Kim A. Snyder’s documentary Newtown that tells the story of the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting of schoolchildren in American history will air on Independent Lens on PBS April 3.
On December 14, 2012, a disturbed young man committed a horrific mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that took the lives of 20 elementary school children and six educators. Kim A. Snyder’s searing new documentary Newtown, filmed over the course of nearly three years, uses deeply personal, never-before-heard testimonies to relate the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting of schoolchildren in American history. Through raw and heartbreaking interviews with parents, siblings, teachers, doctors and first responders, Newtown documents a traumatized community still reeling from the senseless tragedy, fractured by grief but driven toward a sense of purpose.
Newtown premieres on Independent Lens Monday, April 3, 2017, 10:00-11:30PM ET (check local listings) on PBS.
There are no words of compassion or reassurance that can bring back those who lost their lives during the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Instead, Snyder delves into the lives and homes of those who remain, all of whom have been indelibly changed by the events. They speak candidly about their grief, anger and disbelief over what occurred and their disappointment that nothing has truly changed with regard to the country’s legal response to gun violence. Newtown bears witness to their profound grief and allows it to reverberate within our collective conscience, exploring what happens to a community after it becomes the epicenter of a national discussion and what it must cope with after the cameras leave.
“Working with Kim on this film has been a deeply rewarding experience,” said Lois Vossen, Independent Lens executive producer. “The team was committed to making a film that was incisive without being exploitative. Newtown shows the impact of trauma on a community, the grief gun violence causes and how we begin to heal and move forward.”
About the Participants
in Alphabetical Order:
Mark Barden, the father of Daniel, who at age seven was killed at Sandy Hook. Mark’s journey from isolation to reconnection with family, community and ultimately with his murdered son is intimate, raw and informed by strength.
Dr. William Begg, ER doctor, Danbury Hospital.
Sgt. Bill Cario, Connecticut State Trooper.
Abbey Clements, Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher.
Sarah Clements, daughter of surviving Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher.
Nicole Hockley, mother of Dylan, one of the children murdered at Sandy Hook. Her son, Jake, a third grade survivor, is manifesting symptoms of PTSD. In the midst of all this, her unrelenting conviction to effect change connects her with fellow bereaved parent Mark Barden.
Mary Ann Jacob, Sandy Hook Elementary School library clerk.
Melissa Malin, Newtown resident and neighbor of the Barden family.
Gene Rosen, Sandy Hook Elementary School neighbor.
Rick Thorne, Sandy Hook Elementary School custodian.
Laurie Veillette, volunteer EMT.
David Wheeler, whose youngest son Ben was killed at Sandy Hook.Active in the Newtown community, he shares his story out of the desire to protect the rest of the world from going through what his family endured.
About the Filmmakers
Kim A. Snyder (Director/Producer)
Newtown, Kim Snyder’s most recent film, premiered in competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and was hailed in Entertainment Weekly as among the “Best of Sundance.” The film will continue to screen at premiere festivals worldwide and is poised to have a theatrical release in September 2016, followed by a national broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens. Snyder’s last feature documentary, Welcome to Shelbyville, was also nationally broadcast on Independent Lens. In 2007, Snyder co-founded the BeCause Foundation to direct and produce a series of socially conscious documentaries, which have won numerous awards with campaigns furthering the work of the social innovators they highlight. Her award-winning directorial debut feature documentary, I Remember Me, was theatrically distributed by Zeitgeist Films. In 1994, she associate produced the Academy Award-winning short film Trevor, directed by Peggy Rajski. Snyder graduated with a Masters in international affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and resides in New York City.
Maria Cuomo Cole (Producer)
Maria Cuomo Cole is the award-winning producer of Newtown, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. In her career, she has tackled such subjects as gun violence, homelessness, veterans’ PTSD, domestic violence and sexual assault. Most recently, she executive produced The Hunting Ground, directed by Kirby Dick. This Emmy and Peabody Award-winning film has been lauded as a powerful investigation into the epidemic of sexual assaults on college campuses. In 2012, Cuomo Cole worked with the same film team, executive producing the 2014 Oscar®-nominated documentary The Invisible War. This groundbreaking documentary about the epidemic of rape and sexual violence in the U.S. military served as a catalyst for federal legislation and influenced federal policy reforms. Cuomo Cole’s 2011 documentary Living for 32, about gun laws in America, was short-listed for an Academy Award® and premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. In collaboration with national communities of gun violence survivors, faith leaders, political leaders and nonprofits, the film has served as a catalyst for awareness and advocacy on the subject of federal and state legislative reform across the country. Since 1992, she has led HELP USA, the national nonprofit leader in both homeless and permanent supportive service housing and employment programs for veterans, families and survivors of domestic violence.