Documentaries are prime for showcasing at festivals, and the Montclair Film Festival is no exception with the screening of “NEWTOWN”, the story of the lives of families 3 years after the tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. Director, Kim Snyder, follows three families of victims as they go through the mourning, the community, and the action taken afterwards. From home videos to photos, every reminder of the victims are emphasized and humanizes the term victim. Many interviews include first responders, teachers, and staff who made it through the tragedy that morning.
Police car and helicopter footage along with a video of the gunman’s home was shown in the film. Snyder went on to say during a Q&A that giving no notoriety to the gunman was completely intentional, thus giving more focus on the pain and experience each victim’s family went through. The latter end of the film follows the parents who have now become the face of the stricter gun law movement, from small town hearings to Washington D.C.
Many parents who didn’t see their child that day went to other parents of surviving children to talk and find a form to cope with how everyone looked at their child. One parent felt this was needed, because it gave her a form of closure from her child’s classmates. Knowing your child is one point of view, but knowing what other thought of them is another. With a different aura surrounding the community now, the film captures the essence and purity that the town of Newtown, CT holds and shows their stance now. Traditions are shown capturing how closely tied everyone is. Everyone in Newtown mourned and felt the damage done. Parents of children who survived even felt as if they lost something, because in reality the whole town did. “NEWTOWN” depicted the community mourning and recovering together hand in hand.