character as an apparently normal man in his 30s rather than as a monster has provoked fury from some commentators, and admiration from others.

Freddie Wong

Freddie Wong

Filmmaker Freddie Wong is living proof that you do not need a Hollywood studio or major TV network to have an audience of millions.

With his youtube channel FreddieW, he has over 2 million subscribers and 335 million video views.

With film subjects ranging from flatulent unicorns to a cat that wins a Congressional Medal of Honor, Freddie's online mini-masterpieces are generating so many views that he is now casting Hollywood actors like Kevin Pollak, Shenae Grimes, Eliza Dushku and Jon Favreau  in his leading roles.

This episode of The Fabulous Picture Show can be seen from Friday, September 9, at the following times GMT:
Friday: 1930; Saturday: 1430; Sunday: 0430; Monday: 0830. 

Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.