After the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 students and teachers on February 14, 2018, survivors of the tragedy mourned, then gathered and organized a movement of activism. Us Kids, directed by Kim A. Snyder, follows the Parkland students as they move across the country rallying for common-sense gun laws and the end of school shootings. The film produced by Impact Partners will be a part of the Sundance Film Festival in 2020. Gun control remains a central issue in the overall Democratic platform and candidates, campaigns and organizations alike continue to look for ways to get the message out in their political spots.
Not Her First Rodeo
This isn’t Snyder’s first documentary film about school shootings. Her film, Newtown, about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016 before being presented at festivals worldwide and on PBS’s Independent Lens and Netflix. It went on to win a Peabody Award. Her short, Lessons From a School Shooting: Notes From Dunblane, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018. The short won the DocDispatch Award at the 2018 Sheffield DocFest, and a Grierson Award nomination. It is now available to stream on Netflix in 196 countries.
Gun control and gun safety would appear to be a cause close to Kim A. Snyder’s heart. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter Snyder said of her upcoming film, Us Kids, “We’re very inspired right now with the youth movement. We’ve been doing a new project based in Parkland with some of the students here, so our body of work is really a trajectory of five years — probably more — of really trying to put a narrative on this sort of, hopefully, tipping point in our country that addresses gun violence.”
The Beginning of A Movement
After the shooting, survivors started March for Our Lives, a movement of activism that aims to “harness the power of young people across the country to fight for sensible gun violence prevention policies that save lives,” according to the website. Activists have led marches around the country to bring attention to the epidemic and to support legislation for tighter gun laws.
According to CNN, there have been 31 mass shootings at K-12 schools since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida. There have been 142 mass shootings since Newtown. 100 Americans are killed every day as a result of gun violence. It is through activism and in survivors telling their stories that we can hope to bring about positive change.