On October 25, 2016, FOLCS showcased the documentary feature film, Newtown, a look at how the community of Newtown, Connecticut came together in the aftermath of the largest mass shooting of schoolchildren in American history.
FOLCS was joined for a post-screening conversation by director, Kim Snyder; emergency room physician at Danbury Hospital, Doctor William Begg; second grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary, Abbey Clements, and producer of Newtown, Maria Cuomo-Cole.
Maria Cuomo Cole
Maria Cuomo Cole is the award-winning producer of the feature documentary, Newtown, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. In her career, she has tackled such relevant subjects as gun violence, homelessness, veterans’ PTSD, Domestic Violence and sexual assault.
Most recently, she executive produced The Hunting Ground, directed by Kirby Dick. This Emmy and Peabody award winning film has been lauded as a powerful investigation into the epidemic of sexual assaults on college campuses. In 2012, Ms. Cuomo Cole worked with the same film team, executive producing the 2014 Oscar® nominated documentary, The Invisible War. This groundbreaking documentary about the epidemic of rape and sexual violence in the U.S. military, which served as a catalyst for federal legislation and enacted federal policy reforms.
Cuomo Cole’s 2011 documentary, Living for 32, about gun laws in America, was short listed for an Academy Award® and premiered at the 2011 Sundance FilmFestival. In collaboration with national communities of gun violence survivors, faith leaders, political leaders and nonprofits, the film has served as a catalyst for awareness and advocacy on the subject of federal and state legislative reform across the country.
Since 1992, she has led HELP USA, the national nonprofit leader in both homeless and permanent supportive service housing and employment programs for veterans, families and survivors of domestic violence.
Kim A. Snyder
Director & Producer
Director / Producer Kim A. Snyder’s most recent film, Newtown, premiered in competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, and was hailed in Entertainment Weekly as among the “Best of Sundance.” NEWTOWN will continue to screen at premiere festivals worldwide and is poised to have a theatrical release in fall 2016, with a national broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens in early 2017. Snyder’s last feature documentary, Welcome to Shelbyville was also nationally broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens. In 2007, Kim co-founded the BeCause Foundation to direct and produce a series of socially conscious documentaries which have won numerous awards with campaigns furthering the work of the social innovators they highlight. Kim’s award-winning directorial debut feature documentary, I Remember Me was theatrically distributed by Zeitgeist Films. In 1994, she was associate producer of the Academy Award-winning short film Trevor directed by Peggy Rajski. Kim graduated with a Masters in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and resides in New York City.
Dr. William Begg III
Dr. William Vincent Begg III is an emergency room doctor and lifelong resident of Newtown, Connecticut, where he lives with his wife and his three children. He received his training at the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and is Board Certified in Emergency Medicine. He has been working at Danbury Hospital since 1993, and is Vice Chair of Emergency Medicine as well as Vice Chair of the Board of Health of Newtown.
On December 14, 2012, Dr. Begg was the emergency department doctor on-duty at the local ER, as well as the local EMS Medical Director, for the patients from the Sandy Hook School tragedy.
After this tragedy, he testified in 2013 before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on proposed assault weapons ban. In 2014, he was the keynote speaker on the Sandy Hook Tragedy at the American Academy of Emergency Medicine Scientific Assembly in New York City.
Dr. Begg was awarded Doctor of the Year in Fairfield County, Connecticut in 2003, and EMS Doctor of the Year of Connecticut in 2016.
Teacher, Activist & Sandy Hook Survivor
Abbey Clements was a second grade teacher at Sandy Hook School for eleven years. She and her students survived the shooting on December 14, 2012, which took the lives of 20 first graders and six educators.
Since the shooting, Abbey has become a gun violence prevention activist; she is both a Survivor Fellow with Everytown for Gun Safety and a Survivor Engagement Lead for the Connecticut chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Abbey taught at Sandy Hook School for two and a half years after the tragedy and is now teaching 4th grade at another Newtown elementary school.