Three years ago, Kim Snyder traveled to Newton, Connecticut to better understand the impact of a mass shooting on a small town. Now, she’s coming to Princeton to inform others about how gun violence can forever change a community.
Snyder’s documentary, “Newtown,” screens at the Princeton Public Library on Thursday, January 26, at 6:30 p.m. A Q&A with Snyder, who directed the film, will follow the screening.
The documentary, which took three years to make, uses the testimonials of teachers, parents, first responders, emergency room staff and others to reveal a traumatized community fractured by grief and driven toward a sense of purpose after Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six educators in December, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
In a director’s statement on the film’s website, www.newtownfilm.com, Snyder writes:
“At the core of it all is the unbearable loss of a child…multiplied by 20 innocent first graders along with their six educators … the collective trauma that was inflicted within the context of one small community … the added element of human intent that ended these lives … the weapons accessed to enable it … the world’s attention and our own national remembrance fleeting all too quickly on to the next shooting.
“Over the course of the next two and a half years, a story of aftermath unfolded: what emerged was a rich mosaic of human connections formed amongst members of the growing club to which no one wants to belong. During a time when the town carefully balanced the need for privacy and recovery along with a desire for the story of their tragedy to affect change, access was delicate process.
“I have been privileged to build a coveted trust with many individuals from Newtown, and have been deeply inspired by the strength of their journey from isolation to reconnection and by the mantra that this horrific event not solely define Newtown, but also define a moment for meaningful change in our nation.”
The documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where Snyder, producer Maria Cuomo Cole, and Sandy Hook community members discussed making the film. The film received critical acclaim after its release, holding a 93 percent critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Director Snyder is no stranger to making films that promote social change. She has produced several shorts to draw attention to issues facing children and also directed a biographical documentary, “I Remember Me,” about her struggles with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Now based in New York City, she holds a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and a master’s in international affairs from Georgetown.
Newtown, Princeton Public Library, Community Room, 65 Witherspoon Street. Documentary screening followed by Q&A with director Kim Snyder. 609-924-9529 or www.princetonlibrary.org.