On February 12th 2008, in the working class town of Oxnard, California, 14-year-old Brandon McInerney shot his eighth grade classmate, 15-year-old Lawrence “Larry” King twice in the back of the head during first period English class, while the entire class watched. Larry died two days later. A media frenzy followed–spinning the wild tale of a flamboyantly gay Lolita pushing the buttons of a raging white supremacist bully too far. Even though its portrayal of both boys was wildly sensationalized, a dialogue began by placing a microscope on the educational system, sending a rallying cry for the safety of LGBT teens, and even questioning the notion of the responsibility of a minor and the moral obligation to overhaul our state’s juvenile justice system. Eventually the traditional news media moved on. The “real” story–a more complex and human story in varying shades of gray-was never told. Left in its wake was a shell-shocked small town community having to answer big questions–questions big enough to hold up a mirror to the entire community at large. What exactly is society to do with someone like Brandon? What measures can be enacted to protect LGBT kids like Larry King? How did these two children, whose backgrounds are actually more similar than different, end up with one being shot dead and the other facing life in prison? And what are the people who loved and befriended them supposed to do next? Valentine Road is a feature documentary that examines this powerful and emotionally devastating earthquake and its long lasting aftershocks. It follows the tragedy from point of impact, chronicling its rocky aftermath and culminating in a criminal trial that affects everyone in town - most notably the other children present in that classroom who might just find a way to move forward from the morass.
Director Marta Cunningham