Courtesy of the project's website, the short story goes… Louisiana is the murder capital of the United States. For the last decade, statistics have shown murder rates four to six times higher than the national average. Eighty percent of the victims are black males, mostly in their teenage years. This is the city’s greatest neglected crisis with profound implications for the issues of violence and crime most American cities face. New Orleans government, law enforcement, community leaders, and well-intentioned citizens cannot agree on a prognosis or a solution to this situation. Wherever a disagreement is escalating into violence, an execution is being planned, or a victim is taking his last breath, it is more than likely a youth is witnessing or carrying out these actions.
Shell Shocked attempts to bridge the gap of this disconnect by hearing the ideas, opinions, and testimonies from activists, community leaders, police, city officials, youth program directors, family and friends of victims, and the children who live in these violent circumstances.
The feature documentary comes from director John Richie, who actually began working on the film 4 years ago, in 2008 when, while volunteering at a local high school, he heard firsthand accounts of these young children living with violence & murder on a day-to-day basis. He also self-financed the film, which might partly explain the length of time it's been in production. Welcome to indie filmmaking!
The film is heading into its final stretch, as rough-cut screenings took place over the summer.
Richie and Jonathan Jahnke are serving as producers.
Watch a preview of what to expect below: