'Shell Shocked' documentary gains attention

New Orleans, La. - It's a documentary about growing up in the inner-city surrounded by gun violence.

John Richie is the producer and director of 'Shell Shocked'.

"You always know that New Orleans has the highest murder rate per capita but it didn't affect me. It was something that was completely removed from my life," says Richie.

Richie, a UNO graduate, volunteered his time at a local high school and youth center.

He started working on 'Shell Shocked' in 2008 after hearing first-hand accounts of young children faced with violence and murder on a daily basis.

"Every African-American kid that lives here was directly touched by gun violence and at that time, I didn't think we talked about it enough," says Richie.

Richie's devotion to bring awareness led him on a five year journey to create the film.

Five inner-city kids were given cameras to document their thoughts and everyday life.

Ameer Baraka, who grew up in the B.W. Cooper and managed to change his own life, narrates the documentary.

"I mean violence is violence. It's ridiculous, but this is also about showing what people are doing in this city to reduce the violence," says Baraka.

Richie hopes 'Shell Shocked' will ultimately lead to solutions that tackle the root of the problem.

"I think if we really look at the big picture, which I think the film does, you'll find it's a bunch of systematic failures that we have in our society that is not serving kids that are growing up in some of the poorer neighborhoods," says Richie.

There have been several screenings already for 'Shell Shocked'.

Richie says he's gotten a lot of positive feedback from people who say they'd like to help, either through donating to a youth center or volunteering their time.

The next screening is Tuesday night at 5:30 at 2601 Tulane Ave.