"The Hard Stop"
“The Hard Stop”

It’s a hybrid observational work of non-fiction with the Sundance stamp on it, which made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall, under the name “The Hard Stop,” from director George Amponsah (it was previously-titled “Down By Law”).

The very timely film centers on Mark Duggan, a young black man who was killed by armed police in London, on August 4, 2011 – an event regarded as the spark that set the London riots in motion immediately after.

Twenty-nine-year-old Duggan was shot and killed by police in Tottenham, North London. The Metropolitan Police argued that officers were attempting to arrest Duggan on suspicion of planning to avenge a friend’s death, and that he was in possession of a handgun. However, there were conflicting stories on what led to the fatal shooting, drawing criticism and suspicion from Duggan’s family, residents of Tottenham, and other supporters, accusing police of misconduct and of failing to properly investigate Duggan’s death.  The circumstances of his killing resulted in public protests in Tottenham which, fueled in part by poverty and racial tension, led to conflict with the police, and later escalated into riots across London and other English cities.

Shortcomings in police response were also blamed for stoking the riots, and for fueling discontent.

Amponsah’s film explores the life and death of Mark Duggan, as well as the Tottenham riots of 2011 that would follow.

The project was also supported by the BFI Film Fund, following a pitching session, held at and in partnership with the UK’s leading documentary festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest.

The film is now available to USA audiences, streaming on Netflix, so add it to your queue.

Trailer below: