Students from School Without Walls and Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C., recently participated in the AT&T-sponsored Cyberbullying Film Invitational in New York City, part of the All American High School Film Festival. The entrants had to submit eight-minute films aimed at raising national awareness about cyberbullying, a hate crime that can take place on social media or through text messaging.
“An astounding eight in 10 teenagers admit to being cyberbullied or know someone who has been bullied… And AT&T wants to help,” said AT&T’s New York State President Marissa Shorenstein in a statement. “This is a concentrated effort to help educate their peers and end this crisis.”
The Tyler Clementi Foundation partnered with AT&T for the film competition. The Tyler Clementi Foundation was named for 18-year-old college student Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide after his roommate videotaped and broadcasted him online, by use of a hidden camera, when Tyler was engaged in an intimate moment with his male partner.
“The Tyler Clementi Foundation, guided by the life and story of Tyler Clementi, works to end online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces and faith communities. We promote safe, inclusive and respectful social environments in homes, schools, campuses, churches and the digital world for vulnerable youth, LGBT youth and their allies,” Foundation spokesman Pail Hortenstine said in an e-mail.
Over 250 high school student filmmakers from across the country participated in the competition. AT&T awarded over $25,000 to winners on Oct. 9. Winning teams included students from Steilacoom High School in Steilacoom, Wash., Mythic Bridge High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego, Calif. The teams received $5,000, $3,500 and $2,500, respectively.
The films presented by the two D.C. schools did not win the immediate competition, but they still have a chance at winning the Public Choice Award. Starting on Oct. 11, the films will be open on hsfilmfest.com/voting for the public to vote on. Supporters have until Oct. 28 before voting closes, and the team with the most votes will win $5,000 for its school.
Schools, parents and organizations can view the winning film through AT&T’s “Digital You”.