Twelve-year-old Johnny Gosch was out delivering newspapers on Sept. 5, 1982, and never came home.
Johnny, who was never seen again, would become the first missing child on a milk carton. His mother, Noreen Gosch, spent the next 33 years of her life trying to find out what happened to her son.
Rumur films, an independent studio based in Brooklyn, recently produced a film about Johnny’s disappearance. Filmmakers traveled to Des Moines, Iowa, to make Who Took Johnny, which compiles decades of interviews of dozens of people involved with the case.
In 2002, during a screening for a film called Horns and Halos at HBO, director David Beilinson became aware of Johnny’s story. Most of Rumur’s productions feature strong lead characters who drive the plots. Gosch’s 33-year search seemed like a good fit for the movie company.
“It’s less a story about Johnny, and more a story about his mother,” Beilinson said. For us, that was what was the most compelling thing about it, her story.”
Even though Johnny disappeared in 1982, the film still addresses issues that are prevalent today, such as sex trafficking and missing-persons investigations. In Miami, this is particularly relevant because the city is No. 3 in the nation for sex trafficking.
“I think that it’s very important, particularly for documentary filmmakers, to try to shine a light on very dark subjects, executive producer Kathleen Monahan said. “When we educate people, when we shine a light on it, the knowledge and the information makes it a lot harder for perpetrators to get away with these kinds of crimes.”
The company listed the movie on a Kickstarter-like website called Gathr, which lets users pick what city a movie should be screened in. South Florida interest in Who Took Johnny was so great that producers booked it into Sunset Place 24 in South Miami. The film will be screened at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 22.
If you go
▪ What: ‘Who Took Johnny’ film screening
▪ Where: Sunset Place 24, 5701 Sunset Dr. #300
▪ When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22
▪ Cost: $12.75
▪ For information: Tickets must be purchased online in advance and are available at gathr.us.