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BEN COCCIO - Confronting Columbine in Zero Day

  "Zero Day could never have been made in Hollywood. Elephant [Gus Van Sant‘s Columbine-inspired film], I don't think, could even have been made in Hollywood. The larger studios would never touch it. Not before. Not after. Maybe in a long time from now. I remember watching Columbine on television and thinking to myself, ‘God, someday somebody's going to make some awful Columbine epic and it's going to stress the heroism of the day, however they find it.' Not that there wasn't heroism, I'm not trying to make light of the people that did heroic things in real life, but that, to me, is unfortunately not the significant story. It is a significant story, and someone could tell that, definitely. But I think the thing that America is culturally reeling from is, how could this happen? Why would this happen? And what, if anything, can we take away from this?"

 This is a chilling film.

"I think so too. I take that as a compliment, although I understand that it's a disturbing movie and tough to watch. But I think the subject matter is disturbing and tough to watch. So I think if the movie is chilling, I think it's doing its job."

What was your first response to Columbine? Did you see the live news coverage?

"That's something I have thought a lot about over the past few years. I mean it's definitely something when there's a lull in what's going on that I come back to. I think, in a sense, my aim, my desire, was to make a movie that translated that initial shock of feeling that I had when I watched Columbine on television. Because I did watch it on television, like a lot of people did in America. That's what I really wanted to translate. At first, when I saw these events unfold, I had no idea what was going on. And then the more I found out about it in subsequent coverage, the more I felt like I did that first day, which was that I didn't know what was going on. And no matter how much I knew, no matter much I tried to inform myself on the subject matter, it felt like I was getting even farther away from getting my heard around what exactly had happened and why. To me that was kind of the most significant reaction that I had to the whole thing, and that was what I tried to encapsulate in the film.

"The decision of when to make a film about it, I don't want to sound like a vulture, but it was more or less immediate. I knew it was something that I wanted to tackle with film, but that's only because I'm a filmmaker, and I get inspiration to make films about things that, you know, I haven't made up my mind on yet, or I haven't been able to make up my mind yet. I have that luxury because I am an independent filmmaker, and I definitely wasn't answering to anyone making this film. So I just went off and did it. Normally speaking, if I was a little more of an entrenched filmmaker, it might have been more difficult for me to do exactly what I wanted to do. That's the one luxury of being an independent filmmaker."

Did the fact that you are  an independent filmmaker give you the freedom to tackle this particular subject matter, because I spoke to Eli Roth, the director of Cabin Fever and Hostel, who said he had attempted to make a film about kids and guns in Hollywood, and no one would touch it.

"Zero Day could never have been made in Hollywood. Elephant [Gus Van Sant‘s Columbine-inspired film], I don't think, could even have been made in Hollywood. The larger studios would never touch it. Not before. Not after. Maybe in a long time from now. I remember watching Columbine on television and thinking to myself, ‘God, someday somebody's going to make some awful Columbine epic and it's going to stress the heroism of the day, however they find it.' Not that there wasn't heroism, I'm not trying to make light of the people that did heroic things in real life, but that, to me, is unfortunately not the significant story. It is a significant story, and someone could tell that, definitely. But I think the thing that America is culturally reeling from is, how could this happen? Why would this happen? And what, if anything, can we take away from this?"

Why, though, do you think the subject of kids with guns is so taboo in Hollywood? Is it politics? Is it a question of taste?

"Speaking as a filmmaker and not as an expert, I think about that too. When you look at the statistics of let's say just violence in schools, strictly speaking the vast majority of it isn't like this. The vast majority of violence and kids getting killed in schools happens in poor neighbourhoods, urban areas, and with people that mainstream America doesn't tend to pay attention to all that often. Which I think is very interesting, when a lot attention gets paid when it happens in a white, suburban, upper-middle class community. That's a big part of it. Possibly one of the reasons that makes it taboo is maybe that people still want to endorse that lifestyle and hope that it is as untouchable as they think it is. Maybe that's a little overdramatic.  But it's a good question, why is it so taboo?

"I think also, on a different tack, when you're talking about Hollywood and you're talking about large studios and lots of money, taboo is more about, ‘Can they sue us?' It's more, ‘We're a little concerned about making a movie about this emulatable activity, and will someone go and shoot up their school and blame my studio's movie, and then I'll get sued and I'll lose my job.' It's also a question of, 'Well, we're a large studio, we're going to put X-amount of dollars into making this movie, do we want to make a movie that ends with a double suicide? Probably not. We'll make something a little more upbeat.' It's like the taboo of the marketplace.

