“After Parkland”: new documentary shows the students moving on after the Florida high school shooting tragedy on Valentine’s Day 2018
“After Parkland”, directed by Jake Lefferman and Emily Taguchi, is the first film about the school shooting at Marjory Stonemam Douglas High School (in Parkland, Broward County, near Fort Lauderdale FL) on February 14, 2018 that killed 17 students and wounded at least 17 more, by an expelled ex-student who had trespassed onto the property without being stopped. At the outset, it is remarkable that these two documentary filmmakers (working for ABC Documentary Films) could film the families affected. Only some families were willing to do this, as doing so could have traumatized other families (a point made in the QA). (There is a short, “Song of Parkland”, from HBO, which I have just seen online. There is also a project: “Parkland: Inside Building 12”)
The film starts with cell phone footage, apparently by David Hogg, hiding in a closet during the horror. The film completely moves into remembering the victims. Many survivors meet President Trump in the White House, which would have required special access for the filmmakers. The family of one victim, with Manuel Oliver as father, build a basketball team in their son’s honor. The film, in the early scenes, presents some observations from graduating senior and basketball player Samuel Zeif (who has also appeared on “Good Morning Britain”).
After this introduction, and about a half-hour into this 92-minute film, the film reintroduces David Hogg, who (with his sister Lauren, parents, and some other students, including Cameron Kasky and Emma Gonzalez). It is hard for the filmmakers to keep David from dominating the film. Some of an earlier interview (The Outline, where David is getting started going after the political corruption associated with the NRA) is shown, as well as some family life, where his mom asks him to stop tweeting and go to bed, and Hogg says that’s what Baby Donald Trump should do. There some interesting views of the family, as with a ping pong table in a rec room (I had one growing up but it was undersized.) David initially has trouble eating and is losing weight (he was much more traumatized than the media has ever let on). In fact, in the latter part of the film, taken in the fall of 2018, his gap year, he does look like he has started lifting weights, which would be a very good thing. Soon we see shots of his organizing protests and die-ins, and a short of his fantastic speech in Washington on March 24, 2018 when he spoke like someone already running for president (about a minute of the “No More” speech is shown). David was already a student journalist and accomplished short video filmmaker before the incident (his work on YouTube before the event is interesting). He probably would have become a journalist (so does Clark Kent) or major film industry content producer or director or actor and become well known for that, like someone who could play himself in a Marvel movie and make it work. Now he says he wants to be in Congress by age 26. He could legally become a president in 2036.
I was in the crowd on March 24 when he did the speech, but apparently arrived right after he gave it. I did hear some of Emma’s, which is shown.
Later, the film shows the graduation in June and the continued road trip activism since then and summarizes what some of the students are doing now. David enters Harvard this fall. The closing credits also show brief clippings from the Santa Fe, TX shooting later in 2018. I was near that location in a trip to Texas in May 2018.
The teens are often shown driving, and interviewed as they do so. They leave the impression of independence and functional maturity that I did not have at 17.
ABC News does not want to show this on regular television with commercials, and is looking for a regular independent film distributor. It would be logical for Walt Disney Pictures to set up another trademarked brand to distribute documentary or special projects like this film. My own “doaskdotell” could make sense as a movie distributor or production company name, and I guess I’d better get working on it.
The film also documents the founding of a new non-profit, Change the Ref, as well as the well-known “March for our Lives” (and #NeverAgain).
Curiously, I could not find an official trailer.
I don’t recall that there has been a major documentary about the Pulse attack in Orlando (June 2016) yet.
QA at AFI-Docs
2 answers my question on the deeper political divides
Name: “After Parkland”
Director, writer: Jake Lefferman and Emily Taguchi
Format: 1.66:1 video;
When and how viewed: AFI Docs; 2019/6/20 Landmark E St, close to sell out, small auditorium
Companies: ABC Documentary
(Posted: Friday, June 21, 2019 at 10:30 AM EDT)