Monday night Park City Day School presented Finding Kind, a film spotlighting social bullying amongst girls and women.
The IndieFlix documentary is a powerful film that is heading the Kind Campaign, a movement that brings awareness and healing to the effects of meanness within the "girl world", according to co-filmmaker Molly Thompson, during an interview with The Park Record.
"The documentary is being screened in April as part of a coalition effort to raise awareness about the insidious nature of this kind of covert bullying," said Tess Miner-Farra, associate head of school at PCDS.
"The overall emphasis of showing this film was to raise the awareness of bullying in the community. It is so important for our students to learn academics in school, but lessons like these I feel are equally important."
According Thompson, she and her co-director Lauren Parsekian, packed their bags and traveled across America in a mini-van with mothers in tow, to interview hundreds of females about the "mean girl" phenomenon.
"The film has been positively affecting students and people around the country," Thompson said. "It is a testament to the serious effects of this issue and the need for change in the way we treat each other. This is such an important conversation to be having as a community and I am very excited that Park City is taking part in this."
The first-time filmmakers, who claim to be the victims of bullying, documented their 10,000 mile journey, talking with over 30,000 women, in more than 60 cities. The film captures an eclectic group of memories and confessions from girls across the nation. The two women, who met while attending Pepperdine University, also included interviews with respected experts and authors in the fields of psychology, education and the interrelationships of women and girls.
Through the filmmakers' quest and journey, they were able to combine all of these experiences and established a commonality of kindness and mutual respect, according to Thompson.
"We want to show everybody, not only females, that we are all in this together," Thompson said. "At some point we have all been at either ends of bullying. I think if more communities recognize this problem like Park City, we can create some real change in the school hallways."
To assist the filmmakers in spreading the "Kind Pledge," Park City School District counselors, are screening the documentary throughout April to reach as many students and parents as possible.
There is a $500 fee to arrange a screening of Finding Kind. This allows the PCSD, who picked up the tab, the opportunity to showcase the film to the community and students. Included is a screening packet, which provides hands-on material for viewers, discussion questions, screening checklists and fundraising ideas.
"I appreciated that the filmmakers' portrayed all of the aspects of harassment that affect students today," said Willow Amendola-Duncan, a counselor at Ecker Hill Middle School who helped bring the film to Park City. "By showing the big roles social media and technology play in harassment, we as a community can make a real change."
"The school district opted-out of the filmmakers' fundraising initiative," said Miner-Farra. "We want to spread this valuable lesson as much as possible, so the movie will be free to the community."
The next showing will be on April 17 for family and students associated with the Park City School District at the Eccles Center. A guest panel of speakers, yet to be determined, will host a post discussion following the film. RSVP is not necessary according to Miner-Farra.
All PCSD 6th-12th grade students will see the film during the school day on April 18 and 19.
In order to reach the entire Summit County, a final showing of the film will take place at the Eccles Center on April 18 at 6 p.m.
"We would like to open the evening up to our fellow educators, students and their families attending our neighboring schools in the surrounding areas," said Amendola-Duncan.
The PCSD encourages all elementary school students in the 4th and 5th grades, who plan to attend the final showing, arrange parent supervision – due to the 11 years-of-age and up suggestive viewing disclaimer.
"We all have a personal responsibility to put a stop to bullying," Amendola-Duncan said. "Not only coming from a counseling perspective, but a parent's perspective, it is so important to be loving and kind to everybody in your life. 'Finding Kind' helps reveal this."