"But, you know, socially and politically speaking, the subject is kind of taboo in the sense that it seems like it's possible to get an open dialogue about it that doesn't immediately go into someone's agenda. And if it doesn't go into someone's agenda, it's like people don't even want to talk about it in a meaningful way. That was another thing that I thought was frustrating. I didn't think there was a meaningful kind of cultural discussion about this kind of thing, after it happened. I think making a movie that would maybe shock people and dismay them, could help. I don't know if it would really work, but it could help."

I was looking in the DVD of Bowling for Columbine and someone from Littleton said that there had been no debate initially, but that Moore's film had put it on the agenda.

"Bowling for Columbine opened up a type of debate about it, definitely. The only problem is, Michael Moore being a polemicist for a certain spectrum of the political community, it sort of empowered a group of people with a certain viewpoint in this country to say, ‘Yeah, we were right'. But it didn't necessarily open up a dialogue between two sides or anything like that. Not that it would necessarily, in my personal opinion, matter if it did as far as those two sides arguing about it as a political or social event. Because I don't know if the answers are there. I don't know where they are, to be honest with you. But my gut feeling is that it's less of a political nightmare and more of an existential one."

With Columbine, do you think that one of the reasons for its impact was because it was played out on television?

"Oh, there's no question. That was a large inspiration on the narrative conceit and technique that I eventually settled upon. You know, the whole influence that TV culture has on an event like this and how we see it, how they see themselves, how it sort of magnifies an event. It's a significant event, undoubtedly, but it magnifies it in a way that's not necessarily healthy. There's something so interesting to me about this idea that if you want to be infamous, if you do something totally unpredictable, totally senseless, totally unnecessary, and you just try to do the most awful thing you can, you'll get covered in the news. You can blame the news for that, you can blame the news media for that, you know? They're going to cover this awful event. But then again, it's kind of like blaming a leopard for his spots. That's what they do. So it all feeds on each other. I felt to talk about that, at least to allude to that, I would adopt this narrative conceit of these people, in a sense, making their own TV show, documenting it in this reality television kind of way. They know that eventually someone's going to watch it.

"The really queer thing is, the kids from Columbine did actually videotape some preparation for the massacre. Significantly, they recorded suicide notes, they recorded themselves target practicing, this kind of thing, and they just started releasing some of this footage. Last month they released some footage they took of themselves in a field target practicing, and I looked at them doing that and compared it to the scene that I made up, and the similarity was so uncanny I was, like, shocked. I was shocked because, in a sense, it is that simple as I imagined it to be. It was unsettling."

How did you go about creating Cal and Andre, the shooters, because I read some of the Secret Service's report on school shootings and they concluded that there was no one profile for school shooters.

"My approach was to take what I knew from research about Columbine and then use certain things from that that I knew were salient. Not character traits so much as events. For instance, one of them going to their prom two nights before they go and shoot up their school. There's something undeniably dramatically interesting about that, so I would take an event like that.

"But when I created the characters, not to sound too creepy, I basically tried to write them on my own as much as I could, without too much input from research or from too much about a specific school shooter. I tried to imagine myself back at high school and if I had set upon this course, not necessarily why I would set upon this course, but what I would say about it. You know, what I would say about it to my partner that I was going to do this with. What I'd say about it to my friends. What I would about it to my family. What I would say about it when Cal is doing his video diary segments. I kind of split my personality into two to do Andre and Cal, and I wrote them that way. Then I met the two actors and they fitted the two poles that I had written for the characters perfectly, and were better than what I had written. They were a little more extreme than what I had written, which I thought was great. They improvised a lot on the script and used their high school experiences and lives to fill in the emotional truth, so to speak."

How did you feel about high school when you were there? Were you part of the in-crowd, for instance?

"That's an interesting question. The funny thing is I went to see Elephant, obviously, after it came out because I was very to see how another filmmaker, especially one I admire, takes on this same subject matter. The first half of Elephant, when he's just following people through high school, that's how high school felt. I wasn't in the in-crowd, but I was in my crowd. In my school there was a bunch of cliques and groups, and there definitely wasn't a group of people that were the most powerful group in school an that tormented everyone. Everybody from every group would pick on the weakest and the most infirm, and the ones that seemed to be vulnerable. Everybody was vulnerable, so it was like a free for all. I was picked on, but it was never so significant or pervasive that I felt trapped, because I had my own group of friends. Plus I had friends at other high schools. I think I had a little bit of distance from that environment.

