Director: Lee Hirsch
Producer: Cynthia Lowen
Funders: BeCause Foundation, Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, Fledgling Fund, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, NoVo Foundation, Sundance, The Vered Foundation
Key Funder: The Einhorn Family Charitable Trust (EFCT)
The filmmakers write:
“EFCT quickly became one of the key strategic partners and funders for The Bully Project (TBP). And in particular, the Executive Director, Jennifer Hoos Rothberg, became an invaluable “brain trust” for Lee and the entire TBP team. EFCT contributed to the 3 rounds of funding of TBP, including both the production of the film as well as outreach of our 10 Million Kids campaign both theatrically and for the Educator’s Kit. In addition, EFCT facilitated relationships that prospered between TBP and DonorsChoose.org, Not in Our Schools, and Harvard Graduate School of Education.
DonorsChoose.org developed an online application process for school nationwide to see Bully in a theater. They helped organize transportation and anti-bullying training for the educators as well. In total they coordinated screenings for over 700 schools representing over 250,000 students. 1 Million Kids became the largest collection of field trips within a single program. As a trusted resource for teachers, DonorsChoose.org was the perfect partner to facilitate our initiative.
Not In Our School has inspired students of all ages to develop and share innovative ways to resist bullying and promote an atmosphere of acceptance and inclusion. With the introduction from EFCT, we included their videos and materials in the Educator’s DVD and Toolkit and one of our key volunteers Susan Guess has become a board member of the organization.
EFCT also introduced us to the Harvard Graduate School of Education has developed our ‘Roadmap to Building a Caring and Respectful School’ which is an integral part of the Educator’s Kit and is the first introduction of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) concepts for most of the people purchasing our kits.”
BRITDOC Impact Report
Read more about the film’s outreach campaign in the full BRITDOC case study, which observes:
Over 13 million American kids are bullied each year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people. Bully brings human scale to this startling statistic, offering an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families. The film documents the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviours that defy “kids will be kids” cliché, and captures a growing movement among parents and youths to change how bullying is handled in schools, in communities and in society as a whole.
The Bully Project (TBP) was formed to implement the campaign around the film Bully. The director Lee Hirsch, who had himself experienced bullying as a child, personally drove the campaign, becoming the face and spokesperson, and appearing at community screenings and extensively on national news.
There is no doubt that the film leveraged its impressive media presence to plant the issue of bullying firmly into the national consciousness, with coverage from all major media brands. Extensive and robust collaborations with a raft of corporations and nonprofits has been a hallmark of the campaign; an exemplar of successful partnership in action. This has been complemented by outstanding educational resources and the genesis of a genuinely self-sustaining grassroots movement.”
Since the BRITDOC awards, the filmmakers have developed a second edition of their Educator’s DVD and Toolkit, which began shipping in early May 2014. The first edition sold 7,500 copies, reaching over 2 million children and educators. The Bully Project has partnered with a number of organizations in order to spread awareness for their cause. Girl Scouts of America, The AD Council, and other organizations have created campaigns and programs of awareness and prevention in partnership with the Bully Project. Upworthy and Peace First each engaged the film’s target audience with creative campaigns that encouraged people to share their first-hand experiences with bullying through online media.
Facing History and Ourselves, (FHO) one of the team’s earliest partners and largest in-kind donors, developed a screening guide and online workshop that was made available at no cost to all participating educators, complemented by face-to-face training for teachers. The team asked every school participating in the 1 Million Kids campaign to pledge to use the FHO materials. Bully content on Facinghistory.org has reached nearly 450,000 unique page views—and according to a survey, 98 percent of teachers would recommend the workshop and 88 percent “agree” or “strongly agree” that the film and training helped to create a safe environment in their classroom. FHO also hosted Bully screenings and anti-bullying summits in several cities, with an estimated 25,000 and 800 administrators, teachers and parents participating.
The Bully Project has localized teams in 40 states which have made great strides to improve bullying laws in their communities. In Tennessee they’ve worked with State Representative Mark White on potential bullying law changes, and in Iowa they’ve participated in a major local youth leadership conference. They continue to hold screenings and engage with local legislators and school administrators.