Private Violence” Chosen to Lead Human Rights Watch Film Festival

PV human rights watch

“Private Violence” Wins Human Rights Award at Full Frame Fest


Director Cynthia Hill accepts the award at Full Frame.

“Private Violence”, appeared in April at the Full Frame Film Festival, where they received the Kathleen Bryan Edwards Award. Provided by the Julian Price Foundation, this award is presented to a film that addresses a significant human rights issue in the United States. Representatives from the Kathleen Bryan Edwards family juried the prize: Anne Arwood, Laura Edwards, Clay Farland, Margaret Griffin, and Pricey Harrison.

“Private Violence” Honored with “True Life Award”at True/False Fest

true false from stage

“Private Violence” was honored to receive the annual “True Life” Award at the True False Film Fest in Columbia Missouri in late February.  The film joins other award winning documentaries who won the award in the past, including Steve James ‘The Interrupters”, and WIVP’s documentary “Bully”, who won the award in 2012.  Read more about it here…

WIVP Supported”Private Violence” Opens at Sundance

kit cyn at sundance red carpet

Kit Gruelle and director Cynthia Hill opening day, January 19th in Park City.

January 19th was the premiere date of “Private Violence” at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

For more see

 “Private Violence” Accepted for 2014 Sundance Film Festival


Sundance Institute announced today the films selected for the U.S. and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary Competitions section of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, January 16-26. Among the 16 films announced for the U.S. Documentary Competition at the festival was WIVP-supported “Private Violence.”

The January 19, 2014 showing at Sundance will be the film’s US and worldwide premiere. The date also coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act.

Robert Redford, President & Founder of Sundance Institute said, “That the Festival has evolved and grown as it has over the past 30 years is a credit to both our audiences and our artists, who continue to find ways to take risks and open our minds to the power of story. This year’s films and artists promise to do the same.”

Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said, “We are energized by the rich diversity of voices, characters and places represented in the films selected for our 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Independent filmmakers continue to engage us with stories from worlds both intimately familiar and unknown.” >> Read More >>

Sundance Institute Awards Prestigious Grant for “Private Violence”

gloria and kit pvThe brainchild of Domestic Violence advocate, activist, and survivor Kit Gruelle, “Private Violence” sheds light on a commons question, “Why doesn’t she just leave?” Until now, that question has not been examined on film. Waitt Institute has been named a recipient of the prestigious Sundance Documentary grant award for the upcoming film “Private Violence.”

The film, directed by Cynthia Hill, through the Southern Documentary fund follows advocate and narrator Kit as she covers the stories of four victims of violence, all who have either left or are in the process of leaving an abusive situation.

The film has been many years in the making. Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention came on as the first major funder in 2006, and has stood wiht the project from development through post-production. In 2008, Cindy Waitt elicited the support of activist, feminist, and author Gloria Steinem, who came on as a co-executive producer. Since then, other funders, in both large and small amounts have joined in to bring us to our latest strong and powerful cut. >> Read More >>




Educator’s DVD & Toolkit Available for Schools

In addition to the traditional consumer release, the Bully Project has also released a version for schools, the Educator’s DVD and Toolkit.  Already screened before thousands of students, teachers and parents, this represents the next step in the Bully Project’s national movement to end bullying. >>Read More>>



Producers Guild to Honor “Bully” with Special Award

The 2013 Stanley Kramer Award from the Producers Guild of America will be given to “Bully.”  >>Read More>>


“Bully” Makes Oscars Documentary Short List

“Bully” on Oscar short list

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their short list of possible nominees in the Documentary Feature category at the 85th annual Academy Awards.  Lee Hirsch’s “Bully” was among those on the list.

“Bully,” a film supported by WIVP is about the phenomenon of teenage bullying, was distributed by the Weinstein Company and battled with the MPAA over its initial “R” rating.

The list of 15 films was culled from 126 originally deemed eligible for the category.  >>Read More>>


WIVP’s New Anti-Bullying Campaign Premieres on the Today show

Scene from Bully Used

Waitt Institute’s new Ad Council national multimedia public service advertising (PSA) campaign is launching today to educate and empower parents to talk to their children about ways they can be more than a bystander. The PSAs are being distributed nationwide to coincide with National Bullying Prevention Month. The campaign was developed by the Ad Council in partnership with AOL, Facebook, Johnson & Johnson, the Free to Be Foundation, the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention, and the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. The PSAs were developed and created pro bono by New York advertising agency DDB New York and filmmaker Lee Hirsch (BULLY) and The BULLY Project. >>Read More Here>>


President Obama thanks Lee Hirsch and “Bully”

In a speech from the White House June 15th, President Barack Obama recognized Lee Hirsch and “Bully” for their contributions to the anti bullying movement.

Hirsch was accompanied by Katy Butler, the high school student from Michigan, who was bullied, and gathered 500,000 signatures in support of “Bully” during the MPAA ratings controversy.

The Back Story: WIVP Meets Lee Hirsch and Connects Him to Sioux City Schools

at the beginning…

When Lee Hirsch contacted Cindy Waitt and Alan Heisterkamp in the spring of 2009, he was still in pre-production of what was then called “The Bully Project”.

Lee’s original treatment was, at that time, a look at school bullying in the context of the larger culture. He wanted to explore the horrors our children face each day across the country, while exploring other types of bullying that happen in the adult world, and what that meant for the 3 million kids who are bullied each year.

Lee heard about WIVP through Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie, of the Workplace Bullying Institute. The Namie’s were partners and sponsors, with us of the first workplace national bullying survey done by Zogby in 2007. We extended our partnership with the Namie’s in 2009, when our pilot and home community, implemented the first national adult to adult bullying program in the Sioux City Community School District, and that’s when Lee heard about our decade long commitment to violence and bullying prevention, in partnership with the district.

Lee and Cynthia visited us in the summer of 2009, and after an introduction by us to the Sioux City School Board and Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman, received permission to actually film inside the schools. They filmed actual interventions happening, kids talking about school climate, and various activities connected with the districts 10 plus years of gradual implementation of bullying and violence prevention programming in all schools k-12.

Education consultant Dr. Alan Heisterkamp’s strategy was to show the film makers through 3 schools at 3 different stages of development in the district’s implementation of violence prevention programs.  The high school where they gathered footage over a year’s time was our pilot school and had been actively programming with “Mentors in Violence Prevention” for nearly 10 years.  Lee and Cynthia have both remarked on the positive culture of the pilot school and were able to capture footage of both kids and school staff discussing violence and bullying and working through interventions. The middle school where the story of Alex Libby was filmed had barely begun implementation of the Second Step curriculum when the filming occured in 2009.

For more information on the results of our 4 year study on a district in motion, see the Sioux City Project.

Finding Alex Libby and Telling His Story
While filming in the 2009-2010 school year, they were drawn to a student, Alex Libby, who they suspected was being bullied and throughout they followed Alex through his day. What surfaced was a heartbreaking portrait of a young man who faced brutal bullying daily. The cameras rolled in Alex’s home and school as we watch him, his family, and school staff struggle with what should never happen to any child. Alex’s story became a central part of the five stories from Georgia, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Iowa that make up the film.

Supporters Join the Movement
The Institute became the first major funder for “Bully” in December of 2009, and fortunately were joined by a fantastic group of supporters including The BeCause Foundation, The Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, and the Fledgling Fund. This team went on to not only help fund the film, but also the vital outreach program. The Bully Team now includes many other funders and supporters, who will help get this film, Facing History’s curriculum, and the movement behind it from coast to coast…and then some.

How You Can Get Behind the “Bully” Film and Movement
For more information about “Bully” and the “Bully Project” movement , go to