MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Nineteen years after the Columbine shooting, the film “We are Columbine” made its world premiere at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival.
The memories of the massacre are still fresh for Laura Farber and Kiki Leyba. Both were in their first year at the school. Farber was a student and Leyba was an English teacher.
“We didn’t have any context for gun violence in schools,” Leyba said. “Just to comprehend the loss of life, you feel so violated in a place of safety. A place of community, in a place of learning—it was unimaginable.”
In the years that followed, Farber wondered how others who survived the shooting were faring in its aftermath. Her curiosity led her to the production of “We are Columbine,” a documentary seven years in the making.
“One thing I learned is it didn’t matter where you were in the school that day or outside the school, or part of the community,” Farber said. “It affects you as well.”
The Columbine students and staff were at the unfortunate vanguard of a tragic trend—mass shootings—like the one in Parkland, Florida earlier this year.
“First of all, what they’re doing now, in this movement of marching for our lives, voting for our lives is super important,” said Farber. “We were too angry to when it happened and they’re angry and I think they’re using it in the most productive way and they’re speaking out. It took us 19 years to get to this place and I’m glad that it’s happening.”
The events came full circle this week, as dozens of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students traveled to Colorado to commemorate the anniversary of the Columbine shooting.
“For a long time it feels like things are thrust upon you,” said Leyba, as he described the advice teachers gave to the students. “I think we all find a moment in time when we realize that we have to take this experience and turn it into what we want it to be in our lives.”
The film debuted Friday night. Another showing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday.