Program note: Watch the AC360° documentary "The Bully Effect" on CNNI at 8 p.m. ET tonight. The film follows the lives of families featured in the movie "Bully."
By Lee Hirsch
As a documentary filmmaker, I’m privileged to tell the stories of others safely from behind the camera, but when I started to work on the movie “Bully,” more than three years ago, I had to revisit my own experience of being bullied in school. I also had to face how that impacted my adult life.
Bullying for me was violent and, at times, terrifying. Black and blue turned to yellow for months on end. In the early days of making the film, it was about validating the experience for myself and for others who have experienced the humiliation and sadness of being a victim. Now, the key question is how do we tap into the momentum the film has generated to create lasting, positive change?
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.
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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