Director Keith Maitland calls for awareness of Tower shooting

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Director Keith Maitland has shared his movie about the 1966 UT Tower shooting to viewers around the world, but on Wednesday, he brought it here to campus.

At a special screening inside the Hogg Auditorium, Maitland had a chance to showcase “Tower” to the UT community and express his thoughts on the shooting to students.

“When we started, one of our very first primary goals was to make a film that we will be proud to present here on the campus of the University of Texas, for students,” Maitland said. “Today is the first time we have a chance to do that. We literally couldn’t be any closer to the Tower.”

In 1966, a sniper went up to the top of the UT Tower and fired shots, holding the campus hostage for 96 minutes. Years later, Keith Maitland heard of this story from his 7th grade teacher.

Maitland said he had a close relationship with the history of the Tower. Maitland shared his story about his freshman year at UT, when during a student tour, he said there was no mention of the Tower shooting. Maitland said he wants the UT community to be more aware of the Tower’s history.

Although Maitland said that he was glad the University has raised awareness of the shooting through the memorial by the Turtle Pond, he said that there is still room for improvement.

“I’m curious to find out, when you take a freshman tour, does the tour stop at the memorial?” Maitland said. “Does freshman orientation include information about Aug. 1, 1966?”

Artly Fox, one of the Tower shooting survivors, came alongside Maitland to answer questions from students.

With all the improvements in emergency response, such as SWAT teams and EMS, Fox encouraged students not to live in fear.

“Don’t live in fear. One reason to not live in fear is because things have changed,” Fox said.

Ambar Garcia, human development and family sciences freshman, said watching the movie made her more aware of the 1966 shooting.

“I’ve always thought the clock tower noise was a little haunting,” Garcia said. “I feel like they did that on purpose, so that the people who saw the movie know that that is what’s happening. It’s like a constant reminder, because I know I’m gonna remember.”

Maitland’s documentary “Tower” was filmed in 2012 and screened on 2016 at the South By Southwest Film Festival.