When the film ended and the lights came back on at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, the question the audience wanted answered was "what do we do now?" That's exactly the right question and the one we are hoping was on the mind of every one of the people who attended one of the now 1,000 screenings of Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and the NRA. Those screenings have been held in living rooms, libraries, churches and synagogues, community centers and politician's office in every state of the union.
The sheer volume of screenings - with many more on the way - is testament to the incredible passion across the country about the need to reduce gun violence and get our political leaders to act now on the issue.
People are coming together to watch this film despite the high degree of intense and painful responses it can bring up, as it did for the viewers at Trinity.
"People were shocked by the emotionality it brought up in them," said Alex Dubroff, who worked with New Yorkers Against Gun Violence to host screenings at schools across New York City. "I had one woman say that she would be afraid to show it to people who had lost a loved one to gun violence because it captured their pain so well. I think this is a testament to the message that it delivers to the rest of us. It captures their pain and makes the viewer want to act to prevent others from experiencing it."
"There was complete silence throughout, from an ordinarily talkative crowd. People were crying quietly, holding hands and obviously moved," said Wendy Forman, who hosted a screening in her Philadelphia home. "Lots of productive discussion afterwards and emails to me from almost everyone the next day discussing the impact, their personal stories, and what they planned to do."
In times like these, when its easy to believe that nothing can be done, so why do anything, such moments are more important than ever. Because, of course, something can be done. A great deal, in fact. City and state government's can pass significant laws that keep people safe. It's more important than ever to come together as a community, share experiences with like-minded neighbors, and recognize that progressives are not, in reality, outnumbered. We hope our films continue to offer opportunities to do just this, a thousand more screenings, and a thousand more, and a thousand more. Brave New Films is working on films about money bail, immigration, mass incarceration and other issues surrounding racial and economic justice. The more you know, the better you can fix it.