‘How Many Lives?’ documentary opens in Jersey City on June 21

FILM STUDIES GUN VIOLENCE IN JERSEY CITY – A documentary tours Jersey City’s gun-prone sections.
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FILM STUDIES GUN VIOLENCE IN JERSEY CITY – A documentary tours Jersey City’s gun-prone sections.

JERSEY CITY – Directed by Duda Penteado and produced by Unshakeable Productions, “How Many Lives?” depicts numerous well-publicized episodes of gun violence, some that are local and deeply personal to the team producing the film, others that have occurred across the country. The team behind the documentary will hold a screening on Thursday, June 21, 7 p.m., at White Eagle Hall, 337 Newark Ave. in Jersey City.
The documentary explores the impact that gun violence has had on a local and national level through following the 25 high school and college students who played a role in the creation of a 180-foot mural that brings attention to this important issue. Some of the images the students chose to depict in the mural include victims from the Pulse Night Club shooting, Columbine, and the Aurora movie theatre, as well as the murders of Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, and Jersey City Police Officer, Melvin Santiago.
“These students provide a powerful look into the issue of gun violence throughout our nation, and reminds us that this is an issue that impacts us all,” said Mayor Steven Fulop. “I am proud of the work of these incredible and thought-provoking students, as well as the production team and director Duda Penteado who brought this documentary to life. I encourage everyone to join us on Thursday to experience the tragedies of gun violence through the eyes of these students.”
Through the artistic process in creating the mural, the artists’ discussions about their creation and its impact on them, as well as the observations and experiences of those interviewed, the viewer is asked to approach the question of what led to the emergence of an American gun culture and why have we been unable or unwilling to solve this most pressing social, political, and human tragedy.
“A great work of art is never based on a simple idea, but it has the power to present and reflect on several important issues. This is exactly what is happening this year of 2017 during the Jersey City Summer Works: Public Art Program where a group of 25 art students decided to embrace and explore the difficult topic of the gun culture throughout the United States,” said director Duda Penteado.
The documentary takes us on a metaphorical train ride throughout Jersey City on the Hudson County Light Rail system, where each station stop represents a significant phase in the artists’ exploration of gun violence. In this journey, they not only discuss their views and feelings, but also provide insight by influential policymakers and citizens of Jersey City; insights into the history, political dynamics, and everyday implications of an American gun culture.
Tickets for the screening are $10 and can be purchased at https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1696113?utm_medium=api