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Puzzles: When Hate Came to Town

PUZZLES tells the story of a hate crime in a gay bar called Puzzles Lounge in New Bedford, MA when a teenager entered and brutally attacked its patrons.

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Beautifully made, heartfelt view of how all of us struggle for respect and connection in America today. The film portrays a dying city and people without jobs, a future or a safety net finding safe harbor in self-made 'families'. PUZZLES is a deeply human exploration of the roots of hate violence and how a horrendous crime becomes a catalyst for a community to reach out for greater understanding and connection.

Barbara AbrashCenter for Media, Culture and History - NYU

A brilliant documentary, whose strength is not only in the captivating story it tells, but in the way that it is told -- by the citizens themselves. In their own words those on both sides of this tragedy take us directly into the world of those changed by hate.

Prof. Brian LevinDirector, Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism, California State University, San Bernardino

Remarkable and important documentary! It’s unique in its ability to provide such access into the world of a Neo-Nazi hate crime offender and simultaneously the world of his victims. It allows the viewer an in-depth look into the friends of a hate crime offender and how they believe they must remain supportive of their friend even as some condemn his actions.

Jack McDevittAssociate Dean and Director, Institute on Race and Justice Northeastern University

Eye opening portrait of gay life in a multiracial, working class New England town struggling to cope with the economic downturn. PUZZLES serves as a catalyst for discussions ranging from anti-homophobia and bullying to gender relations, coming out and the challenges of working class families in America. Excellent documentary for use in education, sociology and LGBT and Gender Studies.

Lance T. McCreadyAssociate Professor of Urban Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education University of Toronto

Timely! PUZZLES brings many crucial issues together in a tight, compelling way. Economic desperation, racism, intolerance, scapegoating, and violence--what a toxic American mix. This documentary will be invaluable in helping high school teachers and their students unpack the connections between multiple forms of oppression.

Pam SpornHigh School Teacher

PUZZLES is about as complete, poignant, and meaningful a story of hate and its consequences . . . .

Truth Movies Review


As civil rights for LGBT and other minority groups are won violent backlashes have been known to increase. Today LGBT people are far more likely than any other minority group in the United States to be victimized by violent hate crimes. PUZZLES tells the story of a hate crime in a gay bar called Puzzles Lounge in New Bedford, MA when a teenager entered and brutally attacked its patrons. As a result two different worlds collide, a homophobic hate crime offender and his victims. Puzzles explores the correlation between American economic desperation and homophobia, intolerance, and, ultimately, violence.

In the wake of the devastating attack at the LGBTQ nightclub PULSE in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 patrons, this documentary is particularly important as it asks hard questions and frames the connection between hate crimes and extremist ideologies and the increase in hate violence against LGBTQ communities.

  • Distributor: New Day Films, Inc.
  • Year: 2014
  • Country and Language: US English
  • Length: 53 mins
  • Color: In Color


  • Directors and Producers: Tami Gold and David Pavlosky
  • Camera: Tami Gold
  • Editor: Harry Kafka


  • Global Peace Film Festival
  • New York Women in Film & TV
  • Sebastopol LGBTQI Days of Film
  • University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
  • The LGBT Film Series at Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute
  • White Privilege Conference Film Series
  • Popular Culture Association Film Series
  • University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Multi Cultural Film Series


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Comments from social media following the Hate Crime attack and killing at The Pulse Bar in Orlando Florida on June 12, 2016:
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Press Coverage

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Alternative Sources

Nothern Illinois University
Villa Nova University – Falvey Memorial Library