GREENWICH - A documentary about the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting had its first public screening in Connecticut Saturday.
It debuted earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, but Saturday was the first time it played publicly in Connecticut, as part of the Greenwich International Film Festival.
The film, titled "Newtown," took three years to make and started filming five weeks after the mass shooting that killed 26 people inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The film follows the lives of three parents who each lost a child in the shooting. It focuses on the aftermath of the tragedy, following victims' families, first responders, teachers, neighbors and clergy.
"The message is one of a community moving through the most unthinkable tragedy and coming out," says the film's director, Kim Snyder. "One doesn't want to say 'on the other side' because there is no other side, but going through this journey with what we've seen is a lot of dignity and strength."
Two Newtown fathers profiled in the film said they took part in the documentary because they wanted people to understand the grief in their community.
Producer Maria Cuomo Cole calls the film an intimate look at a community that became media averse after being thrust into the national spotlight. She and Snyder say they built up trust with those involved to show a side of the story that hasn't been told yet.
"It's important that we all remember it and honor the surviving families," Cole says. "And really, it's a tribute to lives lost and an honest picture of the aftermath of gun violence."