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'Shell Shocked' Doc Screens Bar and Wide


by Brandon Robert

The Hi-Ho Lounge turned into a movie theater last night, setting a scene that has been happening all around the city since the middle of May. Filmmaker John Richie has been screening Shell Shocked: A Documentary about Growing Up in the Murder Capital of America, to just about anyone who will watch it. 

 

Richie has drawn crowds as small as 30 and as large as 250 at these screenings. Regardless of turnout or venue, the intent has always been the same: to bring awareness to the problem of gun violence in New Orleans so positive change can spring from it.

 

While Richie has had separate viewings in some of the city’s schools, his target audience is the general public. Showing children that already live through what is illustrated in the film is beneficial for its brief moment of clarity, but will not have the lasting effect the filmmaker is striving to accomplish.  Richie, instead, hopes to expose the larger community to the underlying issues that have caused the violence.  The film also showcases some of the existing organizations that are already making a positive impact.

 

 

The film mentions the problems of police targeting, the proliferation of guns, the prison system, revenge killings, the education system, and poverty as contributing factors. Richie feels some, if not all of these problems, are fixable by the community. The film spotlights some youth development organizations and political reformers, like Liberty’s Kitchen and the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, as examples of those trying to reverse the problem.

 

 

 

Once the film ended, Richie fielded questions from the audience. It is hard to come away from the film without wanting to know what you could do to help.  So, when asked, the filmmaker mentioned a few examples of worthwhile organizations (also listed on the film’s website) and encouraged those in attendance to volunteer or donate if possible. This message of community involvement goes hand in hand with the film’s central thesis, taken from Frederick Douglass: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

 

 

 

As for the future of the film, Richie is currently exploring options for wider distribution. He has yet to decide whether to go the conventional route of a distributor, or to put it online for paid download.




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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor

Alexis Manrodt

Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

B. E. Mintz

Editor Emeritus

Stephen Babcock

Published Daily