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Still $3k short of goal, filmmaker defends Capitol Hill Massacre movie project

For those of you who believe the film should never be made, we’re not sure who you’ll be more irritated with — filmmaker Jagger Gravning for not giving up or CHS for giving him more attention for the project. But with Monday’s deadline for fundraising approaching and the Capitol Hill Massacre project Wallflower still more than $3,000 short of the $10,000 goal the filmmaker is seeking, we have received this statement and a video made by Gravning. The words and the video, Gravning says, are his attempt to respond to the wave of criticism expressed on CHS and to explain his rationale for making a film about mass murderer Kyle Huff. The effort seems unlikely to change many minds. Here is what Gravning sent us:

There are some people who believe that this film should not be made. They feel the subject matter is not appropriate for cinema. While we understand and respect this point of view, we feel equally as strongly in the inherent value of this project. 


Wallflower — Responses to the Controversy from Jagger Gravning on Vimeo.

Apart from personal connections to this tragedy, and being an invitee to that party myself, there was violence in my own home. When I was young, a man broke into our home and stabbed my mother. There was also a shooting in my own home.

My mother, as a survivor of attempted murder, is one of the biggest proponents of this film.

After the shooting on Capitol Hill my mother took in one of that tragedy’s survivors for many months, even getting her a job at her own work. My mother brought her along when she moved to Alaska, in order to help that girl (a childhood friend of mine) with psychological rehabilitation.

Another survivor of the Capitol Hill Shooting, who I had not known before, came forward asking to help with this project in any way she could — as did two other friends of those who were murdered.

Others have communicated to me the importance of addressing grievous mental health issues as the underlying cause of many mass shootings. 

We may not be able to predict the shootings themselves, but we are able to see when someone in our life is suffering severe depression or other mental health issues — and we should feel that it is our responsibility to ensure these issues are treated, despite the difficulty and frustration taking on such a task can prove to be.

Being vigilant in treating the causal psychological factors is our best bet at preventing these sorts of tragedies. Like fires, they will never be prevented in every case — but we can prevent some or many when we focus on the real causes, which are actually well studied and understood. (See the Panel Report on the Capitol Hill Shooting by the nation’s leading expert on mass shootings, James Alan Fox, who has studied hundreds of cases: cityofseattle.net/​police/​Publications/​Special/​CapitolHillPanelReport.pdf)

All involved with this production have legitimate reasons for wanting to help this film get made.

Please let others know what we are trying to do, and ask them to support us as we count down to our final days of our Kickstarter campaign.

Many Thanks,

Jagger Gravning

(206) 290-6841

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Zephyrism
Zephyrism
9 years ago

Why do people not want this film made? We make movies about WWII all the time and nobody bats and eye. I can understand why you wouldn’t give your own money to the project, but I don’t understand vehement opposition to the project.

Jagger Gravning
Jagger Gravning
9 years ago

There have been threats of violence against me for attempting to make this film.

There have been failed attempts made to shut down our Kickstarter page.

This is the last weekend to support the controversial Seattle feature film WALLFLOWER and help us reach our fundraising goal.

It’s now or never. But we can succeed.

If you’re going to pledge, please pledge at the moment you read this.

You can cause something to be. If you believe that cinema is an art form suited to tackling difficult and painful issues — pledge.

If you believe in an artist’s basic right to address a subject that others view as too taboo — pledge.

If you see Seattle as a film city mature enough to take on issues filmmakers are most definitely bold enough to take on in New York, Austin, Los Angeles, and internationally — pledge.

The film follows Kyle Huff’s last days in Seattle, before he committed the mass shooting on Capitol Hill in 2006.

We hope you will support this film. We intend to delve into the underlying motivations of someone who would commit this type of atrocity.

PLEDGE to WALLFLOWER HERE:

Wallflower
http://kck.st/hXKObg

Jagger Gravning
(206) 290-6841
jagger.gravning@gmail.com

Doctor Goatbiscuits
Doctor Goatbiscuits
9 years ago

I don’t want to know why he did it. I don’t want to see him as a disturbed individual, and I don’t want to know what drove him to commit these acts.

I just want to vilify him, pretend he’s something other than human, some kind of alien species. That way I can keep on living in my black-and-white fantasy world where everybody is either a good guy or a bad guy.

mich
mich
9 years ago

hey ding dongs, people are annoyed or in some cases, furious with your project because you come off like a person that has never experienced tragedy. your impulse to “humanize” this sick person comes off as naive and out of touch. anyone who’s been around the block knows kyle huff was human, was sick, and snapped. we don’t need your film to tell us such an elementary fact. we’re not stupid. if you approached this with a more humble and brave disposition, considering this tragedy from ALL perspectives, you could have actually accomplished something quite amazing. listening to the twerps in this video, i find it sad that the telling of this story has fallen into the wrong hands.

ps. shut the fuck up about “artists” and their “rights” and how your mom once experienced violence (so you are above all the victims? ahahaha).

