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Tribeca 2018 Preview: Charm City

Tribeca 2018 Preview: Charm CityPosted by Wilson Morales

April 23, 2018

Having its World Premiere tonight at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival is the documentary Charm City, Marilyn Ness’ chronicle of citizens, police, and government officials grappling with gun violence and its consequences during three years of escalating unrest.

Over the course of three years of filming – during a period when the city’s nickname “Charm City” has never seemed less apt – we meet community members, local elected officials, and law enforcement personnel in some of the toughest and most economically depressed areas of Baltimore, including the Eastern District, made (in)famous by The Wire.

Directed by renowned documentary producer Marilyn Ness, (CAMERAPERSON; TRAPPED; E-TEAM) the film is structured around a small constellation of memorable characters living and working in Baltimore during a period of sharp increase in homicides. At times, their circumstances highlight the current crisis of violence and distrust between civilians, officials, and police officers, and at times their actions help point a way forward. As we move between occasionally intersecting and often unpredictable lives, the camera forces intentional shifts in perspective insisting the audience consider new and often conflicting points of view. Challenging intellectual complacency, CHARM CITY combines the intimacy of close-up observational footage in the field with a lyrical score by Todd Griffin (LIFE, ANIMATED; ONE OF US) to effect a sensitive and profoundly humane portrait of those surviving in, and fighting for, the city they call home.

CHARM CITY tackles, head on, the difficult circumstances facing both police and citizens ostensibly working toward the same goals but locked in an exhausting cycle of conflict. The film foregrounds the focused and determined actions taken to improve life on both sides, and is, ultimately, a cautiously optimistic portrait of a city at a pivotal moment in time.

“If the laws of the street dictate that every man fend for himself, then CHARM CITY proves that some folks can find a calling by fending for others. And it’s those people who seem to keep certain parts of Baltimore… from sliding into an abyss of crime and degradation from which they may never return.” 
– Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter

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