Coming to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, August 7: 13 FAMILIES: LIFE AFTER COLUMBINE
Nicole Corbin, Steve LuKanic, and Mark David Katchur’s profile of the families of the Columbine school shooting victims premiered last Spring at a special screening hosted by the Denver Film Society. It also screened this past November at the ArcLight Documentary Festival in Hollywood.
Twelve students and one teacher were killed by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold on April 20, 1999 in one of the deadliest school shootings in US history. Corbin, LuKanic, and Katchur present a respectful portrait of these victims through those who were affected most by their violent deaths – their parents, siblings, and other family members. Reflecting on the incidents of that day, and how they learned that their loved ones were lost, these families share the grief and, for some, anger, that many are still processing more than a decade later – some through public support of gun control, others in more quiet ways. At the same time, the subjects offer viewers a personal and deep appreciation for the victims – their personalities and characters – and the impact their deaths had on the families. Perhaps most interestingly, multiple interviewees note the strength they gained from other families, all going through the same process together, as well as the typically unaddressed effect the trauma had on surviving siblings. Despite a tendency to rely on talking heads and an overuse of music, the documentary is affecting and unfortunately all too relevant, given the continued incidents of school shootings and gun deaths – while the film explicitly notes the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, the tragic DARK KNIGHT RISES shooting in Aurora CO that claimed twelves lives last month serves as sad evidence that lessons have not yet been learned from the Columbine tragedy.