A Violence Disrupted profiles this new type of community policing - one where the gang members themselves become the crime-fighters. To tell this story, the documentary team journeyed into the core of evil in a gang world where killing and murder between blood enemies is commonplace. Yet here in one corner of LA, rival gang members are working together to fight crime in a new and risky model of peacemaking. Gang members who are being trained by the city to work alongside law enforcement while staying inside their gangs. It is messy, but it is working.
On Monday, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced significant drops in gang crime in an LAPD news conference, “L.A. (Now) has the lowest violent crime per capita of any big city." At the same press conference Chief of Police Charlie Beck noted that gang homicides are down 12% from the previous year, with overall gang crime down 10.8%.
These former gangsters play an important role in reducing crime, and leaders believe in them, even creating a city-endorsed gang intervention training academy. Villaraigosa told the inaugural graduates of 2010 “You're the front line to save a life, to bring people out of that culture of violence...to end the retaliations."
With a police force 10,000 strong and a reformed gang squad wresting both inner and outer struggles the unfolding story is anything but predictable.
Producer/Director Nikki Hevesy says of their early filming, “This production hasn’t been easy, there have been daily safety issues to be considered - for the filmmaking team but even more importantly for the gang members and interventionists being profiled.”
A Violence Disrupted will profile this extraordinary story through the eyes of four gang interventionists - OGs (Original Gangsters, also called shot callers) who are ready for change. Coming from opposing territories these street-hardened men, freshly out of prison, now seek work as Violence Elimination Professionals. All are guides on LA Gang Tours, a new idea for economic development in the hood founded by reformed Florencia 13 gang member Alfred Lomas.
In addition to gang members, Through the Glass Productions has brought on a team of on-the-ground experts and professionals who work with and study gangs and their impact on society in the fields of anthropology, sociology, psychology, law and mediation.
Los Angeles is still considered the gang capital of the world with over 45,000 gang members in more than 450 gangs, but gangs are a worldwide concern and the impact is showing.
London newspapers report “Britain is becoming a battleground for the notorious Bloods and Crips gangs that once brought fear to Los Angeles. Insiders said small street crews (In London) have been grouping together — copying the LA supergangs’ culture and tactics and communicating with overseas counterparts."
With an offer for international distribution from TVF in the UK, and domestic broadcast interest from PBS Socal, Hevesy and her team are gearing up to launch production this spring. Hevesy says, “We are committed to producing a fair, thoughtful project and are dedicated to the time and effort it takes to make this happen.”
The project team includes: Nikki Hevesy (Cine Golden Eagle Award), Anne Marie Gillen (Fried Green Tomatoes), Derrick Warfel (Midnight Reckoning), James O’Keffee (International Cinematographer Guild’s Showcase Award), Art Kellner (Sherri).
A small portion of the current phase of production has been opened to crowd funding to capitalize on the growing interest in profiling the work of gang intervention. For more information on the details on the project and the needs visit http://www.kickstarter.com/
Los Angeles Times: “Crime in L.A. Down For 10th Straight Year in 2012, City Says”, January 7, 2013 http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/
Los Angeles Times, “Promise and Peril in South LA”, June 28, 2009 http://www.latimes.com/
The Sun: ”LA Gangs Take Over UK Streets”, April 15, 2010 http://www.thesun.co.uk/
MAYOR VILLARAIGOSA ADDRESSES GRADUATING CLASS OF CITY’S GANG INTERVENTION ACADEMY
THROUGH THE GLASS PRODUCTIONS is an emerging entertainment company committed to visionary work on the cutting edge of theater, film and television that entertains, inspires and enlightens the human spirit while exploring the human condition.