Dispatches From Cleveland (2017, 75 min)

“I didn’t ask to be a leader,” Samaria Rice explains, but “they made me a leader when they killed my son.” Samaria is referring to the death of her 12-year-old son, Tamir, at the hands of the Cleveland police department in November 2014. The case received national attention, and the country watched as Prosecutor Timothy McGinty refused to hold police accountable and indict the police officer who shot young Tamir. Samaria continues, “Prosecutor McGinty didn’t advocate for me and he covered up for the officers.” This case, and the pushback from the prosecutor’s office, galvanized the citizens of Cleveland to band together to successfully unseat him in the next election.

Dispatches from Cleveland is a feature-length documentary in five parts that closely examines the early 21st century, rust-belt city of Cleveland, Ohio, one of the most racially divided cities in America. The film follows ordinary people – long shaken by police misconduct, social discrimination, and poverty – whose love for their home pushes them to work together to bring about real change.

Spanning the 2015 Movement for Black Lives Convening to the 2016 Republican National Convention, the film weaves together the experiences of people using varied strategies to achieve similar goals, such as impacting down-ballot races. Depicting the intersecting movements in Cleveland, the film highlights that lasting change will come from prioritizing the lives of those most marginalized,

This film presents a nuanced examination of a national movement as only documentary film can – focusing on an individual location and decisive characters during a crucial year.

Jamilah King, in her coverage for Mic.com, cites that in cities like Cleveland, “transforming the criminal justice system through affecting local elections has proven to be an important strategy.”

Cleveland is the pulse of a nation and a potential harbinger of what is to come throughout the country.

Visit the official website: dispatchesfromcleveland.com.

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