South Florida filmmaker Gina Onori has paired up with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to make a film about their anti-gun violence movement following February’s mass shooting.
The film, called WE ARE THE CHANGE, follows Stoneman Douglas students before, during, and after the March For Our Lives rally in Washington D.C. two months ago. It even captures the students in legislative meetings.
"It's a great outlet for the kids to get their voices to be heard...It doesn't end here," Onori said. "Hopefully it's going to inspire kids and adults as well, to just go out and vote. That's the main message."
Another documentary, called #MSDStrong, focused on the shooting’s immediate impact on Stoneman Douglas students. It was produced by broadcast students at the school just before the March For Our Lives.
Gregory Von Hausch, the President and CEO of The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, which screened the 45-minute documentary, said WE ARE THE CHANGE left him feeling "hopeful."
Before the first screening Tuesday night at Fort Lauderdale's Savor Cinema, Douglas English and Holocaust Studies teacher Darren Levine thanked his students for going to the march at all.
"It was an incredible experience this trip...to see these students push for what they wanted," he said.
Rachel Catania was on the trip and is one of the students featured in the documentary. After the film ended, she participated in a Q&A panel in front of the theater.
"It kind of felt like we didn’t just lose 17 people that day, we lost 3,000 because no one in my school has been the same," Catania said. But she also said making the documentary has helped her make sure the message of the march keeps going, "I’m definitely just a completely different person all around."
There will be a second screening of WE ARE THE CHANGE, at noon on May 26, also at the Savor Cinema in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
The screening is free and open to the public. Any donations will go to the Gifford's Foundation: Courage To Fight Gun Violence, which helped send this group of Douglas students to Washington D.C. for the march.
This post has been updated to include reactions at the first screening event.