Spagnuolo Hall fell silent after the showing of documentary film Newtown

by Catherine Tersoni
edited by Kelsey Hausman

The Independent (Indie) Lens Pop-Up held a special premiere of the documentary Newtown, that has not been shown on television, followed by a panel discussion Tuesday night March 7th in Spagnuolo Hall.

The purpose of the event was to spread awareness on the issue of gun violence. About 70 people, including faculty and students, attended the showing.

The documentary includes a series of testimonials of the family members of the victims of the Newtown, CT Sandy Hook elementary school mass shooting that took place December 14th, 2012. Twenty children and six adults were murdered, not including the shooter’s mother who was killed before the shooter entered the school.

Before the movie was shown, Professor Donna Decker opened by asking a question. She asked each person in the room to converse with the person next to them and to share their own opinions about how Sandy Hook changed the national conversation about gun violence.

“It’s important to talk about,” said Decker before playing the movie.

Once the movie was shown, the room was silent. Three speakers, Decker, Christina Cliff, and Tim Armstrong led the discussion.

After watching the movie, the panel was at a loss for words and struggled to spark discussion, not knowing where to begin after such a moving documentary.

Once the panel began, students were encouraged to ask questions and to share opinions about what they had just watched.

“It makes it (gun violence) real,” said one student after viewing the movie.

“We hope you enjoyed this screening of . . .” said Decker as she stopped herself mid sentence and then corrected herself. “We hope the screening of Newtown moves you in a way to engage with humanity in a more sympathetic and empathetic way.”

Newtown will premiere on PBS April 3rd at 9 p.m. for the public.

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