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Zero Day

Zero Day film poster
Directed by Ben Coccio
Produced by Ben Coccio
Written by Ben Coccio
Christopher Coccio
Starring Andre Keuck
Cal Robertson
Distributed by Avatar Films
Release date(s) 3 September 2003
Running time 92 min.
Language English
Budget $20,000 (estimated)

Zero Day (2003) is a movie directed by Ben Coccio, about a school shooting much along the lines of the Columbine High School massacre.



The film begins with the introduction of Andre and Cal and their general plan to assault their school. The majority of the film depicts the boys planning, preparing, and explaining some of their motives. There are also other scenes such as the boys at a party, egging the house of someone they dislike, and Cal going to the prom while Andre works at a pizza place.

The final scenes of the movie show the boys arriving at school on May 1 and preparing their weapons in the car. They then run into the school, armed with three pistols (a Ruger GP-100 .357, a Glock 17, a M1911 pistol), a M1 Carbine, a 12-gauge pump action shotgun, and at least twenty pipe bombs. The entire shooting is shown through the eyes of security cameras. Like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, on whom Andre and Cal are based, they commit suicide after the shootings.

The next scene is set on May 10, nine days after the shooting. A group of youths film themselves going to a park where memorial crosses have been set up. The youths reveal that Andre and Cal killed 12 students and themselves. They find Andre and Cal's crosses and set them on fire before running back to the car. The last scene shows the two crosses on fire before cutting to the credits.

Origin and filming style

The film was made in response to the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. According to Coccio, he began writing the film shortly afterwards, and completed the film in mid-2001, using no professional cameras. The film's initial release was cancelled after September 11, to avoid distress. The film was then edited over the next six months, and eventually released in 2003, nearly two full years after being completed.

The film's camcorder-style perspective was based on the basement tapes made by the perpetrators, in which they discussed their plan to assault Columbine High.[1] The penultimate scene uses security camera, and is based on the footage from the Columbine High School cafeteria during the shooting.

The scene where the shooting takes place has generated some misunderstanding on websites such as YouTube and discussion blogs. The shots are all filmed on security cameras, and uninformed viewers have mistakenly believed that the footage in the film is actually the surveillance footage from Columbine.[2][3][4] Andre and Cal's rampage lasts only sixteen minutes, which is one-third the duration of the real-life Columbine High shooting.

Main cast

In order of appearance:

  • Andre Kriegman - Andre Keuck
  • Calvin Gabriel - Cal Robertson
  • Chris Kriegman - Christopher Coccio
  • Andre's Father - Gerhard Keuck
  • Andre's Mother - Johanne Keuck
  • Rachel Lurie - Rachel Benichak
  • Cal's Mother - Pam Robertson
  • Cal's Father - Steve Robertson

Comparison to Elephant

Though it was made first, Zero Day was released later than the higher budget Elephant, with which it had numerous similarities, including premeditated attacks by two shooters on their high school. Coincidentally, the directors of both films received degrees in film from the Rhode Island School of Design.


Andre and Cal making pipe bombs

In the previously mentioned film, Elephant, the director purposely avoided showing how the shooters got access to weapons, in order to avoid "giving ideas to kids". Zero Day on the other hand, is very detailed on how the weapons are acquired, and even includes a chapter in which the main characters, specifically Andre, talk to the camera on how to make a pipe bomb, including materials, fuses and what kinds of shrapnel to include.

Additionally, Andre tells the camera how he intends to steal the weapons for their attack. He also talks to the camera about how they are able to prevent anyone discovering or foiling their plan.


Zero Day initially sparked some controversy, but received mostly positive reviews. Zero Day also won several awards at film festivals throughout America. It has been cited by Columbine journalist (and author of a Columbine book from Dutton) Dave Cullen as "The one great Columbine film."


  • Atlanta Film Festival – Grand Jury Award 2003
  • Boston Underground Film Festival – est of Festival 2003
  • Film Fest New Haven – Audience Choice Award, Best Dramatic Feature 2003
  • Florida Film Festival – Grand Jury Award 2003
  • Had to be Made Film Festival – Outstanding Festival Feature 2003
  • Rhode Island Film Festival – Audience Award 2003
  • Slamdunk Film Festival – Grand Jury Award 2003

See also


  1. ^ "The Columbine Basement Tapes." Accessed December 20, 2008.
  2. ^ "Footage From Columbine Movie - Zero Day." Accessed December 20, 2008.
  3. ^ "Columbine High School shooting video (Graphic Content)!! Accessed December 20, 2008.
  4. ^ "Columbine footage." Accessed December 20, 2008.

External links

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