Straight Out of the Mean Streets

Tired of watching friends and relatives fall prey to drugs, crime and other social maladies that ravaged the Red Hook section of Brooklyn where he grew up, Matty Rich decided to fight back. His weapon: a movie camera. "I wasn't interested in film because I loved film or some director," says the 19-year- old director of Straight Out of Brooklyn. "I was angry that everybody around me got destroyed, and I wanted to show that everyday struggle."

Rich is the youngest of the new generation of black directors who, inspired by Spike Lee's in-your-face style of moviemaking, are turning out impassioned...

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