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Nelson Mandela: A life in pictures
Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie in this undated file picture.
Topics: Newtown, Movies, indieagogo, Kickstarter, filmmaking, sandy hook massacre, Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting, Guns, Gun Violence, Massacre, Law and Order, csi, bones, TV, Television, Entertainment, Life News, Entertainment News
Well, somebody had to be first. And hey, it’s been nearly two months. Cue the inevitable Sandy Hook movie.
This week, filmmaker Jonathan Bucari headed to Connecticut – and to a town just 20 miles from the scene of December’s shooting — to begin preliminary work on “Illness,” a small, independent feature about a mentally disturbed 13-year-old boy whose life becomes more unhinged after the massacre. Bucari told reporters this week he chose Ridgefield because “it has the same look and feel as Newtown.”
The reaction to the film has been swift and so far strongly negative. Ridgefield film commissioner Allison Stockel told Newtown Patch.com that she’s received “at least 25 calls from angry residents asking about the film” this week, and the town’s First Selectman Rudy Marconi’s office announced it “would never approve the filming of a movie related to the subject of the Newtown shooting.”
The young French director’s project is unlikely to draw much attention beyond the controversy surrounding it. Bucari so far has one TV movie pilot under his belt, and his Indieagogo campaign has only raised $620. He’s also, in light of recent negative publicity, taken down the project’s Facebook page. Allison Stockel told reporters this week, “If it’s about Newtown, people here don’t want a film on this, now or ever.”
But whether the people of Newtown want it or not, what Bucari has done is set in motion the inevitable. Of course there will be a Sandy Hook movie. Of course there are right now ripped from the headlines plots being written in Hollywood that will wend their way into feature scripts and episodic TV dramas. There will, in time, be the equivalents of “Elephant” and “United 93″ and “Zero Dark Thirty.” And there will in time be other, far crappier and more exploitative iterations of the story, ones that serve up shocking things happening to children not as a means of understanding tragedy but as straight up, sit your butt on the couch and pop open a Sprite entertainment.
Because that future is already here, and has been for years. “Law and Order” has served up fictionalized twists on the Caylee Anthony murder and the suffocation death of Candace Tiara Elmore. CSI has over the years served up plenty of child abduction, molestation and murder. “Criminal Minds” has done serial child murderers and bears feasting on the corpses of murdered kids. ”Law and Order: SVU” might as well change its name to “Child Molester of the Week” – with each season finding new and imaginative and horrible ways to abuse and maybe kill off kids.
In just the past few months, “Bones” celebrated its 150th episode with a plot involving the death of a young teenage boy. Early into its very first season, “Elementary” has devoted an episode to tracking down a creepy serial killer of children. In November, “Law and Order: SVU” took on the topic of “decades of abuse” at a fictionalized Horace Mann. And just this week, “The Following” gave us a child being tutored in the ways of killing. Does anyone think we’ll have to wait much longer before the Krim murders become a plot point on some New York City-based procedural?
The notion of a Newtown movie inspires shudders now because the grief is still so unbearably fresh. Bucari’s project at least sounds like an attempt to make an intimate drama around a national heartache. That he chose to do it so soon after the real thing was a failure of sensitivity. Maybe the final result, if there ever is one, will be a disaster. Or maybe it’ll be surprising and nuanced and interesting. But what it won’t be, assuredly, is the first — or last — of its kind.
Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie in this undated file picture.
Mandela is accompanied by his former wife Winnie, moments after his release from prison February 11, 1990 after serving 27 years in jail. (Reuters)
In this February, 1990 photo, shortly after his release from 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela, gives the black power salute to the 120,000 supporters packing Soccer City stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg. (AP Photo)
Nelson Mandela showed his passport in February 19, 1990, shortly after his release from prison. The South African government authorized an application for himself and his wife Winnie - (Juda Ngwenya / Reuters)
In this July 27, 1991 photo, Cuban President Fidel Castro, and Nelson Mandela gesture during the celebration of the "Day of the Revolution" in Matanzas, Cuba. (AP Photo)
In this July 4, 1993 photo, President Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela listen during Fourth of July ceremonies in Philadelphia during which Clinton presented the Philadelphia Liberty Medal to the African National Congress president and South African President F.W. de Klerk. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)
President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela acknowledges cheers from the crowd as he prepares to unveil the ANC's official election platform in 1994. (AP Photo/David Brauchli)
African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela greeted residents of Mmabatho in March 1994, during a visit after the nominal homeland came under South African control following the ousting of the former President Lucas Mangope. (Reuters/Howard Burditt)
South African President Nelson Mandela smiles with actor Sidney Poitier at a press conference in Cape Town in 1996. Poitier played Mandela in the film "One Man, One Vote" (AP Photo / Sasa Kralj)
South African President Nelson Mandela waves to crowds as he sits next to Queen Elizabeth II in a an open carriage on the way to Buckingham Palace.(AP/Louisa Buller)
Chairman of the Constitutional Assembly Cyril Ramaphosa, left, holds up a copy of the country's constitution which was signed by President Nelson Mandela, in December 1996. (AP Photo / Adil Bradlow / POOL)
Nelson Mandela at a news conference in Johannesburg in February 2000. (AP Photo / Denis Farrell)
South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar, right, received the Rugby World Cup trophy from President Nelson Mandela also wearing a South African rugby shirt, after South Africa defeated New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup , in 1995. (AP Photo / Ross Setford)