HBO documentary details local deaths
Film, highlights eight gun fatalities from last spring
Frazeysburg – it’s been almost a year since 11-year-old Lucas Templin’s untimely death rocked this small village of 1,300.
Now, his story will be shared in an upcoming HBO documentary, “Requiem for the Dead: American spring, 2014.“
Premiering Monday, the film tells the story of eight individuals who were shot and killed last spring, including Templin.
It comes from Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Shari Cookson, and Nick Doob.
Templin, of Frazeysburg, died on June 17, 2014, after his friend accidentally shot him with his fathers revolver, according to detective files, highlighted in the film.
“It’s just really hard to understand that, that child is not going to grow up,” Cookson said in an interview with the Times Recorder
Efforts by the Times Recorder to reach the family were unsuccessful.
Cookson and Doob said they set out to make a film that highlighted people affected by gun violence across the country; violence they see as preventable.
Templin is just one victim of several featured in the film. Each poignant in its own way, the stories document a variety of tragedies:
A bride in Kansas, taken from her husband on their wedding night, a victim of gang violence.
A Cincinnati man killed by his wife’s ex-husband in front of his kids.
An NFL football player’s grandmother accidentally shot by her husband who was cleaning his gun in another room.
Running at 108 minutes, the film features no original footage or interviews. Rather, the narrative is constructed using social media posts, news accounts, and police files.
There’s not even any voice narration, an intentional way for Cookson and Doob to distance themselves from the material. They didn’t want a political film featuring expert opinion and testimonials.
“It’s sort of the way involved,“ Doob said of the style.
They splice in Facebook statuses, Instagram posts, and Tweets from victims, shooters and loved ones. Sometimes it’s months before the shooting, sometimes minutes before, sometimes in the aftermath.
Police reports, inmate logs, 911 calls and recorded police interviews also underscore each section.
To tell Templin’s story, Cookson and Doob relied heavily on a detectives report filed with the Muskingum County Sheriffs Office, which features notes from an interview with Templin’s friend.
We were taken by the story early on,” Doob said on Templin. “The kids were these little fledgling kids.”
Interspersed between the main stories, acting as a transition, there are flashes of headlines and photos from hundreds of other shootings. Among those is another local, shooting victim. Brandy Daniels, of Nashport. Daniels, 25, was found fatally shot in her car on a rural road last April.
Her death remains unsolved.
The filmmakers also included a ticking, death toll that climbs upward until, by the film’s end, it reaches 8,000, the estimated number of gun-related deaths each spring.
The gun debate is a polarizing one, the filmmakers recognize, especially in a nation that has politicize the issue.
But the film, Cookson and Doob said, is a way to pay tribute to, and remember those who lost their lives because of gun violence. “The significance of human lives lost is something that should be talked about, and “Cookson said. “We believe very much that their story should be told.“
The hope, they said, is that, when viewers put a face and a life to a statistic, it will spark a conversation about how to prevent such a tragedy in the future.
“We are trying to get the conversation going,“ Doob said. “It’s a problem, and it’s got to be confronted.“
20 Jun 2015
Page A1 and A5
Dictated Transcription: S Cookson