Columbia Film Festival

A Normal Conversation

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Available June 22, 2021 4:00 PM UTC
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Two teenagers debate the issue of gun control on their walk home after leaving a memorial service honoring friends they lost during a school shooting.

Director Statement

On April 20, 1999, my high school friends and I were having conversations far from normal. Three states over, in Littleton, Colorado, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold massacred 12 students and one teacher in the halls of Columbine High school, The nation was shocked, and students throughout the United States experienced a unified sense of dread.

The shooting felt close to home, our academic home.

If the world was a giant game of Tag, we felt school was our home base. Of course, after that day, my peers and I realized home base no longer existed. The country grieved as we all mourned together, embracing one another as part of the healing process. We came out stronger, hopeful we’d never see another tragedy like Columbine again.

We were wrong.

Columbine wasn’t the beginning, and as we are all painfully aware, Columbine certainly wasn’t the end. From Virginia Tech to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, shootings are now so intertwined with students' lives that gun violence is synonymous with schools. Students discuss school shootings the same way they discuss the type of shows they binge on Netflix, just another part of our American lifestyle, and I’m afraid they will be for a very, very long time.

Director Biography - Gairo Cuevas

Gairo Cuevas is a cinematographer and editor for the creative content department at Pixar Animation Studios, where he helps his team put together many of the behind-the-scenes videos. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor's degree in cinema in 2007. After graduation, he freelanced for The CW Network in San Francisco balancing multiple deadline-intensive projects for broadcasting purposes using a variety of production and post-production tools. In 2011, he received an Emmy for his work as a director of photography on a promo campaign he shot throughout the Bay Area.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    7:43 seconds
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Gairo Cuevas
  • Screenwriter
    Gairo Cuevas
  • Producer
    Bianca Vidal, Gairo Cuevas
  • Filmmaker
    Gairo Cuevas
  • Cast
    Sofia Mineghino, Bella Cvengros