Kino Lorber has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Keith Maitland’s animated documentary Tower, which details the story of the lone gunman who climbed a clock tower at the University of Texas in 1966, shooting 49 people and killing 17 in what has come to be known as America’s first mass school shooting. The docu, which mixes archival footage with rotoscopic animation, won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for best documentary feature for its world premiere at SXSW.

An October 12 release is planned for New York’s Film Forum followed by a national rollout to mark the 50th anniversary of the event. Kino Lorber is eyeing an awards-season push for the pic, which centers on issues that sadly still plague the nation today.

Megan Gilbride and Susan Thomson are producers. Steve Eckelman, Amy Rapp, Sandy Boone, Louis Black, Pamela Colloff, Lois Vossen, Meredith Vieira and Luke Wilson are executive producers. Cinetic will launch international sales at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

Tower is that rarest of documentaries, seamlessly melding artistry and advocacy,” said Richard Lorber, CEO of Kino Lorber, “In Keith’s brilliant filmic strategy, animation distances us from the numbing historical reality that began as a painful, unprecedented news event. Watching this graceful, immersive work of art, we let down our defenses to fully absorb the meaning of the nightmare and deeply feel the emotions of his characters. It could not be a more important and timely contribution to the coming congressional confrontation over gun control, in light of the latest tragedy in Orlando — it’s a must-see for every community in America, and we could not be more committed to help make that happen.”