world premiere - hot docs canadian documentary festival 2018
Documentary jury award special mention - Milwaukee film festival 2018
Best Documentary Feature Nominee - nashville film festival 2018
Eric Butler, a Hurricane Katrina survivor and pioneer of the restorative justice movement, relocates and finds work at an Oakland, California, high school enforcing his no-nonsense approach to counseling vulnerable Black and Latino teenagers. Shot over two years, the film follows Butler's impassioned efforts to nurture troubled youth and keep them in school, fighting racial discrimination by replacing snap suspensions and expulsions with gritty, intimate and honest mentoring.
But when his own teenage son is arrested and beaten in jail, he begins to question his methods and ability—not just as a teacher, but also as a father. With incredible access, Circles is an inspirational portrait of a father desperate to provide his son with the leadership and compassion he never received from his own.
"AN EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE UNLIKE I HAVE EVER SEEN BEFORE."
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"CIRCLES PUTS THE LENS ON THE DIRE NEED FOR JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM, WITH ONE FAMILY AT THE CENTER.”
"CIRCLES SHOWS US WHAT A REAL HERO LOOKS LIKE, AND WHAT REAL HEROISM TAKES. FILMS LIKE THIS DON'T LEAVE YOU; NOR SHOULD THEY"
"MOVING… [WE DON’T] SEE ENOUGH MEN, ESPECIALLY BLACK MEN, IN THAT KIND OF ROLE."
TERAN POWELL, NPR RACE REPORTER
"CIRCLES CAN BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER TO INVOKE CHANGE"
THE OXFORD EAGLE
"A POWERFUL AND COMPLEX PORTRAIT OF A MAN TRYING TO HELP HIS SON AND COMMUNITY"
"CIRCLES EXPOSES THE RAW HUMAN REALITY OF LIFE."
TERRY O'CONNELL, RESTORATIVE JUSTICE PIONEER AUSTRALIA
"THE HIGHEST IMPACT FILM AT THIS YEAR'S FESTIVAL"
RAVI SRINIVASAN (HOT DOCS PROGRAMMER)
"CIRCLES LEAVES US WITH A NEW SET OF EYES ON HOW WE RESTORE JUSTICE IN OUR SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITY."
JUMOKE HINTON HODGE, OUSD BOARD OF EDUCATION VICE PRESIDENT