By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY TO APPEAL MPAA RATING OF BULLY

TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein And One Of Film’s Bullied Subjects Will Personally Appeal MPAA’s Decision To Give Anti-Bullying Documentary An “R” Rating

Restricted Rating Will Keep Film Out Of Schools Where America’s Bullying Epidemic Rages

New York, NY, February 21, 2012 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today plans to appeal the MPAA’s decision to assign an “R” rating to its forthcoming documentary BULLY, an urgent and intimate look at America’s bullying crisis by award-winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch.  The “R” rating was made on the basis of “some language,” and restricts children under 17 from seeing the film unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.  As a result, BULLY could not be screened in U.S. middle and high schools, where it might otherwise reach a mass national audience of students and be used as a tool to stop an epidemic of physical, psychological and emotional violence.  BULLY is scheduled for release on March 30, 2012.

TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein will appeal the MPAA rating, and will be joined by Alex Libby, one of the bullied children whose experiences are documented in BULLY.  The hearing will be held at the MPAA’s Sherman Oaks screening room on February 23rd with Motion Picture Consulting LLC’s Ethan Noble assisting The Weinstein Company.

Discussing the pending appeal, BULLY director Lee Hirsch said, “I made BULLY for kids to see – the bullies as well as the bullied.  We have to change hearts and minds in order to stop this epidemic, which has scarred countless lives and driven many children to suicide.  To capture the stark reality of bullying, we had to capture the way kids act and speak in their everyday lives – and the fact is that kids use profanity.  It is heartbreaking that the MPAA, in adhering to a strict limit on certain words, would end up keeping this film from those who need to see it most.  No one could make this case more powerfully than Alex Libby, and I am so proud and honored that he is stepping forward to make a personal appeal.”

Said Weinstein, “I have great respect for the work Chairman Joan Graves and the rest of the MPAA governing body do. I have been compelled by the filmmakers and the children to fight for an exception so we can change this R rating brought on by some bad language. As a father of four, I worry every day about bullying; it’s a serious and ever-present concern for me and my family.  I want every child, parent, and educator in America to see BULLY, so it is imperative for us to gain a PG-13 rating. It’s better that children see bad language than bad behavior, so my wish is that the MPAA considers the importance of this matter as we make this appeal.”

TRAILER

SYNOPSIS

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Safe and Drug-Free Schools estimates that over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the nation.  In the new documentary BULLY, award-winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch (AMANDLA! A REVOLUTION IN FOUR-PART HARMONY) brings human scale to this startling statistic, offering an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families.  Filmed over the course of the 2009/2010 school year, BULLY opens a window onto the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids, revealing a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic and economic borders.   It documents the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviors that defy “kids will be kids” clichés, and it captures a growing movement among parents and youths to change how bullying is handled in schools, in communities and in society as a whole.

ABOUT THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
The Weinstein Company (TWC) is a multimedia production and distribution company launched in October 2005 by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the brothers who founded Miramax Films in 1979. TWC also encompasses Dimension Films, the genre label founded in 1993 by Bob Weinstein, which has released such popular franchises as SCREAM, SPY KIDS and SCARY MOVIE. Together TWC and Dimension Films have released a broad range of mainstream, genre and specialty films that have been commercial and critical successes, including Tom Hooper’s THE KING’S SPEECH, winner of four 2011 Academy Awards®, including Best Picture.

Since 2005, TWC and Dimension Films have released such films as GRINDHOUSE; I’M NOT THERE; THE GREAT DEBATERS; VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA; THE READER; THE ROAD; HALLOWEEN; THE PAT TILLMAN STORY; PIRANHA 3D; INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS; A SINGLE MAN; BLUE VALENTINE; THE COMPANY MEN; MIRAL; SCRE4M; SUBMARINE; DIRTY GIRL; APOLLO 18; OUR IDIOT BROTHER; I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT; SARAH’S KEY; and SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD IN 4D. Currently in release are MY WEEK WITH MARILYN; THE ARTIST; THE IRON LADY; CORIOLANUS; W.E.; and UNDEFEATED. Upcoming releases include BULLY and THE INTOUCHABLES. Recently wrapped was SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, and currently in production is DJANGO UNCHAINED.

TWC is also active in television production, with credits including the Emmy® nominated and Peabody Award winning reality series Project Runway, the VH1 reality series Mob Wives, and the critically acclaimed HBO comedy/crime series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency which also received a Peabody Award. The company is currently producing After The Runway, Project Runway All Stars and Project Accessory. The company currently has 17 series in different stages of development, including Marco Polo, a scripted historical series about the great explorer; and The Nanny Diaries, being adapted for ABC by Amy Sherman Palladino (Gilmore Girls).

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“On behalf of all nominees, we would like to express our unanimous and emphatic disapproval of the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the U.S. and in so many other countries, in parts of the population and, most unfortunately of all, among leading politicians.

“The fear generated by dividing us into genders, colors, religions and sexualities as a means to justify violence destroys the things that we depend on – not only as artists but as humans: the diversity of cultures, the chance to be enriched by something seemingly ‘foreign’ and the belief that human encounters can change us for the better. These divisive walls prevent people from experiencing something simple but fundamental: from discovering that we are all not so different.

“So we’ve asked ourselves: What can cinema do? Although we don`t want to overestimate the power of movies, we do believe that no other medium can offer such deep insight into other people’s circumstances and transform feelings of unfamiliarity into curiosity, empathy and compassion – even for those we have been told are our enemies.

“Regardless of who wins the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday, we refuse to think in terms of borders. We believe there is no best country, best gender, best religion or best color. We want this award to stand as a symbol of the unity between nations and the freedom of the arts.

“Human rights are not something you have to apply for. They simply exist – for everybody. For this reason, we dedicate this award to all the people, artists, journalists and activists who are working to foster unity and understanding, and who uphold freedom of expression and human dignity – values whose protection is now more important than ever. By dedicating the Oscar to them, we wish to express to them our deep respect and solidarity.”

Martin Zandvliet – Land of Mine (Denmark)
Hannes Holm – A Man Called Ove (Sweden )
Asghar Farhadi – The Salesman (Iran)
Maren Ade – Toni Erdmann (Germany)
Martin Butler, Bentley Dean – Tanna (Australia)

“I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures. I like to subscribe to Susan Sontag’s thought of no highs and lows. I think dismissing popular culture and popular films can be really dangerous because they may seem innocuous, but some are works of art and even when they’re not they can say so much about the culture that they’re reflecting. This also gets into the idea of canon. What is good and isn’t good? Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about that. Specifically, who writes these canons? Mainly, straight white guys — which basically rigs the system. So, if you have a knowledge of female filmmakers, queer filmmakers, African or Asian filmmakers, some people won’t give them the same culture capital. They’ll say, “Oh, that’s nice niche knowledge.” No, it’s not. You’re just seeing it through the prism of something white and male. Like Shonda Rhimes’ ‘Scandal.’ I love that show, but is it a guilty pleasure because it’s a soap on TV? No. I think it has incredible writing, incredible thought and characters, so we should take it seriously. That’s a long-winded answer to say, “Yes, I love Titanic.” I was 10 years old when it came out and my mom took me to see it three times. I was so obsessed with it. A big thanks to my mom who’ll never get those nine hours of her life back.”
~ Toronto Int’l Programmer and Critic Kiva Reardon