Thu., Oct. 11th, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 12th, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 14th, 7 p.m.
**JUST ADDED** Mon., Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m.
Directed by Lee Hirsch • USA • 98 min. • 2011 • Rated PG-13 for intense thematic material, disturbing content, and some strong language – all involving kids (edited for re-rating)
A Film Forum Special Event! All three screenings of this important documentary will be followed by a panel conversation with educators, students, and other experts on school bullying today.
Due to overwhelming public interest in this film, we have added an additional screening on Monday, Oct 15th, at 7:30.
In the past year, several high-profile cases—and some teen suicides—brought to light what many feel is a growing “bullying epidemic.” (The famous viral video of 68-year-old bus monitor Karen Klein being bullied demonstrates that the problems isn’t relegated to kid-on-kid bullying.) Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch turns his lens on the issue with a beautifully cinematic, character-driven—and somewhat controversial—documentary. Bully follows five kids and their families over the course of a school year, including two families who have lost children to suicide, and a mother awaiting the fate of her 14-year-old daughter who has been imprisoned after bringing a gun on her school bus. Bully provides an intimate and disturbing glimpse into homes, classrooms, cafeterias, and principals’ offices, offering insight into the often cruel world of the lives of bullied children.
Our screenings of Bully will be accompanied by panel discussions. The participants include:
Moderator: Dan Forbush, Executive Director of Communications at Skidmore College
Mark Weiss is the Director of Education of Operation Respect (www.operationrespect.org), an organization that has been building the movement for creating safe and respectful environments for children and youth since Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary and Dr. Charlotte Frank of McGraw-Hill Education founded it more than a decade ago. Prior to his work with Operation Respect, Mark was a successful NYC school principal for more than 20 years. Mark has traveled the globe with Operation Respect working with stakeholders, community leaders, school leaders, school staff and students in the effort to transform the climate and culture of schools and their communities.
Saratoga District Attorney James Murphy has worked with many of the aspects of bullying. He collaborated with Saratoga Springs City School District Superintendent Janice White to co-host a first of its kind “Educational Summit” with the Partnership for Prevention, identified risks associated with substance use and underage alcohol use, learned about the developmental reasons for risk-taking behavior by adolescents, and engaged community members in a conversation about youth and the challenges they face today.
Max Gaba is an 8th grader at Maple Avenue Middle School. He recently assisted in Lake Avenue’s Antibullying Hotspot PSAs. He feels he brings a valuable perspective from an environment where bullying can be a daily occurrence.
Angel Balsamo is an 8th grader at Maple Avenue Middle School. She was a year-long victim of cyber bullying and will share her experiences and thoughts on the subject.
Michael Feurstein owns a local movie lighting rental business and a production company. Michael’s work earned him Best Local Filmmaker credit four years running in readers’ polls from the Albany Times Union and Metroland. Most recently, his educational series “How to UnMake A Bully” has earned a Telly Award, endorsements from the Kids’ First Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, The Anti-Defamation League and CBS-6, among many more. He currently works in schools with Proctors Mediaworks program, bringing media into the classrooms for project-based enrichment. He recently produced a series of public service announcements with Lake Ave. Elementary School 4th grade students.
John Brueggemann is a Professor of Sociology and holds the Quadracci Chair in Social Responsibility at Skidmore College. He teaches courses on inequality, religion, and morality and has published three books—Racial Competition and Class Solidarity, Inequality in the United States, and Rich, Free and Miserable. He has written, lectured and taught about issues related to bullying, including incivility, violence, and power.
Rich Johns developed the program Act with Respect Always, a proactive approach to preventing bullying. He spreads the message that “by embracing traits like responsibility and civility you won’t be that bully.” Rich Johns recently retired from teaching elementary and middle school and coaching tennis at Saratoga Springs High School for 38 years.
Jackie Molloy is a 9th grader at Saratoga Springs High School. Immersed in a culture where Facebook and texting are a constant, Jackie will share her perspective on cyberbullying.
Sunday night’s panel will center around the theme of bullying and gay and lesbian issues.
Moderator: Terry Diggory, a retired English professor from Skidmore College, and an elder at the Presbyterian-New England Congregational Church of Saratoga Springs.
James Shultis holds the position of Youth Program Assistant of the Pride Center of the Capital Region.
Laura Lewis is a Social Studies teacher at Schuylerville High School. She will be the advisor of a newly formed Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at Schuylerville High School.
Kayla Brenz is a senior at Schuylerville High School.
Our screenings of Bully are sponsored by Cathy and Elliott Masie, District Attorney Jim Murphy’s Office, and Presbyterian-New England Congregational Church of Saratoga Springs.
“Bully doesn’t need research or great filmmaking or narrative focus, per se. It needs only the shaming power of its relentlessness and a young audience open to sharing in that shame.” —Wesley Morris, Boston Globe (full review)
“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.” —Peter Travers, Rolling Stone (full review)
“This is an urgent and moral movie; there shouldn’t be a puritanical roadblock standing between it and its audience.” —Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly (full review)