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An emotionally gripping and visually stunning account of the first American mass school shooting, in Texas in 1966, blending archive, animation and contemporary interviews.

Documentary 2016 82 mins Not rated

Director: Keith Maitland



Mass campus shootings have become a tragically familiar occurrence in American life. But this wasn’t always the case. This lethal narrative can be traced back to an infamous act that took place in Austin on 1 August 1966. On that sweltering day, a sniper at the top of the University of Texas Tower opened fire on anonymous passers-by, holding the campus hostage for 96 deadly minutes. The carnage left 16 dead, over 30 wounded and a nation traumatised.

Director Keith Maitland masterfully combines archival footage with dynamic rotoscopic animation and personal testimony to depict the experiences and emotions of eyewitnesses and survivors with gripping immediacy, intercutting multiple perspectives to construct a richly engaging ensemble piece that blends suspense with journalistic enquiry. The result is an award-winning film that marvels at how the worst in one human being can bring out the best in so many others.