April Showers (2009 film)
|Directed by||Andrew Robinson|
|Produced by||Jenna Edwards
|Written by||Andrew Robinson|
|Running time||94 minutes|
April Showers is an American independent film inspired by the 1999 Columbine High School shooting and the days that followed. It is written and directed by Andrew Robinson, who was a senior at Columbine High School during the shootings.
The film opens in the aftermath of a school shooting. Several survivors have evacuated to the elementary school to wait for more survivors to arrive. A senior named Sean Ryan calls his friend Vicki at a coffee shop, who tells him that the shooter is Ben Harris, a friend of Sean's. Sean is left speechless.
The film then flashes back to the morning before the massacre. A student named Jason is being bullied and is struggling to pick up his books, but then Sean helps him. Sean reminds Jason that school is almost over and that he shouldn't let the bullying get to him. The two then go into their school, Jefferson High School; both are seniors there. It is a Monday, and Sean, his best friend Nick, and a few other students, are working on the school play. Sean learns that his friend Ben Harris, who works the lights, is absent, so Jason substitutes for him.
Later, during a lunch period, Sean talks to his math teacher, Martin Blackwell, about the crush he has on his friend, April Lauren. Mr. Blackwell tells him to let her know how he feels about her. Suddenly, the fire alarm rings, and everyone assumes that it is a senior prank. However as they leave, they hear low rumbling. Mr. Blackwell and Sean then see a group of students, running for their lives and screaming. Three gunshots are heard, and everyone immediately realizes that someone is shooting off a gun inside the school. Mr. Blackwell takes a group of students back into his classroom to hide, while Sean and Nick decide to flee with their lives, taking a panicked girl named Samantha (usually called "Sam") with them.
Meanwhile, Jason is left to fend for himself, but he does manage to make it out of the school, carrying out the body of a dead girl in the process. Mr. Blackwell eventually decides to take his group of students and flee, but as they do, the shooter shoots him in the back from behind. Mr. Blackwell tells the students to run, but one student, Jonathan, instead drags Mr. Blackwell back into the math classroom. Jonathan attempts to save his life, but after several minutes, Mr. Blackwell tells him to wait in the closet until help arrives. Sean, Nick, Sam, and a few other students including their friend Mike, stumble upon a suburban area where the injured (and dead) have evacuated. While searching for April, Sean runs into April's best friend Jessica, who tells him that the police are having people go down to the elementary school. Sean, Nick, and Mike then decide to go with him.
Meanwhile, a SWAT team enters the school through the main entrance. A single gunshot is then heard, implying that the shooter has committed suicide. While searching, the police find Jonathan, but Jonathan is shocked to learn that Mr. Blackwell has died of his wounds. Jonathan goes into hysterics and blames himself for not doing anything to save him. The film then returns to the beginning scene, where Sean learns that the shooter is Ben. Sean is shocked after learning this, but Nick takes it the hardest, refusing to believe that Ben would cause any trouble. The last group of survivors then arrives, and Sean searches frantically for April. However, a teacher, Sally Reedman, comes in and informs Sean that April is dead.
Over the course of the film, the film splits into two separate stories. Sean struggles to cope with April's death, and Jason learns that the security cameras at school captured him carrying the dead girl out, and that he is being hailed as a hero. Later, Sean learns that fourteen people, including Mr. Blackwell, April, and Ben, are dead. April's car is turned into a memorial, and a TV executive, Helen Mann, tries to help Jason cope with his dilemma by introducing him to Sam, believing she was the girl that Jason carried out, but Jason says that it wasn't her. The next night, as everyone learns Ben's motives for the shooting, Sean has a flashback about how when he was unable to tell April about his feelings for her. This flashback causing him to break a mirror, cutting his hand in the process. Sean's father later takes him home.
Meanwhile, Jason's situation spirals out of control, causing him to have a mental breakdown in the middle of a grocery store. He later reveals to Sean that he doesn't believe himself to be a hero because he feels that he is responsible for the death of Matt, a student who bullied him. Later, Nick is released from police custody after falsely being suspected of helping Ben plan the shooting. He says goodbye to Sean and he and his family move away. Meanwhile, Jason commits suicide, unable to take any more of his "fame".
At April's funeral, Jessica gives Sean April's diary. After Sally, Jessica, and Sean perform eulogies for their fallen friend, Sean goes to April's grave and starts crying, ending the film.
During the credits, the list of several school shootings from the past (including Columbine and Virginia Tech) are shown, along with the victims of the massacres. A message is then shown about how officers are now trained to set up a perimeter and move towards gunfire in a school shooting situation since Columbine.
- Sean Ryan — Kelly Blatz
- Jason Gates — Daryl Sabara
- April Lauren — Ellen Woglom
- Vicki — Janel Parrish
- Sally Reedman — Illeana Douglas
- Martin Blackwell — Tom Arnold
- Jessica — Rachel Lien
- Nick — Sean Durrie
- Jonathan — Bryan McClure
- Sam — Nina Rausch
- Sean’s Father — Mark Arnold
- Helen Mann — Brenda O’Brien
- Mike — William Grennan
- Benjamin Harris — Ben Chrystak
- Relief Worker — April Wade
- Villarreal, Yvonne (April 16, 2009). "Andrew Robinson's 'April Showers' focuses on survivors of Columbine". The Los Angeles Times
- "Still Learning 10 Years Later", Michael Dorn, Campus Safety Magazine, July/August, 2009
- "Columbine-themed indie film April Showers sets download records", Film Fetish, May 8, 2009
- "KLIN News Talk", January 5, 2011
- "DVD Review: April Showers", Cyril Pearl, Video Business, April 27, 2009
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- "Student turned filmmaker tells story of Columbine shootings in movie", Catholic News Service (via cathstan.org), April 24, 2009
- "'April Showers' Recalls Columbine Tragedy", Tina Mather, Neon Tommy, April 23, 2009
- "Columbine survivor directs film about tragic shootings", John Gleason, Denver Catholic Register, April 22, 2009
- "Columbine: Lessons Not Learned", Andrew Robinson, CNN Anderson Cooper 360, April 20, 2009
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- "Columbine Survivor Prepares for April Showers", Mark Hurley, MovieMaker Magazine, April 20, 2009
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- "Columbine Survivor's Movie Purges Emotions", Catherine Tsai, Associated Press (via CBS4Denver.com), April 17, 2009
- "CNN Newsroom: Andrew Robinson segment", Tony Harris and Nicole Lapin, CNN Newsroom, April 17, 2009
- "Andrew Robinson's 'April Showers' focuses on survivors of Columbine", Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times, April 16, 2009
- "No 'closure' for Columbine Class of 1999", Donna Leinwand, USA Today, April 16, 2009
- "The Lives Shaped by Tragedy", Stephanie Simon, The Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2009
- "Andrew Robinson", Nicole Lapin, CNN Young People Who Rock, CNN, April 14, 2009
- "Film about Columbine shootings stars former SSHS student", Margaret Hair, Steamboat Pilot & Today, April 11, 2009
- "Based on Actual Events", Christian Toto, Denver Magazine, April, 2009
- "Columbine 10th Anniversary Gathering Reveals New Untold Stories", Reuters, March 23, 2009
- "Columbine Revisited", Vicky Collins, Vicky Collins Online, March 21, 2009