“Emanuel:” Movie-goers react to the documentary that tells the story of the Charleston Church Shooting


The third week of June is the fourth anniversary of the Charleston church shooting. Now there is a documentary showing in select theaters that tells the story of that tragic day.

The movie “Emanuel” was in theaters for two nights only, and both showings sold out on Monday afternoon. Wednesday at the last showing at the Regal Cinemas, fans described the movie as a tear-jerker, a must see, and an eye-opening experience.

It’s the violent event that rocked a city and the nation. In 2015, nine African American churchgoers were gunned down during a prayer service in Charleston, South Carolina. Four years later a documentary was made to show what happened from the eyes of the victims who survived and their families.

“Honestly there was a lot of racial distress across the country,” said the Gusko Family. “South Carolina handled it differently through the forgiveness aspect, and everyone coming together instead of everyone clashing.”

Here at Regal Cinemas, one of the select theaters where the movie is showing, movie-goers told NewsChannel 6 reporter, Devin Johnson, what they thought of the film.

“Powerful, just heart breaking. Mine was just pure evil,” said the Gambrell family.

One person describes the documentary as a story of justice, love, hate and the power of forgiveness.

“It’s heart-wrenching, but it’s uplifting at the same time because you see some of those people were able to look him in the eye two days later and say you are forgiven,” explained Mr. Gusko.

IMBD gives “Emanuel” a rating of 7.6 out of 10. The fans say otherwise.

“10!” shouted a local community organization.

“10 plus all the way,” said Mrs. Gusko.

The movie crushed the box office, and tickets sold out almost immediately. Movie-goers told Devin, those who didn’t get a chance to see Emanuel, should.

“Definitely,” said a local community organization. “More people need to this, it’s something you need to see. Especially since it happened right there in South Carolina.”

Devin did reach out to the movie’s production companies to see if Emanuel will be available on streaming sites or will have another special showing soon. They have not responded. Also, all of the proceeds from the documentary will go to the families of the victims as well as the three survivors of the Charleston Church shooting.

Photojournalist: Will Baker

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