Coming to theaters on June 17 and 19, the movie Emanuel tells the untold story of the victims and survivors of the tragic Charleston church shooting that happened four years ago. It's a story of justice and faith, love and hate, and examines the healing power of forgiveness.
The writer and director of the film, Brian Ivie, reflects on the first time he heard about the shooting. "I was on my honeymoon...and I remember I was standing on the balcony, and I heard my wife crying in the kitchen. I walk into the room and she's just sobbing watching some video on her laptop. I'm like ‘Are you okay? What's going on?' She looked at me and said 9 people just got shot in their Bible study...Come to find out, that a 21-year-old white kid walks into a black church. Sits with this group of people for 45 minutes. As soon as they bow their heads to pray, he pulls out a gun and kills nine of them."
The movie features intimate interviews with survivors of the shooting and family members of those who were killed. One woman who survived shared her story of what happened in the church that horrific day.
"When he spoke to me, I was on the floor, looking up at him from under the table," she said. "He just stopped and said, ‘Did I shoot you yet?' And I said no. And he said, ‘I'm not going to. I'm going to leave you here to tell the story.'"
The Reaction From The Emanuel Church Community
After the shooting, what was shocking to people was how that church community reacted.
"My wife, when she was watching this video on her laptop, she turned to me and said, ‘No you don't understand, they're forgiving him,'" shares Brian. "I just remember looking at her and saying, ‘You know, I hope whoever tells that story does not skip that part.'"
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Make sure to check out this poignant story in theaters June 17 and 19, and all proceeds from the movie Emanuel will go to the victim's' families and the survivors.
WATCH: The Story Behind Emanuel