MTV is set to premiere “True Life: We Are Orlando” this coming Monday, and TheWrap has your first look at the sobering special.
This episode of the long-running docuseries follows survivors of the anti-LGBT Pulse nightclub shooting as they try to come to terms with their trauma. The cable channel’s televised version follows a previously existing digital-only series of the same name, which has been running on MTV social channels.
Viewers can also follow the the four young adults featured in the televised episode via MTV’s Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat Discover and tumblr. Plus, MTV plans to provide mental health resources for people dealing with trauma, pathways to better understand and challenge anti-LGBT bias, as well as ways to support Orlando and take action on gun violence.
The individuals profiled on the televised version are as follows:
Tony was shot four times during the attack, including once in the back. He faces a long road ahead as he heals from his physical wounds, but is finding it more challenging to accept the loss of his best friend Luis Vielma, who was killed in the attack, and also come to terms with the guilt he feels over being forced to leave an unknown club patron behind as he called for help while Tony crawled out of the club.
While on vacation from Philadelphia, Patience, Tiara and Tiara’s cousin Akyra headed to Pulse for a night out. The three young women hid in a bathroom during the attack where they were shot and trapped in the room with the shooter during his three hour standoff with the police. Patience and Tiara are now starting therapy to deal with the unspeakable actions that they witnessed and begin to move forward.
During the attack, Joshua fled over the back wall of the club and hid behind a car where he heard a stranger crying out for help. The injured man was Rodney Sumter, a bartender at the club and father of two, who had been shot multiple times. Joshua crafted a tourniquet out of his shirt to stop the bleeding in both of Rodney’s arms. A police officer then instructed Josh to lie down in the back of his car with Rodney on top of him and squeeze his back to constrict the blood from a third wound as they drove to the hospital – where the two men were separated before Josh had a chance to learn Rodney’s fate.
Here’s who is featured in the digital offering:
Brett and his partner Frank were standing at the bar with friends when the shots started. Brett hit the floor and crawled behind the bar as bullets whizzed by, one shot grazing him in the arm, but he lost track of Frank. Rigas and Frank’s family later checked the crisis center and found there was no record of Frank at any of the hospitals, confirming Frank did not survive long enough to receive treatment. According to Brett, Frank was shot 8X in the face.
Natalia and her wife, Mallerie
The couple went to Pulse and met Natalia’s sister, Yilmary Rodriguz Solivan. When the shooting began, Natalia and Mallerie were on the porch and managed to escape, but Yilmary was inside with her brother-in-law, and was shot. It wasn’t until Tuesday at 10 AM (3 days later) that Natalia and her family were informed that Yilmary was one of the victims who died. Yilmary was married and a mother of a 7-year-old, and the family is overwhelmed trying to cope with the loss.
He was on his way to pick up his friend, Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, from Pulse when the gunshots started. He was prevented from running inside by police, and waited 17 hours before learning that Xavier was killed. Jason had feelings for Xavier and is now resolved to help their mutual friend Wilma raise the son that Xavier left behind.
Angel was in the main room when the shooting began. He was shot 3 times in the leg, and suffered a broken femur due to being trampled. He received additional gunshot wounds in the hand and hip. Angel was with 2 friends who also survived, but lost others including Shane Tomlinson. Angel is currently rehabbing, but he can’t work for months, and was made subject of a video claiming Angel was an “actor” and that the shooting was a hoax. Angel reconnects with Tony Marrero in the episode, six weeks after they endured the horror together on the floor of the club.
Milan was performing at Pulse, just like every other Saturday night. At 1:57 he left the stage and went to dressing room, when the shots began. While hiding in the dressing room, they heard shots, people panicking, crying, phones going off, and the shooter yelling, while Milan tried to look out for his coworkers whom he considered himself responsible for. They were eventually rescued by SWAT, but Pulse was like Milan’s home, and he lost 7 people that night.
MTV’s Elect This campaign, which moves beyond the candidates to the issues that matter most to Millennials, is also spotlighting Adam, a young gay man from Orlando who is supporting an Elect This Change.org petition calling on Florida Rep. Alan Grayson and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to pass an executive order banning the sale of assault weapons like those used in the attack. The petition currently has 40,000 signatures.
During the “True Life: We Are Orlando” special, MTV will air a special remembrance dedicated to the 49 lives lost during the attack. MTV’s “True Life” debuted in 1998, and has gone on to win a Daytime Emmy Award, a GLAAD Media Award, a NAACP Image Award and a Prism Award.
“True Life: We Are Orlando” debuts Monday, Aug. 15 at 8 p.m. on MTV.