Erik Ljung started out making a short. He ended up with an all-consuming, three-year feature that landed him at SXSW.
When a documentary film is at its finest, it takes an issue that is exhaustively covered by the media and finds a personal story within it that appeals to our common humanity and makes it real for audiences. The Blood Is At The Doorstep is such a film, intimately introducing us to the grieving family of a young, unarmed black man who was shot to death by a police officer during a routine wellness check, in broad daylight in the center of Milwaukee.
We meet the victim, Dontre Hamilton, through his remarkable family, most prominently his mother, Maria, and brother, Nate. Over three years following the shooting, the family members become unwitting activists, first simply searching for answers in their own case, and eventually becoming part of a national conversation. Maria is one of the founders of Mothers of the Movement, which caught wide attention when the group took the stage for one of the most powerful moments of last year’s Democratic National Convention.
No Film School sat down with first-time director Erik Ljung after the film’s premiere at SXSW 2017, where it received a Critic’s Pick from The Hollywood Reporter. We talked about how the film took over his life, filming protests, editing with over 400 hours of footage, and more.
See the interview at No Film School