NowThis News will air its first fully in-house, feature-length documentary, “Generation Columbine,” on Monday night, the anniversary of the Columbine shooting, but work on the film all began the night of a different school shooting: the one in Parkland, Florida, in 2018.
“This all started on February 14, 2018, with a shooting at Parkland. I think it was maybe kind of 11:00 at night, and my boss pointed out at the students that died at Parkland weren’t alive when Columbine happened, and we just spent a few minutes talking about how weird that was for us, you know?” director Matt McDonough explained in a phone call with TheWrap. “We both remember Columbine vividly. Both of us actually were in high school, at that time, so the idea that we’ve lived with this forever but that an entire generation who have grown up with Columbine kind of always in the background and it’s always having been such a prevalent issue that they’re acutely aware of it always being a threat of a school shooting.”
The documentary, airing on Starz, examines the generational trauma of school shootings and features survivors of four school shootings: Columbine High School, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Red Lake Senior High School on the Red Lake Indian Reservation and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
One example of the lifelong struggles associated with school shootings took place over the course of filming the documentary, when Austin Eubanks, a Columbine survivor who was participating in the film, died of an overdose.
“The sad thing is that the thing that I kind of learned through this is that firsthand trauma,” McDonough said. “The entire idea of the film from the start was to tell the story of generational trauma and how it’s a ripple effect, that it’s not just the people who die or their family members who are impacted in each school shooting but entire communities and everyone they touch. And then when things happen later it’s kind of the, you know, unspoken piece of this that they impact people for the rest of their lives and then the people that they touch later in their lives are impacted if anything should happen to them.”
The film premieres Monday on Starz at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Watch an exclusive trailer above, via NowThis News.