My older son attends a school with a strict "anti-bullying" mandate. Yet we were vexed when one of his classmates turned into his "frenemy;" desperately trying to arrange for off-campus experiences together, yet whispering in his ear "You're such a baby" and giving him wedgies.
Sending our son's discomfort, we sent a note to their teacher. I still remember her reply, which started, "I almost passed out when I read your email. We have witnessed nothing of the sort of behavior you mentioned. I have contacted the school director... We are very concerned."
It's the type of situation that young filmmaker Gerry Orz draws attention to with his docu-drama short, THE EQUATION OF LIFE. A full third of all school children are bulled and Orz was no exception. However he decided to use his passion for self-expression into a YouTube video that was expanded into a 31-minute "afterschool special," if you will.
Now being distributed by TDC Entertainment for schools and community programs THE EQUATION OF LIFE is a highly fictionalized account of some extreme results that occur when Adam, an 11-year-old boy (played by Orz) suffers physical and mental abuse at the hands of a classmate.
If you're looking for Academy Award-level performances, you're missing the point. Bullying is a tough subject to tackle yet it's prevalent at so many levels of society. Rather than shrug off the abuse, Orz confronted his aggressors and went even further. The resulting film is a winner of Merit Awards from Accolade and IndieFest.
The motto of THE EQUATION OF LIFE is "words plus actions equal consequences." Each of the three juvenile leads come to grips with the aftermath of their actions. And if you couldn't guess, Orz has opted for some worst-case scenarios (and jumps ahead several decades to achieve them).
Orz has taken his cause to the California State Senate and has been the recipient of four Senate resolutions, including the proclamation that 12/12/12 would be "Bullying Prevention Awareness Day" in California. As a result of his diligence and persistence, Orz was recently the youngest finalist in the history of the Violence Prevention Coalition Peace Award.
THE EQUATION OF LIFE is not an easy viewing experience. Sit down your child, or children, or bring it to the attention of educators at your child's school. Anti-bullying is one lesson that needs to last a lifetime.