On February 14, 2018, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama teacher Melody Herzfeld was rehearsing the school production of Sam and Marcus Stevens' musical Yo, Vikings! when a fire alarm went off, signaling that an active shooter had entered the school. Melody rushed 65 students into a closet while the shooter took seventeen lives. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Melody and the students resolved to continue with their production while Sam co-founded and produced the Stoneman Douglas Songwriting Initiative, pairing survivors of the tragedy with musical theater composers to collaborate on songs and express their traumas and hopes through music.
Song of Parkland documents both of these stories, celebrating the renewing force of art-making. The film premiered on HBO, receiving two 2019 Emmy nominations (Outstanding Children's Program and Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for "Beautiful Things Can Grow" by students Ashley Paseltiner and Molly Reichard and composer Mark Sonnenblick) and a DGA Award for Amy Schatz (Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children's Programs). The film is available to watch on HBO.com and HBO GO.
"This is our begin-again." ~ Melody Herzfeld.