Emmanuel Manny Durant in 17 BLOCKS by Davy Rothbart
Emmanuel Manny Durant in 17 BLOCKS by Davy Rothbart

The documentary 17 Blocks, an intimate chronicle of a DC-based family’s struggles with addiction and gun violence, directed by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Davy Rothbart will premiere on Saturday, April 27 at the Tribeca Film Festival in the Documentary Competition section.

In 1999, nine-year-old Emmanuel Sanford-Durant and his family began to film their daily lives in America’s most dangerous neighborhood — just 17 blocks behind the U.S. Capitol. They’ve been filming ever since. Made in a unique collaboration with filmmaker and journalist Davy Rothbart, 17 BLOCKS focuses on Emmanuel, a promising student, his brother Smurf, a local drug dealer, his sister Denice, an aspiring cop, and his mother Cheryl, who must conquer her own demons for her family to prosper. Spanning two decades, 17 BLOCKS illuminates a nation’s ongoing crisis through one family’s raw, stirring, and deeply personal saga. 

17 BLOCKS director Davy Rothbart. Photo credit Dan Busta
17 BLOCKS director Davy Rothbart. Photo credit Dan Busta

Davy Rothbart is a journalist, bestselling author, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, creator of Found Magazine, and contributor to public radio’s “This American Life.” His latest documentary, Medora, aired on PBS and won a 2015 Emmy News & Documentary Award. He’s the founder of Washington To Washington, an annual hiking trip for city kids.

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