IMAX® Theatre


July 31, 2016 4:25pm - 6:40pm

Rating: NR
Suggested age: 13+
Featuring: Claire Wilson James, John "Artly" Fox, Ramiro "Ray" Martinez, Houston McCoy, Neal Spelce, Aleck Hernandez Jr.
Cast: Violett Beane, Blair Jackson, Chris Doubek, Louie Arnette, Josephine McAdam, Monty Muir, Seamus Ochoa-Bolivar
Director and Writer: Keith Maitland
Runtime: 82 min
Genre: Documentary, Animation

Join film-makers and survivors at the Bullock Museum for a special screening of TOWER, the award-winning documentary that traces the 1966 mass-shooting at the University of Texas at Austin.

Event Details

  • Film screening from 4:25 p.m. - 5:55 p.m.
  • Q&A following the screening with filmmakers, survivors, and eye witnesses of the shooting.
  • Attending Survivors: Claire Wilson James, John "Artly" Fox, Ramiro "Ray" Martinez, Neal Spelce, Aleck Hernandez Jr.
  • Attending Filmmakers: Keith Maitland, Megan Gilbride, Craig Staggs, Pamela Colloff

About the Film

On August 1st, 1966, a sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire, holding the campus hostage for 96 minutes. When the gunshots were finally silenced, the toll included 16 dead, three dozen wounded, and a shaken nation left trying to understand. Combining archival footage with rotoscopic animation in a dynamic, never-before-seen way, TOWER reveals the untold stories of the witnesses and survivors of America’s first mass school shooting, when the worst in one man brought out the best in so many others.

TOWER explores this untold history through the first-person stories of seven specific characters: two students who were shot that day, the two police officers who ended the siege, two civilians who inserted themselves into the story to provide aid to victims and police, and the radio reporter who broadcast live from the scene for more than an hour and a half, and whose broadcast was picked up nationally, bringing the events in Austin to listeners around the nation. Exploring the ways in which this tragedy affected our characters over a lifetime offers a window into the wide spectrum of human response and recovery. The importance of sharing one’s experience openly and creating community with fellow victims and witnesses is illustrated through the regrets and revelations of our characters over the course of fifty years.

Director's Statement

With the 50th anniversary of America's first school shooting approaching, I realized that the time to explore this untold history was now--and that through a creative approach, aimed at young audiences we could aim to explore themes of mental health, guns, public policy and media response to public tragedies all through the nuanced and personal lens of first-hand accounts. Growing up in Texas, I’ve had curiosity about the Tower shootings since my 7th grade Texas history teacher recounted her experiences as a student on campus that terrible day. Her first-hand visceral account stuck with me for over 35 years and it is still the direct inspiration for my approach. I realized that through the visually exciting medium of rotoscopic animation, there was a dynamic opportunity to turn this history on its head. By focusing solely on witness accounts, we could seamlessly weave recreated animated memories of those who were there with the ample archival footage from the day to create an action-packed telling that was both immediate and emotionally charged. Working with the survivors of this terrible day and re-framing this history has been my greatest professional privilege.

About the Filmmakers

Keith Maitland (Director/Producer/Editor) was drawn to the story of the Texas Tower shooting when he first heard about the shooting from an eye-witness--his 7th grade history teacher. A graduate of the University of Texas, Keith began researching for TOWER after the 40th anniversary of the shooting in 2006 and began production on TOWER in 2012. Keith Maitland is also the director/producer of A SONG FOR YOU: The Austin City Limits Story, and the Emmy-nominated, The Eyes of Me, a year-in-the-life of four blind teens, which broadcast on PBS's Independent Lens and was honored with a Barbara Jordan Media Award by the State of Texas. Director of documentary features, commercials, and TV series, his credits also include 7 seasons with NBC's Law & Order as an AD. Keith is a graduate of the University of Texas, the Director's Guild of America Trainee Program and the PBS Producer's Academy.

Megan Gilbride (Producer) is an Emmy-winning and Independent Spirit Award nominated producer of narrative and documentary films. She produced Lovers of Hate, a Sundance US Dramatic Competition premiere, released by IFC and nominated for a FIND Spirit Award. She produced the PBS-broadcast documentary Sunshine and co-produced Where Soldiers Come From, which won the Truer Than Fiction FIND Spirit Award, aired on POV and won a 2012 News and Documentary Emmy.

Susan Thomson (Producer) co-founded and co-produces FilmMatters, a dialogue that focuses on the use of film to encourage social change. She spent over 12 years as media consultant in Dallas, Los Angeles and London, with roles in strategy, operations and distribution at Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group, and the BBC. Susan Thomson graduated from the Business Honors Program at the University of Texas.

Luke Wilson (Executive Producer) has written, directed, and starred in numerous films since his breakout role in Wes Anderson's Bottle Rocket and is best known for The Royal Tenenbaums, The Family Stone, and Legally Blonde.

Meredith Vieira (Executive Producer) is founder and CEO of Meredith Vieira Productions and is host and executive producer of her own nationally syndicated daytime show, The Meredith Vieira Show, produced and distributed by NBC Universal. Previously, the 14-time Emmy winner was co-anchor of NBC’s Today, host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and moderator of ABC’s The View. Meredith has said that one of her toughest assignments ever was covering the shootings at Virginia Tech. She feels a personal connection to the student survivors as both a reporter and a mom.

Pamela Colloff (Executive Producer) is an executive editor at Texas Monthly and has written for the magazine since 1997. Her work has also appeared in the New Yorker and has been anthologized in Best American Magazine Writing, Best American Crime Reporting, Best American Non-Required Reading, and Next Wave: America's New Generation of Great Literary Journalists. TOWER is based in-part on Pamela's oral history "96 Minutes," which ran in Texas Monthly in 2006.

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