“Bully”-New Documentary That Addresses Serious Problem For Adolescents

Making the rounds of the festival circuit and personal preview events is a new movie that addresses the prevalence of bullying. The documentary, “Bully”, is 92 minute character driven film that takes a look at the lives of kids who get bullied. Filmed over the 2009/2010 academic school year, the film shows that bullying transcends race, ethnicity, geography, and economic factors. The film also investigates the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviors that defy “kids will be kids” attitude and captures a growing movement among parents and youths to change how bullying is handled in schools and communities as a whole.

The film, written and directed by Emmy-award winning director Lee Hirsch, is his attempt to address the treatment he received during his childhood and middle school years. “I firmly believe that there is a need for an honest, gutsy film which gives voice to the kids who deal with such torments on a daily basis.” “Bully” was purchased by the Weinstein Company and is planned to be distributed to theaters around the country on March 30th, but there is controversy over the MPAA rating given to the film because of language used. The MPAA rated the movie R, which will make it difficult for some adolescents under 17 to view the movie without a parent.  The film’s director Lee Hirsch, has already voiced his opposition to making any edits.

“To cut around [the profanity] or bleep it out, it really absolutely does lessen the impact and takes away from what the honest moment was, and what a terrifying feeling it can be [to be bullied],” Hirsch told the AP.

And the Weinstein Company believes an R rating would similarly diminish the film’s influence on adolescents.

“If your parents take you or make you go [to the movie], it’s like forcing a child to take medicine,”  David Glasser, the studio’s COO. “But if a kid has the ability where he can go on his own, it becomes a movement. That’s one of the reasons why we need this rating changed.”

To see a preview of the film go to the website thebullyproject.com/#/video
Or visit the website to find out more of what is being done to address bullying thebullyproject.com/#/abouttheproject

Roni Gillenson, Program Director of ACS’ On-Campus Counseling Program had a chance to preview the film on March 8,2012 when it was screened by the organization Facing History and Ourselves in Palo Alto. The following are Roni’s thoughts on the film:

The movie does a great job at showing what actually happens to teens in their schools by peers and how, often times, the parents are not aware to what extent their children are actually being bullied.  The movie hits home as we are witness to the victims’ pain and how they deal, along with their families, schools and communities to the outcomes of some of the tragedies connected. 

Bullying has been around for a long time and this movie shines a light on the importance of how we all can make a difference in our behaviors towards others in our schools, communities and in our own families.  One of the morals of the film is that we can, or even one person, can truly make a difference.  We can all learn something valuable and life changing from this movie “Bully”.

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