*Trigger warning: gun violence.
In a haunting, new film released on streaming services worldwide, social impact writer/director Anthony Meindl’s Where We Go From Here doesn’t shy away from hard subjects. In fact, it faces them head-on. After Meindl saw the horrific news of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, which killed 49 innocent LGBTQ people and allies, he was set on a path of action.
Like many, we question the current state of gun violence and ask ourselves what’s right and what can we do to mitigate the atrocities. Here in Colorado, we are no strangers to mass shootings with Columbine and the Aurora movie theater shootings in our history. Daily, we receive alerts from the local law enforcement agencies of shootings that are taking place in our neighborhoods.
Alert: Officers are investigating a shooting in the 5300 block of N. Atchison Way. Preliminary info: an adult male suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound following a verbal confrontation; suspects fled the area. Suspect descriptions & incident remain under investigation. pic.twitter.com/9536NdXfzd
— Denver Police Dept. (@DenverPolice) February 2, 2020
We are also aware that LGBTQ folks, specifically trans women of color, are among the highest at-risk population when it comes to senseless and life-ending violence. In 2019, advocates tracked at least 25 deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming folks occurred due to hate crimes and afflicted violence. Those are only the cases we know about.
In the first 33 days of 2020 alone, there have been more than 20 mass shootings documented by the Gun Violence Archive. A mass shooting is classified as four or more victims injured or killed excluding the subject/suspect/perpetrator in one location.
While lawmakers are at a stand-off when it comes to passing legislation that would limit or restrict the purchasing and possession of firearms, and thousands of militia members and pro-gun advocates take to the streets in protest, people like Meindl are taking to their art in order to force us to look at where we are today and what is, and isn’t, being done.
“I’m interested in telling stories that are reflections of the times we are living in from a
social-awareness perspective,” Meindl said.
In Where We Go From Here, the three-piece anthology film directly address the impacts of gun violence on the lives of ordinary people. Weaving together separate stories by the universal bounds of love, these relationships are then torn apart by real-life terrorist events.
Meindl is cautious, though to not reside within the violence and allows his art to pay homage to the lives who have already, and may someday, become impacted by living in a community stricken with the violent virus.
“Though I do show a bit of the argument that leads to greater violence in the Binghamton section of the film, I think at many levels, we’re all confronted on a daily basis with the reality of living in a violent culture,” he said. “The suggestion that something is going to happen is sometimes more impactful than actually seeing it happen. And it also suggests the inherent risks we all face in simply being human and alive today. I also wanted to be deeply respectful to those people who have lost their lives due to gun violence, while at the same time hopefully shedding light on an epidemic that, at least in America sadly, doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.”
Beyond tackling random acts of violence, the film delves into LGBTQ issues of acceptance, the trials and prejudices surrounding immigration, and the often-invisible matter of domestic abuse. With screenings across the U.S., Meindl hopes to keep the conversation going.
“I think the consciousness of a society can be reflected in how violent they are. I think that’s one takeaway. We seem so ‘sophisticated’ and yet a deeply entrenched reaction to things in our culture is often violent. I also was hoping to show, by weaving three stories together, that all of our lives on this planet are connected,” said Meindl.
Where We Go From Here is available now to stream on Hulu and for download on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Wolfe on Demand, Vudu, and FandangoNow.