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Student Projects

Beyond the Crossfire Documentary

Authors: Matt Simon, Nuvia Ruland

Grade: 11th

Subjects: Biology, Humanities

Beyond the Crossfire project photo
Beyond the Crossfire project photo
Beyond the Crossfire project photo
Beyond the Crossfire project photo
Beyond the Crossfire project photo
Beyond the Crossfire project photo
Beyond the Crossfire project photo

Project Details

What can we do to dramatically reduce the amount of violence in our country?

BEYOND THE CROSSFIRE is a documentary film produced by 45 11th grade students from HTHCV. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and losing one of own students to gun violence the 45 students were set on a mission to answer one question: What can we do to dramatically reduce the amount of gun violence in our country? Soon after they embarked in their research and exploration, they quickly realized how polarizing the topic of gun violence is, but how addressing its root causes can make a positive impact in reducing all acts of violence. They strived to write, film and produce an original documentary film that explored how can we prevent and reduce violence in the U.S.

BTC did not focus on gun rights versus gun control because that issue tends to divide people, and HTHCV students were determined to bring people together.

Instead, BTC focuses on common sense reforms to our schools mental health care structures, reduce the stigma associated with mental illness by instead discussing teen brain health, investment in innovative mentorship and after-school programs, and transform juvenile justice program that provide hope for teens.

Our finished documentary film has been screened locally at Otay Ranch AMC Theatre, and the San Diego Latino Film Festival. Those interested can purchase a DVD directly contacting High Tech High Chula Vista director Tim McNamara, or Nuvia Ruland here.

Media Arts Center of San Diego connected students with local filmmakers (thank you Jesse Keller!) who donated their talent and time to teach students filmmaking skills to produce a professional quality documentary. MACSD provided the support for our students to become directors, sound engineers, script writers, film editors, and film crew.

Sean & Kyle Imagine Foundation was establish to pursue Sean & Kyle’s ideals for peace, love, integrity and excellence. The support of this foundation was pivotal in making this project possible. We are grateful for sharing personal stories of Sean to inspire the making of this documentary. To learn more please visit

The Avielle Foundation was establish in honor of Avielle Rose Richman who was murdered in the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre on December 14, 2012. The foundation is passionate about preventing violence and building compassion through brain research, community engagement, and education. We are grateful to Jeremy Richman and Jennifer Hensel for opening the doors of their home and sharing the ideals and mission of The Avielle Foundation with us. To learn more please visit  

Quiet Company is an incredible band out of Austin, Texas, who expressed their admiration for what were trying to do and generously agreed to let us use their music on our Kickstarter and our film’s soundtrack.