CRESTVIEW — A video depicting the ultimate result of severe bullying premieres Tuesday night during Anti-Bullying Week, which runs through Nov. 22.
Producers Amber Ellis and Trevor Dennis, who also wrote, directed and edited the 21-minute production, were motivated by Ellis' daughter, Danielle, who founded the Crestview High School Students Offering Support, or S.O.S., anti-bullying club.
The Okaloosa County School District, the Crestview Police Department, the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, Okaloosa County EMS, the North Okaloosa Fire District and Circuit Judge Michael Flowers participated in the production.
Production took more than a year after shooting began around Crestview in September 2012. Crestview High student and alumni actors include stars Jack Barr, Dylan Cobb and Kyndalle Allen.
Barr, who graduated in 2013 and appeared in school and community theatre productions, said the video's vivid message increased his awareness of bullying's impact on its victims.
"It was the most amazing thing I have done yet, to be honest. It was fun but it was horrid," he said. "It made me really want to reach out to people who are being persecuted in schools by other kids and make a change."
Ellis praised Barr, who plays Ryan, the bullying victim, as a "good sport" and a "trooper" for his patience and performance in some of the more difficult and emotional scenes.
Banned from schools
Because of the video's emotional content, Ellis said Okaloosa Schools Superintendant Mary Beth Jackson decided against allowing the video to be shown in area schools.
Jackson said she couldn't allow even the hint of suicide after she learned that two students in Sparks, Nev., took their lives after watching a similar video.
"If a person is already teetering at the end of their rope, and they think there's nowhere to go, I'm certainly not going to ... let our students see that," she said.
Jackson said she and several other school district representatives saw the video and agreed it was inappropriate.
Ellis hopes parents will join their children and attend one of several screenings scheduled for Tuesday and Friday.
"We want the parents to see it, too, and not just drop their kids off," Ellis said. "Parents don't understand what their kids go through. We wanted it to be real and good and show emotion, and Jack really did that."
WANT TO GO?
WHAT:Screenings of "Breaking Point," a new anti-bullying video produced in Crestview
WHEN: 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Nov. 19 and 22
WHERE: Warriors Hall, Whitehurst Municipal Building, Stillwell Avenue and Industrial Drive, Crestview
DETAILS:Free admission; suggested for students age 13 and over, and parents encouraged to attend with their children.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.