In "No Control," an arresting documentary debuting at DOC NYC, director Jessica Solce aims her camera at a contentious debate roaring in America. Solce explores the murky waters of gun rights, giving voice to advocates from both sides.
"'No Control' is about carving out a moment to listen to all ideas, ideas that we'd never encounter," Solce explained to The Huffington Post. "It's about providing a place to step outside our immediate environment and thought circles."
On one side, Shaina Harrison, director of youth programming for New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, dismantles the argument that gun control laws only serve to inconvenience law-abiding gun owners.
"All illegal guns were once legal," she said. "We already know that these guns are coming from states where they have very lax gun laws and are coming down this iron pipeline and being littered upon these communities that can't afford the violence."
A staunch advocate of background checks, she's seeking accountability amongst legal firearm owners. "When those guns end up on 125th Street in Harlem, guess what? Now [they] have to explain how those guns got from [them] to Harlem. Somebody's accountable," Harrison said.
On another side, Solce's interviews with Cody Wilson, who is working to make 3D-printed semi-automatic weapons readily available to the general public, provide some of the most provocative footage, punctuated by gunfire on a range in the background. Wilson, director of Defense Distributed and self-described crypto-anarchist, would like you to be able to create guns in your living room with ease.
"Everything has the capacity for abuse," he said, citing the public's "massive intolerance" of risk. "If I represent any kind of danger, it's just in thought practice."
"What I want is to participate in this ongoing debate by highlighting the grayness of it, by providing fair portraits and therefore showing that this isn't about a homogenized rant," said Solce. "Where's this grayness and what do we need to listen to in order to close the door on this debate, if that's even possible."
Threaded neatly throughout the film, the development of graphic artist Greg Boker's installation "Erase" examines a unique approach to the gun control debate. His 20-foot pencil drawing of an AR-15 rifle gave viewers an opportunity to destroy the work using erasers stamped with the name of a gun-violence victim. "I drew it to be erased," said Boker. "To me, the finished piece is an erased drawing."
"Nobody wants death. Nobody," said Solce, in an attempt to find common ground. "If we're all fighting against violence, what does that mean? I don't think the movie is meant to provide an answer, but to ask more questions and create an open framework for debate."
In an exclusive clip from the documentary, Victor Head, a plumber who helped to spearhead the recall of Colorado Sens. Angela Giron and John Morse, explains what he sees as the arbitrary serial number requirements for firearms:
"No Control" premieres Saturday, Nov. 15, at 9:30 p.m. as part of DOC NYC at IFC Center in the West Village. Catch it again Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 12:45 p.m.