By Mark Saldana

Rating: 4 (Out of 4 Stars)

For one night only, over 100 cities in the U.S. will screen the poignant and powerful documentary After Parkland to commemorate the second anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Austin, Texas will be one of those cities screening the film in order to encourage positive discussion and reflection on the state of safety in our schools and the issue of gun regulation. I was given the wonderful opportunity to review the film. I must say that in our day and age where gun violence remains to be a major problem in the nation, it is imperative to watch documentaries such as this one and to utilize what we should be learning to evoke real progress.

Written and directed by Emily Taguchi and Jake Lefferman, the film takes the audience through the unforgettable nightmare as experienced and retold by some of the survivors. The film also intimately follows the surviving friends, classmates, and families of two teens tragically lost and shows how they have been inspired to seek change and progress through positive activism. Meadow Pollack’s father Andrew and his sons have decided to seek the help of legislators and other public officials to ensure the safety of our schools. Meanwhile the friends, family and teammates of fallen basketball star Joaquin Oliver have decided to speak out on the issue of strict gun regulations against assault weapons. Though all of these people have been devastated by this senseless and shocking act of violence, they are using their feelings to galvanize movements for change. In doing so, they hope to find a positive end to what is otherwise an annhilation of almost everything they hold dear.

I was definitely moved and inspired by this truly amazing documentary. Not only does it reflect the skills and talents of the filmmakers, it also serves as a tribute and testament of the amazing people left behind by the victims. Every one of these folks have gone through a horrendous experience, but still have the strength and determination to do something about it. I cannot overstate how important it is for people to see this very personal and emotional film. It is one thing to hear about these people in the news, but it is way more moving to hear them speak from their hearts and voices.

In Austin, Texas, After Parkland will screen on Wednesday, February 12, 7:00 p.m. at the Violet Crown Cinema. Go to https://austin.violetcrown.com/movie/HO00002294/2020-02-12 for tickets and more information. For information on other screenings nationwide, go to https://www.afterparklandmovie.com/.

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