Featuring 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.
“Hear Me Now” strives to become the quintessential school bullying documentary in order to change lives as well as save lives and give youth the reassurance that they are not alone and that there truly is a light at the end of the tunnel.
I had a chance to interview director/writer/producer Bill Cornelius to learn more.
What was the inspiration behind creating this documentary?
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. 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. "Hear Me Now" is the result.
What do you hope people take away from it?
My biggest hope for the film is that it reaches bullied youth that feel like they have nowhere to turn and that all seems hopeless. Being bullied incessantly can destroy how you feel about yourself. I want this film to build people back up and give them the feeling that it WILL be okay and that they are loved whether they realize it or not.
What was the most surprising thing you learned while working on this project?
During the 4-years we were in production, we found time and time again that many schools would not have anything to do with us. 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. 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.
What's the most important piece of advice you have regarding bullying?
Bullied youth need to know that they aren't alone in their struggle, though they might feel like they are. There are people who want to help them. Stand tall and rise above the negativity you're experiencing. YOU define who YOU are. Don't let anyone take that away from you. School is just a bridge you have to cross and it's not always easy. You are loved, you are important, and things are SO much better if you just hang in there and cross that bridge.