Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Movie Minute: The Student Body

Winner of the 2016 Independent Spirit Award, The Student Body tackles the heated topic of childhood obesity and the efforts to solve this national epidemic. I had a chance to view a screener of this film, which follows Bailey Webber, a brave high school student turned journalist. It was well-done, handling a sensitive issue well, focusing on the inspiring story of a young girl who saw an injustice and worked to end it.
In an effort to address the obesity problem among American youth, lawmakers in dozens of states have passed controversial mandates forcing schools to perform BMI tests on students. These were often followed by 'Fat Letters', notification letters were sent to kids whose body mass did not fall within a narrowly acceptable range; essentially telling children, even as young as kindergarteners, that they are fat.  When a determined sixth grader in Ohio voices her protest against the letters, student journalist Bailey Webber is inspired to take up her fight. Bailey's investigation soon turns into a battle of wills between herself and the bureaucrats who passed the law.  The Student Body is a true underdog story of two brave girls who take a stand against government intrusion and hypocrisy while exploring the complex and controversial truths of the childhood obesity debate.

About Bailey Webber Bailey Webber is a student investigative journalist, writer and co­director of The Student Body. Her story of courage and activism has been featured in numerous newspaper and online articles. She has been honored by the National Association of University Women for her advocacy work, is an ambassador for the National Eating Disorders Association as well as Proud to Be Me in which she has written several articles, blogs, and has participated in panel discussions. Bailey is also an up-and-coming public speaker and has appeared as a guest on several television and radio shows. Bailey is the daughter of Michael Webber, a motion picture producer and renowned documentary filmmaker. As such, she has grown up around movie making and has storytelling in her blood. The Student Body is her directorial debut.

About Michael Webber:  Michael Webber is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and producer/co­director of The Student Body. Webber has produced numerous theatrical films for studios such as 20th Century Fox and Lionsgate. Eventually applying his storytelling skills to non­fiction filmmaking, Webber would go on to produced/directed his “passion project” ­ the hit documentary The Elephant in the Living Room. The film was praised by critics as one of the best films of the year, winning 5 Best Documentary awards and opening as the #1 independent film in the US.  Michael has been guest on countless radio and television talk shows around the country, including appearances on The Today Show, ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News and Nightline. He was
also the subject of an ABC 20/20 special by Emmy Award Winning journalist Jay Schradler.

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