Documentary about Virginia Tech shootings held at Reel

On the five-year anniversary of the shootings at Virginia Tech, students gathered to watch “Living for 32,” in rememberance.

Temple Film Collective hosted a screening Monday, April 16, of the documentary “Living for 32,” about the Virginia Tech shootings on April 16, 2007, on the five-year anniversary of the massacre.

Temple screened the film in the Reel Student Center Cinema, along with a live webcast with Goddard and members of the Brady Campaign, which held a question and answer session at George Washington University. 47 universities across the country simultaneously screened the film.

The event was sponsored by the React to Film College Action Network, a non-profit film initiative aimed at youth to inform “students about a current and critical social issue that requires their attention, sparking dialogue on campus about the issue, and then having each school’s Chapter Leader facilitate social action, helping students to make choices that will improve the world around them.”

“I think gun violence affects everyone on some level,” Kara Lieff, Temple’s representative for React to Film, said.

She said Temple students could take something away from the film and the questions it raises about gun ownership and campus safety, particularly when it comes to the North Philadelphia area.

“Given the reputation that our community has…there’s a huge disconnect between the students and the North Philadelphia community, and that’s sad,” Lieff, junior film and media arts major, said. “If [Temple students] see something wrong with that, they can do something about it.”

The film centers on Virginia Tech alumnus Colin Goddard, one of 17 wounded in the shooting. Goddard shares details of how he was shot four times by Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho, as well as his post-college work with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which advocates for the implementation of background checks and greater restrictions for gun ownership.

Five years ago, Cho shot and killed 32 people inside two university buildings before committing suicide. Goddard was wounded in a French class taught by Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, who was killed after attempting to barricade the door of the classroom.

Lieff said while she knew of the massacre when it was first reported on, she was unaware of many intimate details regarding the shootings and the shooter.

“When [Goddard’s mother Ann] said the worst thing is having a child who kills someone, just to hear someone say that out loud. That really hit me,” Lieff said.

Christine Boegemann, vice president of Temple Film Collective, said she was struck by the film’s description of firing a handgun. “When it was demonstrated how quickly you can replace the magazine in a gun, that surprised me,” Boegemann, a junior film and media arts major, said.

Amelia Brust can be reached at

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