It’s no secret that bullying is running rampant in our education system. As seen in the viral videos plastered across Facebook and You Tube, students are manipulating the inert human emotion of fear to intimidate and prey on each other in the hope of vying for the school’s unofficial title of ‘biggest bully’. To be on the receiving end of a bully’s tactics is to be psychologically and in most cases physically scarred, with a growing feeling of inferiority and self worthlessness. This dangerously growing trend within school populations motivated a unique group of students from Presentation College, San Fernando (PCS) to highlight one of the effects of bullying on an individual; retaliation.
Under the competitive banner of the Trinidad and Tobago Secondary Schools Short Film Festival 2011, these young men selected the theme ‘Bullying – Making our Schools Safe’ for their short film production. Entitled ‘The Week’, the guys were brought together by PCS Alumnus Denith McNicolls, whose passion in videography and photography caused him to stir the creative juices of this young bunch. Ironically lead by the victim in the video Chryston Floyd and under the direction of Asim Claxton, they took a tedious two weeks to conceptualise, execute and refine their film into the short, effective and amazingly dramatic end result. It’s no wonder they copped the awards for Most Dramatic Short Film as well as Best Actor (Chryston Floyd).
As suggested by the title, the film occurs over a very torturous seven days for the student victim. Continuous harassment, taunting, abuse and ill treatment by his peers lead to him taking matters into his own hands, eventually stabbing one of his attackers. However, the all encompassing message was made pretty clear. As voiced by the principal of PCS, Mr. Errol Jaikaransingh, the film ends with an unexpected twist, reinforcing the point that bullying should be reported to higher officials. It’s a message most students may disagree with since victims often keep quiet for fear of the consequences on the rest of their school life. Concurrently, the boys still maintained that it remains the best option against bullying. Fast forward one year later, when the celebrity status has mellowed and the 2012 version of the competition is upon them again.
Due to age constraints, only some of the guys are able to participate again, however, despite a minor change in the crew, the passion is still there to create another award winning piece of cinematography. It’s a different type of learning at the secondary level, instilling lessons of teamwork, co-operation and strengthening social skills while culturing creativity and innovation. Whoever said school was all about the academics clearly never made a short film. So the bar is set for this year. The next team must surpass the film debut success of these gentlemen of the Presentation. In true style of the Presentation brotherhood, they took aim at a target never before attempted at in the school and settled for nothing less than the bull’s eye. In the process, they’ve inspired their peers to challenge themselves while raising awareness on a most disturbing, everyday occurrence within schools. Congratulations to Presentation College San Fernando Short Film crew on a job well done!