Gang Documentaries

Although you won't find very many of them in Blockbuster (or even IMDB), gang documentaries are quickly becoming a popular sub-genre of the documentary scene. From homemade, straight-to-DVD films to award winning movies, contemporary gang documentaries are providing an inside look at the culture and issues created by gangs in today's society.

An Overview Of Gang Documentaries

While professional gang documentaries make an effort to delve into the social and historical realities of gangs, most direct to DVD efforts are filled only with violence and verbal abuse. Given the wide spectrum of available films, there are gang documentaries that appeal to many different audiences. Here are some examples:

  • Nuestra Familia (2006) - Directed by Oriana Zill de Granados, this film tells the story of the Nuestra Familia prison gang that operates in the California penal system. The tightly organized gang recruits and trains young Latinos into a violent life of crime and fealty to the group. The award winning film examines the gang and its effect on the California penal system and life among the Hispanic community.
  • Made in America: Crips and Bloods (2008) - Veering away from his specialty, the skater subculture, documentary director Stacy Peralta takes a historical look at the formation of the infamous Crips and Bloods gangs of south central Los Angeles. The film makes the point that after decades of violence and thousands of deaths, very little has been done to solve the gang problem in LA.
  • Concrete Hell (2006) - Created with inexpensive equipment and burned to DVD on personal computers, Concrete Hell is a typical example of the new breed of "Hood Films." Although these films may be short on message, they are full of slice-of-life action and atmosphere. "Hood Films" can be hard to find, but many Web sites carries a large selection available for order.
  • World's Most Dangerous Gang (2006) - National Geographic provides an inside look at MS 13, one of the most violent and fastest spreading gangs in recent history. With over 100,000 members and territory that spreads from Los Angeles to El Salvador, MS 13 is notorious for its vicious and secretive behavior.
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