This film is based on actual events at Lindhurst High School in Olivehurst, California, May 1, 1992. The local community strongly resisted and resented the making of this film, but they tuned in just the same, and those of us involved agreed that the film is a powerfully, even disturbingly, truthful presentation of the events of a shooting spree followed by an eight hour standoff and hostage negotiation.
I was a technical adviser for this film, and so had the priviledge of visiting the set to see some of the filming, and to meet the cast and crew. Everyone involved with the project invested themselves very heavily in this project, were happy to be working with the director Michael Watkins (a real talent), and showed genuine interest in portraying reality as closely as possible. Their dedication really shows in the final product. Obviously, liberties have to be taken to keep a desensitized television audience enrapt, but truth be known, the portrayals in this film are very close to the reality of the situation, at least from the perspectives of the character portrayed by Freddie Prinze Jr. Henry Winkler's character is based on the story of another technical advisor to the production, and I suspect that this is also very close to reality. In fact, much of the script is taken from transcripts of tapes the police made of the event with hidden microphones. Producer Steve Natt and his associates worked for nearly three years to get this movie off the ground and have it done right.
Ten years ago, I lost a beloved teacher and three beloved classmates to a gunman whose own life had spiralled down into hopelessness and dispair. His pain and anguish led him to cause inflict pain and anguish on others about which the local paper still runs articles. The top-notch performances by the writer, the actors, the director, and every member of the crew made this an extraordinarily watchable, yet true-to-life portrayal of a tragedy that torments many lives still today.
The truth is always worth telling, and this film does it.