A film four years in the making, with hundreds of hours of video shot over a two-year period stretching from California to France, Tigre Hill’s “Barrel of a Gun” documentary, about seemingly forever-controversial convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, finally appears on a big screen tonight at the Kimmel Center’s Merriam Theater.
Metro caught up with Philadelphia’s arguably most-famous current documentarian to get his take on possible protests outside of the screening and what new details might emerge about the immensely covered death row inmate.
What will we find out in this film that we don’t already know?
I didn’t want to get into the whole debate over whether Mumia is crazy or a fanatical. I wanted to show the radical culture he comes from. ... We traveled to Oakland to visit where the Black Panthers movement started. Mumia was very active in the Panthers as a young man. Then he became very active in MOVE. ... Do I judge him? No, I show the culture he came out of leading up to him shooting an officer.
Why do people still protest and rally for Mumia?
There are people that believe that because of the legacy of the police department in this city and because of misinformation, just like JFK — I found a lot of parallels to JFK’s assassination — you have very fanatical people supporting Mumia Abu-Jamal, still believing an alternate view of this country, that it’s evil, capitalistic. They have a distorted view of what happened that night.