Thursday, November 28, 2019

Movie with Abe: After Parkland

After Parkland
Directed by Emily Taguchi and Jake Lefferman
Released November 29, 2019

We’ve come to an unfortunate moment in time where mass shootings in the United States are a regular occurrence. It’s no longer shocking to hear that some public space previously thought to be safe has now been the site of a horrific and deadly attack that has left people dead or injured and many others in the vicinity scarred for life. Many have become frustrated with the lack of subsequent action to prevent future tragedies from happening, and many who have been personally affected have since dedicated their lives to ensuring that others won’t have to go through what they have.

On February 14, 2018, a gunman walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and killed seventeen people. In the wake of this unimaginable tragedy in a community previously thought to be completely safe and secure, a number of students and parents were moved to take a stand. Those profiled include a father who campaigns aggressively for school safety on behalf of his slain daughter, two teenagers who connect with the father of their deceased boyfriend and friend, respectively, and students who use the media coverage the shooting is getting to blast their message about gun control out to the world.

Anyone who has paid attention to news over the past two years has likely seen how the Parkland community has been outspoken in their activism, and a number of recognizable spokespeople, including students David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, are featured in the film. One element that this film picks up on is in spotlighting how not every person affected by a mass shooting considers themselves liberal, evidenced by Andrew Pollack, the father whose advocacy inspired by his daughter’s death seeks to prioritize safety in school without any emphasis on gun control. It may be because he believes the issue is too divisive and no one would argue against schools being safe, but regardless it represents a point of view not often given a platform.

Subjects and filmmakers discuss the film at an International Documentary Association screening

It’s difficult to watch this film without getting emotional as those interviewed share their vulnerabilities in the face of grief and loss. The dedication on display by filmmakers Emily Taguchi and Jake Lefferman in allowing their subjects to speak rather than telling their story for them is commendable, and the bond they have created with those in Parkland is evident from the way they spoke together at an International Documentary Association screening in Los Angeles earlier this month. This film may be too upsetting and triggering for some, but for those open to it, it’s a rewarding and inspiring experience.


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