AFTER THE FIRE A True Story of Heroes & Cowards Hartinger

“A film by Guido Verweyen Inspired by the Pulitzer Prize story & NY Times bestseller by Robin G. Fisher”

On January 19, 2000 Seton Hall University was vaulted to the national news when a fire set by arsonists, raced through a freshman dorm, killing three students and injuring fifty eight others. Two of the most critically burned survivors were freshmen roommates Shawn Simmons and Alvaro Llanos.

Laying in a coma, Shawn and Alvaro were unaware that a journalist and photographer were documenting every event in their fight for survival. The story proceeds from the devastating fire through the grueling medical treatment until their return to the same school where their ordeal had begun.

Pitted against the heroic efforts of firefighters, burn nurses and survivors, lies the story of the two arsonists. Running away after setting the deadly blaze, they conspire to obstruct the truth and hide away like cowards. As the determined investigators begin a dramatic and frustrating search for the arsonists, they uncover a vast conspiracy with ties to the local mafia. The Prosecutors end up cutting a deal with a former Lucchese hitman, securing his early release from prison in return for his help in making a case against two students suspected in setting the fatal Seton Hall University fire.

Rarely does a story come along that rattles and shakes you to the core and at the same time celebrates the power of the human spirit in such a memorable and gripping way. It is the story of healing emotionally, physically and spiritually, and how communities come together in times of tragedy. The film is also a journey of forgiveness and hope. The film raises questions like how do we view beauty and how do we see each other beyond the surface. Ultimately, it's Shawn's and Alvaro's lives "After the Fire" that make this story unforgettable. Their loyalty to each other and their resolve to live their best lives, despite the tragedy, will touch many like no other.

Alvaro Llanos and Shawn Simons
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