Columbine: Wounded Minds

Columbine: Wounded Minds

ADDING TO HISTORY

by Samuel J Granillo on 03/26/12


It's been far too long since my last post, but I've been hustlin' and bustlin' trying to get ready for this fundraiser (flyer below) that's coming up in just a couple of weeks!  It's all coming together nicely and it should really be a great time for everyone. This past week, I was featured in the Westword ( http://www.westword.com/2012-03-22/news/columbine-dave-cullen-lifetime/ ) and it has brought lots more much needed attention to the project that I'm working on.  I don't know if you read it or not, but it was a very intense read.  I'm not exactly sure why, but maybe I do. It wasn't violently graphic, or bloody, but it did strike several core nerves of reality rooted deep inside of me.  From what people told me, some had to take many breaks to stand up and pace around the room before they could sit back down to finish the article, and others were shaken to the point of minor panic attacks that lasted a couple of hours.  The overall feedback was actually really positive and gave me so much more motivation to keep striving forward.  Even though the article stirred up deep emotions, it seemed to shed light on concerns that the Columbine community has about Cullen and the Lifetime movie, while at the same time made my project look hat much more true, positive, and worthwhile. Thank you all for taking the time to read the article and share how it made you feel.

A few people have come to me in the last week or so saying that they can already sense some change in the Columbine community. It seems that just the idea of the Wounded Minds project is opening up dialogue between those affected, and people are becoming more comfortable with talking about it.  That's the whole idea behind this film, is raising awareness of this issue that we still need help. It seems to be working and I couldn't be happier to hear that we're drawing attention to ourselves once again, but for all the right reasons. Earlier today I sat down with Jeff Kass, author of 'Columbine, A True Crime Story'.  After talking and catching up a bit about what's going on between my film, lifetime, Cullen and the petition we began to talk about the word 'Columbine' and what it means.  I remember back in 2003 when I was having a particularly difficult time on the anniversary. I was depressed, crying, and alone.  I went to go and talk it out with my roommate at the time and he said something to me that I"ll never forget.  He said that I was a part of history, something that will be in the books forever, and that it's always going to be a part of me for the rest of my life and beyond.  For some reason that really hit home with me and I couldn't help feeling that the word "Columbine" will always be attached to one of the worst school shootings in history.  A few months ago when I talked to DeAngelis, the topic of what the word 'Columbine' meant to him.  He says that he wished that the word meant something other than loss or tragedy. He wants to change the word so it means hope, respect, positivity and love.  Maybe those can be added to what we already think 'Columbine' means, but I don't think it could ever change. It was this moment when I realized something, and it was Jeff Kass that pointed this out to me. We can't change the meaning of 'Columbine' or rewrite what happened, but we can add to it and turn it into something positive. We can't change history, but we can add to it to make it right.

LIFETIME SERIES.

by Samuel J Granillo on 03/19/12

3.19.12
LIFETIME SERIES. 
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.  

Sam

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

by Samuel J Granillo on 03/19/12

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

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!

Sam

BUSY BEE

by Samuel J Granillo on 03/14/12

Well, it finally seems like I have a moment to update you on what I've been up to.  Last week was filled with lots of filming an I have been sifting through all the wonderful footage and stories that I have collected.  I had the pleasure of sitting down with Monica Boukhalfa, Anne Marie Hochhalter, and Todd Bierne.  It seems like every time I hear a story of the shootings, it gives my own memory another camera angle to what I remember.  It's starting to feel a bit like the Matrix when time freezes and the camera swings around to the other side of something, giving a 360 degree perspective of the same instance. All of us chatted about our hopes for the future and brainstormed a bit on how to find a solution for us all. Both Monica and Anne Marie were both students at the time, but Todd was a paramedic on the scene that was one of the first to enter the library, and get a count of those who did not make it.  All three stories were very powerful and I was able to take something away from each one.  Each person had multiple moments where I envisioned turning that slice of information into an animation.  I can't wait to get started on those. Stills from the interviews to come soon.

 

The shoot last week could not have been possible without the help of Anne Banister, Benjamin Garst, Scott Forbes, MP&E, Sarah Bay, and the support behind me from all my friends and family.

 

Yesterday, a photographer from Westword, Mark Manger stopped by my apartment to take a photograph for a nationwide story written by Alan Prendergast about my film and surrounding issues.  The story will be national and will be published with all it's sister companies across the US. Pretty exciting to get some more exposure!  Hopefully soon, someone will want to team up with me financially to help see this project through.

 

As I make my way into the near future, most of my focus will be concentrated on the silent auction fundraiser that we will be holding in April 14th.  You are all invited, so I hope to see you there!  We are still in need of items to auction off, so if you're able to help or know someone who can, just let us know. Also any advice from those who have organized silent auctions before will be welcomed. This is my first crack at one, and I want to do it right.

 

Until next time!

 

Sam





Out the door again!

by Samuel J Granillo on 03/08/12

3.8.12. I thought I would give you all a quick update before I head out the door once again in this week of challenging filming sessions. Yesterday, I gathered some wonderful stories, perspectives and insights from Monica Boukhalfa. I can't wait to sift through the footage to pull out all the little gold nuggets I heard during out time together yesterday. I also got the painting from the lovely artist Phoenix Zoellick (phoenixzoellick.com) to use for the poster for my film. It looks AMAZING in person, and I can't wait to use it. It will be hard to let go at the silent auction, but I know it will find a great home. Pictures to follow later today!

Today, I will be interviewing Anne Marie Hochhalter. I am extremely excited and slightly nervous, but am very confident that today's conversation will be quite the eye opening experience. I'm nervous because I always get nervous before filming and hoping that I can do everything right. She is a very important piece to the puzzle, and I believe she will leave us all with something that we can use for the rest of our lives. She will finally be able to say everything she wants everyone to hear.   

I've been up since 6am running around getting everything ready for the day and am in desperate need for a lighting kit!  So I'm headed to a local rental house to get some gear down in Englewood, then back to Denver to tie up a few loose ends, then off to Broomfield to get some audio gear and bolt around the corner to see Anne Marie.  

A further reward is knowing that at the end of today's craziness, I will be letting off some steam while attending one of my favorite bands ever, Gogol Bordello, at the Ogden.

Until next time!

Sam