"But not to put too fine a point on it, I do remember the kids that did get the worst of it, and to this day, they're not the kids that would do something like this. I think they tend to internalise their suffering. Whereas these kids, whatever they went through, whether they were picked on or not, or whatever the social reality of their life at high school, they externalised whatever kinds of problems they had. That's a key to it. But, yeah, I definitely put my adolescent turmoil and frustration that everybody has, and tried to invest that into the script. But a lot of help came from my actors, my two leads, in deciding to use real high school kids and letting them fill in the blanks, so to speak."

From talking to your actors, do you think that something has changed at school? USA Today reported that 2003/2004 is shaping up to be one of the most violent school years in a while.

"Yeah, I saw that too. And again, I do think chiefly that is happening in urban areas and among people who the mainstream media don't care too much about when they die. It's sort of expected when they're violent with one another, which is really depressing. But I just went to my 10-year high school reunion a week ago, and it was interesting because Zero Day got released in America in September 2003, so it was interesting to compare hanging out with these two high school kids and other high school kids while making the film, with my 10-year school reunion.

"The feeling I got was no, it hasn't really changed all that much, especially in middle-class suburban areas. It's the same feel and the same mood. I think in those areas it's like a stasis, like this weird Dr. Who thing, where going into a high school is like going into the Tardis, and it's like it's not even part of this dimension or whatever, and it just never changes. It just stays the same forever. I think it is significant that this is shaping up to be a violent school year, but I kind of think the interesting thing about that is it's happening in a place that isn't going to get a lot of coverage, you know what I mean?"

Why, though, do you get the feeling this is happening? Is there more stress post-9/11? Are people more fearful now?

"Well, I remember after 9/11, we were just finishing up shooting Zero Day, and we were shooting the scene where Cal and Andre record their suicide note. All of a sudden we realised that there was an interesting similarity between what these kids at Columbine, on a very small scale, did in Littleton, Colorado, and what the hijackers did on 9/11. Of course with the hijackers there's a religious, political, and social agenda that they are willing to die for and that everything is going to get hung on, and that world events are going to turn on. But the decision is very similar to obliterate yourself with a statement. The statement at Columbine doesn't really seem to be germane to any kind of political or social issue. The statement of 9/11 does, but I would urge people to look closely at that . Look closely at the suicide bombers and those type of people, because there's this willing self-destruction that I think is unique to our moment in history. I'm not exactly sure what it all means, I guess we'll have to wait and see. But I do find it interesting, the parallels there. I think it's definitely had a huge effect on the way we look at ourselves as a culture in America."

In the film you keep out view what might be motivating these kids. Cal seems to have a death wish and, although more reserved than Andre, actually seems to be the one who is driving things.

"One of the things I wanted was to have people have different reactions to who was ‘in control'. There's a lot of people who say, ‘Andre is the one who is obviously setting the tone,' and then a lot of people say, ‘No, Cal is the one, he's more crazy and he's the one who is more in control.' And then there are also people who say it's kind of equal. That was something I was really was that people would have their own opinion on who was in control, and I tried to create a situation where the relationship between the two is the main character of the plot."

I ended up feeling that Cal would have been attracted to Andre because he saw in him someone who could make this happen, and who could help him achieve his supposedly meaningful end. You know, help make his suicide meaningful.

"Yeah, that's a very interesting interpretation and one that I wouldn't necessarily disagree with. I definitely did try to obfuscate the basic reasons why something like this would happen. I felt that if I would try to spell out why this would happen, it would just wouldn't be compelling as a movie anymore. You could just say, 'Oh, okay, well it's because of that. We'll just try to avoid that in future.' The characters would have just seemed so flat in a sense. Also, the more I tried to learn about these events, the more you find that there's no moment where you can say, ‘Okay, that's why they did it. I mean even when they say, ‘Oh, it's because of this,' you say, can I really trust this person? Can I really trust that that is the reason?'"

I thought it was interesting that Andre says in his suicide note that one of the reasons why he did this was because kids at school called him a ‘fag' for wearing a JC Penney shirt. Because when we see the boys in the limo after the prom, they're all calling each other gay. It's just part of the boys' banter.

