Locally Filmed Documentary Bullied to Silence is Triumphantly, Defiantly Loud
|Produced by Arizona filmmakers, the new anti-bullying documentary Bullied to Silence features interviews with many local students.|
Arizona filmmakers Susan Broude and Tami Pivnick set out with some heavy goals: to give a voice to bullied youth across the nation, to challenge everyone to treat others as they would like to be treated, and to empower people to help put a stop to verbal abuse and cyberbullying.
The resulting film, Bullied to Silence, doesn't just give a voice to the bullied, it gives a microphone, and turns it up to 11.
The film's most profound challenge to a silence that can be devastating -- of lost lives and broken spirits -- is less direct than the spoken words, cited research, or statistics: It is the film's consistent, assertive, cacophony of sound.
Executive Music Producer Suzie Schomaker composed the film's score, which is intercut with swooshing sound effects that punctuate the wipes. But it is the cast of young people - composed so overwhelmingly of singers and musicians, like American Idol semi-finalist Brett Loewenstern and pop rock duo Michael and Marisa -- that best represents the empowering theme of sound over silence.
"Our intention is to show that despite media coverage that idealizes suicide and relates it to bullying, we want to provide hope and a path for change by not just focusing on the tragedies but on the triumphs and opportunities that result in joining forces and creating positive action," says producer/writer Broude, via email. "To that end, we include the positive action taken by those in the film, which includes some who chose to write anti-bullying songs to spread the message to be the change."
In a media context in which shows like Glee have utilized the spectacle of song and dance -- and its correlating themes of finding your voice and singing out proudly as a kind of defiant act -- to deliver messages of hope and empowerment, this use of music may in fact make the film much more effective in communicating its messages to arguably the most important audience: contemporary young people.
Unlike the moving and slow Bully, with its more realist style showing minimal filmmaker intervention, Bullied to Silence has a rapid pace intermixed with narration, research, and statistics that today's new-media-addled youth will have no problem absorbing.