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D.C. Beltway Sniper Attacks Revisited in ‘Blue Caprice’ Film

What happens when an isolated youth gains access to a Bushmaster rifle?

No, it’s not a question prompted by last month’s Newtown, Conn., shootings. Instead, that subject is broached in the timely Sundance Film Festival drama Blue Caprice, which is inspired by the real-life events that led to the D.C. Beltway sniper attacks more than a decade ago.

In fact, the filmmakers are drawing parallels between recent mass shootings such as Newtown, and the killing spree that left 10 dead and three critically injured in the Washington metropolitan area over a three-week period in 2002.

Following the film’s premiere Saturday morning, director Alexandre Moors, screenwriter R.F.I. Porto and cast members took questions from the audience about the hot-button topic of guns and violence in society.

“For me, it was about making a timeless film,” said Moors of Blue Caprice‘s depiction of an abandoned teen (played by Tequan Richmond) taught to kill by a military-trained father figure (Isaiah Washington).

The French helmer wanted the weaponry used to be accurate for the film and prepared by training with firearms. With the Aurora, Colo., Dark Knight Rises theater shootings still fresh in the American consciousness, one audience member at the Caprice screening commented on how the depiction of gunfire affected the crowd at the Library Center Theatre.

“Every time a shot was fired, (the woman sitting in front of me) flinched,” said the woman. “I saw several people in the audience do the same thing.”

Porto noted that the weaponry favored by snipers Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad, a Bushmaster .223, continues to spawn death and destruction (Newtown shooter Adam Lanza used a different model in the Bushmaster line, the AR-15).

“Incidentally, the Bushmaster … was used in five of the last six mass murder shootings,” said Porto amid gasps from the packed theater…

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