News & Screenings



After 5 years in production, Riot had its World Premiere on April 9th at the prestigious Vail Film Festival in Vail, Colorado.  MovieMaker Magazine called the Vail festival "one of the ten best destination festivals in the world."  Director Kevin McLaughlin had a previous project shown there at the 2006 festival, and was very pleased to be returning.   For more on the festival, visit the festival website.  Click this link to see The Vail Q&A.

The crowd at Vail was very appreciative, and both festival screenings were followed by spirited Q&A sessions, where viewers raved over the intensity of the film.   The East-Coast Premiere of the film took place at the Jersey Shore,   as the Boardwalk Film Festival presented Riot and two short films in Asbury Park, New Jersey.  The screening at Asbury Park High School was followed by a spirited discussion with a panel of participants in the documentary, including Director Kevin McLaughlin, and interview subjects Debi Hall-Dean, Max Herman, and Larry Hamm.  New York writer, actress, and producer Tiffany Hodges hosted.  A third festival appearance found Riot programmed as the first film ever shown at the first annual Newark International Film Festival.


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 Th e effort to publicize the film made a great leap forward  when the film's director, Kevin McLaughlin was interviewed for a special edition of the public TV program, One on One with Steve Adubato.  It's part of a special series the show is doing called Newark at a Crossroads.  

Steve and Kevin discussed several key topics related to the film and the director's connection to Newark, including the Newark Fire Department and the Vailsburg section of the city. They talked about the fact that recent events in Ferguson and Baltimore make this the perfect time for the world to look back on what occurred in Newark all those years ago.  They touched on the late Dr. Clem Price, a key contributor to the film, and several ongoing controversies addressed in the film, such as whether or not first-responders were subject to sniper fire, and what the events should be called - a riot or a rebellion?  The segment also includes two short clips from the film that have not been seen by the public prior to this. 

The show first aired on on NJTV throughout New Jersey, and again on both NJTV and WNET Channel 13 in New York.  

For those who missed it or who live outside the New York/New Jersey area, the interview can be seen in its entirety below.

Cast, crew and industry insiders were treated to a private screening in June at Seton Hall University, and the response was terrific.  

Some comments from people who've seen the film: 

“I hope this film can be used by America to figure out what we’re not doing right, so that this does not have to happen. And it’s happening right now, and shame on us that it is.”

”It’s an easy, logical unfolding of personalities, events, and consequences. When you’re creating art, the hardest thing to do is make it look like it all came together effortlessly, and this film pulls that off beautifully.”

”I never knew about any of this. My mission is to find this film and show it to my children. You changed my life today.”

”The overall depth, quantity and quality of the interviews is most impressive. Andre Braugher brings a strong, convincing voice and the music is very effective and moving at times. And while the film brings real hope at the conclusion, it’s a realistic, honest appraisal of where Newark stands today and where it must still gain.”

”The ability to preserve the integrity of multiple, diverse perspectives without bias or offense to any is brilliant! It was as though we were looking into the hearts and minds of people from all walks in Ferguson and Baltimore, where the exact same climate exists today. 
If you don’t believe the concept of “if we don’t know our history we are destined to repeat it” you NEED to see this film.”

”I knew about the Newark riots, but not the details - the incredible devastation. Seeing this film, I realized, people were completely taken away from their lives. You could feel the pain, the struggle. And then you could feel a certain kind of a turnaround: people not giving up in the end. That’s a key element: people who refused to die.”