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The Global Search for Education: Director Lucca Vieira Takes an Honest Look at the Parkland Shooting and Its Aftermath


This month, audiences can see Director Lucca Vieira’s film, Parkland: Stories From the Survivors, on the Planet Classroom Network YouTube Channel.  The film, Vieira’s debut work, was well-received at film festivals nationwide.

On February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz opened fire on students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring 17 others. Vieira’s documentary is told through the lens of five students who revisit the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting a year after the incident. These young people recount their individual experiences and memories of that day, and reveal how they have been profoundly affected by the event. The stories they share are harrowing and raise awareness of this tragedy’s far-reaching repercussions as well as of the urgent need for the prevention of gun violence.

The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Director Lucca Viera.

Lucca, one year after the tragic shootings on Valentine’s Day 2018, you created a film with 5 students whose lives were impacted at their high school in Parkland, Florida.  What stands out for you most as to how that day changed the lives of these young adults and their families?  

So the original idea for making Parkland: Stories from the Survivors came from really just witnessing the media attention that was being given to the Stoneman-Douglas Massacre in the months following. As well as all the social and political implications stemming from it. And noticing the lack of attention that was being placed on the students and staff who had actually survived the shooting. That really got me inspired and made me want to actually get out there and showcase stories that I felt hadn’t been heard before.

Probably the story that stands out to me the most was that of Julia Garcia, who I interviewed for the documentary. She lost two friends that day, right in front of her eyes in her classroom, and that’s not something you can recover from very easily. In the documentary, she says that at the time she was going through regular teenage problems, and only after the shootings is when she really came to realize how much bigger her problems could be.

How did you choose who to interview?  What was your selection process?

So at the time I was attending a high school which was around 20 minutes away from where the Parkland Massacre actually happened. Since I didn’t know anyone who actually went there, I had to heavily rely on friends of people who knew students who actually went there at the time. And my selection process pretty much throughout the documentary’s production was really based on who had the most to say.

What has been the community’s response to your documentary and how do you believe your film is helping to bring about positive change?

I think the response I received from the documentary was better than anything I could have ever imagined. People really seemed to have a strong emotional response to it. Obviously, given my subject matter but also how me and my crew tried to treat it. Even though looking back at it two years later, I often times just look at all the things I could have done differently. I really do think that in watching my documentary, people might be inspired to take an honest look at the shooting and its aftermath.

Final question: What are you working on currently?

So over the last year, I’ve worked on three separate feature screenplays. One of those scripts is a coming-of-age drama, very loosely based on real experiences that I had growing up in South Florida. I’m currently looking at trying to get the film financed and funded and all that good stuff.

Good luck and thank you Lucca!

C.M. Rubin and Lucca Vieira

Don’t Miss Director Lucca Vieira’s film, Parkland: Stories From the Survivors, now screening on the Planet Classroom Network YouTube Channel.

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