For the families who lost loved ones, for the survivors and for the entire community of Newtown, life will never be the same after 20 children were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. This is the story of what has happened since.
Can parents ever recover from having their 6 or 7 year-old slaughtered in their classroom by a disturbed young man, 20, armed with an assault weapon? Can a community survive the loss of 20 innocent children and six devoted educators in a murderous gun rampage?
These are questions examined in a beautiful and haunting documentary that tells the story of what happened on that terrible day when shooter Adam Lanza forced his way into Sandy Hook school and what has taken place in the aftermath. For most Americans, the horror of the terror attack on children has receded, but we learn that for the Newtown community of 27,600 people, no one was left untouched… and no one has just moved on. Now you can get the chance to see this film at a special screening at a theater near you, on Nov 2. Click here for ticket info.
Director Kim A. Snyder spent three years working on her moving documentary, titled Newtown, beginning just three weeks after the massacre. She has interviewed the parents and siblings of three of the children lost in the gun violence, as well as teachers at the school, first responders, a doctor who tried to save their lives, town faith leaders and more.
Despite the sadness of the subject material, it is not a difficult film to watch. In fact, it is completely engrossing as it follows the journeys of parents Mark Barden, David Wheeler and Nicole Hockley.
All three struggle with devastating grief but also fight to get Congress to act against gun violence, in an effort to spare other families from the tragedy they’re living.
“The right of someone to own a military assault weapon shouldn’t be more important the right of my son (Ben) to live,” pleads David Wheeler before lawmakers. “What bigger job description do they have than keeping their constituents safe,” he points out. But the parents efforts to obtain any improved national legal gun safety laws are really just a part of this poignant film.
What Newtown also does is bring you achingly into the lives of the survivors. Parents who confess to re-watching videos of their children over and over, desperate not to forget how their children looked, how their voices sounded, and how they smelled. Parents who refuse to excuse the horror with the idea that their child was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That’s because their children were exactly in the right place, where they should have been on a weekday morning — in their first grade classrooms. That’s where they were murdered.
“I keep telling myself that I did everything right. Those parents who put their kids on the school that day, did everything right ,” David points out. Mark Barden’s neighbor Melissa describes the moment that the 26 families who were waiting anxiously after the massacre, for the news about their loved ones, were finally told that their family members had perished.
“The room erupted. I’ll never forget that sound,” she recalls with tears streaming down her cheeks.
Dr. William Begg, whose ER received the dying children, calmly explains their injuries. “Each body had 3 to 11 bullets.. and these were assault type bullets which explode in the body. These were not survivable injuries,” he recalls.
For the Newtown community, life will now always be pre-12/14 or post-12/14. But, what Newtown, the documentary, clearly conveys is that it is a community that understands the horrific loss that 26 of its families have endured and the town has been the biggest support to those families. The “ripple” effect from their tragedies has touched every single person who lives there.
You will be inspired by the strength and courage of the everyday people you meet in Newtown telling a story, which must be heard.
You can see a special screening of this eloquent film at a theater near you on Wednesday, Nov. 2nd, as well as a panel discussion with community members, moderated by CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
HollywoodLifers, you can purchase tickets at NewtownFilm.com. I highly recommend that you do.