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Columbine grad making film about aftermath of shootings

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Farber, classmates confront lingering effects

By Ramsey Scott

A Columbine High School graduate is making a documentary about how the shootings on April 20, 1999, have affected the adult lives of her classmates.

Filmmaker Laura Farber was a freshman when two student gunmen killed 12 students and a teacher. Farber, who now lives in Minneapolis, hopes her film, “We are Columbine,” will change public perception of the school, as well as show how the horrific event affects the lives of former students today.

Farber interviewed several members of the class of 2002, including close friends who were with her on that day. The independent project, started in 2012, finished filming recently, but a long editing process remains.

“I was noticing changes in my behavior, and I wondered if anyone else was going through that,” Farber said. “I began to notice things about myself. Like if you walk into a room, you know where all the exits are. My husband doesn’t do that. At concerts, I’m in the back closest to the door or I need to be facing a door at all times. My husband noticed me doing that, and I didn’t have an explanation as to why until I started doing some digging into myself.

“It was a relief to accept it and to know where it came from.”

Farber said that after attending her 10-year reunion in 2012, she decided it was time to tell her school’s story.

“Before I kept thinking it was too soon and if anyone would want to talk about their experiences. Even my closest friends, we didn’t know what each of us went through,” Farber said. “Listening to the stories from the people in the film, a lot of their healing applies to any trauma. I lost a really dear friend of mine later on in life, and I’m using stuff that I heard in my interviews to get me through it.”

Gus D’Arthenay, a classmate of Farber who was interviewed for the film, said he is often asked about being at Columbine that day. While D’Arthenay has told his story to countless people, talking with a fellow survivor changed the way he thought about the shootings.

“Laura was digging into the emotional aspect of things,” he said. “After I was done, I had a feeling of that weight on my shoulders that I didn’t know was there until Laura pushed me to discuss the experience and understand what the experience did to me.

“I can say it was almost a sense of clarity and a moment where I finally felt like I understood who I was, and I was able to put my last 15 years on this planet post-Columbine into perspective.”

D’Arthenay, who is now a hip-hop musician performing under the name “Input,” said he had always shied away from writing music about the five hours he spent in the school the day of the shootings. But after telling his story, and with the encouragement of a music producer, he finally was able to write lyrics about the experience.

To find out more about the film or to find out how to contribute, visit www.wearecolumbinefilm .com.

Contact Ramsey Scott at 303-350-1035 or ramsey@evergreenco.com and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine. For updates, check www.ColumbineCourier.com.