March 31, 2011 — The Virginia Film Festival and the University Programs Council will present a free screening of "Living for 32," a documentary about Virginia Tech shootings survivor Colin Goddard and his efforts to bring awareness to the issue of gun violence in America, on April 19 at 7 p.m. at the University of Virginia's Newcomb Hall Theater.
The screening will feature a post-screening discussion by Goddard and his father, Andrew Goddard, a noted gun violence and mental health advocate.
Free tickets can be reserved in advance through the U.Va. Arts Box Office, online at or by phone at 434-924-3376.
Goddard was in a class in Norris Hall at Virginia Tech on the fateful morning of April 16, 2007, when he heard gunshots ring out in what would become one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history. He was one of the unsung heroes of the tragic event, making the first call to the police that day before being shot for the first of four times, and handing his phone to a classmate who completed the call. Police arrived on the scene three minutes later. By the time the shooting ended, 32 people were tragically lost. Goddard was one of the 17 who were injured. If not for his actions, and those of others, the tragic toll may have been far higher.
Goddard fought back from his injuries, even after being told he may never walk again. After recovering and graduating from Virginia Tech, Goddard decided he had to do something about the issue of gun violence in America.
He volunteered for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the nation's largest gun control organization. Goddard convinced the organization to sponsor him in going undercover to gun shows across America, wearing a hidden camera to prove how easy it is for anyone to buy a gun without identification or background checks. He simply had cash.
"Living for 32" is the story of that journey.
"For the 32 Hokies who were lost that day," Goddard said, "and for the 32 Americans that are lost every day on average in our country, I've decided to devote this time in my life to making a difference, so their memories might be honored and the damage to our society might be lessened. Many people say we can't or shouldn't improve the gun laws in this country. I'm part of the next generation. I reject that premise, and I say we can and should do better."
"We are proud to be able to share this extraordinary film with our community," Virginia Film Festival Director Jody Kielbasa said, "and so glad to be able to welcome Colin Goddard to share his story with us. Especially in the wake of the tragic events in Tucson, this is an opportunity to continue an important dialogue and to hear from a person who has a truly unique perspective on one of the most important issues of our time."
Andrew Goddard turned his efforts toward mental health and gun safety issues following his son's shooting and is now president of the Richmond chapter of the Million Mom March Against Gun Violence and a board member of the Virginia Center for Public Safety and the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services, as well as board chair of the National Gun Victims Action Council.
The father-and-son team contributes a regular blog on the issue to the Huffington Post.
The 24th Annual Virginia Film Festival will be held Nov. 3-6. The Virginia Film Festival is presented by U.Va.'s College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
For information on the Virginia Film Festival and to learn more about the festival’s year-round programming, visit here.