‘Valentine Road’ Director: I Wanted to Bear Witness After School Shooting

[ 0 ] November 25, 2013 |

Director Marta Cunningham wanted to go beyond the “superficial” and “salacious” coverage of the 2008 shooting of an eighth grader by his Oxnard, Calif., classmate. In her documentary, “Valentine Road,” she aimed to reveal the complex circumstances that led to the crime and the heartbreaking stories of both the deceased and the shooter. “I felt that the media really wasn’t caring that these were children,” she says in a 2013 Sundance Film Festival interview with genConnect.

Watch Marta Cunningham and producer Eddie Schmidt describe the message of tolerance in “Valentine Road” and whether comparisons to Newtown are appropriate:
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In 2008, eighth grader Brandon McInerney shot classmate Larry King, a gay teen, at point blank range. Unraveling this tragedy from point of impact, the documentary also articulates the effects the tragedy had on the entire Oxnard community.

“We went there, and what we realized is these people are upset and they need someone to bear witness, and that’s what I feel that I did, hopefully, for them,” Cunningham says.

“Valentine Road”

Schmidt, one of the documentary’s producers, said the wide-ranging impact of the shooting will resonate with audiences.

“Everybody in that community gets affected by a tragedy like that,” he says. “With a feature documentary you have a chance to show that kind of long-ranging story that you don’t necessarily get from a little soundbite, and so you can really see the effect on people’s lives.”

Schmidt says the film’s message is ultimately one of tolerance. He predicts the layered and complex nature of the story and the issues it raises will also spark debate.

Watch: Isaiah Washington Hopes Beltway Sniper Film Sparks Debate (VIDEO)

“We raise a lot of questions so that people can have debates and conversations about it, because there aren’t easy answers, but we better start looking for answers because it’s time,” Schmidt says.

View even more film festival interviews with actors, directors, musicians and celebrities on genConnect’s Sundance Festival Playlist on YouTube.

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Category: Loss & Grieving, Relationships, Videos

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About Marta Cunningham: "Valentine Road" director Marta Cunningham was born in northern California and attended San Mateo High School, where she was active in its performing arts program. At the age of 14, she was dancing with the [...]
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