"License to Operate" (documentary about former gangsters helping their communities), by L.A. agency Omelet

In This Agency’s Epic Documentary, Gangsters Save Their Community

Everyone likes a redemption story. When it’s a true one, with multiple individuals transforming themselves into good to make more good, it transcends entertainment and gives you hope for the world. L.A. agency Omelet took to passionately following the story of former gang leaders dedicating their new lives to becoming neighborhood saviors. Omelet’s documentary License to Operate shows former gangsters improving the war zones that came as the later subsets of original Blood and Crip territories.

The most fascinating part of the creation process is that this was a project the agency for themselves, not a client. The staff was passionate about collectively spending their downtime, over the course of three years, to make their first full-length documentary about such a powerful subject. It was an intriguing, important project to make, according to Mike Wallen, the film’s producer and Omelet’s Chief Content Officer, who spoke to AdWeek.

“We kept cameras rolling for nearly four more months, capturing over 150 hours of footage, and spent close to a year putting the puzzle together into the film we have today.”

Before  film begins in 1992, when 1,900 homicides were tracked in Los Angeles County. The record figure ties into the tenuous aftermath of the 1991 beating of Rodney King, which prompted action that wasn’t left solely to the cops. Aquil Basheer, a 40-year veteran of gang intervention, having founded the LTO Movement and the Professional Community Intervention Training Institute, explains.

“Individuals realized the need to secure public safety, and most realized it would take a unified effort. Our expertise needed to be on board to make the process effective… The LAPD had significant problems with many communities that they served in the past… We don’t work for the LAPD, we are not the LAPD’s snitches, and we do not pass intel to the LAPD. We have a respected coexistence that is based on public safety and keeping our communities safe. This came through years of watching each other work in the community, and gang credibility from that community.”

It was by no means an easy task, but see how fed-up and compassionate gangsters made law officials figure out a solution in the ultra-moving License to Operate trailer below.

[via AdWeek]
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