Tower (2016 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Keith Maitland|
by Pamela Colloff
|Music by||Ossei Essed|
|Edited by||Austin Reedy|
|Distributed by||Kino Lorber|
Tower is a 2016 animated documentary film directed by Keith Maitland about the 1966 shootings at the University of Texas at Austin. The film premiered on March 13, 2016, at South by Southwest, and received a limited release by Kino Lorber in the United States on September 28, 2016.
On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman rode the elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower in Austin, Texas 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 what had happened. Archival footage is combined with rotoscopic animation in a dynamic, never-before-seen way to illustrate the action-packed untold stories of the witnesses, heroes and survivors.
The film is based on a 2006 Texas Monthly article by Pamela Colloff, "96 Minutes." Maitland originated from New Jersey and attended UT Austin. Maitland read the article in 2006 and asked Colloff to have lunch with him. He suggested making a film about the incident during the meeting. Colloff became one of the executive producers of the film. Various University of Texas students worked on the film as interns.
Early on Maitland realized that he and his team likely would not be able to film reenactments on the University campus and so they decided to opt for an animated aesthetic " to show the geography of the campus"  Footage was mostly shot in Maitland's backyard and then animated by production company Minnow Mountain who was aided by pictures Maitland had shot around campus. Over 100 people were interviewed including at-the-time media members, police, students, and faculty, who had witnessed the events, but a few selective interviews were used.
On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 100% based on 76 reviews, with an average rating of 8.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Tower probes into a painful chapter of American history with sensitivity and grace -- and revisits its events from a valuable new perspective." Justin Chang of Variety wrote that the film is "a uniquely cinematic memorial that will be in demand from programmers and buyers as the 50th anniversary of the shootings approaches."
- "Tower (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
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- Colloff, Pamela. "The Reckoning." Texas Monthly. March 2016.
- Ricke, Claire. "Documentary depicts UT Tower shooting marking historic moment in Austin." KXAN. March 14, 2016. Retrieved on March 31, 2016.
- Sliva, Vanessa. "'Tower' shows 1966 shooting from ground." The Daily Texan. May 1, 2014. Retrieved on March 1, 2016.
- http://kxan.com/2014/04/21/tower-documentary-gets-boost-from-ut-alumni/ Tower documentary gets boost from UT alumni]." KXAN. April 21, 2014. Retrieved on April 1, 2016.
- Laffly, Thomas. "Director Keith Maitland on Exploring The Country's First Mass School Shooting in Tower". Film School Rejects. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
- Newman, Jason. "How Animated Doc 'Tower' Explores Nation's First Mass School Shooting". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
- "Tower (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
- Chang, Justin. "SXSW Film Review: ‘Tower’." Variety. March 15, 2016. Retrieved on March 31, 2016.