The day after the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, this February, a fire alarm went off in the building where Angela Lamb’s daughter attends school.
Her daughter came home rattled.
“OK, now it’s happening to us,” was her daughter’s reaction in that moment of alarm, as she told her mother.
“That fact that this is what enters their minds ... I felt like I had to do something,” Lamb said.
With each new school shooting, she had felt rising anxiety about her children’s safety. A mom of two school-aged children in St. Louis County, Lamb had never been politically active before. She didn’t consider herself a “political person.”
But she could no longer watch reports of children killed by and running from mass shooters in their schools.
Lamb had previously made a short documentary about her journey of being diagnosed with a chronic illness and how to treat it. Now, she reached out to another documentary filmmaker, also a mom, in Washington, D.C.
Nancy Frohman was also feeling compelled to act when Lamb called her. Frohman wanted to find a way to support the Parkland student survivors begging for changes to the country’s gun laws. Lamb suggested making a coast-to-coast documentary about the March For Our Lives, a student-led protest on March 24 against gun violence, calling for reform to gun regulations.
Frohman got on board and put together a crew in D.C. Lamb recruited volunteers for a crew in St. Louis. She was referred to another woman filmmaker in Los Angeles, Alana Jackler, who agreed to handle coverage from the West Coast.
Combined, they had zero budget for the project. But plenty of passion.
Lamb was still making calls and recruiting people days before the march. In the process of interviewing young people and parents involved with the gun-sense movement, Lamb said she learned more productive ways of talking about gun reform.
“We purposely wanted to make it nonpartisan. It’s anti-gun violence, not anti-guns,” she said.
They pulled it off. Lamb still had to find a way to turn their raw footage into a film, though, and so she turned to another mom friend with school-aged children.
Michele Steinberg agreed to help edit the film, but she struggled with whether to attach her name to a project that could attract negative attention from those opposed to their message. She debated what to do for a couple of weeks.
Eventually, she decided to add her name to the credits.
“I thought anything like this that is worth doing was worth putting my name on,” she said. “I would put my name on it to help other people stand up.”
Those who worked on the 19-minute documentary, entitled “No More Thoughts and Prayers,” don’t believe that reforming gun laws should be a partisan issue. The vast majority of Americans already support common-sense measures like fixing the way background checks are conducted for potential gun buyers.
“No one is in favor of children getting shot in school,” Lamb said. “What can we do to make sure that doesn’t happen in the future?”
She decided to release the film on Amazon’s video-on-demand service, where it is $1.99 to rent and $4.99 to buy. The proceeds will go toward Moms Demand Action, a group lobbying for better laws regulating guns.
She wants people to watch it with an open mind and realize that concerned parents from either political party can contact their representatives and let them know that they support reforming the laws that make it so easy for mass shooters to legally obtain weapons.
Steinberg said she was motivated to support the Parkland student activists who felt let down by the adults around them -- legislators beholden to a lobby working to protect and strengthen the position of gun manufacturers.
“I’m just one person,” she said. “But maybe I can motivate others.”