- Keith Maitland
- Violett Beane, Louie Arnette, Blair Jackson
August 1, 1966 an ex-Marine sniper climbs into the University of Texas Tower and starts shooting. Sixteen are left dead out of 49, shot in America’s first school mass shooting. Maitland’s documentary focuses not on the shooter but the people on the ground, creating a harrowing present-tense account through rotoscope animation, archival footage and sound, and contemporary interviews with witnesses. “Director Keith Maitland’s film is one of the finest documentaries ever made, and it’s also one of the most unusual… The end result is nothing short of a heartbreaking masterpiece of cinema.” (Austin Chronicle)
“Words can’t do justice to the singular power of Keith Maitland’s documentary Tower, a you-are-there reconstruction of the harrowing 1966 mass shooting… the film simultaneously builds a present-tense narrative while portraying the terrifying resilience of memory and trauma. … The search for the present tense in nonfiction filmmaking — the effort to bring us into a historical moment and let a story unfold as if it’s happening before our eyes — can result in bracing work… it can also lead to a sort of cinematic myopia in which context and history get lost in favor of mere immediacy. Tower walks this fine line, with Maitland conjuring the horror of that day through the use of those personal recollections and then laying bare his film’s artifice to reflect on the past. …You may not see a more emotionally shattering film this year.” (Village Voice) One of fifteen films shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature Oscar.