Beginning with short interview selections taken from the whole program, Part 1 concentrates on three conversations with ex-offenders who received federal felony convictions. All have begun transforming their lives, but still reflect the overwhelming odds of their earlier situations.
Features experts from the medical, social work, and law enforcement fields, as well as researchers from the University of Chicago Crime Lab.
Concentrates on the opinions of law enforcement professionals based upon their experience, and includes academics who share their research.
Three roundtable discussions featuring high school teenagers representing diverse backgrounds, abilities, and expectations for their lives. While the comments of these students may surprise, they also reflect the underlying statistics that, for the most part, go unnoticed, yet take their toll.
Features personal opinions about causes and solutions, suggesting a direction that can involve many viewpoints.
Blood Brothers began with my need to know how children-- young men mostly in their middle teens-- could find weapons and then use them to actually pull the trigger on another human. I wondered how young teens could do what the armed forces employ sophisticated training methods to accomplish...to overcome what seems to be a natural reluctance in most people to kill. How could these young men living in poverty and hopelessness mirror trained recruits... exhibiting what appears to be a trained... second nature... aiming to kill?
From the beginning, I wondered why the sources and victims of so much gun violence, those in their teens, were left out of the discussion. Why the politicians and general public, the observers, opinion shapers and designers of so-called solutions, turn decisions over to those with so little experience of gun violence.
The topic of gun violence often leaps past opportunities for solutions and lands in a frantic world of headlines. I wanted to provide a forum for discussion rather than a platform for angry debate. I knew early on that a longer single work would frustrate response...too many topics delivered within too long a format. That's why the program is divided into topic areas, which allows viewers the opportunity to respond to what's been revealed and discussed in the interviews.
I decided not to get involved with gang culture as a way to explain gun violence. Much too often, the gangs themselves become salacious topics, playing to our desire to peek behind the curtain at violence and turmoil. I also had no desire to provide a forum for groups that would try to remake the project into an indulgent tour of dysfunctional neighborhoods.
The roundtables featured in Part 4 were designed to allow conversations among peers. We gathered three groups of high schoolers, each representing generalized cultures and backgrounds of American society. All three groups were given the same set of questions. One member of each group was chosen by the group to lead the discussion. Then we recorded their conversations from a distance, lighting only the discussion area, with no technical interference. After allowing them a few minutes to settle in, all the participants started talking to one another without reference to the room or to us. Their candid exchanges revealed their experiences, providing illumination on the causes of gun violence in urban areas.
Gun violence is primarily a young man's arena. Besides talking to professionals who have direct involvement with at-risk communities, I chose to listen as experienced voices reflected on their own youth. Often those voices were still ringing with unresolved anger, but capable of growth and experiencing other ways of living.
Lives all too often still influenced by both ends of the barrel.
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- Jim Hauschultz
Dr. Frey is the Executive Producer for Blood Brothers and Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology at Saint Louis University. She is the clinical director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Saint Louis University. Her recent research emphasis has been the evaluation of vaccines to counter bioterroism/biowarfare including smallpox vaccine trials.
She conducted the first smallpox vaccine trial in civilians in 2000 after the eradication of smallpox. She has also been the principal investigator for CMV, HIV, influenza, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C protocols. She conducted two of the first prophylactic HCV trials in humans.
Dr. Frey coordinates training at the Center for Vaccine Development for the junior investigators and visiting scientists. She arranges applicant interviews with prospective investigators, and facilitates the development and attainment of individuals' goals. Past experience includes time spent in Africa and India related to HIV vaccine research. Dr. Frey provides humanitarian aid in war torn countries.
She was co-producer, with Blackbird Creative, of the Emmy-award winning documentary Strong Women/Positive Choices, a women to women exploration of the challenges following HIV diagnoses.
Anene is a writer/producer and a partner in Blackbird Creative, LLC. Her professional life includes executive speech writing for Fortune 500 Companies, as well as public relations and marketing. She is the author of the award-winning novel, "Dancing with Gravity", which was published in 2011. Her award winning fiction and poetry have appeared in Best of Writers at Work anthology, The Distillery, Treasure House, Currents, River Blossom and Word Wright's.
She is also an adjunct professor in the School of Communications at Webster University. She and Jim each received regional Emmys for Strong Women, Positive Choices, the project that ultimately gave them the opportunity to produce Blood Brothers. Both also have regional Emmys for other projects.
Together, they have been awarded several dozen industry awards for their work, including Silver and Bronze Telly Awards, International Association of Business Communicators Gold and Bronze Quills, the International Film and Television Festival of New York, Targeted Advertising and Marketing TAMS , a Saint Louis Advertising Federation Addy, Platinum and Gold Auroras, Pen Daltons, Videographer awards, international Flame and Axiem awards, and other prestigious honors.
Jim's background includes writing and producing executive level film and video for corporations, including the official video history of General Motors. Each has extensive experience translating the requirements of corporate communications into projects that are effective messages for their audiences.