By Rachel Belle
It was just about 5 years ago when 28 year old Kyle Huff showed up at an early morning after-party in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood and opened fire on a group of ravers who had been out partying the night before.
He killed 6 people and then he killed himself.
I was a reporter for KIRO at the time, and I covered this story. The most memorable thing for me was seeing the rave community come together and mourn their friends outside the house but also at various memorials.
It was a colorful bunch – they wore fuzzy backpacks shaped like animals, homemade friendship bracelets, some had pacifiers around their necks, lots of body piercings and brightly dyed hair. Now some people from this same group of mourners are angry because a 32 year old Seattle actor and filmmaker named Jagger Gravnin is making a film called “Wallflower” about the Capitol Hill Massacre from Kyle Huff’s perspective.
“Huff’s story is part of the tragedy,” Gravnin says. “Kyle Huff was a very sick person and I’m not trying to say we should have sympathy for Kyle Huff but we should definitely have empathy. Reaching out and having empathy is how we’re going to prevent things like that from happening in the future.”
Online forums have sprouted up about “Wallflower” and they are full of negative comments, blasting Gravnin for having the audacity to make a film that sheds any positive light on Kyle Huff.
“It infuriates me. Everybody knows what went on that day, we all know he went in there with the intention to kill these people and I don’t know why we have to make a movie about that.”
23 year old Brandon Moen was at the rave in Capitol Hill that night. He was only 17 at the time and wasn’t allowed to go to the after party.
“I was almost there, I almost died that night. I’m just really taken back that somebody would want to make a movie from his perspective.”
Gravnin says he was affected too, he was involved in the rave scene and knows people who died.
“I just think it’s an intriguing story. The media basically portrayed this as a total mystery, as something we can’t possibly understand, just a random unpredictable attack. So I just want to investigate what was going on with Kyle Huff leading up to that event.”
But Moen says “That’s not something you make a movie about. You make a movie about Peter Pan, or something, you don’t make a movie about some murderous killer.”
I completely understand why people are upset, and why they might not want to understand Kyle Huff or they don’t want to see their real life horror translated into film. But aren’t their plenty of films like this? Films about Columbine and the Holocaust? People watch movies about cult leaders and serial killers all the time. Gravnin likens his idea to making a film about al Queda:
“To me, it would be completely interesting to have a film based on the perspective of Bin Laden, for a parallel example. I think we could actually learn something from that. How he was seeing us and how he was seeing the world.”
I think when it comes down to it, for local ravers and people who lost friends and family that morning, it’s just too personal and too soon.
“There’s movies about world War II, but that was 50 years ago. It didn’t just happen a few years ago. It’s not fresh in people’s minds.”
Gravnin says he is consulting with some of the friends of the victims and he does have supporters. He’s collecting donations for the filmmaking on a website called kickstarter and so far 48 people have donated nearly $5,000.