: Alex, Ja'Maya Jackson, Kelby, David Long, Tina Long, Kirk SmalleyDirector
: Lee Hirsch Genre
: Documentary Rated
: MRunning Time
: 98 minutes Synopsis
: Directed by Sundance and Emmy-Award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, Bully is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary which offers an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched five American kids and their families.
Roadshow Films managing director Joel Pearlman said it was important this extraordinarily powerful work was released in Australian cinemas to highlight the issue of bullying which was not restricted to the United States.
According to the National Centre Against Bullying, 27% of young Australian people report they are bullied every two weeks or more, with cyber-bullying happening to one in 10.
"This powerful film is just as relevant to Australian children and their families as it is to those in the US. We look forward to Bully continuing the conversation and ensuring that it remains a topic of great importance for families and the community in general," Mr Pearlman said.
"The best social documents on film do more than show you what's wrong in the world - they make it personal. Bully does that with a passion. Potent and provocative" Peter Travers, Rolling Stone.
Filmed over the course of the 2009/2010 school year, Bully opens a window onto the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids to reveal a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic and economic borders.
It documents the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviours that defy "kids will be kids" clichés, and it captures a growing movement among parents and youths to change how bullying is handled in schools, in communities and in society as a whole.
At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of America's bullying crisis. Stories include two families who have lost children to suicide and a mother awaiting the fate of her 14-year-old daughter who has been incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus.
With an intimate glimpse into homes, classrooms, cafeterias and principals' offices, the film offers insight into the often cruel world of the lives of bullied children. Directors' statement
: Bully is a deeply personal film for me: I was bullied throughout middle school and much of my childhood. In many ways, those experiences and struggles helped shape my world view and the types of films I've endeavoured to make.
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. Through this unflinching look, we will make a difference for other young people across communities and improve our collective response to this crisis.
Moving away from the silence, shame and attitude of "kids will be kids," I intend that this film not only reach those who have been the victims of bullying, but more importantly, those who still need an 'empathy push'. Viewers will be left with a clear sense of how they can step into a bullying situation and make a positive impact.
For 24/7 crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.auVerdict
: Bully is a heartbreakingly honest portrayal of the chronic issue of bullying in the United States that resonates worldwide, especially in Australia. The pain the victims, family and friends feel, daily, is comforting and will stay with you long after the final credits roll.
The film is brutally honest and showcases that we still have no clear idea as teachers, parents, friends, students, professionals and a community about how to deal with bullying. In the film the teacher's board refers to the large issue with "kids will be kids"
Bully is filmed throughout a school year in the United States and showcases five students who are being bullied on a daily basis. At one point recorded footage is shown to Alex's parents to alert them of how bad their son is being verbally and physically abused on the school bus and whilst at school.
We are introduced to openly gay Kelby Johnson in Oklahoma who whilst being a strong individual is bullied and left out by most students, teachers and the community which has led to attempted suicide numerous times before.
The compelling documentary also follows two families who have lost their sons to bully related suicide and another family who are waiting to hear the courts outcome after their 14-year-old girl, Ja'Meya Jackson, brought a gun onto her school bus after years of torment.
The numerous forms of bullying are all methods of abuse, all of which have real consequences. The raw documentary is a call to action for children and adults worldwide that will bring a tear to your eye, fill your soul with pain and at times make you mad. What will you do to stop bullying?
If you only see one film this year, make it Bully!Rating
Brooke Hunter Release Date
: August 23rd, 2012
Bully is screening as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) from the 10th of August to the 14th of August, sessions selling fast.