This is an archived article that was published on in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.


U.S. Documentary Competition


The most horrific of subjects — the mass shooting that killed 20 small children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012 — becomes the source of the most uplifting of movies, in director Kim A. Snyder's documentary "Newtown." Snyder interviews residents of that Connecticut town: Parents of children who were killed, families of children who survived, first responders and clergy. Through those interviews, Snyder creates a sensitive portrait of a town trying to heal without forgetting the lives of those they still mourn. Politics are touched upon, lightly, as Snyder follows those parents who have become "accidental lobbyists" for sensible gun legislation. But the focus is on the people who celebrate the spirits of those who are gone, and the result is a small miracle: A movie that cuts through the layers of cynicism and despair we feel every time we see the coverage of another mass shooting.

— Sean P. Means

"Newtown" screens again at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival: Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Salt Lake City.