1085817 BLOCKSB banner


Year 2019
Runtime 95 mins
Language English
Subtitles English Subtitles
Canadian Premiere
In 1999, nine-year-old Emmanuel Durant and his family videotaped their daily lives in America's most dangerous neighborhood — 17 blocks behind the U.S. Capitol.

Smurf Sanford and his little brother Emmanuel met This American Life contributor Davy Rothbart on a neighborhood basketball court in 1999. Emmanuel’s interest in filmmaking and Rothbart loaning him a video camera started a two decade collaboration that results in what has been called BOYZ N THE HOOD meets BOYHOOD. Recorded within walking distance of the White House, raw home videos across the time span of four presidencies follow the daily lives of a family facing the challenges of addiction, poverty, and gun violence. Rothbart and writer/editor Jennifer Teixeira’s brilliant assembly of this family album allows us to witness the young boys become men, while their mother Cheryl struggles to survive and provide for her children. Against all odds in a country that is increasingly divided and oppressively racist they show incredible resilience. “Hope is real. Hope is alive. We have hope, everyone has hope" Cheryl says. Their honesty and openness provides an incredibly intimate look at life on the margins in America in this rare and deeply affecting documentary.


United States
Tribeca Film Festival, DocAviv Film Festival, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Davy Rothbart
Executive Producer
Cheryl Sanford, Jennifer Tiexiera, Sheila Nevins
Michael Clark, Rachel Dengiz, Davy Rothbart, Alex Turtletaub, Marc Turtletaub
Jennifer Tiexiera, Davy Rothbart
Zachary Shields
Jennifer Tiexiera
Nick Urata
Emmanuel Sanford, Smurf Sanford, Denice Sanford, Cheryl Sanford