HBO Producer Outlines What an Orlando Shooting Doc Could Look Like
HBO's Sheila Nevins said it was still "so sad and so close" to have any real thoughts of making a film, but her interest would lie in the motivations of the killer.
Sheila Nevins was one of the special guests at the Sheffield Doc/Fest on Tuesday, where the veteran producer and multi-award winning HBO Documentary Films president took part in a discussion into her long and illustrious career with the BBC's Storyville editor Nick Fraser.
But as the conversation moved towards documentaries covering some of the darker elements of humanity, the subject of Sunday's Orlando shootings was raised, with Nevins asked how she might put the U.S.'s worst mass shooting to film.
Although she said it was still "so sad and so close" for her to have any real considerations about a documentary, Nevins said that she thought her focus would be on the killer, Omar Mateen.
"I have no empathy for him. I hate him. But I don't mind understanding him," she said.
"I think maybe if a film is to be made, it's the fear of a man's gayness ... that's the real story here," she said, pointing to reports that Mateen had been to the Pulse nightclub many times before.
"You could say that he'd been there to scout it out. He was a guard, he didn't need to scout it out. If you go into a club where people are dancing and you've got an automatic rifle, you don't have to scout too many things out."
Nevins also said she'd seen an interview with Mateen's wife where it was claimed he would beat her up at night.
"Maybe he beat her up because he couldn't love her. Who knows? But there was something in this man ... the homophobia may have been the exact opposite," she said. "So the whole idea of killing the thing you love, going back to Oscar Wilde almost."
Although there have been numerous reports of Mateen's alleged links to the Islamic State, Nevins suggested that she'd want to examine these and consider the possibility that it was simply a way of masking the real justification.
"I’m more included to figure out was is really that he was inspired by ISIS or did ISIS give him an excuse to kill his own," she said.
Later in the Sheffield Doc/Fest — which runs through Wednesday — Nevins is due to receive the festival's inaugural creative leadership award, honoring "an individual’s essential contribution to the international documentary industry.