America’s 325 million residents own an estimated 347 million firearms. Not surprisingly, gun violence has become one of the most urgent public health issues facing Americans today. Holster Films and John Richie, the creator of Shell Shocked, are embarking on their next film project, 91%, which examines the national conversation surrounding gun legislation by looking at the failure to pass a universal background check.
In 91%, a handful of U.S. gun violence victims tell their heartbreaking stories of loss, pain, and a heroic search for hope in a nation stalled in a senseless gun control debate. Throughout these otherwise unrelated shootings, we find a common thread – the gunmen had all-too-easy access to the virtually untraceable, high-powered weaponry used in their attacks.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, a 2013 poll revealed that 91% of Americans support comprehensive background checks - a factor that could prevent thousands of similar gun violence tragedies nationwide. Yet, divisive political rhetoric and congressional gridlock continues to perpetuate a flawed system that hurts communities across the country.
Moving beyond the confusing gun control politics and avoiding any discussion about the often-unpredictable motivations of rampage killers, 91% shows that Americans almost unanimously support both 2nd amendment rights and common sense regulation. The film finds a shared language between citizens on both sides of the issue, encouraging them to move common sense policy forward by speaking up in a conversation typically dominated by firearm lobbyists and manufacturers.
By highlighting the impact of unregulated gun sales on schools, families, and communities across the country, 91% addresses the real problems and possible solutions to gun violence in America. It’s something we all agree about, we just don’t know it yet.
WHY HASN'T CONGRESS PASSED COMPREHENSIVE BACKGROUND CHECK LEGISLATION?
The debate surrounding gun laws in the United States is regarded as one of the most polarizing and controversial domestic issues. Mass shootings and record breaking years for gun perpetrated violence in major urban areas have reignited questions about gun regulation in the U.S.
The National Rifle Association and other gun lobbies believe that the passage of laws placing restrictions on a citizen's right to purchase guns is in direct conflict with the Second Amendment and jeopardizes their constitutional right to bear arms.
Many of the proposed mechanisms for controlling gun distribution in effort to decrease violent crime are widely opposed by gun rights activists; however research shows that 91 percent of U.S. citizens believe that a universal background check should be required for any firearm purchase. The universal background check would require background checks in all gun transactions, including sales made at gun shows and other private sales. In 2013, despite wide support for the closing of these federal “loopholes,” Congress could not even bring this to a vote.
John richie - director
John Richie began his film career after graduating in 2003 from the University of New Orleans. In 2007 he began his own production company, Scrub Brush Productions, producing many music videos and short narrative and documentary films. After teaching documentary classes to teenagers in the New Orleans Public School System, John began work on Shell Shocked in 2008, releasing it in 2013. Shell Shocked has screened across several communities across the U.S., won many awards at film festivals, played on PBS, screened at The NLC’s Annual Congress of Cities and Expositions in Seattle, and was the only film shown at the Dalai Lama’s Convention in New Orleans in 2013. John's second film, 91%, is a documentary about gun policy in the United States, with a focus on background checks.
IAN COOK - CINEMATOGRAPHER
Ian Cook is a New Orleans-based documentary filmmaker and cinematographer. He has photographed a range of documentary and narrative features, broadcast television, commercials, and short films. He co-directed and shot the documentary short film “Corner Plot” which premiered at the Silverdocs Film Festival and toured as part of the U.S. State Department’s American Documentary Showcase and just wrapped production on the forthcoming feature documentary “Invisible Curriculum” which examines youth unemployment in the European Union. His camera work can be seen in Barbara Kopple’s “The D.C. Sniper’s Wife,” HBO’s Academy Award nominated “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant,” and “Do The Math” a feature documentary exploring the growing grassroots movement to combat climate change.
Ian grew up outside Dayton, OH and studied cinematography and documentary filmmaking at Wright State University. He worked in Washington, DC for eight years before moving to New Orleans where he founded the production company Hard Road Pictures.
Brock Laborde - Producer
Brock LaBorde has written and produced original TV & digital content for brands like Machinima, Comedy Central, MTV, Intel, AT&T, and Mattel. Two of those projects starred cult film icon Tommy Wiseau, if that tells you anything about what Brock finds entertaining and important. He’s also penned two books and a healthy pile of features and pilots. He produces shows, festivals, tours, videos, and pretty much whatever else needs producing.
THERESA NAVARRO - ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Theresa Navarro wears many hats as a Filipina American arts professional, organizer, educator, producer, and actress. She is currently an Associate Producer at American Documentary, Inc. and American Reframed. As a former Corporate Relations Manager for the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), Theresa was integral to the fundraising and event planning team for CAAM’s San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, the largest showcase of Asian and Asian American film, music, and digital media in the country. She has appeared in independent films Option 3 and Fruit Fly and is currently an independent film producer. Along with CAAM, she has collaborated with various multimedia arts organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hawaii, and across the country. Theresa has an M.A. in American Studies from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a B.A. in History and Comparative Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Riverside.
DONNA DEES - ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Donna Dees is a highly regarded communications executive and consultant with 25+year years of experience in the media. She has been the spokeswoman for the CBS EVENING NEWS, FACE THE NATION, and the LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN. In 1999, Dees launched the "Million Mom March, Mother's Day 2000" which is still the largest and most publicized protest against gun violence in U.S. history. For her volunteer efforts in the gun violence prevention (GVP) movement, Dees has been honored with many awards including the prestigious "Glamour Woman of the Year Award," as well as an "Oprah Chutzpah Award." Most recently, Dees was inducted into the Hall of Fame at LSU's Manship School of Communications. She is also an occasional contributor to the Huffington Post and the Daily Beast.