It’s been a year since I first caught Erik Ljung’s (SXSW 2017-premiering) The Blood is at the Doorstep on the festival circuit. The doc’s title is a reference to the chant of activists who’d gathered outside the home of the Milwaukee attorney general after the senseless killing of a black man, in this case Dontre Hamilton, who was shot 14 times by a white officer with a history of community complaints. But if you think you’ve seen this heartbreaking, enraging story (too many times) before think again. This was pre-Ferguson, and Ljung – a white guy, but also a Milwaukee-based filmmaker living not far from where Dontre died – gained access to the Hamilton family over years, in the process painting a powerful portrait of daily life for a grieving mother and brother long after the sound bite-scooping camera crews have gone home.
I spoke to Ljung in-depth about the challenges he faced in telling a story he himself questioned whether he even had the right to tell.
To read my interview visit Hammer to Nail.