Made in America

Eye on the Oscars: Documentaries

COUNTRY: U.S.

DIRECTOR: Stacy Peralta directed “Bones Brigade Video Show,” “Dogtown and Z-Boys” and “Riding Giants.”

SUBJECT: South Central L.A. is home to the Crips and the Bloods. Over the past 30 years, more than 15,000 people have been murdered in an ongoing cycle of gang violence.

FINANCING: Baron Davis and Steve Luczo

DISTRIB: Self-release in limited theaters in February. Skedded to air May 19 on PBS’ “Independent Lens.”

HELMER COMMENTS: “There certainly were tense moments,” Peralta says. “At the end of the day, you’d get on the freeway and there would be a sigh of relief, because you’d be down there shooting in South Central and every 10 minutes there is a caravan of sirens and helicopters. They live in an area that is so lacking in resources that it doesn’t resemble the America that we live in. They grow into this as children and they get bruised, and so they become hard because that’s the only way that they can survive. We would do preliminary interviews in South Central, but people that we’d want for more intimate interviews, we would take them out to a more comfortable place, which is what we considered a demilitarized zone. Many of them commented, ‘Man, it’s nice to be here because I don’t have to look over my back.’ You ask the hardest-core gang members, ‘Do you want your children doing this?’ And they say, ‘No.’ They know that it’s not right but they’re stuck in this spiral. They want their story told.”

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