Our Silence Is Complicity (2014)
Today’s Students Suffer Behind Closed Doors
SYNOPSIS: “Fat, a joke, a low life”—these and other taunts are tossed out, at times simply for fun, to get a laugh, or to garner a brief moment of fame for others. “They do it behind your back and not to your face,” confesses one student in Our Silence Is Complicity (2014), a documentary directed by bullying prevention expert and author Gabriella van Rij [pronounced “Ray”].
In another scene, we see a seven-year-old boy making a noose with the help of his Smartphone. These and other striking images put a face on the effects of bullying when unchecked. Faced with a daily hell in the form of verbal abuse and cyber torment, some students have chosen suicide as a means of escape. Others turn to cutting and other personally harmful behavior.
Through interviews with students and parents, Gabriella provides a startling glimpse of the emotional and mental minefield that students are tasked with surviving, all of which is magnified by our increasingly social media-driven world, where hurtful words can be spread a thousand fold. “Nobody strikes another coming from a positive place” says Gabriella. “Students have the ball of Human Kindness in their hands. They can be the difference. They just need a nudge from us.”
Gabriella is small but mighty. She has a great story to tell and is really passionate about helping others and empowering the world to be a kinder place.
—Jennifer Verscha. Illinois
Hearing Gabriella and the firsthand account of parents that have suffered as a result of their child being bullied brought on a guttural feeling of pain and empathy. We think that bullying is just a few words. We tell our kids to be strong. “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.” How wrong I was.–Pat Brown. Davenport, Iowa
Hear Me Now (2015)
Produced by Bill Cornelius, Zac Adams, Steven C. Knapp, Mike Stryker
Gabriella’s anti-bullying expertise is featured in Hear Me Now (2015).
SYNOPSIS: “Hear Me Now” strives to become the quintessential anti school bullying documentary to change and save the lives of those who have experienced bullying.
It encourages reassurance that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that those experiencing bullying are not alone.
It focuses on harsh realities and the positive steps that are being taken to raise awareness and prevent school bullying.
Shot through a series of moving testimonials and poignant reenactments, “Hear Me Now” is sure to reach into the hearts and minds of many.
“Hear Me Now” features compelling and informative on-camera interviews with Columbine survivor Craig Scott, anti-bullying activist Kirk Smalley, who tragically lost his son to suicide, and dozens who have been affected by bullying and continue to be affected, giving viewers a candid look inside the world of bullying and the inspiration to find hope amidst the darkness. Director Bill Cornelius speaks about the film: “The inspiration came from my own personal experiences with bullying when I was in middle school. Like many, those experiences had a lasting impact on my life,” he mentions. “Since then, I’ve wanted to leverage my work in the film industry to help those dealing with the same issues that I once dealt with.”
Surprisingly, although bullying is a huge problem in many schools, the producers found that institutions were reluctant to participate in the production.
“Bullying seems to be a very taboo subject for many American schools and, unfortunately, they feel the best course of action is to sweep the issue under the rug with hopes that it goes away,” Cornelius states. “We found that the schools that were very open and receptive to us all had some form of anti-bullying program in place, which I think is very telling.”