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Followed by an exclusive pre-recorded Q&A with director Davy Rothbart and subjects Cheryl and Smurf Sanford, moderated by Academy Award® winner Marshall Curry and Michael-Sean Spence from Everytown for Gun Safety.


In 1999, nine-year-old Emmanuel Sanford-Durant and his Washington, D.C., family began to film their daily lives in America's most dangerous neighborhood — just 17 blocks behind the U.S. Capitol building. They've been filming ever since. Made in a unique collaboration with filmmaker and journalist Davy Rothbart, the film focuses on four generations of the Sanford family, including 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 in order 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. Winner, Special Mention, International Documentary Film, 2019 Zurich Film Festival; Winner, Best Editing in a Documentary Film, 2019 Tribeca Film Festival; Winner, Best Documentary, New Directors Competition, 2020 São Paulo International Film Festival. Official Selection, 2019 AFI DOCS, Karlovy Vary and Traverse City film festivals.

  • Year
    2019
  • Runtime
    96 minutes
  • Language
    English
  • Country
    United States
  • Rating
    NOT RATED
  • Director
    Davy Rothbart
  • Screenwriter
    Davy Rothbart, Jennifer Tiexiera
  • Producer
    Rachel Dengiz
  • Cast
    Emmanuel Durant Jr., Akil "Smurf" Sanford, Cheryl Sanford, Justin Sanford, Denice Sanford-Durant