Some are Waiting for Superman. I'm waiting for The Bully Project.
Award-winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch's The Bully Project is a labor of love and promises to expose the true nature of bullying. Lee, and co-producer Cynthia Lowen, had unprecedented full access to the schools in Sioux City, Iowa and have travelled the country following stories and talking to the families of kids pushed beyond the brink.
A documentary goes a long way in making people pay attention. To fix it, you have to see it and feel it. Having been bullied himself as a child, Lee is determined to make a film that accurately portrays the pain it causes. The film will be accompanied by a thorough outreach campaign to maximize it's impact and to offer solutions to this insidious problem.
What's really admirable is that Lee and Cynthia set off on this journey before this rash of recent bullycide incidents happened and before the media started to pay attention. Their commitment has never wavered. The Bully Project is down the home stretch but like any good film, it needs financial support to hit it home. And boy do we need it now.
Want to donate? You won't be sorry. Go to IndieGoGo. It's really easy.
Even though they've been in the editing room 24/7, they were kind enough to answer the following questions:
After travelling and filming so many kids, what do you find is the most discouraging part of this problem?
I think the hardest thing about bullying is the scope of the problem. This is violence that crosses gender, racial, socio-economic boundaries, it is something that is found in every school in every community in the United States. After filming with four families who lost their children to suicide over the 2009/2010 school year, and in the wake of three more suicides just this past month, I don't think there could be a greater sense of urgency that this is something we have to start working to find solutions to. I think something else that is difficult about bullying is that when things get out of hand, it is often the failure of good people, who are trying their best, who don't necessarily have the tools they need to effectively deal with bullying, or who don't have the capacity to deal with the issue until there is a crisis, as has been the case with some of the communities who have tragically lost children to suicide. What we are in part trying to do with this film, is to give kids and adults the opportunity to talk about bullying and find solutions out of something other than crisis to positively effect change and implement great school climates.
What's the most encouraging?
One of the most encouraging things we saw over the course of this school year is the difference one person can make in the life of a bullied child, and that kids who are empowered to intervene in bullying situations have a huge capacity to make the conflict stop. While the scope of the bullying problem might seem huge, a big part of the solution is creating school climates and a broader sense in our culture, that it is not okay to stand by and watch someone be bullied, and that every child and adult has the power to effectively intervene and prevent it from taking place.
Agreed. And one film can make a HUGE difference. We need The Bully Project. It will save young lives and spare families.
Head's Up: Lee will be interviewed tomorrow morning (Monday, Oct.4th) on CNN's American Morning (show airs from 6-9am). Check it out.
Who's tomorrow's Tangled Ball Award winner?
Hint: School climate is where it's at...and this group is getting us there. They're "upstanders!"