Friend is a full feature narrative film that showcases human compassion at its core; moving beyond judgement and bullying into a place of self-love and acceptance.
NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR
Race - Age - Sexuality - Appearance - Gender Identity - Religion - Age - Hierarchy
These are all encompassing characteristics that we perceive in our modern day society. We no longer live in a world where we do not have access to information, on the contrary, it sits comfortably in the palm of our hands. The days of writing snail mail letters to friends while on vacation hundreds of miles away have passed. Instead, we send instant messages, that travel at the speed of light miles above the earth to reach across the oceans. I remember as a kid reaching in that nearly empty coin jar to fish out the last dime just in case I needed to call my mother from a pay phone. Now I find myself refusing nickels as change because I don’t want them sitting in my back pocket. After all, that spot is reserved for my phone charger.
We are no longer the same humans we used to be ten years ago. The world does not feel so incomprehensible; we are connected. It is how we adapt to this sudden accelerated change of social norms that is most important. Despite all of our perceived differences, we must remember what we all share in common … The Human Experience. As humans we are never truly perfect, although we strive to be. Along the way, we are eager to find faults in others to help to mask our own shame and short-comings. It is much easier to project our insecurities onto those around us (providing us a temporary feeling of power and control), rather than taking a good look in the mirror and being honest with ourselves. It is when we are not honest with ourselves, that bullying seizes the opportunity to thrive.
As we have evolved with technology, so has the way we bully one another. Bullying has evolved from a more physical form of attack to a psycological means of empowerment. It all comes back to my personal experience when I was younger. I was riding the school bus home and the popular kid thought it would be empowering for him to spit on my face in front of everyone. It was a physical act that mortified me. Fortunately, I had the 1990’s on my side. There were no "smart phones" to take photos, record video,Tweet, post to Facebook, Blog, Instagram, Tumbler, Youtube, Vimeo, Pinterest, MySpace, Skype, IM, FaceTime, this list goes on! My bullying experience could have been exponentially worsened had it happened in the present day.
That is why it is so important for me to make this film. Our goal is to showcase the struggles of present day teens, and adults for that matter, being bullied with the technology that we have all embraced. After all, bullying does not discriminate. We hope you will join us on this exciting artistic adventure!
FRIEND Film 90 min (narrative feature)
Present day Tennessee. A city with strong community values and a conservative approach to change; sooner divided by local football rivalry than by politics & church. It might be polished on the surface, but it cannot hide the fact that a diverse group of people live with-in its borders.
Taylor, 28, Afghan war veteran.
Taylor has lost his identity after returning back form Afghanistan. He no longer identifies with the fact that he is a hero, but instead all he sees is an amputee. Taylor's life has changed from his last two tours. It was smiles and handshakes, which are now quick glances away with shaking heads. He makes his way into an assistant football coaching position, thanks to his brother, who still refers Asians as "Orientals". After everything Taylor has been through, he still possesses the same endearing naiveté that compels him to feel guilty for sneaking that one cigarette on the side of the school building. Little did he know what fate that little pack of Marlboro Lights would bring him on that first day of school, enter Barbara.
Barbara, 32, Arts teacher, newly transferred from Colorado Springs.
Although Barbara feels like a fish out of water in her new conservative hometown, she shares one thing in common with her fellow Tennesseans - appreciation for the freedom to light up with-out judgement. Even though she is an educated woman in her thirties, she is treated poorly by her co-workers; with the exception of Taylor who has taken a romantic interest in Barbara. While this new love is in bloom, Barbara accidentally overlooks the tell-tale signs that Brad, a high school senior, is battling with his gender identity.
Brad, 18, every parents dream.
He is captain of the football team and is on his way to being valedictorian, but beneath the surface things are never as perfect as they may seem. Brad is struggling with his gender identify. The conflict occurs when his secret becomes public, not through simple word of mouth, but virally spread via social media networks. Brad who is grasping for straws cannot find support from his family or church. His last chance for acceptance is his best friend, Alejandro.
Alejandro, 18, aspiring photographer.
Alejandro is constantly made fun off because of his ethnicity. He is on a personal journey of self-discovery; fascinated by how others put up walls around them for protection. As open minded as he is, Alejandro cannot wrap his brain around Brad's identity crisis. Alejandro chooses not to accept the fact that Brad identifies as being a woman and ceases all contact with him. With all this added stress, Brad makes a serious choice that could ultimately end all choices - attempted suicide.
The failed attempt shocks the community and, in a way, draws it closer together. Barbara admits her deepest and darkest secret to the whole entire school. Taylor, at a cross-roads, must make the decision to stand by Barbara's side or lose his one true chance at love. Alejandro, enlightened by everything that has happened, is empowered to create an edgy photo campaign called, "The New F Word" for his senior project and dedicates it to his friend Brad.
FRIEND shows human compassion at its core. It attempts to high-light how we judge and bully as a result of being insecure, but that we all have the capacity for good. This film is about turning negative into positive and fear into understanding by encouraging our characters to accept themselves. By being confident in who they are, they can become a better friend to everyone around them. We hope you will join us on this incredible journey of self-acceptance and love.
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Two powerful interviews filmed by director Elliot London that started the Movement.
"I remembered why I want to live."
Joseph's story on being bullied.