Matt
Matt
9 years ago

66
Backers

$10,137
pledged of $10,000 goal

58
hours to go

mmmatthew
mmmatthew
9 years ago

I don’t want this film to be made because I’m afraid it will be yet another case of glorifying the mass murderer through media coverage. Just the prospect of this film got a full page picture of him on the cover of one of the local weeklies.

Has anyone made a film about how media coverage encourages depressed, suicidal psychopaths to choose mass murder as THE way to leave their mark? That sounds like a more worthy angle to me.

Every time his picture is printed and his story gets told, I feel like he’s winning. And the next one like him is that much closer to pulling the trigger.

kschmadeka
kschmadeka
9 years ago

Mmmatthew is right on the money. Giving time or attention to whatever personal issues led to this crime is the wrong way to go if the goal is to not inspire future murderers. Among others, the Omaha Mall shooter was quoted as saying “Now I’ll be famous!” right before he killed eight people. Knowing he would get an entire film devoted to his personal problems would undoubtedly make Kyle Huff smile from ear to ear.

There is positively no justification for killing innocent people, therefore it makes no difference what issues led to the act. A far more worthwhile film project would focus on why he was wrong, why he was scum, and why he and others like him deserve no attention other than to have their names go down in history as pariahs. That is how you take the inspiration away from copycats. If the funding is there already, it’s not too late to change the script.

The best report to date on preventing and dissuading mass shooters can be found here:
http://frpwa.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Active-Shooter-P

Normal Guy
Normal Guy
9 years ago

Glad to hear they made their funding goal! It is really bizarre that some people get so wound up about this film. People make films that explore unpleasant subjects all the time, although I guess that usually happens in more adult cities than Seattle. Like Portland, for instance ;)

shybot.
shybot.
9 years ago

absolutely unreal. If you’re so fucking concerned about this and affected by this, do what I did- go to college, get a degree in social psychology, work to improve mental health programs, access to them, work to create a strong, healthy community where you live, be a more engaged friend, family member, partner. Judging from all of your interviews and writings, especially the comments you leave on forums such as these, you don’t have a mental health expert or criminology expert on staff for this project. There are rules and patterns to these events but you’ve demonstrated that you only have a superficial understanding of them. There’s more to this epidemic than cliches phrases like “spiraling depression”. Raising awareness around this issue and affecting positive social change is WAY more complex than stringing together some footage of a sad guy walking alone to sad music at sunrise and bloody shooting gore. For example, if you’re such an expert on this matter, you must know that this kind of media portrayal has been shown to spur copycat killings? I WILL SPELL IT OUT FOR YOU: THIS KIND OF PROJECT HAS BEEN SHOWN TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE VERY THING YOU CLAIM THIS PROJECT IS TRYING TO PREVENT. Even the panel report about this incident mentions imitation as a main factor in many of these cases and refers to a case in Kyle’s youth that may have created a “model for him to deal with his personal problems”. Make an honest documentary about isolation, modern society, & mental health- not some gory thriller about Kyle’s “final days” where you portray me, my friends, and those that died as nameless sex-crazed drug addicts. The anger inspired by this project isn’t out of an unwillingness to face a painful piece of our community’s past (if you really were all that close to anyone that died, you’d know that you face it and live with the effects everyday)- it’s because the project is being done in a completely inappropriate manner. When I first heard about the shooting, even though some of my best friends were at that house, my thoughts didn’t first go to them- my heart broke first for the person who found themselves in such a place to do something like this, the sadness, the loneliness they must have lived with for so long. You can’t be true to Kyle’s story if you aren’t illustrating accurate dynamics of the Seattle rave scene (who you have demonstrated you don’t understand by describing us on the kickstarter page as those with a “licentious lifestyle and exuberant sexuality (that) both fascinated and repulsed him”; thanks for at least giving us a heads up that you’ll be misrepresenting us and sexually exploiting our image in a most Hollywood~esque fashion) and his interactions with us. My anger isn’t just around how the rave community will be portrayed but around how Kyle will be portrayed. I’m angry for Kyle Huff too. How are you going to do such an intimate character study when his family, his brother have never and will never talk to the media and, most especially, people like you? We may know his general, overarching story as we do with many of these mass shooters, enough to connect him to this phenomenon of other shootings like his but from an academic perspective, you simply don’t have enough primary source material to warrant an accurate first person case study on this topic. Much of the information in the panel report about Huff that you’re drawing on was already second or third hand bits and pieces about him that was drawn from school records, newspaper clippings, employers from years ago, random people he met at the bar. Seattle is mature enough a city to realize when someone in their community is using the guise of “art” to exploit a tragedy for personal gain and to speak out against a project is framed in such a way that could potentially increase the occurrence of such tragedies. I don’t live there anymore but I’ll gladly come back to riot against this nonsense at some point. xo! :)
ps- hope Jagger keeps posting hilariously~ridiculously antagonistic crazytown comments under made up names, paying people to speak out for the project, loosing friends over pressuring them to fund the film (sadly, folks I know have the displeasure of knowing him!), creating fake kickstarters to fund his failing campaign. hope others can see through his sillyness.