"The limo scene is another kind of interesting Rorschach Test scene, where some teenagers I have seen the film with will say, 'Yeah, you can totally tell Cal's getting picked on,' and then others will be, 'No, he just not their friend. They don't hate him or anything like that, it's just that he's not in their group and it's awkward for everyone.' People react to that scene differently, and I think that's the point. It's all a question of perspective.  Obviously, from Cal's perspective, it's too late anyway. He's detached from this group and he's making himself more detached. Just lightening up and becoming their friends wouldn't necessarily avert some tragedy. It's not that simple. But, yeah, these social dynamics are unavoidable and unfortunately maybe they can have these random events we didn't want and didn't expect."

One of the things that seems to me could shock a lot of people is the amount of detail you go into about making bombs and re-configuring guns. Did it ever worry you that this be used as a primer by kids intent on this kind of action?

"People have said that to me and asked me about my concerns about that. I have two answers. My first answer is always to be quite honest. Everything that's shown in that movie, maybe it seems like too instructive but if you think about it, the kind of stuff they're doing is obvious and simple. For instance, making the bomb that thy make, the information about how to make one of those bombs is readily available to anyone who wants to make one of those bombs on the internet or anywhere. The really terrifying thing is the will to make it and use it. That's the kind of thing I don't think most people have, thank God. I really don't. I don't think most people watching the movie will say, ‘You know what? I think I'm going to make one of those and try it out.' If they did do that, I think it would too easy to say, ‘They did it because they saw it in a movie.'

"But on a personal note, there have been times when I have been concerned. You make a movie like this and you wonder to yourself, is it right to even investigate this? I guess I decided it was and if I was going to do it, I was going to do it all the way. Again, the other thing about it being a primer, one thing to remember here is that the ultimate decision that these guys have to make, which is to live a double life and not be honest with their families, so to speak, and keep this clandestine plan secret, is a decision to betray the only people in their lives that they can definitely say love and trust them unconditionally. They may not feel that way at the moment in high school, but their families, as I depict them in the movie, are not terrible or abusive. So they have made this decision to betray their trust. I don't think that's necessarily an easy decision to make. And I think if you're going to make that decision, you'll figure out a way to do it. You won't need my movie to figure it out."

This raises the question of a filmmaker's social responsibility. What responsibility do you feel you have as a filmmaker, making this kind of movie? Because there is that bit in the film where the boys burn their CD‘s, DVD's, etc, because they don't want people to say they influenced them. They're basically saying there is no connection. But can we be sure?

"Everything that those characters say, I hope that someone watching the movie realises at some point you can't take everything they say at face value, because plainly they're not trustworthy people. Especially when they're talking to the audience, because those characters are putting on another persona, so to speak, and they have a different attitude to the audience when they address them. Sometimes they're confronting the audience, sometimes they're conspiratorial with the audience, and sometimes they're confessional with the audience. So when they say it's not because of any of this, personally I agree; I don't think TV or movies make people go and do things. But just because they say that, it doesn't mean it hasn't had any affect on them.

"For me, what's my responsibility as an artist? Well, I think my responsibility is to the truth, and I wanted to make something that was as truthful as I could make it. I felt that required including details on how they went about hiding this from people, as characters, not necessarily germane to applying it to future situations, but as characters in this movie I think it needs to be shown what lengths they're going to and to what lengths they're going to keep it from others. That is what I had reasonability to as an artist. Also, I take full responsibility for my work. I can't take responsibility for other people's actions but I have a feeling, I do have a feeling, it's not he kind of movie that someone would watch and would then feel excited by to go do something themselves. Simply because of the finality of the ending, it doesn't appear exciting as I think it would in their fantasies."

Yes, I think it's interesting that we see the shooting at the end on CCTV because up until then we have been up close and personal with them. We realise watching the brutality of their actions that we really don't know them at all.

"Exactly! That was a big part of it. They're in control of the narrative up to that point. It's a first person, very subjective narrative, because they're sort of setting the tone of what you see. They even say as they get out of the car, 'The last thing anyone will see is us walking into the school and that will be it'. But that's not the last thing that people are going to have to deal with. We switch to this other perspective, the sort of God-like perspective that surveillance cameras are, and we see them in a totally different light. We have to realise that however we may have even wanted to sympathise with them, even on a very small level beforehand, it's too complex and we can't. We obviously didn't really know them, just as, in a sense, their parents didn't really know them. And now we're going to have to deal with their actions and sort of have to reconcile now what we think about them? That was the whole point for me, to show that scene."

