Kim A. Snyder And Maria Cuomo Cole On Doc… by Uinterview

Filmed over three years, Newtown is a new documentary exploring the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting of schoolchildren in American history, focusing on the journey of the fractured families and community affected by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. Filmmakers Kim A. Snyder and Maria Cuomo Cole recently sat down with uInterview to talk about their motivations behind creating the film.


Snyder and Cole explained that their intention in creating the film was to focus on a more personal and intimate side of the story, one that was not being overly explored by various news outlets. Snyder, the director the documentary, insisted that her goal was not to create a film about gun violence, but about the grieving community. “I set out to tell a story, first and foremost, about how an entire community looks in the three years of the trajectory that we followed, in the wake of gun violence,” she said. “Of course we can’t really talk about Newtown without—underneath it—talking about gun violence.”

According to Snyder, Newtown was a collaborative effort between the filmmakers and the families wanting to create a film that was meaningful and informative. “As one of our subjects, David, says in the film, ‘Just to protect any family and community from having to go through this.'” This collaboration included being mindful of topics that might have be too personal. “We really took the lead of the people who chose to participate in the film, in that sense. And if there were things that they needed to tell or show that they later said maybe not so much, those were things we didn’t include,” Snyder insisted.

Noticeably in Newtown, the filmmakers chose not to refer to the shooter’s full name. Cole, the producer, offered several reasons for this decision. “We made that choice because of two reasons. One, and the most important, out of respect for the families who lost loved ones,” she revealed. “And, the second, to really support the effort not to bring too much attention to the shooter; to the shooter’s identity and motive for the crime; to avoid copycat episodes. And not to glamorize the act, the horrific act and shooting.”

Cole offered that the lesson of Newtown focuses on how the families have since dealt with the tragedy. “The lesson was really one of inspiration,” she said. “The personal courage of the families who lost loved ones, and their dedication to the effort of trying to prevent these acts of gun violence from devastating other communities.”

Newtown is currently screening in select locations nationwide, and can be brought to screen at local classrooms and organizations.

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