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BIFF best short documentary is ‘G is for Gun’


The Best Short Documentary at this year’s Bonita Springs International Film Festival was G is for Gun: The Arming of America’s Teachers. The film takes an even-handed look at the debate taking shape in school districts across the country about the propriety of arming public school employees in the aftermath of such horrific school shootings as occurred at Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook Elementary and Majorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

By all accounts, the 2012 shooting of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT should have fomented a national conversation about the Second Amendment. Instead, it galvanized both sides of the gun debate to dig in to their polarized positions. But it also encouraged schools to rethink how they go about ensuring the safety and security of students and staff alike.

Since Parkland, school security debates have reached a boiling point, with numerous schools and school districts embracing initiatives to arm faculty and staff. Shockingly, no one official federal or state body has been keeping count of how many schools across the nation have armed staff, and in many communities, even the parents and the general public remain uninformed that it is happening.

G is for Gun: The Arming of America’s Teachers is more than a project about building awareness. It is a conversation starter, a concise and poignant tool designed to empower the public to make and participate in decisions affecting their schools, their communities, and the larger society in which they live.

The film and accompanying interactive website help to make sense of the larger social, political, and historical context that has given rise to school shootings and to the growing response with arms. Often boiled down to arguments over “more guns” or “fewer guns,” the mainstream debate can sometimes obscure the larger social questions at the root of this violence and our response to it as a society.

“We hope that this project will provide a forum for dialogue about the deeper issues at stake in the arming of America’s teachers,” state filmmakers Kate Way and Julie Akeret.

Way is a photographer, filmmaker, and veteran educator, and has spent the past twenty years as a teacher, administrator, and researcher in schools throughout New England. Kate holds an Ed.D. in Language, Literacy & Culture, and an M.F.A. in Photography.

Akeret is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has worked for over twenty-five years in various capacities in the film business, including sound editor, assistant film editor, cameraperson, director and producer. Many of her films have been about public education, and have received a number of awards, including two regional Emmys.

March 3, 2019.




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