For Ahkeem

Jeremy Levine, Landon Van Soest

Coming-of-age documentary about an African-American teenager, against the backdrop of the 2014 Ferguson riots. Daje is only 17 years old, but her life has been far from easy. She is expelled from school, and ends up getting pregnant too. Despite everything, she is determined to get her high school diploma.

After a fight at school, Daje has to appear in juvenile court. She hears that she won’t be allowed to return to her high school, but that she can earn her high school diploma at a special school for misbehaving teens. Daje lives with her mother and younger brother in a poor suburb of St. Louis, in the US. Her home is just down the road from the suburban town of Ferguson, where riots erupted in 2014 after a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old African-American youth.
Together with Daje, we follow the news about the shooting and the riots, and see up close how strongly violence, discrimination and a lack of equal opportunities leave defining traces in the lives of young African-Americans. Despite all her setbacks, the girl is determined to earn her high school diploma, if only as a good example for her newborn son Ahkeem.

With a flowing fly on the wall style, the filmmakers follow Daje’s daily struggles, making the audience share in her highs and lows, and thereby creating the feel of a gritty indie drama.

For Ahkeem is part of the Festival Favorites theme programme.

Credits

Director
Jeremy Levine, Landon Van Soest
Country
United States
Type
Documentary
Duration
90 minutes
Themes
children and youth, discrimination & racism, education & schools
Year
2017