Columbine sees it’s 13th anniversary

Surviving student to make documentary about other survivors and their struggles

WRITTEN BY: Kara Menini
Columbine memorial
Image Source: RLEVANS via Flickr
Columbine memorial

The Columbine shooting sees its 13th anniversary this year and although it’s been a long struggle for families of the 13 victims of the massacre, it seems the then-high school students who witnessed the event are still suffering. One of the students who was in the cafeteria of Columbine High School that day, Sam Granillo, has decided to bring the attention away from the shooters and shed some light on those who have kept quiet the last 13 years.

The former Columbine student is now 30 and a film school graduate from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has worked on commercials, TV shows and films, but has now decided to make the first documentary about Columbine by a student who witnessed it.

Granillo was sitting in the cafeteria of Columbine when the two shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, started on their plan to gun down their peers. ABC news tells a story of how Granillo learned to outsmart his brother when he was younger by wedging his toes at the bottom corner of his bedroom door to keep his brother from chasing after him, “No matter how hard he tried, he could never get into my room.” Granillo used this skill to keep a door without a lock closed, in order to protect himself and 17 other classmates from the massacre happening on the other side. Three hours later, they were rescued by a SWAT team.

Because of the Columbine shooting, Granillo still suffers from nightmares, panic attacks and depression, and he knows he’s not alone. Some of his friends have buried themselves in massive debt trying to pay for counseling because there are seems to be no such thing as affordable mental health services. So, Granillo decided to make a documentary as a way to help his fellow Columbine survivors talk through their experiences.Granillo said on the film websites that the “unofficial thought” for making the documentary was “How to help those still suffering from the mental and physical traumas of the event.” He said, “There’s a change happening. People, up to this point, have avoided even mentioning that they’re from Littleton because they don’t want to even talk about it. Everyone is becoming comfortable with admitting they need help. That’s something that’s really changing. It’s becoming unburied. It’s becoming un-taboo to talk about. Being able to talk about it is the first step.”

However, in order to produce this unique Columbine documentary, Granillo needs at least a quarter of a million dollars. Although he has already started to record interviews and put out short trailers, he has only raised $20,000 for the project. Most of the funds are going to travel, as most of the interviewees live outside of Colorado, and some don’t even live in the States anymore.

Granillo is nervous about making a documentary on such a sensitive subject like the Columbine shooting, even though he was there. “I’m worried I will do something wrong,” he said. “This isn’t about me, it’s about all of us.”

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