Excerpts from an interview with Director, Aric Avelino:
It started off with the Oregon story line. I think there was something on Nightline, where a police officer was being questioned for his role, his accountability, in the Columbine shootings. I always thought that was interesting because we never really got to see it from their perspective. There were people saying "Could you have done more?" "What could you have done?" But, then there was a series of articles that came out, and there was a headline in the LA Times that said "Two Years Later, Town Wrestles With Accountability." And then there was a quote from a local woman who said, "I don't have any regrets. I don't question myself. I wake up every morning and, you know, I'm okay." And I knew that was a lie because she was one of the mothers of the school shooters. And I was really interested in telling that story. I thought it was really important that if we talk about guns in America that we talk about what's going on in the inner city. And at the time the producer, Ted Kroeber, was working in Chicago in the Inner City Teaching Corps program, and a lot of his stories were being relayed back to me about what was going on. It's very important to me that different people be able to relate to the different characters in the film, and it's important to me that African American characters find a role because what we see in the media is often not what's reflecting what's really going on.
The film's about three communities, and how they've been affected by the
presence of guns in those communities. It takes place in Oregon, Chicago, Illinois,
and Virginia. And it's how these families have been affected by the presence of
I think the overall message is that we tend to focus on I think the wrong parts of the story. I feel like oftentimes the news creates an "us" and "them." What the film does is force you to look at other people from a different perspective. We look at a mother of a school shooter, we look at a gun shop owner, we look at a kid who brings a gun to school. These are all people who normally wouldn't be heroes in a film, but by the end of the film it's our hope that you get to understand these people's perspectives.
It's really just about understanding the people that live next to you and understanding the people that live three states away from you. I think a lot of people go to see films that are directly about them. And in our film, we ask people to look at characters that might be similar to them and we bring them together. And it's always been said by both Ted (the Producer) and I that it’s our hope that a white woman in Oregon can associate with this black kid in inner-city Chicago, and a black kid in the inner-city Chicago can associate with the white gun shop owner, and it all happens as a result of the stories they are weaving. So, it's that texture I think that makes up this country, and it's that failure to understand that has plagued us.