LET’S GET YOU CAUGHT UP TO SPEED. : Columbine: Wounded Minds


by Samuel J Granillo on 05/06/12

It has definitely been far too long since I wrote last. Shame and a half on me. Quite a bit has happened and I am sure this entry will be long, so I will do my best to break it up in to pieces so you can skip to the part you want to read. The topics are the fundraiser, the 13th anniversary, publicity, and plans for the next steps.
Once again the Nickel City Collective threw an amazing event. Even though it was raining all day, the most amazing supporters came out to show their support. In all we raised nearly $14,000!!! At the event we raised about $7,000 and a couple days after raised a matching $7,500 from a tremendous supporter that ended up purchasing the Columbine painting for that amount. We showed a new peek at couple of the interviews ( http://youtu.be/Bkvh7STRJ7M ) Dave Heacock peddled off with the New Belgium cruiser bike, Cindy and Barbie scored the Book of Mormon tickets, the Marsh family will be getting a private outdoor cinema experience, and several lucky individuals went home with a one of a kind piece of jewelry after an intense bidding war.
I cannot thank enough all those who helped put this together, as well as every individual that attended to make this possible. For all those who were unable to attend the silent auction, you really missed out. I don’t say that to make you feel guilty, I say it because I was rather impressed with how it all came together. 
“Somewhere where the beer flows like wine and the women instinctively flock like the women of Capistrano.” –Lloyd Christmas, Dumb and Dumber
New Belgium, Great Divide, Odell, Breckenridge Distillery, and Syntax Spirits fueled the evening and the food spread was ridiculous to say the least. We said ‘finger foods’ but Appetites Catering overdid themselves and went all out.  Huge vegetable, cheese and fruit spreads, pulled pork tacos, hummus plates and a delicious array of desserts. D-Bar hooked it up with over 100 meringue treats, and Slice Works filled in all the gaps with freshly made pizza pies!
Butch and his Buckhorn Auction Service crew came way out of left field and knocked everyone’s socks off with their top notch auctioneering tactics. From their high energy entrance to their heart warming kindness and support, they really made an impression on every last soul in the room and also raised us quite a bit of funding! I am pretty sure there is a video of how it all went down, and I will post that as soon as possible, along with many pictures of everyone enjoying the night.
The success of this fundraiser means great things for the future!  With this, we will be able to create a full cross section of the film and use that trailer to help fund the rest of the film. Also we will be able to get materials and equipment needed, necessary lawyering help needed to move forward and continue prepping for all the next steps needed to keep everything in motion.
            This year’s anniversary of the shooting was an entirely different animal than I am used.  Although, I must say, it always is a bit different every year. Some years and moments are harder than other, but this year was just completely different.
Typically, my ritual starts with a trip to the cemetery where Rachel and Corey are buried. I’ll go early in the morning, bring them flowers, sit and talk to them, cry, and wait for a familiar face, talk to them for a bit, then move on to the next place.  Eventually, I will make my way over to the school and sit on the hill outside at the top of the stairs by the library and just think. Usually, I will run into the same faces I see every year. We hug, cry, talk, share stories, listen and sometimes we will just sit in silence and feel the breeze caress our faces while the sun warms the air. Eventually, I will surround myself with those I love, and those who need a friend for the day. We celebrate life into the night and try to tell those around us how wonderful and important friendship truly is in life.
This year was interesting and definitely broke all rituals.  Beginning at 1am, I had a Skype interview in Sweden with a young middle school student named Frida.  This was the first time I had ever done anything really important via Skype, and was honored to help her project about school violence in the world.  When I told her that she picked an interesting day to interview me, and that it was the 13th anniversary of what she was asking me about, she suddenly perked up in amazement and curiosity and we talked for about 30 minutes.  It really goes to show how worldwide and universal this subject matter really is. Even a young lady, probably born after the tragedy, is trying to make sense of it all.
A few hours later, at 620am, I had my very first radio interview with 850 KOA.  It was a rapid-fire interview asking me about my experience, film project, and goals. They played a snippet from my trailer and they asked me about what it was like pressing my feet against the kitchen door as I tried to keep it shut from intruders. The interview was quick and before I knew it, I was fast asleep once again.  This year, I decided to sleep in.  I spent the day with a few close individuals and loved ones including my girlfriend Sarah, who is also a survivor, and relaxed for most of the day.
Although the radio interview was short, word traveled fast. I quickly had an interview with Fox News (http://goo.gl/22FPo), Huffington post (http://goo.gl/kFKTO) and was featured on ABC.com (http://goo.gl/PSJQr).  I received a record number of phone calls, emails and messages, and I was really happy to get the publicity.  The word is getting out and I can feel a change in the air.
            Next, there is going to be meeting, after meeting, after meeting… This will help us brainstorm the best way to utilize what we need to do next in the filming process. The funds that we have raised will be able to help us move forward into the place where I want to be. With the funds raised we will be able to produce a perfect cross-section of the film that will lead to the interest of someone who would like to help complete the project. 
The idea in the next phase is to gather elements that make the issue national, global and universal. The national aspect is to show that the survivors of the Columbine shootings are living all over the United States and that the help is needed far beyond Littleton. Plans to go out and talk to my buddy Richard Castaldo are under way. 
Globally, I want to show how quickly the affects of the shootings traveled, by exploring a story of a foreign exchange student that attended Columbine for that semester only. She emailed me her story, and I just couldn’t believe what she has had to go through.  Shortly after the shooting, her exchange program was up and she had to return home. Left alone, isolated and without anyone to understand what she had just gone through, she had to rely on herself to find healing.
Universally, I want to explore how this is something that never goes away and that we can all relate to as human beings. Tragedy will always be knocking on our door, and loss is something that we can all relate to.  It pains me to say this but school shootings, unfortunately, will never end. They may become fewer and further between, and the prevention of them may become more solid, but the fight against them will go on forever. The good news is that the fight for hope, healing and prevention will continue to grow and expand. A Virginia Tech survivor has contacted me recently and has let me know of a foundation, Koshka Foundation (http://koshkafoundation.org) and programs that she is developing that help students by improving campus safety, empowering student activism and forging connections between survivors of various causes.
Planning, budgeting, writing and strategizing is what now consumes me to make sure that we can get the most bang for our buck. Working closely with The Nickel City Collective, the next steps are going to be a challenge but a crucial leap in the next direction to truly make a difference in the world.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy. How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels? While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”           -1997 ad from Apple
NEXT BLOG: I will talk about my experience as a guest speaker for the current students of Columbine who are reading the book ‘Columbine’, by Dave Cullen, in Kiki Leyba’s Honors English classes. It was incredible.
Much love,

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