Nightly news cameras trained on the flames, the looting, and the chaos that gripped Baltimore in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray in April 2015. Filmmaker Marilyn Ness sought, and found, more.
Her documentary Charm City offers an intimate portrait of those on the front lines of an epidemic of violence. For nearly three years—before, during, and after the rioting sparked by Gray’s fatal spinal injury in the back of a police van—Ness followed residents, community advocates, police, and government officials struggling to effect positive change in the troubled city. Their humanity became common ground, fostering hope amid the unrest.
The Library and KCPT-Kansas City PBS screen the 2018 film as part of the Indie Lens Pop-Up community cinema initiative. A discussion follows.