Timely and vital, the documentary Parkland Rising directed by two-time Emmy Award winner Cheryl Horner McDonough, follows the high-school students and families who became fierce leaders of the national movement for gun reform after the February 2018 shooting of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida. The documentary film, executive produced by Katie Couric and will.i.am, will World Premiere at the upcoming 20th anniversary Woodstock Film Festival, taking place October 2 to 6, 2019.
Parkland Rising reaches past news headlines to reveal the personal and intimate stories of teenage students and their families working together to create meaningful change. The film unites March for Our Lives founders and activists David Hogg, Jaclyn Corin, Emma Gonzalez, grieving fathers Fred Guttenberg and Manuel Oliver and others in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy that changed the conversation about guns in America.
“I sensed that we were witnessing the birth of a new political movement and wanted to document it as it unfolded.” says director/producer Cheryl Horner McDonough. “Mass murder in our schools, movie theaters, shopping malls and concert venues is all too common in this country, but the reaction of the surviving students and families of the victims in the Parkland massacre was almost shockingly different. I wanted to capture these fleeting moments before they became part of history. I wanted to make sure that when the news crews left Parkland and moved on to the next story, the voices of these students and their families would continue to be heard.”
Continues Horner McDonough: “Woodstock is a natural fit for the premiere of a film rooted in art, music, and grassroots protest and we’re excited to be part of this thriving festival.”
Meira Blaustein, Woodstock Film Festival Co-Founder and Executive Director, says of the film: “I wish it was not nearly as timely, but as we witness over and over again, gun control is a huge unresolved issue in our country. I am honored to be able to present the World Premiere of Parkland Rising at this year’s Woodstock Film Festival, and look forward to sharing this important work with our audience.”
“It’s easy to forget things that you’re not involved in, but you are involved in this one,” says documentary subject and activist Manuel Oliver, an artist and father of Joaquin, one of the Parkland victims. “This is a common issue. We can get shot. You and me. Your kid can get shot unless you do something.” To mark the film’s world premiere, Oliver will produce a mural on the corner of Mill Hill and Rock City Roads in Woodstock that “will combine psychedelic vibes, street art, and activism with a strong statement from Joaquin ‘Guac’ Oliver.”
The premiere screening of Parkland Rising will take place at the Woodstock Playhouse, 103 Mill Hill Rd on Friday October 4
Parkland Rising Trailer