THE SHORT

 

The award-winning 19-minute short breaches the topics of bullying and intolerance using the same inversion of sexualities, but zooms in on an 11-year-old girl’s storyline specifically. After incessant physical, verbal and cyber bullying, the adolescent makes a heart-wrenching decision.

 

Since the short first appeared online in 2013, it has organically garnered over tens of millions of views on the web and has been self-translated into over a dozen languages. It premiered at the Atlanta Film Festival in 2011 and has since received many accolades.

 

On November 2, 2015, the media broke the story that a Kansas social studies teacher, Tom Leahy, an educator of over 20 years, had been asked to resign after showing eighth-grade students the anti-bullying, viral short, Love is All You Need? He aired the video in classes following a fictional colony assignment during which at least one group decided homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed in their colony, spurring conversation amongst the students.

 

The story was widely covered on the national level and was picked up by Associated Press as well as publications including The Huffington Post, The Guardian, Houston Chronicle, The Washington Times and ThinkProgress. Public influencers such as George Takei (with over 9 million followers) shared the short on their social handles, and interviews and clips of the film aired on local stations including FOX, ABC and Eyewitness News. 

 

Following the vast media coverage and support from individuals, Leahy refused to resign, and the Conway Springs school system officially reinstated him. He continues to support the film.

 

The short has caused a stir in the media before. Notably, a Palatka, FL, teacher was put under fire in 2013 for showing the film to students. Director, K. Rocco Shields flew to Palatka to attend a follow-up PTA meeting, which was cancelled. Ultimately the teacher’s contract was not renewed.

 

Amidst much conversation and controversy, teachers across the nation continue to use the film in their classrooms as a positive tool to encourage tolerance amongst students. With support from educators of the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education, Genius Pictures is working to produce an anti-bullying lesson plan centered on the short, which will be available for free download online. The film is supported by partner organizations including GLSEN, No Bully, Teen Line and Marriage Equality USA.

 

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