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article imageOp-Ed: A little too soon? Newtown-related TV movie sparks controversy

By Abigail Prendergast     Feb 5, 2013 in Entertainment
Director Jonathan Bucari has landed himself in some hot water after proposing a film shoot in Ridgefield, Conn. which is less than 20 miles away from Newtown. Despite claims that the movie is not directly based on the event, it sparked controversy.
The massacre that shocked the Sandy Hook elementary school, Newtown, Connecticut, and the entire nation has spawned its fair share of controversies and dividing lines on subjects pertaining to gun control and overall security.
Even so, it can be universally accepted that the families impacted by the tragedy will need their time to heal from the emotional scars from the horrific shooting that took place on December 14, 2012. Unfortunately, it seems apparent some people find such a notion hard to realize and understand.
Case and point? A made-for-television feature which, while not directly documenting the events of Sandy Hook, is still creating quite the ruckus since it is not only related to the event, but also that its director was intending on shooting the movie in Ridgefield, Connecticut - only 20 miles southwest of Newtown, where 20 children and six adults were gunned down.
According to the Associated Press, director Jonathan Bucari let News 12 Connecticut know about his plans to visit Ridgefield this past Monday.
As superintendent of the Ridgefield school system, Deborah Low said, it is very "poor" timing on Bucari's part, even though the actual theme of his studio's planned production, entitled Illness according to Deadline, "focuses on a 13-year-old boy with mental illness and a fear of his parents after the shooting."
I could be wrong, but I get the distinct feeling that Bucari is operating on the idea that gunman, Adam Lanza, who ultimately took his own life after slaying 26 other people, had some sort of mental disorder which has been speculated by pretty much every media news outlet since the shooting occurred.
Whether Lanza was ill, or had some inert personality disorder, we will probably never know. Perhaps the movie synopsis is more indicative of parental ignorance over that their children are different from the rest of their peers, and thus commits to breaking through pre-conceived ideas about the whole thing, judging by film producer, Carina Rush's statement on Indiegogo, reports
The "tragic fate of Benjamin," who happens to be the mentally distraught young protagonist of the film, seems to be aimed at helping mental illness-stricken kids and their families rather than insulting them. Rush also said on Indiegogo that whatever earnings the movie gets at the film festival awards "will be used for the formation of a foundation to help the many families with children struggling with mental illness."
So, I guess the studio have their collective hearts in the right place; but for some reason they just couldn't wait longer than seven and a half weeks to keep it on the back burner.
According to his IMDb profile, the French-born Bucari graduated from Paris' ESRA film school in 2010, at the age of 24.
The profile makes no mention of Illness, though; instead it points out an upcoming film entitled, Max's Fantastic Adventures in addition to his 2011 TV pilot, The Sacrificial Lamb.
Jonathan Demian Bucari (whose middle name also serves as the title for his studio) hails from Paris, France, but currently resides in Brewster, New York - 20 miles west of Newtown and 12 miles northwest of Ridgefield. He wanted to use the town of 25,000 "because it has the same look and feel as Newtown."
At the end of the day, Bucari's attempt at a movie that really is not directly based on the events that took place at Sandy Hook, but still using it as a driving factor to have a mother and a father fear their teenage son, seems poorly thought out and awfully "insensitive" to the victims' surviving family members.
Maybe he should have found somewhere else to shoot it, like First Selectman, Rudy Marconi suggested. After all, the director could have invested some extra money into somebody who knows how to use Adobe After Effects.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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