SHIRLEY PIERCE TAKES A STAND AGAINST BULLYING
By Guest Hush Hush Reporter Charlot Daysh
Film writer Shirley Pierce experienced every mother’s nightmare when her daughter was the victim of bullies. She was assaulted mentally, physically and in cyberspace. And so Shirley fought back – the only way she knew how.
The successful filmmaker has almost two decades’ experience working for major US studios such as Walt Disney Pictures and Warner Brothers, on releases like Dinosaur and Meet the Robinsons. She is devoted to creating projects that shine a light on people’s better natures, and her latest project Free You Be You does exactly this. “As a filmmaker, I have created film projects for others but this time I’m doing it for my daughter,” she says.
Free You Be You is an anti-bullying music video written and produced by Shirley along with her partners. The video was created to empower and support the victims of bullying by spreading the message that their pride in who they are is their best defense. “We want survivors and victims of bullies to free themselves by being themselves and being proud of who they are,” she says. “Most bullying videos and campaigns are aimed at stopping the bullies, I felt we needed to address the most important person in these situations, the victims.”
Free You Be You is an MTV-style dance video. “We’re using dance to deliver the messages because it’s the perfect medium to celebrate the spirit of freedom that every bullying victim wants and deserves,” she says. “The style of dance we’re using is energetic and liberating hip-hop”.
The original song for Free You Be You is a new anthem for the anti-bullying movement that encourages victims to dance to their own beat. It was written by pre-teen singer/songwriter Amber Arnold from the Gold Coast, as a result of being the victim of bullies. Gold Coast rapper Bulldog has also been a victim of bullying and has added an urban flavour to the track. The anthem will be available on iTunes when the video premieres on November 20th at the Gold Coast Indie Film TV network event.
Shirley says that many of the video’s cast and crew were also survivors of bullying. “This is a way we can all reach out and help those who are going through what we experienced”, she says.
More than 300 volunteers came together to work on the project to let young people know that they are not alone. Shirley says she is humbled by the overwhelming love and support people have shown for the project. “On behalf of not only my daughter and myself but also on behalf of my producing partners—David Mace Kaff, Lauren-Ann Smith and Angus Ledgerwood—I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart”, she says.
Along with more than 100 Gold Coast dancers the stellar cast features Cleo Massey, Eric James Gravolin, and Larissa George. The video is directed by the Emmy Award-nominated casting director Tom McSweeney who says: “If one child is saved or one heart is mended, it is worth it”.
The Premier of the Free you Be You will be at the The Art Centre Gold Coast at the Gold Coast Indie Film TV Network Event on November 20th and tickets can be purchased at Box Office 55884000