Thou shalt not bully

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South Africa’s dedicated art house film circuit Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau releases the feature length documentary, Bully, on 17 August as part of its Doccie Fest. The film is an unflinching look at the bullying crisis that is plaguing schools across the world and causing untold emotional distress.

Statistics show that over 13 million children will be bullied in America alone. Directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch (Amandla: A Revolution in Four Part Harmony), Bully exposes the most common form of verbal and non-verbal violence experienced by young people.

A cinematic, character-driven story, the film looks at how five children and their families have been impacted by bullying. Filmed over 2009 and 2010, this documentary uncovers a serious issue that occurs across geographical, racial, ethnic and economic boundaries. It documents the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviours that defy “kids will be kids’ cliches, and it captures a growing movement among parents and youths to change how bullying is handled in schools.

Bully is inspired by director Hirsch’s own experiences with bullying. He says: “In many ways, those experiences and struggles helped shape my worldview and my direction as a filmmaker. Bullying was a subject I wanted very much to explore in a film, and it was always on the list of projects I wanted to develop. But it stayed an abstraction for a long time – I was too scared to start developing the idea in earnest because it would mean confronting my own demons, and revisiting a painful period of my life.’

Raw emotions are exposed in the film – from 12-year-old Alex, 16-year-old Kelby and 14-year-old Ja’Meya who experience bullying first hand – to parents David and Tina Long and Kirk and Laura Smalley who are working through the suicides of their children.

Bully will be featured at all five of the Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau sites including; Gateway, Rosebank, Brooklyn, Cavendish and V&A Nouveau, providing a unique experience to viewers across the country.

For booking enquiries visit www.cinemanouveau.co.za or call Ticketline on 082 16789.

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