17 Blocks
World Premiere

17 Blocks

Documentary Competition
| USA | 96 MINUTES | English
Nine year old Emmanuel began filming himself and his family with a home video camera in 1999, capturing his Washington D.C. neighborhood through the eyes of an innocent child. Growing up just 17 blocks from the U.S. Capitol, however, proved more difficult than expected. Filmmaker, journalist, and frequent This American Life contributor Davy Rothbart befriended the Sanford family as they continued to document their daily life over a 20-year period in a city plagued by poverty, addiction, and gun violence.

What resulted from this uniquely collaborative effort between Rothbart and the family is a transcendent portrait of the unwavering strength of familial bonds. The film follows the characters through periods of joy and sadness, all captured on tape with stunning intimacy. This incredibly touching non-fiction odyssey offers a remarkable look into the lives of one family who was brave enough to share their story with the world.

—Loren Hammonds

Cast & Credits
Directed by
Davy Rothbart
Davy Rothbart is a journalist, bestselling author, Emmy® Award-winning filmmaker, creator of Found Magazine, and contributor to public radio's This American Life. His latest documentary, Medora, aired on PBS and won a 2015 Emmy® News & Documentary Award. He's the founder of Washington To Washington, an annual hiking trip for city kids.
Davy Rothbart
Alex Turtletaub, Michael B. Clark, Marc Turtletaub, Rachel Dengiz, Davy Rothbart
Jennifer Tiexiera
Zachary Shields
Nick Urata
Jennifer Tiexiera
Associate Producer
Paul Smith, Annette Smith, Dan Amorello, Jason Orfanon
Cheryl Sanford, Emmanuel Durant, Jr., Akil "Smurf" Sanford, Denice Sanford-Durant, Justin Sanford, Carmen Payne

US Sales Contact
Ben Braun
Submarine Entertainment
New York, 10013
Phone: 212 625 1410
Print Source
Apoorva Charan
Los Angeles, CA 90034-5954
Phone: 925 209 1543
International Sales Contact
Apoorva Charan
Los Angeles, CA 90034-5954
Phone: 925 209 1543
Press Contact
Susan Norget
Susan Norget Film Promotion
New York, NY 10010
Phone: 917 833 3056


Subscribe for festival news, exclusive offers, programming updates, and more!
Get Festival Updates