Award-winning film aims at fighting bullying

"Bully Fighters" to premiere at CNU Tuesday.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – It’s a problem that continues to plague schools across the nation — bullying.

What can be done to stop it? A major initiative gets underway on the Peninsula next week featuring an anti-bullying movie that makes you stand up and listen.

Consider this, obesity is no longer the number one child healthcare concern in America. Today, experts say it is bullying.

This upcoming Tuesday “Bully Fighters”, an award-winning short film, will premiere in Hampton Roads at Christopher Newport University.

“Amazing Grace how sweet the sound,” begins the movie trailer for “Bully Fighters” now on YouTube. It shows scenes of bullying throughout and ends with suicide.

Jupiter Makins produced the $20,000 film with so many donating time, resources, locations to shoot, and dedicated actors and crew worked for free. “We need to stop it. We need to nip it in the bud before it starts, and we need to hold schools accountable and parents as well,” said Makins.

“What hurts the most, how little people feel supported, how alone people feel, which is something I felt growing up. I don’t want anyone to feel that way,” said Patricia McKenzie who plays an attorney fighting the judicial system of indifference to the bullying problem.

In the film, McKenzie’s strong performance drives the point that more needs to be done – and now. She belts out “What happened to the abusive battered child in school? We label it bullying, we soften it with misconduct. Nothing is done to protect them and there is no real laws. There are no consequences, and GOD forbid the law steps in to do what the law is supposed to do, and that is govern behavior.” It is a stinging rebuke on a judicial system that often turns a blind eye to the real issues of bullying.

10 On Your Side asked McKenzie about her performance and she became emotional, “I want people to feel we are together in this like there is no other way to make change but to be together. I am emotional about this. It is important to be supportive.”

Executive Director for the National Center for the Prevention of Community Violence Bobby Kipper said, “In questioning the whole system, it’s a definite 9+.” That is out of a perfect 10. Kipper said he would give it a 10, but there is so much more work to do. The movie deals with cyberbullying, “Well the big deal now is internet because of cyber going on now and it is the faceless violence. It’s a way to assault people without having to confront them,” Kipper explained.

The movie drives home the point it is time for change, and in the end there is unspeakable tragedy. Statistics show in America bullying leads to 4,400 deaths a year.

If you’d like to attend the premiere:

CNU’S David Student Union
Tuesday, October 4, 6 p.m.
A panel discussion will follow the movie