Source: El Paso Times.
Prolific El Paso, TX documentarian Charlie Minn’s latest film, “One Pulse,” explores the Pulse Nightclub mass shooting that happened nearly a year ago in Orlando, Fla.
On the night of June 12, 29-year-old Omar Mateen entered the gay nightclub, killing 49 people and wounding 58 others. Mateen was shot and killed by the Orlando Police Department after a three-hour standoff.
Minn plans to submit the film to the annual Sundance Film Festival, which takes place in Park City, Utah, each January.
“Normally, I open my movies in El Paso. Sometimes, if it involves another city, I’ll go there,” Minn said. “In this case, because of the enormity of the story and potential impact, I felt the need to find a broader audience, rather than playing it locally in theaters and then going straight to Amazon.”
Minn’s films often focus on grim events, such as the 1990 mass shooting at a Las Cruces bowling alley and the documentary “8 Murders a Day,” about drug cartel violence in Juárez.
Minn never calls the killers in his films by name, often referring to them as cowards. Instead, he chooses to place the emphasis on the victims, survivors and families.
“My films represent the innocent people who have been murdered,” Minn said. “It’s become my image as a filmmaker to tackle hard subjects and the effects on the victims. (The Orlando shooting) was a hate crime against gays and Latinos. The LGBTQ community were horribly cheated that day. I’m trying to give voice to the voiceless. The victim’s stories are heroic and inspiring.”
Minn said that “One Pulse” also focuses on the length of time police took to take down Mateen and the possibility that some victims were accidentally shot by Orlando police.
“It took 192 minutes (to end the standoff),” Minn said. “Being that it’s 2017, I think that you can’t use the excuse that we aren’t ready anymore. We’ve seen so many mass shootings, whether it be Sandy Hook or San Bernardino, you name it. There’s been so many attacks recently. SWAT, in 1999, changed its policy to kill the shooter, rather than contain and surround, after Columbine. Yet, in 2016, (Orlando) police took almost two hours.”
Minn said he spent about 10 days in Orlando in April, interviewing about 20 victims and their families.
“In my opinion, I think the police made it a hostage situation, not the other way around. When the killer first walked in, he exchanged gunfire with (security) and ran into the bathroom. Here was the most critical decision of the night: The police didn’t follow him in. As a result, they indirectly caused a hostage situation. My research indicated people died in the bathroom as well. And the police have admitted that out of 102 shot, some could have been friendly fire. I’ve been told by two victims that video from inside the nightclub exists and has not been made public. It may be private video belonging to the owner of the nightclub, but people think it’s suspicious.”
Minn hopes that submitting “One Pulse” to Sundance could lead to nationwide distribution for his latest documentary.
“My model has changed a bit since my films have been on Amazon,” Minn said. “My career has been taken to the next level because of the exposure, so I can be more patient and apply for festivals, rather than trying to recoup my costs by playing it in theaters.”