The filmmakers behind the startling documentary “Bully” are in the midst of a campaign to get it seen by a million American kids — and Utah is about to add 12,500 to that number.
The Utah Film Center will show the film to students in the Salt Lake City and Park City school districts. And interest has been higher than anticipated.
“When we originally went out and talked to [Salt Lake district superintendent] McKell Withers, we were estimating 8,000,” said Holly Yocom, executive director of the Utah Film Center. “And then Park City heard about it and wanted to do it as well.
“All of the schools have been really excited about it. They jumped on board more quickly than we’d even hoped.”
Director Lee Hirsch’s 2011 documentary focused on five teens tormented by their classmates. One of them, Alex Libby, will take questions from students after screenings on Wednesday and Thursday .
Three years ago, cameras captured Alex, then 12, as he was pushed, punched, choked and threatened. And then cameras captured a school administrator as she minimized what was happening and assigned some of the blame to Alex.
“We’re really excited that he was able to take some time off school and come out and do the Q&As for us, because it’s important for the students to have that contact,” Yocom said. “We’re hoping to be able to educate the kids to realize that their actions do have consequences. I think far too often kids, they think, ‘Oh, it’s just a joke. I was just kidding.’ And you don’t realize the consequences of those actions.”
School counselors also will discuss “Bully” with students after they see it.
“It’s all part of our media literacy program — using the film to educate the students,” Yocom said.
Screenings for Salt Lake students begin Tuesday at The Gateway Megaplex Theatres. The film will be shown to students in Park City on Friday, then screenings continue in Salt Lake through the end of September. All screenings are for students only.
For more information, go to utahfilmcenter.org.
Additional ‘Bully’ screening
P On Thursday, at 7 p.m., the Park City Film Series and the Park City Education Foundation will offer a free screening of “Bully” at the Jim Santy Auditorium of the Park City Library and Education Center at 1255 Park Ave. in Park City.