Editor's Note: Lee Hirsch is the director of "The Bully Project." Anderson Cooper spoke with him about his film at the "Bullying: It Stops Here" town hall, airing on Friday, October 14 at 8 and 10 p.m. ET
The emotional experience of watching film and television has the power to bring a cause to our hearts and motivate us to act. Sometimes it is the images that stir us, sometimes we are touched by the opportunity to understand someone else’s perspective. The incredible team at AC360° does this all the time—they inform and inspire. Millions of small acts can move people to take steps toward real change.
For too long, bullying has been shrouded in silence or merely dismissed as “kids being kids.” However, the stories of the five kids and families in our film “The Bully Project” are echoed by millions of youth and parents across our nation, crisscrossing wealthy and poor, rural and urban communities alike. Through the documentary, we’re able to bring these experiences to life in a way that forces us to reevaluate what’s at stake. Their stories compel us to get off the sidelines.
The jury at Silverdocs film festival perhaps said it best:
“The tortuous experience of youth is shared by many, but it is bravely revealed in this film through characters who confront their experience and work to reclaim their dignity.
The Filmmakers’ admirable degree of access shows the enormous trust established with his subjects. The result is a film that doesn't reduce people to their worst experience, but rather elevates them to a level of marginalized heroes and heroines we should all aspire to emulate."
Set for national release by The Weinstein Company on March 9th, 2012, our team is busy building a movement. In the coming months leading up to the release, look for powerful tools, fueled by exciting partnerships on our website. For example, parents will be able to enter their zip code and receive location specific resources and help—this means knowing what policy your child’s school has implemented, step by step assistance to communicate with administrators, and ways to hold your district accountable.
Movements, like films, depend on word of mouth. Please take a moment to watch our trailer, e-mail your friends, sign up on our website, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Each of us has the power to stand up to bullying in our schools and communities and join this movement. Together we can turn the tide on bullying.
My experience as a teacher is that children who have been abused at home or in some other sphere are often the ones picked on by other children. That was even evident in your film of the Mother asking her son if it didn't bother him to be treated that way, and he said he didn't feel anything anymore. Look again at the way that Mother accosted him.
Lee Hirsch has done something that we as parents couldn't do although we tried with all of our might to do, that is, giving our children, both living and those like my son who died by bullyicide a VOICE! I hope they all hear us now! Thank you Lee for doing this! I will be forever grateful!
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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