For Ahkeem

Jeremy S. Levine, Landon Van Soest
USA 2017 | 86 Min. | OmeU
Q&A with: Jeremy S. Levine

In some parts of St. Louis, Mis­souri, preg­nant moth­ers hope they will have girls. Half of the boys who grow up here don’t live to cel­e­brate their eigh­teenth birth­day. This “school to prison pipeline,” as it is some­times called in the US, is a spiral of vio­lence, drugs, gangs, and arbi­trary police bru­tal­i­ty caused by a zero tol­er­ance policy that makes it dif­fi­cult, espe­cial­ly for young African Amer­i­cans, to break out of dis­ad­van­taged neigh­bor­hoods. Daje, who is 17, knows this all too well. Already as a child, she felt like she was pushed into the role of the trou­ble­mak­er. It’s some­thing she is never quite able to shake, and she even­tu­al­ly gets expelled from public high school after get­ting in a fight. At the new school, they explain to her how seri­ous the sit­u­a­tion is: If she doesn’t grad­u­ate from school, she won’t be able to go to col­lege.

The film­mak­ers follow her in her new school for two years. They doc­u­ment her set­backs and suc­cess­es: the mild summer nights with her first real love, her preg­nan­cy that puts every­thing into ques­tion again, and how she becomes a polit­i­cal young woman. Fer­gu­son is not far away, and the #Black­Lives­Mat­ter move­ment takes to the streets right out­side Daje’s front door. As one set­back fol­lows the next, this inti­mate coming-of-age doc­u­men­tary feels almost like a fast-paced fea­ture film.

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Jeremy S. Levine geb. 1984 in Bev­er­ly (Mass­a­chu­setts, USA).
Landon Van Soest geb. 1981 in Denver (Col­orado, USA).
Beide studierten Film / Fotografie am Ithaca Col­lege (New York). 2006 grün­de­ten sie in Brook­lyn die gemein­same Film­pro­duk­tion Tran­sient Pic­tures, im Jahr darauf das Brook­lyn Film­mak­ers Col­lec­tive. Filme u.a. WALKING THE LINE (2005), GOOD FORTUNE (2010, Emmi Award), EVAPORATING BORDERS (2014, R: Iva Radi­vo­je­vic, P: L. Van Soest).