The final image of the film is two burning crosses. What did you want us to take away from us because on the one had it is an iconic image of hatred, but it also suggests that understanding will not be possible if such an act just breeds more violence. It's pretty loaded with possible meanings.

"I'm always surprised when I read a review of the film and the writer refers to this totally useless coda. Now I can see why some people might think it's totally useless. But that's actually the first scene I wrote and, to me, the key to the whole movie. First off, its slightly based on real life. After Columbine, someone came along and erected a cross to everyone victim, including the two shooters. I was Catholic but I'm not a religious person, and to me that is the definition of a Christian attitude. That someone would have enough mercy for these two monsters to raise a cross to them. That is touching to me. Someone also planted a tree for every victim including the two killers, and in the middle of night someone, I think it was a relative of a victim, came and chopped down two trees. You can't blame them for not wanting these people to be eulogised. But at the same time there is an interesting dichotomy to this action where it's nice that someone has shown the mercy and ability to eulogise these two killers. And then it's understandable that these people in the middle of the night would come and chopped down these two trees. There's something so tense about that whole little moment, that I felt I had to translate that into the film, too. I combined it by using the crosses and having them burn the crosses, because I wanted to end on these two flaming crosses, first off because I think it is interesting to subvert this normally racist image of a burning cross and all the connotations we have with it, and change it into something different. It's like a dual image. Now it's like these two crosses are them, and now they're going to burn through history as these sort of enigmatic symbols of hatred that we don't fully get. And on top of that, you know, we can't really blame these guys for coming in and vandalizing these crosses. Feelings are high at this point. It's just after this massacre. But there's also a sort of uncomfortable similarity between what they're doing in the middle of the night and what Andre and Cal were doing in the middle of the night."

That's what struck. It's also that they turn these crosses into a symbol of hatred rather than debating why something like this could have happened.

"Yeah! Now we're going to take the only symbol of mercy we have for these two people and destroy it, and we're going to forget that no matter how bad these two people might have been, they are worthy of some compassion and sympathy. They're definitely worthy of investigation."

Andre's father's house has a whole armoury of guns. Is this a true picture of the number of weapons that a household might own?

"Well I can tell you it is as true as my family, because those guns were taken straight from my dad's house. I grew up in a small town in upstate New York, not far from the capitol of New York, which is a medium-sized city, and people hunted, they still do, and many families would have like a shot gun or a couple of guns in the house. One thing we used to do when I was a kid, like a hick pastime, was go out into a field and we'd target shoot. There was never anything threatening about it. You never felt like there was some kind of menace involved with these guns, like they were inherently evil. It never crossed my mind to do anything with them that was bad or evil, but the guns themselves definitely had a fascination for me. You know, that is a reality of life in that kind of community that yeah, you can buy guns and people have them. If someone wants to make a point of using them for something that we all agree is beyond the pale, it's easy for them to get them.

"Now do I think we should get rid of all guns? I don't think it would be that simple. I think that the vast majority of violent deaths that happen with guns probably happen with people who are probably committing other crimes at the same time, and it might not impede them too much to know that a gun is illegal. So I don't know.

"Again, I definitely didn't want to make any kind of political stance in the movie like we should get rid of guns. But just like making a pipe bomb is a reality of this situation, the fact that there are guns in the house is also a part of that reality. So to ignore them would have been unfair, I felt. I just wanted to be honest."

Absolutely. It was the number of guns I was shocked by.

"[Laughs] They take some from Andre's dad and some from their cousin and combine these arsenals. Not that it makes it any less significant. Yeah, there's a lot of guns."

Did it make you feel safer having guns in the home, which is one of the NRA's arguments for owning them?

"Not at all. When I was a little kid, dad mostly had a .22, which is a target rifle, a shot gun and another rifle, and they were all mainly for hunting. There was no thought of home defence or anything like that. I remember my parents got divorced and my dad moved to a different house, and at one point he decided to buy a very powerful hand gun for home defence, and I remember thinking to myself, 'Jesus Christ, I'm the one who's going to get shot'. I'd be coming home late one night and I'd be looking down the business end of that thing. Of course that never happened, but I never in any way felt safer having guns in the house. I didn't feel unsafe as a child, but as I got older and started thinking about it, I thought, yeah, I'd been raised to have respect for them and taken gun safety courses when I was a little kid, and like hunting courses, so I knew how to handle them. But yeah, you don't feel any safer. It kind of gets to this ridiculous extreme where what are you going to do in the middle of the night when someone comes into your house and you're going to shoot them, now you go to make the decision to kill somebody. I don't know, it just doesn't seem any safer."

