Unhappy, indignant, motivated, pissed off. These emotions are being shared by the nonetheless grief-stricken surviving Parkland college students. A brand new gripping documentary takes you alongside on their journey.
Victoria Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty, wears a necklace virtually every single day, holding a photograph of her late boyfriend, Joaquin Oliver. Joaquin, nicknamed, ‘Guac,’ was one of many seventeen capturing victims — 14 of them college students, three employees members — who had been massacred on Valentine’s Day, 2018, by a former pupil armed with an AR-15, semi-automatic rifle.
Joaquin, at 17, was charismatic, a key member of the varsity’s basketball staff, had the nickname, ‘Guac,’ and a romantic. Victoria, nonetheless has the flowers from the Valentine’s Day bouquet he gave her earlier than being gunned down. Now, Victoria together with a number of different Parkland college students in addition to households of the victims, are sharing their heartbreaking experiences in a brand new documentary, After Parkland, by filmmakers Emily Taguchi and Jake Lefferman, which follows the times and months after the bloodbath.
“All I needed to do was preserve Joaquin’s reminiscence alive, to speak about what occurred to him and ensure that nothing like that occurs to anybody else, that no person else loses their Joaquin,” Victoria tells Hollywoodlife.com in an EXCLUSIVE interview.
Gonzalez says she nonetheless feels Joaquin’s presence on a regular basis, and her fellow Parkland survivors profiled within the movie, additionally say that they will’t and can by no means forger their buddies and classmates who misplaced their lives that horrible day. “It was straightforward for me to consider that one thing so horrible couldn’t occur,” confesses sophomore Lauren Hogg. “However till February 14th, February 15th and the times following, I noticed my very own buddies’ faces on TV and it simply modified the way in which I checked out every part. It’s type of just like the world got here crashing in, however on the identical time, it’s actually made me stand up, together with my buddies, as a result of I didn’t need to see another of my buddies’ faces on the TV.”
Lauren sadly misplaced 4 buddies within the hail of bullets, she and David, who has change into a vocal advocate on the media, for wise gun legal guidelines. “I used to be simply shattered, I used to be damaged and I used to be exhausted,” Lauren says of the times following the capturing, when the filmmakers cameras had been rolling, “I used to be additionally exhausted as a result of a whole lot of the footage was from earlier than the precise march (March For Our Lives) that I used to be organizing.”
Hogg, regardless of her younger age and regardless of her lack of organizing ‘credentials’ earlier than the capturing, threw herself and her grief into organizing the large March For Our Lives in DC with as much as 80,000 attending and 880 different marches throughout the nation. Lauren admits that she has ‘grown monumentally’ and ‘modified fully as an individual’ over the previous 12 months because the bloodbath. I’ve seen so many issues all through the final 12 months… and I feel that anyone who would have seen or gone by what all of us have gone by, it could be not possible for anyone to not change.”
After Parkland follows the insufferable grief of the mother and father and buddies of the harmless pupil victims as they wrestle to honor their family members, whether or not it’s Joaquin’s dad Manuel, persevering with to educate his son’s basketball staff to victory as a result of that’s what ‘Guac’ would have needed him to do, or Meghan Pollack‘s dad, Andrew, confronting Donald Trump in a White Home assembly.
It additionally follows Brooke Harrison, now a sophomore, who survived the trauma of being trapped in a classroom that the shooter sprayed with bullets. Three of her classmates had been shot and killed round her and 5 others had been wounded. She was trapped with these lifeless and wounded classmates, for what felt like hours, earlier than being rescued by police. Her household sarcastically, had moved from New York Metropolis to the Parkland neighborhood, sarcastically, to be in a ‘safer’ place.
Brooke confessed to HollywoodLife that speaking on digital camera for the After Parkland filmmakers, Taguchi and Lefferman, was her greatest type of remedy. “I feel having an in depth look of what it’s actually like in your every day life to undergo one thing like that is very completely different. I feel it’s essential that individuals perceive that this doesn’t simply occur after… it’s not going to fade away after a number of days, a number of years. It’s one thing that’s going to be with us the remainder of our lives.”
Brooke factors out that there’s not a straight A to B line within the grief course of. “I’m indignant, I’m unhappy, it should commute ceaselessly,” she says. She has tried to show her grief into motion by talking at different faculties about what occurred. Lauren has targeted on political activism , which she says, “Has change into an enormous a part of my life. It’s one thing that’s going to proceed to being a big a part of my life… it’s how I get by the day, whether or not it’s researching politicians, getting folks registered to vote. Even simply speaking with different individuals who have change into victims of gun violence. That’s what actually pushes me ahead each single day, and each single day that I’m going to high school the one motive that I’m capable of get by is #1) due to my buddies and #2) as a result of I really feel as if I have to graduate to change into anyone who may help extra folks.”
By way of serving to — the March For Our Lives summer time tour throughout the nation final summer time that Lauren helped arrange, registered about 100,000 folks to vote and March For Our Lives now has over 300 chapters.
Victoria used her personal grief to undertake a heartfelt undertaking of remembrance. She and certainly one of her academics, Ronit Reoven, began to plant plastic flowers in a backyard in entrance of the varsity to honor the victims. Gonzalez known as it, Undertaking Develop Love and different college students and neighborhood members have joined in and added extra flowers, vegetation and stones painted with names of the victims.
Gonzalez had been livid that the varsity itself had performed so little to memorialize the lives that had been misplaced. She had been instructed that the varsity didn’t ‘have time.’ “That blew me away. How do you not have time to do this? However I’m glad that I did it. Somebody wanted to do it.”
The scholars additionally criticize the varsity for not bringing in additional expertise grief counselors. and for nonetheless not checking college students backpacks after they enter the varsity, regardless of the horror that occurred.
Says Brooke, “I really feel like folks aren’t actually listening to our voices.”
When After Parkland is launched, folks undoubtedly will. HollywoodLife will report when this terrific movie will get distribution and you may see it. For extra data on becoming a member of a March For Our Lives chapter, go to https://marchforourlives.com/.