April 14, 2011
Students creating film for school anti-bullying effort
BY MICHAEL GOOT Gazette Reporter
Reach Gazette reporter Michael Goot at 395-3105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glendaal Elementary School fourth-grader Hiram Jung did a little dance on stage, flailing his arms and shaking his hips. He took a bow and then left the stage as a group of girls passed him, laughing and pointing.
“Nice dance,” they said sarcastically.
Hiram’s shoulders sagged with sadness. His other friends also made fun of him. “You think you’re being electrocuted?” asked one.
Luckily for Hiram, he was acting and not really being bullied. This was all part of a scene in the school’s production of “How To Un-Make a Bully.”
Local filmmaker Mike Feurstein, who is also a teacher aide at the school, is producing and directing the film. The students hope to show it to other schools to teach them not to bully.
Feurstein said the idea to do the movie came about when school officials asked him to do a short film to tie into its yearlong campaign against bullying.
The story relates a series of incidents in which students bully others and tells what they could have done differently. The premise shows how a kid who was bullied decides to bully others to get payback, creating a negative environment at the school.
“Now, he’s become the biggest bully in school,” Feurstein said.
Fourth-grader Colton Maranville, 10, helped come up with the story after his own experience being picked on last year. He is also playing Russell, the big bully at school.
Feurstein also had help in developing the script
from second-grade teacher Maryanne Reidy and social worker Cindy Skala.
The school has been focusing on character education and teaching children that they have choices in how they interact with their peers.
“This is a great fun way for them to get involved
in putting this education into practice,” he said.
Students have been working on the movie before school.
Feurstein gave commands to the students around him, who were either actors waiting for a cue or performing behind-the-scenes tasks such as holding the boom microphone or listening to the audio on headphones.
“I also need a copy of the script,” he said.
“This light is hot now, so please do not try to move it or touch it.”
The fourth- and fi fth-grade students jumped on board and wanted to show the film to other schools.
Hiram said he knows what to do if he is being bullied. “You should basically walk away or tell someone,” she said.
Fifth-grader Jenna Stuart, 10, who plays one of
the teasing girls, said she enjoys being a part of the production. She
believes that sometimes people bully because they were bullied and
want to be feel good about themselves.
“They want to be more powerful,” she said.
Students are trying to wrap up the half-hour film
in the next few weeks. It will shown during an assembly at Glendaal
and then at other schools.
Feurstein praised the students for how efficient they are working. After they did a couple of takes, the crew scurried across the stage to get reverse angles and do closeups.
“You’ve succeeded in shooting a complete scene in just under an hour,” he said. “That’s called locking down a set.”
PHOTO ABOVE: MARC SCHULTZ/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER Local filmmaker Mike Feurstein works with Scotia-Glenville fourth- and fifth-graders to shoot an anti-bullying movie at Glendaal Elementary last Thursday morning.