April 18, 2014

Tag Archives: Lee Hirsch

NO MORE BULLYING: 13 million kids get bullied every year

HollywoodNews.com: Today is Twitter Tuesday! Dedicate your Tweets to Stop Bullying. NO MORE BULLYING: 13 million kids get bullied every year. It’s time to take a stand. RT to STOP Bullying. #BULLYMOVIE
“BULLY,” the highly anticipated anti-bullying documentary (in theaters March 30th), has sparked a protest and now a movement, as a number of major movie stars, theater owners, and Members of Congress have joined forces to protest the film’s R rating. In a clear triumph for the film, Gerry Lopez, CEO of AMC Theaters, one of the most prominent theater chains in the world, spoke out against the R-Rating, saying, “To ‘automatically default’ BULLY is a mistake. Automatic default to a rating, a category, a genre… doesn’t matter, is a mistake. The message, the movie and its social relevance defy that kind of formulaic, conventional thinking. AMC will show this movie, and we invite our guests to engage in the dialogue its relevant message will inevitably provoke.”
Mr. Lopez is one of almost 300,000 people to get behind a petition started by a junior in high school named Katy Butler. Ms. Butler, who has experienced severe bullying herself, started the petition on Change.org after the MPAA ruled by one vote that “Bully” should receive an R rating due to six swear words. When Mr. Lopez asked one of his sons about the film, curious as to whether the debate had reached the demographic the film is geared toward, his son had already signed onto Ms. Butler’s petition.
The support from Hollywood has been on a steady increase since Katy Butler launched her petition. On March 20, Meryl Streep and her daughter Mamie Gummer will co-host a screening of the film with and David Boies, one of the two attorneys responsible for overturning Proposition 8 in California, and his daughter, Mary Boies. The screening will be held in New York City.
Johnny Depp has also signed on to lend his support; Ellen DeGeneres has devoted time to the film on her television show; and in the sports arena, Drew Brees, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, has also added his voice to the movement. Kelly Ripa and Anderson Cooper came on board as news anchor partners, hosting a screening in New York City last week, that was presented by Bing, the search engine from Microsoft. In addition to the screening in NYC, Bing will also be supporting the [...]

Bully: Harvey Fights Back – Bully to be released unrated

HollywoodNews.com: After a recent plea to the MPAA by BULLY teen Alex Libby and The Weinstein Company (TWC) Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein failed – by one vote – to get the film its deserved PG-13 rating, TWC is choosing to move forward with releasing the film unrated by the MPAA on March 30.
Furthering proof that the R rating for some language is inappropriate for a film that’s meant to educate and help parents, teachers, school officials and children with what’s become an epidemic in schools around the country, the fight against the rating continues on. The outpour of support by politicians, schools, parents, celebrities and activists for the film’s mission to be seen by those it was made for – children – has been overwhelming. Nearly half a million people have signed Michigan high school student and former bullying victim Katy Butler’s petition on Change.org to urge the MPAA to lower the rating.
Said BULLY Director Lee Hirsch, “The small amount of language in the film that’s responsible for the R rating is there because it’s real. It’s what the children who are victims of bullying face on most days. All of our supporters see that, and we’re grateful for the support we’ve received across the board. I know the kids will come, so it’s up to the theaters to let them in.”
“The kids and families in this film are true heroes, and we believe theater owners everywhere will step up and do what’s right for the benefit of all of the children out there who have been bullied or may have otherwise become bullies themselves. We’re working to do everything we can to make this film available to as many parents, teachers and students across the country,” said TWC President of Marketing Stephen Bruno.

For parents or teachers who are looking for more information or who may have concerns about showing children a movie unrated by the MPAA, please read Common Sense Media’s rating details of the film here: http://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/bully.
“While it’s often heartbreaking and deals with tough issues like suicide, the movie addresses bullying in a frank and relatable way that is age appropriate for teens and relevant for middle schoolers if an adult is present to guide the discussion,” said James P. Steyer, Founder and CEO, Common Sense Media. “The MPAA’s ratings system is inadequate when it comes looking at a movie’s content through the lens of its larger thematic issues. [...]

Why getting a PG-13 for Bully is more important than fighting the MPAA on its lone ironclad rule.

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: You can’t have more than one ‘f-word’ in your movie and still get a PG-13. There have been a few exceptions over the years, but generally it’s one ‘f-word’ in a non-sexual context. Anymore than that, and its an automatic R-rating. We can debate the morality/practicality of that specific rule. Hell, I’d probably agree with you that it’s a silly arbitrary requirement, especially considering the sort of violent content that ends up in PG-13 movies. But at the end of the day, it’s one of the MPAA’s few ironclad rules. Thus I have little sympathy when Weinstein films keep trying to skirt that ‘one rule’ and still get their PG-13. Their new documentary Bully may indeed be must-see viewing for teenagers. It may shed light on a major problem, affect the national conversation, and save lives. But if Harvey Weinstein and director Lee Hirsch want that PG-13, they should just bleep out the offending f-words. Period. We may not like the rules, but those are the rules as they stand at the moment.
Furthermore, even if the MPAA does reserve their decision and grant that PG-13 rating to Bully, the Weintstein Company will still have missed a major opportunity. I wrote about this in August 2010, when the studio fought the same battle over The Tillman Story. Point being, I’m sure that altering or bleeping a few choice profanities will not irrevocably harm Bully’s impact as a probing study of the current problem with school-related harassment and assault. And I’d argue that eliminating said language would actually help the film achieve its goals, as such a film could actually be shown in schools where it could be the subject of in-class discussion and debate. This isn’t about artistic freedom. The film will be released in theaters on March 30th, be it with an uncut R-rated version or an altered-PG-13 cut. But, however we might disagree with said ratings guidelines, Weinstein and company surely knew what they were and made the choice to intentionally flaunt them while they were editing their finished product.
I may not agree with the MPAA’s stance on profanity, but I’d rather a film like Bully be able to be used as a teaching tool than be a ‘restricted’ title based purely on an unwillingness to budge. It’s not a [...]

Weinstein Co. grabs “Bully Project” at Tribeca

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: The Weinstein Company has acquired from Submarine Entertainment all rights to Lee Hirsch’s “The Bully Project,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday, April 23.
According to a release, the deal covers all rights in North America, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Germany. TWC also acquired the film’s distribution rights for pan-Asian satellite TV, and will be the sales agent for the remaining global territories.
“The Bully Project is a phenomenally insightful and moving examination of bullying and its long-term impact. We think this is one of the year’s most important films, and we intend to bring all our energy and creative resources to bear in bringing The Bully Project and its message to audiences of all ages,” said TWC’s Executive Vice President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions Peter Lawson.
TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein commented, “After my team saw The Bully Project, they immediately called and urged me to see it. I am glad they did. As a parent of four, bullying is an issue that concerns me deeply, and I jumped at the opportunity to be involved with a film that could help eradicate this plague once and for all.”
Here is the official synopsis:
This year, over 18 million American kids will be bullied, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the U.S. Directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch, the documentary THE BULLY PROJECT follows “a year in the life” of America’s bullying crisis, offering an intimate look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families. 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. As teachers, administrators, kids and parents struggle to find answers, THE BULLY PROJECT examines the dire consequences of bullying through the testimony of strong and courageous youth. Through the power of their stories, the film aims to be a catalyst for change in the way we deal with bullying as parents, teachers, children and society as a whole.
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