PARK CITY -- What happens when an isolated youth gains access to a Bushmaster rifle?
No, it's not a question prompted by last month's Newtown, Conn., shootings. Instead, that subject is broached in the timely Sundance Film Festival drama Blue Caprice, which is inspired by the real-life events that led to the Beltway sniper attacks more than a decade ago.
In fact, the filmmakers are drawing parallels between recent mass shootings like Newtown and the killing spree that left 10 dead and three critically injured throughout the Washington Metropolitan area over a three-week period in 2002.
Following the film's premiere Saturday morning, director Alexandre Moors, screenwriter R.F.I Porto and cast members took questions from the audience about the hot-button topic of guns and violence in society.
"For me, it was about making a timeless film," said Moors of Blue Caprice's depiction of an abandoned teen (played by Tequan Richmond) taught to kill by a military-trained father figure (Isaiah Washington).
The French helmer wanted the weaponry used to be accurate for the film and prepared by getting acclimated and training with firearms. With the Aurora, Colo., Dark Knight Rises theater shootings still fresh in the American consciousness, one audience member commented on how the depiction of gunfire affected the crowd at the Library Center Theatre.
"Every time a shot was fired, (the woman sitting in front of me) flinched," said the woman. "I saw several people in the audience do the same thing."
Porto noted that the weaponry favored by snipers Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad, a Bushmaster .223, continues to spawn death and destruction (Newton shooter Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster AR-15).
Incidentally, the Bushmaster ... was used in five of the last six mass murder shootings," said Porto amid gasps from the packed theater.
Cinetic is handling sales on the title, which also stars Joey Lauren Adams, Tim Blake Nelson and April Yvette Thompson. And though Blue Caprice is not expected to be one of the festival's bigger sales, it will likely spark dialogue.
"Killers aren't born -- they're made here in America," Thompson said. "We need to start dealing with that."
Email: Tatiana.Siegel@THR.com, Twitter: @TatianaSiegel27