Whose Streets? is being released in theaters just a few days after this past Wednesday’s three-year anniversary of the tragic shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson.
Directed by Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis, the documentary is an inside look at the Ferguson uprising that followed in the shooting of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown. Brown was shot many times by the police and his body was just left in the streets to lie for hours. This film tells the story of many of the activists and leaders, including both directors, as they spoke out in the aftermath of the tragedy. Not surprisingly, this film contains a lot of language.
Many people are featured in the film as we learn their stories, including the founders of Millennial Activists United (MAU), who faced homophobia. There’s the Copwatch chapter who took it upon themselves to repair the Mike Brown memorial after it was vandalized. There’s a lot to take in here.
The residents of Ferguson were able to come together to protest amid the racial tensions in their city. While many remained civil even as Missouri Governor Jay Nixon brought in the National Guard, the period was not without turmoil as there were buildings damaged. Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis were on the ground in the aftermath. They were there for what appears to be every step of the way including the protests that stopped traffic on what appeared to have been the interstate when one of the MAU founders, Brittany Ferrell, was arrested.
How I view this film is likely different than how a person of color will view this film because they have a different experience than me. All I know is that things have to and need to change. The shootings have to stop. The dying needs to stop. Even after three years, the events documented are still fresh in the minds of many. Has anything really changed over the past few years? The Black Lives Matter movement is still going strong although I’m not going to get into my own issues with the official BLM platform.
An official selection of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Magnolia Pictures will release Whose Streets? in select theaters on August 11, 2017 and gradually expand over the course of the next several weeks. In the Chicago area, the film will play at AMC River East 21, Regal Webster Place 11, Studio Movie Grill – Chatham, and Century 12 Evanston/CineArts 6 in Evanston.