2005 Notable Children’s Video
February 15, 2005
Vol. 101, No. 12
Let’s Get Real. In a powerful yet balanced documentary, real middle-school students who are dealing with such issues as name-calling, bullying, racial and religious differences, disabilities, and perceived sexual orientation, peak with candor about what is happening in their lives. Bonus features include an interview with the director.
Let’s Get Real
July/August 2004 Issue
“There are three groups in my school: ghetto, weird, and dorky,” says one of the interviewees in Oscar-winning filmmaker Debra Chasnoff’s Let’s Get Real, a remarkably candid documentary about sexual harassment, name-calling, and bullying that features no re-enactments or adults, just a wide variety of sound bites and interviews with real middle, junior, and high school students. The kids, to paraphrase The Who, aren’t exactly alright either, as the program includes comments from both bullies and victims on topics such as girl gossip, sexual harassment, racial tension (and insider vs. outsider racial terminology), and gay bashing. Some stories have a positive resolution; other interviewees are still struggling with painful treatment from their peers. Boasting good camerawork and interesting graphics, this compendium of honest adolescent talk will hopefully get teen viewers talking honestly too.
Groundbreaking Film Addresses SchoolBullying
June 21, 2004
A groundbreaking new film is helping Bay Area schools tackle what some call an epidemic of bullying. The National Education Association estimates that every day, 160,000 children miss school because they’re afraid of being attacked or intimidated by other students. In Assignment 7, a look at how a Bay Area filmmaker is working to change that.
Battling the bullies: S.F. filmmaker turns her lens on schoolyard tyrants in an effort to change a painful culture
by Dave Ford, Chronicle Staff Writer
Academy Award-winning San Francisco documentary director Debra Chasnoff remembers her middle school years as the most miserable of her life, a time when being a straight-A student carried a stigma and suddenly the carefree days of elementary school morphed into ones filled with confusing social stratifications. Read more…
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Moraga: Documentary pulls no punches on middle school bullies
by C.W. Nevius, February 11, 2005
By now we all realize that bullying is a problem in our schools. And we probably have an image in our minds of what it must be like — scary street punks pushing around smaller kids in a neglected schoolyard. Isn’t it a shame that those schools don’t have the money to do something? Read more…
Film Review: Let’s Get Real
April 15, 2004
Vol. 100, No. 16
The format is simple, honest and oh-so effective. Numerous middle school students talk about bullying and harassment. The “n” word, tar baby, Jew, faggot, gay, homo, geek, dork, fatso, retarded, diaper head, big ass, and dog are just a few of the names the kids have been called. Colorful graphics, pulsating background music, and classroom and playground footage (one boy is intentionally knocked off his bike) accompany the head shots. Various bullies speak, too, including one who admits he “likes making people mad.” A few students tell how good they felt after they stood up to bullies who were harassing others. Comments expressing a desire to shoot the bullies or “kill myself” are frighteningly realistic and heartbreaking. This can’t-miss discussion starter is highly recommended for both school and public libraries. Includes guide. Sue-Ellen Beauregard
Documentary filmmaker brings the problem out in the open
March 29, 2004 In a scene from Let’s Get Real, San Francisco filmmaker Debra Chasnoff’s new educational documentary on bullying, as a boy named Jasper rides his bike across a middle school campus, a classmate hurtles out of nowhere and cruelly shoves him to the ground. On the pretense that it was all good-natured fun, the bully helps him up as student passers-by cackle with laughter. Bullying like this is common on middle school campuses so common, in fact, that Chasnoff’s cameras just happened to catch the incident as the cameras were rolling. And, perhaps more disturbing, it is so common that the bully didn’t even care that he was being caught on film.
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Real to “Reel” Spotlight: Let’s Get Real
March 2004 National audiences may be embracing five designing queer guys on television each week, but in hallways and playgrounds across the country, and far, far away from the nearest television audience, life is often not very fabulous for kids who are seen as different. In this month’s “Real to Real,” filmmaker Debra Chasnoff reflects on the new film, Let’s Get Real.
Chasnoff finds bullying widespread
Filmmaker to lead Boston discussion on school bullying
February 26, 2004 In the 1996 comedy, “Welcome to the Dollhouse,” the geeky and unfortunately named seventh grader Dawn Wiener endures a daily torrent of abuse at her suburban New Jersey middle school, including being called “dyke,” “dog face” and “Wiener dog.” She suffers an unspeakable humiliation in the girls bathroom and is threatened with rape by the class bully. “Why do you hate me?” a bewildered Dawn asks a classmate. “Because you’re ugly,” the student spits back. The film was a dark comedy to be sure, but the reality of middle school bullying is anything but funny.
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The magazine of the National Education Association
On Film: Anti-Bullying Film Released
A new 35-minute documentary, Let’s Get Real, takes an illuminating look at name-calling and bullying from the point of view of young people. Let’s Get Real allows kids in grades 6 9 to speak openly about what it’s like to be targeted, to bully others, and to stand up as an ally when they witness harassment. Directed by Debra Chasnoff and part of The Respect For All Project, the film is designed to support students speaking up both to their peers and the adults in their lives, and to encourage empathy in order to prevent acts of aggression and violence. The Respect for All Project’s national campaign against bullying includes curriculum guides and teacher-training programs to junior high schools and youth-advocacy programs. Educators should preview the film’s website to determine how it best fits their needs.
The film may be purchased at www.respectforall.org
Bullying: Film Review
Vol. 13, No. 1
Let’s Get Real is a riveting examination by Academy Award winning documentarian Debra Chasnoff of the effects of bullying, not only on the victims, but on the bullies. Perhaps the most striking commentary is that of featured middle school students, who give unflinching interviews about the racial, homosexual, ethnic and sexist slurs that are commonplace in schools today. This video goes beyond similar efforts, because it talks to youths who bully, drawing out their explanations and what it would take to make them stop. Let’s Get Real is an extremely well-made video that can give youth an in-depth look at bullying and how to stop it.
Debra Chasnoff “Gets Real” About Her New Film
She won an Academy Award in 1992 for best documentary, and in her acceptance speech she came out to about a billion people. Her films about different kinds of families and talking to elementary school kids about homosexuality have been fiercely attacked for “promoting the gay agenda.” Her last film was screened at the White House, and she’s been vilified by the likes of Laura Schlessinger and Oliver North. She is Debra Chasnoff: a mother, a filmmaker, and a cultural force to be reckoned with.
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Kids fear the taunts of bullies
October 26, 2003
Everywhere Debra Chasnoff goes these days, people tell her long- buried secrets from middle school. Chasnoff always listens. She is a listener by nature. But she also knows there is no use interrupting. Once the telling begins, time and distance dissolve, and she can almost smell the crushed Fritos and musty gym shirts and strawberry lip gloss of the junior high hallway.
“One woman told me the girl who bullied her still shows up as a character in her dreams,” Chasnoff said over salad at the Double Play, a few blocks from her Bryant Street studio.
Director Debra Chasnoff Featured on Working Assets Radio
October 20, 2003
Working Assets Radio provides a forum for progressive news, intelligent talk, and alternative viewpoints. Director Debra Chasnoff appeared on the show to discuss the world premiere of Let’s Get Real and the issue of bullying and name-calling among middle school youth.
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