Generation Lockdown examines the fallout of the American gun epidemic

By Stephen Weir

Children hunker down with their teacher during Generation Lockdown

The fear of gun violence in  schools in the United States is raising students’ stress levels to Code Red.  Generation Lockdown, a new 17-minute film about mass shootings in schools, will in all likelihood scare students, concern parents and make educators wonder if it could happen  in Canada.

Lockdown – the protocol that American schools follow when there is a threat to students – means locking and barricading classroom doors and windows. The students hunker down clutching their teacher and  waiting until the emergency is over.

“Lockdowns have become a hallmark of American Education and become a byproduct of the United States’ inability too curb its gun violence epidemic,” explains New York City based director Sirad Balducci. 

“We hope this film will incentivize parents to be the first in the line of defense by removing kids’ access to guns in the home and giving them tools to identify stress and anxiety caused by lockdown drills.” 

Caleb Brown stars in Generation Lockdown

Her 2020 film is short and not so sweet. It is a story seen through the eyes of Caleb Brown, an 11-year old New Jersey student.  A few minutes after being dropped off at school, a lockdown is called.  His best friend is in the washroom when the alarm is sounded. He spends much of his time in the film trying to save his pal’s life as a man in military gear stalks the halls, firing a high powered assault weapon.

This film is based on a short story by Caleb Brown. At the time he was a sixth  grader from a middle school in New Jersey. His story examines the post-traumatic stress disorder of repeated lockdown drills and the fallout of the American gun epidemic.

 Generation Lockdown is being offered to film festivals around the world. “We will partner with organizations that are working toward changing gun laws and improving school safety”

The film has already won the Award of Excellence at this year’s Global Shorts film festival in Los Angeles.

The Canadian  debut of  Generation Lockdown  is scheduled for September 16 at the Caribbean Tales Film Festival in Toronto as part of their Truth to Power themed evening. 

Also screening will be: Life and Death, a six-minute T&T film by Sonja Dumas; Fear, a US film by Joram Savion; K.I.N.G a US film by Rashad Frett; and the 2018 Jamaican film Flight by Kia Moses.

The 15th annual CaribbeanTales Film Festival runs from September 9 until October 2. This year, because of the virus shutdown, the CTFF will take place online with nine nights and more than 25 short and feature films of live stream entertainment.