The Gig Harbor Film Festival, in a partnership with the Peninsula School District and the Galaxy Theater, will offer two free showings of a short documentary about cyber bullying on Oct. 6 at the Uptown Galaxy Theater, 4946 Point Fosdick Drive.
The first viewing, from 4 to 5 p.m., will be for middle-school students. The second showing, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., is intended for high-schoolers.
“Cyberbullied” is a 17-minute documentary that was released in 2011. Director Doug Cembellin of California used a grant from the University of Southern California film school to create the documentary after he saw the impact bullying had on his brother.
A panel will be in place after the film with the director, area school representatives and a university student who was affected by cyberbulling.
The panel intends to initiate a discussion on ways to help with Internet safety and how to address the issue in the community.
Marty Thacker, executive director of the Gig Harbor Film Festival, strives to have the film festival be part of the community and searches for movies with relevant meaning for Gig Harbor citizens.
“This is an important issue and follows up on the well-received movie ‘Finding Kind,’ shown last year,” Thacker said. “We reached out to partner with the school district to continue raising awareness.”
“The Harassment Education Board welcomed the idea to partner with the film festival,” said Dan Gregory, academic officer for the Peninsula School District. “There are limitations for the schools, but our goal is to be in partnership with parents and students to help foster awareness, develop good digital citizenship and pay attention to what may be happening on social media in the schools.”
An active social issue, the director attributes cyber bullying and the rise of cell phone and online harassment for destroying confidence and expression. Adolescents, the majority of whom are middle-school age, claim to be affected at some point in school, Cembellin wrote on his website. His goal for the film is to empower students, families and educators to “celebrate individuality.”
The film festival’s partnership with the school’s resources and the Galaxy Theater allows for the opportunity to have an open discussion and highlight the issue with citizens, Thacker said.
A booklet titled “Family Online Safety Guide” will be available. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.gigharborfilmfestival.org.