Do you think that Cal and Andre would go ahead with their plan even if guns weren't available?

"My gut feeling as far as the characters I created in my movie go is yeah, I think they'd do something. If they couldn't get their hands on guns, they'd probably just make a larger bomb. As far as kids in real life, the ones that I based them on, I think yeah, they probably would have done something. I think they were too far gone at that point and they would have done something without guns."

You were on a panel with Michael Moore and Tom Mauser, the father of one of the Columbine victims. Tell me about that.

"That was a very interesting situation. It was at the Denver Film festival 2002 and it was Michael Moore, myself, Tom Mauser and the director of another movie, Home Room . Tom Mauser is a fascinating guy. Here's this guy who lost his son in this way and he then went on to campaign against the law in Denver which is the gun show loophole law, which was a loophole where someone could get a gun at a gun show without meeting the legal criteria in the state of Colorado like they would normally. That was a really good thing he did and he got that done. But he had  a very complex view of the situation. He didn't want to jump on the bandwagon that violent movies made kids do this. And before the panel discussion he watched all the movies that were going to be discussed, and he read a statement endorsing them all in the sense that it's a good thing that they were made, it's a good thing people and artists and filmmakers are exploring this subject matter, we should all explore this subject matter. What he thought of my film I don't know. What he thought of my film I don't know, but if I had to guess I would think my film probably distressed him. But as I say, he endorsed these films across the board, which was a brave thing to do.

"Michael Moore arrived late and before he got there it was a really lively debate about violence in the media and what effect that has on something like that. He didn't feel that it had a significant effect, or at least that's the impression I got from what he said. And then when Michael Moore got there, he's a celebrity and he kind of outshone the rest of us. So it kind of turned into the Michael Moore routine, which is enjoyable and fine and totally understandable."

You use your actors' names in the film as Gus Van Sant does in Elephant. What lay behind that decision?

"I was strictly ripping off the neo realist technique, like Italian neo realism, where an actor is just a guy you grab off the street and everything that's real in their life that helps create the realism of the scene, you use. I knew I was going to be using their home footage from when they were kids, or I was going to try to, anyway. And I knew that I was going to have scenes where they were going to be talking to their parents and their families and interacting with them. Also other high school kids they would come into contact with, who weren't necessarily cast or anything like that. It was convenient. It made sense. It was easier that way. I think it also helped them to get into the dichotomy that I was trying to describe here of these are normal kids but they're not normal kids. You know what I mean? Be yourself but not just yourself."

Did they ever feel the line blurring between themselves and the characters, or did you ever perceive it blurring?

"Definitely. I think Cal more than Andre, because he had more of an intuitive approach to it. Andre is like an actor's actor. But I definitely was the lines blurring. As time progressed and we kept on doing the scenes, they really kind of created these characters and it was a pleasure to watch. I think Cal was exorcising a lot of stuff by doing it. It was interesting."

How disturbing was that for them?

"I don't think it was disturbing at all. I think it was something they enjoyed and something that helped them find a personal understanding of Columbine and related events, which I think they wanted. Because when we made this movie, they were a junior and a sophomore in high school, and Columbine had happened a couple of years or three years before that. I remember, you know, Cal was one of the many kids after Columbine who came into his middle school and said he was in the Trench Coat Mafia and he was going to blow up the school, and got suspended and counselled and all this stuff, and maybe was a little bit of an overreaction. I think it was good for him to play with it and deal with it in his mind. I think it was exorcising."

For yourself, has it given you a new perspective on Columbine? Because it does seem that one of the reasons why you wanted to do it was to better understand what happened.

"It did and it didn't. I think making a movie out of something that is real is a way to compartmentalise it so that you can work on it, or come to terms with it, even if you can't really understand it. So making this movie, yeah, definitely had that affect on me. But I still don't have any answers. I'm glad that I went through this and I think it was good as a first movie to make because it can't be this controversial every time. So I think it was the right time to do it."

[Ben Coccio was interviewed in 2004]


NB: The UK version has been cut by 3m 18 secs to gain an 18 certficate. The cuts were compulsory, says the BBFC's website. "A cut was required to remove a detailed description of building explosive devices and avoiding capture."