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'Newtown' Documentary Gets National Theater Simulcast on Nov. 2

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"Newtown," a searing documentary about the 2012 shootings of 20 young children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, gets the special event treatment at movie theaters nationwide on Wednesday.

Fathom Events (which we last encountered with the anti-common core event hosted by Glenn Beck in 2014) and distribution and marketing company Abramorama have organized simulcast screenings at 7:30 p.m. Eastern/6:30 p.m. Central time. The film will air at 7:30 p.m. local time in the Mountain and Pacific time zones.

The film simulcast will be followed by a town hall-style panel discussion moderated by CNN anchor Chris Cuomo and featuring Mark Barden, the father of Sandy Hook Elementary School victim Daniel Barden; Mary Ann Jacob, a surviving educator from the school; Hugo Rojas, the father of a surviving 1st grader; and Dr. Bill Begg, the vice chair of the emergency room at Danbury Hospital. Fathom says the conversation will revolve around the issues of gun violence prevention, collective trauma, and community response.

I reviewed "Newtown" here in the Education and the Media blog last summer, when it was shown at the American Film Institute's AFI DOCS Festival.

The film by director/producer Kim A. Snyder and producer Maria Cuomo Cole is "unavoidably sad, but nonetheless gripping," I wrote. 

"Newtown" is "primarily about the painful aftermath for families that lost a child or sibling and a community where life must go on," my review continued. "Three or four families touched by the tragedy offer incredibly poignant perspectives on how they cope with the loss of a child, or in the case of one Sandy Hook teacher, having been inside the school."

Earlier this week, the producers of "Newtown" pulled the simulcast from the Cinemark theater chain, where it was to be shown in 100 theaters. One of the chain's theaters in Aurora, Colo., was the site of the 2012 shooting during a midnight showing of "Dark Knight Rises" that killed 12 people and injured 70 others.

Cinemark is the subject of a boycott over its demand for legal fees from victims of the shooting after an unsuccessful state lawsuit in Colorado against the theater chain.

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