Two years after being shot and injured in a midnight movie theater massacre that shattered hearts in Colorado, 21-year-old Bonnie Kate Zoghbi found herself back in a movie theater for one of the best nights of her life.
Unbeknownst to Bonnie Kate, her filmmaker boyfriend Max Zoghbi, had been working for months on a short film that told the story of how the couple fell in love, and arranged for a screening of the trailer in a theater — while being secretly recorded.
Bonnie Kate was one of 70 people injured when suspected gunman James Holmes opened fire inside an Aurora, Colorado, theater, killing 12. It took her weeks to recover, and she says she still lives with constant pain from the shootings.
"The movie theater – all that trauma – that's not the end of my story," Bonnie Kate told the Daily Mail. "It's the beginning."
Max, 26, wanted to include a movie theater in his proposal to make sure a movie theater was part of the best day of her life — instead of the worst.
Max took Bonnie Kate to the movies on Jan. 10 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he had arranged for the film trailer he directed to play, completely taking her by surprise.
"I was so excited it felt like my heart was about to pop with joy," Bonnie Kate told ABC News. "I was hoping for it, let's just get married let's just get engaged, I can't even put it into words."
And Max had more in store for their "epic date." He led Bonnie Kate outside the theater, where a group of friends and family members waited to cheer them on, and arranged for a chauffeur to drive the couple to their favorite restaurant.
After dinner, they went to her grandparents' barn, where he proposed. It was the same spot where her grandfather proposed to her grandmother decades earlier.
"I wrote the script in early December (2013), assembled the cast and crew and shot the thing in January," Max told ABC about the short film. "Getting the movie theater on board, getting my brothers to learn the song, a lot these things flowing around. It was a group effort, everything fell into place so it was very special."
The couple married on May 24.
Max filmed the entire proposal night and put it together into a short film he called Wildflower, which tells the couple's entire love story. He hoped to share the movie with their children one day.
He said he posted the video on YouTube on Sept. 18, hoping to share how God can take "something as evil as a movie theater massacre" and use it for good.
Watch Wildflower here:
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at email@example.com.
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