Directed by Dana Flor & Toby Oppenheimer
SOUTHEASTERN US PREMIERE
USA, 2016, 90 mins
EXPECTED TO ATTEND: Director Dana Flor and subject Tray
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Tribeca Film Festival (World Premiere), Frameline, HotDocs, AFI Docs
At first glance, they seem unlikely gang-bangers. Some of the boys wear lipstick and mascara, some stilettos. They carry Louis Vuitton bags, but they also carry knives, brass knuckles and mace. As vulnerable gay and transgender youth, they’ve been shot, stabbed, and raped.
Once victims, they’ve now turned the tables, beating people into comas and stabbing enemies with ice picks. Started in 2009 by a group of bullied 9th graders, today these 14-22 year old gang members all have rap sheets riddled with assault, armed robbery, and drug dealing charges.
Led by an ex-convict named Mo, Check It members are now creating their own clothing label, putting on fashion shows and working stints as runway models. But breaking the cycle of poverty and violence they’ve grown up in is a daunting task.
Life for the Check It can be brutal, but – it’s also full of hope and an indomitable resilience. At its heart, CHECK IT explores the undying friendship that exists between these kids – an unbreakable bond that is tested every day as they fight to stand up for who they are in a community relentlessly trying to beat them down.
DANA FLOR – Director/Producer-Macro Pictures, LLC
Dana Flor is a documentary director and producer based in Washington D.C. teamed up with Toby Oppenheimer, she co-directed and produced THE NINE LIVES OF MARION BARRY – a feature length documentary about the infamous former DC mayor and politician that appeared on HBO and played Closing Night at the 2009 Silverdocs Film Festival. In addition to THE NINE LIVES OF MARION BARRY, Flor wrote and directed the Emmy award-winning documentary LATINOS IN BEISBOL and the Emmy-nominated documentary CESAR CHAVEZ for NBC. Flor also works on a wide range of stories for Reuters Television, CNN, National Geographic, and others, covering breaking news and producing in-depth features throughout Latin America and around the world.
TOBY OPPENHEIMER – Director/Producer/Cinematographer – Macro Pictures, LLC
Toby Oppenheimer is a documentary director, producer, and cinematographer based in Brooklyn, NY. Along with Dana Flor, he co-directed/produced and shot THE NINE LIVES OF MARION BARRY – a feature-length documentary about the infamous former D.C. mayor and politician that appeared on HBO and played Closing Night at the 2009 Silverdocs Film Festival. Oppenheimer directed two documentaries in 2011 for MSNBC Films – THE MCVEIGH TAPES AND THE ASSASSINATION OF DR. TILLER – and co-produced DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND, the Emmy-nominated film about Amish teenagers that premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. He has directed, produced and shot on a wide range of subjects for PBS, CNN, BBC, A&E, Pivot, The History Channel, VH1, The Sundance Channel, Bravo and many others.
Along with directing and producing CHECK IT with Flor, the team is also shooting a feature-length film about Randall Terry, the Koran-burning, anti-abortion, antigay, pro-Tea Party founder of Operation Rescue and his extraordinary family made up of staunchly feminist aunts, an adopted African-American gay activist son, and a Muslim convert daughter.