Documentary on Newtown opens in theaters

In this Dec. 14, 2012 aerial file photo, officials stand outside of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where authorities say gunman Adam Lanza opened fire inside the school killing 20 first-graders and six educators at the school, and killed himself as police arrived. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A documentary playing Wednesday night at local theaters deals with the worst school shooting in the state. It’s called “Newtown” and it looks at the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School four years after the fact.

Eight theaters in Connecticut are hosting special screenings of the new documentary. This movie is less about how the terrible shooting happened and more about how the community of Newtown dealt with it.

For the parents who lost children in this tragedy, the decision to participate was not an easy one but an important one.

Nicole Hockley, of Newtown, lost her son, Dylan, that day when a mentally ill shooter walked into Sandy Hook school and took 26 lives.

“There are days when I can’t mention Dylan’s name without breaking down,” said Hockley.  “It’s hard.”

Hockley’s decision to share her family’s story was fueled by the desire to stop these tragedies before they start.

“I hope it starts a conversation,” said Hockley who is a co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise.  Its mission is to protect children from gun violence.  “If we’re not going be able to have a conversation and find some middle ground there’s no way for us to find solutions.”

In revisiting such a devastating part of Connecticut’s history, those who spoke of their loss and grief hope to prevent other families from living through it.

“Everything I do is a tribute to my son and my surviving son who is also at the school that day,” said Hockley. “I hope that this film brings Dylan to a lot of people across the country.  As they see videos of him again, it’s hard, but for him to sort of be alive on screen, for other people to experience him for just a moment, that’s a huge tribute.”

The movie’s makers say they want to help the conversation about gun control.

“There is no closure,” director/producer Kim Snyder said. “And I think it’s something that scars survivor communities for years and generations.”

The film does not shy away from politics; in fact, the film is produced by Maria Cuomo-Cole. Her brother, Andrew Cuomo, is the governor of New York, and he pushed through tough gun control laws after Sandy Hook.

Her other brother, Chris, the CNN anchor, is hosting a town hall-style discussion via satellite with audiences after Wednesday night’s special screening.

Besides the Milford mall, where can people see “Newtown”? It’s playing in 500 theaters nationwide for this special screening Wednesday night. Eight of those are here in Connecticut. It’s playing in Branford, Danbury, North Haven, Manchester, Waterbury, Milford, Enfield and Jewett City.

WARNING: This film trailer contains imagery that could be disturbing for some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

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