BSGE’s Film Club has officially made it into the Top 50 of The Great American No Bull Challenge! Founded by author and entrepreneur Shawn Edgington, the No Bull Challenge is “a social action organization that inspires teens from around the world to take a stand against bullying and to promote digital responsibility, leadership and social action through filmmaking.” In order to promote non-preaching curricula in bullying for teachers, the winning films and scripts are used as free educational resources to teachers worldwide. The various prizes for the winning students are: a mentorship with Emmy Award winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch, a text-a-tip program for the winner’s school, video cameras, scholarships and a trip to the Sundance Film Festival, where the winning short film video will be submitted.
Film club founder Natalia Belchikov ‘16 describes the concept of the short film as a “message of ignorance in bullying that occurs all around us in subtle ways.” The film is a PSA that shows the different forms of bullying in a school environment, varying from bullying among students to students bullying a teacher. It also displays the consequences of bullying such as when a “nerd” gets harrassed to the point of committing suicide. Sasha Valitutti ‘19, playing the nerd, says that her role represents how “people get bullied because of their hobbies and interests.” The most unique part of the short film is the lack of dialogue; the viewers listen to music that one of the main characters hears from her headphones, symbolizing the ignorance that bystanders show when witnessing bullying.
Mahaut Brooks ‘16, playing the bystander, describes the filming process as “unique” due to the fact that “there wasn’t a teacher telling us what to do. We had to take initiative and create our own production.” However, the process was also challenging in the sense that “we didn’t have enough time because we had a due date. We were always rushing to get things done.” Film club members typically stayed 3 to 4 hours after school to film and edit their PSA. The project took approximately 4 to 5 months to complete, including the planning, scriptwriting, filming, and editing stages.
Natalia and the film club members are proud of their film making the Top 50. If the film club’s submission were to win The Great American No Bull Challenge, Natalia plans to “celebrate, find out a way to split the prizes, and figure out what we want to do next as well as what we learned from the experience.”