The Interrupters

Alex W Kotlowitz (Producer)

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


The Interrupters tells the stories of three Violence Interrupters who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once employed.

A collaboration between Alex and documentarian (and longtime friend) Steve James, the film is an unusually intimate journey into the stubborn persistence of violence in our cities. The film premiered at Sundance, and then after a national theatrical release aired as a two-hour special on PBS’s FRONTLINE.

Shot over the course of a year out of Kartemquin Films, The Interrupters captures a period in Chicago when it became a national symbol for the violence in our cities. During that time, the city was besieged by high-profile incidents, most notably the brutal beating of Derrion Albert, a Chicago High School student, whose death was caught on videotape.

The film’s main subjects work for an innovative organization, CeaseFire. It was founded by an epidemiologist 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. The Interrupters — who have credibility on the streets because of their own personal histories — intervene in conflicts before they explode into violence.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Media of outputFilm
Size162 min
StatePublished - 2011


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