LOS ANGELES --- Even though “Bully” didn’t get an Academy Award nomination, it’s a winner, Executive Producer Cindy Waitt said Thursday morning.
“Every time there’s a showing, people are transformed. We’ve gotten thousands of letters from kids telling us how it has affected their lives and how it’s changing the world.”
Like director Lee Hirsch, Waitt said she was nervous to hear the morning’s announcements.
“I didn’t wake up until 8:30 and I noticed that there was no activity on the phone so when my husband walked in and told me the news, I already knew,” she said.
Partially set in Sioux City, “Bully” follows several students as they deal with bullying in their schools. The film has prompted grassroots action against bullying around the country and positioned the Sioux City Community Schools as a leader in combating the problem.
“Sioux City, the schools and the Sioux City Journal have been just wonderful helping us get the word out,” Waitt said. “It’s the little film that could.”
“Bully” did win the Stanley Kramer Award from the Producers Guild of America for bringing “much-needed attention to an issue that just about anyone can relate to at one point or another in their life,” according to PGA Awards Chair Michael De Luca.
The award will be presented in January at the Guild’s award ceremony.
Waitt said “Bully” isn’t the end of her producing career. She’s working on a documentary with Gloria Steinem about violence against women. “It’s tougher to fund,” she said. “But it’s about ready to blast off.” Waitt said she has been working on the film, “Private Violence” for more than seven years.
“Bully,” though, is close to her heart. “There were so many great docs this year. ‘Bully’ was just one that didn’t get nominated. We’re proud of our involvement and the work that everyone has done.”
Nominated for the award – which will be presented Feb. 24 – are “5 Broken Cameras,” “The Gatekeepers,” “How to Survive a Plague,” “The Invisible War” and “Searching for Sugar Man.”
Earlier in the balloting process, “Bully” made the Academy’s short list.