Metro Weekly

Queer youth gang doc “Check It” screens at FilmFest DC

Documentary follows the members of a gang formed to fight back against anti-LGBTQ violence

Check It, Photo: Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer

Gay and transgender kids struggling to find a place for themselves in D.C. are the focus of Check It, a new documentary from Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer (HBO’s The Nine Lives of Marion Barry).

Screening as part of the 31st FilmFestDC, Check It profiles the rise of a local LGBTQ youth gang with more than 200 members.

“As vulnerable gay and transgender youth, they’ve been shot, stabbed, and raped,” the filmmakers say. “Once victims, they’ve now turned the tables, beating people into comas and stabbing enemies with ice picks. Started in 2009 by a group of bullied 9th graders, today these 14-22 year old gang members all have rap sheets riddled with assault, armed robbery, and drug dealing charges.”

Flor and Oppenheimer’s film explores the bonds the youths have formed, their fight for survival, and their attempts to push into the mainstream by creating a clothing label and trying to break the cycle of poverty.

The first screening is followed by a Q&A with the directors and a reception led by Andy Shallal, Donnell Perkins, Phillip Pannell, and Earl Fowlkes.

Sunday, April 23, at 5:45 p.m., and Tuesday, April 25, at 9 p.m. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Tickets are $13 in advance, or $14 at the theater. Call 202-452-7672 or visit filmfestdc.org.

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.