Independent short film on bullying features Marion Co. school
MARION COUNTY, TN. (WRCB)-- Bullying is a top concern among local parents. Now, a Marion County school is bringing light to the issue in a creative way on the big screen.
The short film The Road Not Traveled was shot entirely at Whitwell High School.
It has been entered in the Broad Street Film Festival, but its creator has more than an award in mind. He says it has a strong message that students need to hear.
"Administration can come up with rules but for bullying to actually stop in the schools, it's going to take the students standing up and saying I've had enough. We're not going to do this anymore," filmmaker, Standifer Kilgore says.
Standifer Kilgore wrote The Road Not Traveled with his daughter Jade, a student at Whitwell High School.
"It really clicked, because I've been bullied in the past," Jade Kilgore says.
She says bullying is more common than most parents probably realize and affects students more than their peers probably think.
"Really disheartening and sometimes it just makes me really mad and sometimes it makes me really sad," Jade says.
The film's main character is a girl caught in the middle. She sees a friend being bullied by classmates, but doesn't say anything to her friend, the bullies, or teachers. It's a situation these student actors say is very familiar.
"Sometimes I wish I had the courage to stick up for people that are getting bullied because I see it too," student actor, Katie Johnson says.
Others say they've also been the victims of bullying.
"Bad. I feel bad and upset," student actor, Amber Hurd says.
"I want to get the word out there that bullying is wrong and I would like to see it stopped," student actor, Zach Hall says.
In the end, the girl being bullied kills herself and her silent friend feels guilty. These students hope their peers will learn the severity of bullying and that speaking up is key.
"I think it's going to change their minds about the little things they say, how it can make a bigger affect and not just actually hitting somebody is bullying. What they say can be bullying," student actor, Paiton Patterson says.
The school counselor also says students have to report the problem, in order for the school to try and solve it.
"The piece we play in it is letting them know what it is and they can change that. They don't have to stay a bully," Whitwell High School Counselor Suzanne Smith says.
Whitwell High School Principal Joshua Holtcamp says the school did a survey last month to determine specifics about bullying there so they can address it. He says they will be using this short film as a teaching tool.
Filmmaker Standifer Kilgore submitted it to the film festival through Chattanooga State Community College, where he's a media student. He'll find out Saturday night if it won.
You can watch The Road Not Traveled by clicking here.