Anti-bully flick goes global

Damien Howard and daughter Siena at the Georgia Shorts Film Festival.

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A South-East former cop’s short film on bullying has made its world premiere at a US short-film festival.

Bully – a film that explores the inner insecure core of a bully – screened at the Georgia Shorts Film Festival in Atlanta on 14 June.

It makes its first Australian public airing at the West End Film Festival in Brisbane on 30 June.

Writer, director and producer Damien Howard took the chance to fly over to the Atlanta festival with his daughter Siena.

Along the way, they enjoyed Boston, New York, San Francisco and a live seat for Game 3 of the NBA finals series between the Warriors and Raptors.

Mr Howard revelled in being in Atlanta, an emerging film and television hub that is home to Stranger Things and The Walking Dead.

But also it was a chance to share a powerful take on bullying. A schoolgirl ‘bully’ looking in the mirror, baking in her own withering self-criticism.

“The aim is to show the other side to the bully and why she behaves the way she does,” Mr Howard said in describing the film recently.

“They won’t see that bully as a tough person – they’re often more insecure than their victims.”

A proud Siena, who also aspires to be a film-maker, loved how the film tackled such an important, universal schoolyard issue.

Mr Howard is currently writing a feature-length film. He crams in writing-time on the train to work at the Office of Public Prosecutions audio-visual unit.

He hopes to submit his new work to producers and studios this year.

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