National Anti-Bullying Day is receiving the creative treatment from young Victoria filmmakers, and their message couldn’t be more timely.
Studies from the Canadian Institues of Health Research concluded that one in three children are bullied in school and bullying rates in Canada are two-thirds higher than that of other Western countries.
The same study found the majority of bullying situations are able to cease within 10 seconds of intervening, which is good news considering bystanders are present in over 90 per cent of bullying episodes.
The antidote to bullying, it seems, is to make it a public issue, and the upcoming Anti-Bullying Film Festival intends to do exactly that.
Participants, who must be under the age of 19, are invited to create and submit a 60-second public service announcement that conveys an impactful anti-bullying message.
“This is an issue that affects everyone, so it’s important we come together as a community on this,” said Katelyn Kennedy with the City of Victoria, one of the many organizations supporting the festival.
“Sure, everyone has their own take on what they want to produce in their films, but the anti-bullying message stays the same.”
This year’s festival adds an art legacy project to the evening, with the creation of a piece that will be housed at a community centre, she said, noting that 80 youth attendees are expected.
This Friday (Feb. 23) at noon is the deadline for online submissions, and the Oaklands Community Centre is accepting in-person applications, delivered on USB drives. Entries will be judged on four main criteria: clarity of anti-bullying message, creativity and originality, production quality and overall impact.
At the festival, three grand prize winners will be selected by a panel of local figures. Prizes are donated by the Victoria Royals, Flying Squirrel Escape Trampoline Park, Epic Escape Room and others.
The festival begins Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the École Victor-Brodeur School Theatre (637 Head St.) in Esquimalt.
For inspiration, head over to bcgvic.ca and click on Anti-Bullying Film Festival to watch winning videos from previous years.