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LAist at Sundance: A Great Doc Day

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Photo courtesy of dmax3270 via flickr

While the features and shorts at Sundance are occasionally hit or miss, the documentaries are always strong across the board. Yesterday, I was able to see two that I have had my eye on since the festival schedule was originally released: Made in America by Stacy Peralta and Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden by Morgan Spurlock. Considering all the frantic back-and-forths I've been doing since last Friday, it was a blessing that these two awesome documentaries were screening right after each other at the same theater.

Made in America tells the story of the rise of the two most notorious gangs in Los Angeles: the Crips and the Bloods. Through dozens of interviews with both current and former gang members on both sides, Peralta provides a clear glimpse into a violent, despairing world that is seldom seen. These interviews are fascinating in the way Peralta is able to extract true humanity from what most would consider stone-cold killers. What's more, his exploration of the history that preceded the formation of the gangs--the racist housing codes that established South Central Los Angeles, the collapse of the L.A. industrial base after World War II, the 1965 uprising in Watts--provides a framework wherein the origin of the Crips and Bloods can be more fully understood. Made in America is a documentary that everyone should see when it ultimately reaches theaters.