Best Documentary
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Grand Jury Award ~ Documentary Feature
South by Southwest
Audience Award ~ Documentary Feature
South by Southwest
Powerfully channels the terror and confusion of that terrible August day.



August 1, 1966 was the day our innocence was shattered. A sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the iconic University of Texas Tower and opened fire, holding the campus hostage for 96 minutes in what was a previously unimaginable event. TOWER combines archival footage with animated reenactments of the dramatic day, based entirely on first person testimony from witnesses, heroes and survivors in a seamless and suspenseful retelling of the tragedy. The film highlights the fear, confusion, and visceral realities that changed the lives of those present and the rest of us forever - a day when the worst in one man brought out the best in so many others.

“TOWER is one of the most original and effective documentaries I have ever seen. It even takes the now-familiar ingredient of animation as a storytelling tool and gives it an unexpected twist.

“Texas-raised filmmaker Keith Maitland wanted to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of an incident that was unthinkable in its time. On August 1, 1966, a young man climbed to the top of the bell tower overlooking the University of Texas campus in Austin and opened fire on dozens of innocent people. This horrifying and unexplainable incident made a lasting mark on everyone who was there that day: students, victims, reporters, eyewitnesses, and passers-by. None of them will ever forget that hellish lunchtime when time seemed to stand still. Some still bear emotional scars from that event.

“Out of this drama, Maitland has crafted a galvanizing film, combining first-hand interviews with TV news footage and snapshots. It is only toward the end of the film that he shows us the real people who have been telling their stories in animated form…and in so doing, reveals his sleight-of-hand. We’ve been watching “eyewitnesses” who were frozen in time from 1966: the words are theirs but they have been spoken by young actors.

“As past and present begin to merge, the emotional power of the film rises to a crescendo. I don’t want to describe any more, except to say that the movie left me shattered. Needless to say, it is also timely and relevant. Whether we’re talking about fictional filmmaking or documentaries, TOWER is one of the best films of the year.” (Leonard Maltin)

Not Rated
Documentary, History, Animated
Keith Maitland
Nominee, Best Documentary, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Winner, Grand Jury Award ~ Documentary Feature, South by Southwest
Winner, Audience Award ~ Documentary Feature, South by Southwest
Winner, Louis Black/Lone Star Award, South by Southwest
Brian Tallerico,

One of the best films I’ve seen this year played at Fantasia Fest 2016 after winning the documentary award at SXSW, Keith Maitland’s “Tower,” a movie that couldn’t more timely or powerful. Almost exactly a half-century after the tragedy it chronicles, we again read of similar horror in the world ...

Tower Get Tickets

There are currently no showtimes for this film. Please check back soon.