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"An essential viewing doc about race & class in America... A documentary with Cinema Verite sensibilities and no qualms whatsoever about the honest presentation of its subjects, 17 BLOCKS is both heartbreaking and inspiring." - The Playlist
"RAW AND IMMEDIATE... packs a potent emotional punch." - Hollywood Reporter
"A remarkably raw and heartfelt piece of filmmaking... At its best, 17 BLOCKS reminded me of the deep humanism of Steve James' work." - RogerEbert.com
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.