Director Todd Chandler / 2021 / USA

Hot Docs award winner Todd Chandler examines disturbing cultural and commercial evolutions in today’s USA, where schools operate in the shadow of mass shootings.

For American young people growing up in a culture with seemingly ubiquitous gun violence, attending school has become an increasingly nerve-racking experience. Students and their parents don’t feel safe, so in response, educators have set up a variety of preventative steps – nowadays, art classes and basketball games coexist with lockdown drills, teacher firearms training and metal detector screenings. But just how useful are these measures, and who truly is profiting from the new industries they have given rise to?

This sharp, eye-opening film, which nabbed its director the 2020 Hot Docs Emerging International Filmmaker Award, questions the meaning of safety in American schools. Chandler’s approach draws from the best of legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s style: observing without commentary, drawing on voices from Texas to New York to Palo Alto, and giving the audience plenty of room to think. Incendiary but unobtrusive, Bulletproof will stoke anger and exasperation at a debate that rages on, seemingly without any effective solution.

“Chandler’s quiet, sober-minded film is ultimately chilling in how it depicts the day-to-day normalization of the unspeakable.” – Variety

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