Monday marks four years since a horrific shooting took place at the oldest African Methodist Episcopal church in the Southern United States, Mother Emanuel AME (Charleston, SC), and shocked the nation.
As a spokesperson for Prayers & Action, which is committed to ending senseless acts of gun violence and helping survivors in the wake of a shooting, I recently had the opportunity to talk with director Brian Ivie(The Drop Box). In this interview (edited for length), I ask him about his work on the new documentary Emanuel, how government leaders have and should respond to racism/mass shootings, and about how media shaped the Emanuel’s shooters ideology and led to his self-radicalization.
Emanuel was produced by NBA superstar Stephen Curry and Academy Award-winner Viola Davis and is in theaters on June 17 (the four-year mark of the mass shooting) and June 19th. The documentary shares the powerful, untold story of the victims and survivors who surprised the world when at the shooter’s trial, just 48 hours later, they forgave him.
As I watched your documentary Emanuel, I found myself wondering how you think about your role as a director.
It’s unique when you’re making a documentary. It’s such a different role, I think, than being on a narrative, scripted film. A lot of obvious superficial ways: There’s no script. You’re certainly much more of a human being in a way, which is really good because a lot of what you do is listen. You don’t really instruct them to do anything other than trying to make sure they feel comfortable enough to be themselves.