The Chatham Film Club and WMHT cohost a free screening of “Newtown” at the Crandell Theatre in Chatham, NY, on Saturday, March 25, at noon. The free screening was made possible through the Film Club’s partnership with WMHT Public Media and its participation in a program called “Indie Lens Pop-Up.” This program, featuring documentaries seen on the PBS series Independent Lens, draws local residents, leaders, and organizations together to discuss issues of concern today.
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.
Directed by Kim A. Snyder, the film 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 regarding the country’s legislative response to gun violence. In the aftermath, the organization Sandy Hook Promise was started by several Newtown parents including Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden, featured in the film. It designs curriculum and advocates for policy aimed at preventing gun violence.
A panel discussion follows the screening. Panelists include Bill Sherlach, board member of Sandy Hook Promise; Amy Potter, Principal of Chatham Middle School; and Father Gary Gelfenbein, retired from St. James Catholic Church. The panel is moderated by Thomas Chulak, co-owner of the Chatham Bookstore and retired Unitarian Universalist minister.
“Newtown is a town so similar to Chatham, and so geographically close. We think the film will be a catalyst for a deeply powerful community conversation about coming together after such a tragedy. We are honored to partner with WMHT to provide the only screening of “Newtown” in the Capital Region,” said Fred Ulrich, President of the Chatham Film Club.
“Newtown” premieres on “Independent Lens” on Monday, April 3, at 9 p.m. on WMHT. WMHT is the only locally owned, nonprofit, multichannel public communications organization that reaches beyond the traditional broadcasting model to act as a leader by convening arts, culture, learning, and civic interests. For information on WMHT Public Media, visit wmht.org or go to facebook.com/PublicMediaWMHT and on Twitter @WMHTPubMedia.