17 Blocks

In 1999, filmmaker Davy Rothbart met Emmanuel Sanford-Durant and his older brother, Smurf, during a pickup basketball game in Southeast Washington, D.C. Davy began filming their lives, and soon the two brothers and other family members began to use the camera themselves. Spanning 20 years, this story illuminates a national, ongoing crisis through one family's raw, stirring and deeply personal saga. Made from more than 1,000 hours of footage, it all starts on the street where they lived in 1999, 17 blocks behind the U.S. Capitol. Directed by Davy Rothbart (USA, 2019, 99m)

“Unshakable!”— The New York Times

“A singular achievement in documentary filmmaking... Remarkable... intimate and uncompromising... 17 BLOCKS is the result of the Sanford family’s profound act of bravery.”— Variety

“A remarkably raw and heartfelt piece of filmmaking... 17 Blocks reminded me of the deep humanism of Steve James’ work.”— RogerEbert.com

“An absolutely devastating, powerful, and deeply moving film!”— FilmWeek

“Spellbinding! Over a 20-year period, this family’s dynamics, conflicts, breakthroughs and tribulations are recorded like an urban allegory. (★★★★ out of 4)”— Black Press of America