‘Bully’ director, cast answer questions in PAC


Senior Ciara Davis comes up to the microphone to ask the cast of ‘Bully’ her question. ‘Bully’ is playing at True/False this weekend and is scheduled to come to Ragtag later this month. Photo by Belquis Elhadi

Blake Becker

Senior Ciara Davis comes to the microphone to ask the subjects of 'Bully' a question. 'Bully' plays at True/False this weekend and is scheduled to come to Ragtag later this month. Photo by Belquis Elhadi
Friday’s preview of the True/False film, ‘Bully’ had students standing on the tips of their feet in the Performing Arts Center.
Producers of the film festival, which opened yesterday, showed clips from the documentary. Students then had a chance to ask questions of two of the subjects and directors from the film and share personal stories to two of the characters and the directors of the film.
The film tells the stories of students from across the country during the 2009-2010 school year who had been bullied. Two of the youth’s stories are that of Tyler Long and Ty Smalley, who committed suicide after being subjected to bullying.
Senior Kate Okker-Edging said having the subjects of the movie present was the most compelling part of the afternoon. After the preview and the Q&A session, she is looking forward to seeing the movie.
“We only saw the first 25 minutes,” Okker-Edging said, “so we barely got into the movie. But what I saw was really good.”
Starting in 2009, the film follows five adolescents through their trials of being bullied. The story conveys the feelings of them and their families toward their teachers and the community that refused to accept their uniqueness.
Kelby, one of the adolescents in the film, said she has experienced the worst bullying has to offer, but she reassured audience members in the PAC salvation for any of bullying’s victims.
“I’m living proof to tell you guys that if you are having trouble right now, it does get better,”Kelby said. “When you move on from school life and being around all your peers, you find out who has always been there for you. Things change for the better.”
‘Bully’ contains graphic scenes to depict the extent to which bullying exists in our society today and as a result has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America. Since the movie’s subject matter is a younger audience, the director Lee Hersh said the supporters and crew of the film are upset with the rating. A petition to include the original, uncut footage has also been started.
“They are asking us to censor the film and cut out the violence, and we think that’s really important not to do. As of three days ago, a 17-year-old student from Michigan launched a petition on change.org. … And in three days  185,000 people have signed the petition,” Hirsch said. “I urge you to go there, sign the petition and there is a space to tell why this is important. I think we are on the way to making a huge change, and you guys are a part of it.”
‘Bully’ is playing at the True/Fase film festival this weekend and is expected to be at Ragtag March 30.
By Blake Becker
additional reporting by Carleigh Thrower and Jackie Nichols