In the wake of the horrible tragedy that occurred in Aurora, Colorado, Hollywood responded in a respectable and appropriate fashion by altering and delaying violent films like “Gangster Squad.” Unfortunately, Americans faced yet aanother unspeakable tragedy more recently, one that shocked and devastated the world – a massacre at an elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut that left 28 dead, the majority of which were innocent children. Unsurprisingly this trend of gun violence immediately sparked extremely heated debates about gun control, and in turn, the portrayal of guns and violence in cinema – forcing violent filmmakers to defend their works against a tirade of misguided anger. This intense debate brought up intense emotions from individuals on both sides of the table, and one such individual was the unknown filmmaker, Jonathan Bucari. Reported by THR today, February 5, 2013, Bucari has proposed a film inspired by the Newtown tragedy.
THR announced that Bucari is currently looking for funding to make a short film entitled “Illness” that is described as
A story about the tragic fate of Benjamin, a thirteen-year-old boy with a terrible mental illness, and the ever-growing fear of his parents after they learn about the shooting in Newtown in December 2012.
Bucari’s only film credit to date is a virtually unknown TV-movie called “The Sacrificial Lamb,” though Bucari’s desire to make this project has immediately made his name known throughout the film industry. He is attempting to raise funds for the film through an Indie Go Go project and he has indicated that he hopes to screen his film at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival this year.
The campaign states that “All funds and prizes won through Festivals will be used for the formation of a Foundation to help the many families with children struggling with mental illness.” This initially seems like a respectable promise, but short films generally don’t make any money back, and the town leaders of Ridgefield, Conneticut, where Bucari intends to shoot his film, are extremely opposed to his project.
First Selectman Rudy Marconi has told the News Times that he will do anything in his power to prevent the short from being filmed in Ridgefield, emphatically stating,
It's bad idea. If you were to poll the residents in town, they'd be overwhelmingly against it.
Times goes on to report that Bucari has declared, “We are not making a movie about what happened in Newtown and never will do so.” It will undoubtedly be a challenge for Bucari to create the film – “Illness” has been absolutely lambasted by critics, with most saying that it is way too soon to make a movie based on the horrific murder of these innocent teachers and children. There’s no question Bucari could discuss the link between mental illness and violence in modern America without focusing on the Newtown tragedy – but that wouldn’t get the same attention, which is what I assume Bucari was looking for.
According to Bucari's Facebook page, production on “Illness” is set to begin this month. Keep reading the Pittsburgh Film Examiner for the latest updates on this controversial projects and the latest movie news.