Summary info for schedule – will be hidden on film page
Lessons from a School Shooting: Notes from Dunblane
Following the Sandy Hook Massacre, a priest from Dunblane, Scotland reaches out to Father Bob offering support 16 years after a school shooting in his own town. The men bond over personal trauma and responsibilities ... In the aftermath the UK reformed its gun laws; the US responded with inaction.
Screening day / time
Check Back Soon

Lessons from a School Shooting: Notes from Dunblane

Running Time
Short Film
22 minutes
Documentary, Short

Lessons from a School Shooting: Notes from Dunblane

LESSONS FROM A SCHOOL SHOOTING Notes from Dunblane depicts Father Bob Weiss, who in the days following the Sandy Hook Massacre that took the lives of 20 children and 6 of their educators teachers on December 14, 2012, was tasked with the burial of 8 of those children. In the throes of profound PTSD, he receives a letter from Father Basil O’Sullivan in Dunblane, Scotland where, in 1996 16 school children were gunned down at the hands of an unhinged lone gunman. In the ensuing months, the two priests forge a bond across the Atlantic through a series of letters sharing experiences of trauma and recovery. Father Basil recalls his own town’s efforts to launch the “Snowdrop” campaign that brought about radical gun policy reform in the UK, whereas the US has had no federal reform to date. There have been over 1600 mass shootings since December 2012 in the US. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Father Basil journeys across the Atlantic to bring solace to Father Bob and the community of Newtown.

Filmmaker Notes:

Following on the heels of our NEWTOWN documentary, LESSONS FROM A SCHOOL SHOOTING Notes from Dunblane is in a sense a prequel to that work which evolved out of our first year of filming with the Newtown community. In those early days, we were struck by the journey of an interfaith community that found itself confronted with shouldering not only the massive grief of a traumatized community, but also their own human fragility and trauma. We were also struck by a tragic and poignant phenomenon we have observed many times since then as more and more communities join the ranks of those victimized by mass gun violence; the inherent human desire to reach out to others and provide solace and empathy in understanding a journey the rest of us cannot. Father Bob Weiss, a beloved fixture in the Newtown community, in those first days after the Sandy Hook shooting, was faced with the unthinkable task of burying 8 of the 20 children whose lives were taken. He, like many others, was suffering the effects of profound PTSD. When asked from where he was getting most support and solace, along with his trusted parish, he immediately told me of a letter he’d received from Father Basil O’Sullivan, a priest from Dunblane, Scotland whose community had suffered the same; 16 schoolchildren of the same precious age murdered at the hands of a gun. Therein began a poignant transatlantic correspondence and friendship we pursued documenting on both sides of the ocean. It was striking to learn of Father Basil’s account, not unlike the all too familiar reactions of far too many victimized communities in the U.S. (1600+ mass shootings since Newtown), of his community and country to immediately affect policy change in efforts prevent future tragedy and protect children. And so, the UK did, as did Australia following their most horrific mass shooting, while we here in the US have not. Here we sit after Parkland, hoping that finally, our youth who have learned this lesson so unfairly will prevail in their current efforts to affect change, while the repeated lesson seems to have been so “unlearned” by those in a position to protect our youth from the escalating scourge of gun violence.

Film details
Year(s) screened
  • 2018
More information
Where to Watch
Festival screenings
Screening Day / Time
Check Back Soon
Scroll to Top