by Samuel J Granillo on 03/19/12
So... I just got off the phone with Tommy O'Haver, the director of the film underway for the Lifetime network. We talked for almost an hour, and I think we both put each other a little bit more to ease. He had contacted me after I had chatted a bit with Dave Cullen, and said that I would like to get in touch with someone directly tied to the film to get to the bottom of everything. I'm sure all of you remember the lengthy debates that quickly ensued when Lifetime announced that it was in the process of creating a film around Columbine. I set up a time to chat with the director over the phone a few weeks ago, and the call finally happened today. I've been so nervous to chat with the man behind the idea for wanting to showcase our tragedy, and I didn't know exactly how I would handle it. I've been tossing around all the questions, concerns, angers, hostilities and curiosities in my head for the past several days wondering how in the world I was ever going to be able to talk to someone directly about all this... I had asked him if I could film the conversation potentially for the documentary, but he politely turned down the idea saying that he wasn't ready for that yet, but maybe in the future.
Before I jump into it, I want to say that I'm not defending him in anyway, but trying my best to relay to you how the conversation went. When the conversation started, we were clearly nervous about opening a dialogue about Columbine and the projects that we were both trying to accomplish. I tried my best to let him know what most people thought about the idea and that it's going to be extremely hard to convince any us that anything good could possibly come out of what he is working on. I did sign the petition against it, and I don't plan on ever taking that back. There is a greater thing to support and stand by, and that is the Columbine community and everyone that I know and love. I had asked him what some of the ideas and goals were for his film and I got a better understanding of what they are trying to accomplish. That doesn't mean I agree with everything, but I will always at least try to gain the other side's perspective before I jump to any conclusions.
I let him know why a good majority of us is upset with the project the best way I knew how. I told him that people don't like being showcased for their tragedy, I mentioned that we feel violated that that we feel (once again) exploited for money, I told him that everyone is over the idea of reliving the event again, and that we are ready to hear and see how we are going to move forward towards the future and stop reliving the past. I said, "What happens when one of the survivors is flipping through the channels and sees someone portraying them on television staring right back at them?" All in all, I simply asked what he wants to get from all of this...
He said that he had read the book by Cullen and was deeply moved by the stories within. I, myself, have yet to read the book, but I don't think that needs an explanation why. Maybe I will someday, but not anytime soon. Anyways, I asked him about what stage in the process he was of getting this film made and it sounds like they're in the very very very early stages of anything. It's in the writing stages, and has to go back and forth between them and the network until it becomes something that they would want to produce. So technically (the best kind of correct btw) the film may never happen if the script isn't what they want, or if they decide to scrap the idea all together. He said that Lifetime is aware of the petition (that's good) and it seems like everyone is trying to keep in mind that they'd better do a good job and send a positive message in the end, because I think they know how many people they're going to piss off no matter how they go about creating the film.
From what I gathered, the last thing that they want to do is showcase the tragedy through gore and violence, and find a way to produce a positive message that we can discover in the events afterwards. He said that he wants to leave the feeling of when we 'took back our school' and moved forward into the future with a positive outlook. He said it's a story of survival and perseverance, and not exploitation of what we went through like the film "Elephant". Which he thought was a ridiculous film. He wants the truth. I asked him why he was basing a film on people from a book without talking to them directly? He said that they haven't decided all the people, 'characters', that they want to revolve around, and when they do, they plan on talking to those individuals directly.
After talking to him, Tommy seems like a good enough guy. I look forward to talking with him in the future, and hopefully I can be some sort of resource for him to make sure he's not heading down any paths that will grind people at their absolute core. Just remember who's side I'm on and that I look out for the best interest in all of us. If it's going to be made either way, all I can do is my part to make sure it gets done right. If it does get made into the film he says that it's going to be, it really doesn't sound that bad. Also, there's nothing out there that will make us watch it. We have a choice. We also have the opportunity to steer them in the right direction if they do decide to make it. I think we have more power in this than some of us may think and instead of telling them they're awful for doing this, we can guide them into the direction of what we would want to see if we wanted to see anything at all. The petition is a great start. My advice to them? Make it positive. Make a future. Make a message. Which is exactly what I am trying to do with my film. Hopefully, they will do the same.
Let me know if there are any other questions you have regarding the phone I just finished, and I'll do my best to answer them.
by Samuel J Granillo on 03/19/12
TOOT TOOT! Next stop on the funding train is the silent/live auction that is going to be held April 14th at the Tivoli in downtown Denver from 7-10pm. Yesterday I had a great meeting with Misty Price and her husband Justin, that really put my mind at ease. It also gave me plenty to think about to make sure that this is a wonderful event for everyone that is entertaining, informative, and organized. We need volunteers to help run different parts of the event, so if you are interested, make sure you get in touch with us as soon as possible. So far food will be provided by APPETITES CATERING, SLICE WORKS PIZZA and D BAR DESSERTS. Still working out a few kinks to get the drinks flowing in there for everyone, but it looks like we'll at least have some New Belgium there. The items are slowly coming in, but we need help. We need people to volunteer to help put gift baskets together to help supplement things like gift cards. For example, we have a $50 dollar gift card from D Bar, and it would be really great if someone could put together a chocolate basket to go along with it.
A list of items will be updated and posted soon, as I want you all to get really excited about what we will have to offer! For those of you donating something for the auction, make sure you give a description of the item. If you are from Columbine, please include a 3-5 bio of yourself.
A super special thank you goes out to everyone who is making all of this possible! I would especially like to thank Anne Banister, media instructor at Red Rocks Community College, for aiding with equipment logistics; Benjamin Garst, cinematographer, who has been helping my brain think straight; Sarah Bay, for loving me, balancing me out, and organizing my brain; Monica Boukhalfa, for maintaining the website and helping anytime at the drop of a hat; Nik Bornemeier for helping know on business doors to gather support from the community; and everyone else who keeps my head in the game, and picks me up when I'm down.
You all rock. This Thursday is the WESTORD article, so keep an eye out!