VIDEO: "Hear Me Now" documentary emphasizes severity of bullying in US schools

Hear Me Now, directed by Bill Cornelius, is an upcoming feature-length documentary that focuses on the epidemic of bullying in schools in the United States. The film, which will be shown at a special screening on November 3 at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, Tennessee, not only exposes the tragedies of bullying occurring nationwide, but also stresses ways to raise awareness and prevent bullying.

Featuring testimonials and reenactments, Hear Me Now includes the experiences of various students, adults who survived bullying, advocates, and the loved ones of those who have experienced bullying--including a young man whose life changed when he lost his sister in the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. Together, their voices highlight the fact that 13 million children are bullied every year in the United States. One out of four students are bullied during the school year, and of the students bullied, only 36% report it. The film strives to amplify the voices of these students.

"You're caused to question your own sense of self," musician Chip Greene says of bullying's consequences.

"It's really important to surround yourself with a great group of friends and people who bring out the best in you," says student Ansley Edwards. In the second half of the trailer, which focuses on ways to overcome bullying, Columbine shooting survivor Craig Scott leaves viewers with this piece of wisdom: "Ultimately, you define who you are for yourself."

About the film, Cornelius said, "The inspiration came from my own personal experiences with bullying when I was in middle school. Like many, those experiences had a lasting impact on my life… Bullying seems to be a very taboo subject for many American schools and, unfortunately, they feel the best course of action is to sweep the issue under the rug with hopes that it goes away."

The release of Hear Me Now's trailer coincides with an important opportunity to join GLAAD in working to end bullying, an issue that disproportionately impacts LGBT students nationwide. Along with spreading the word about Hear Me Now, you can also pledge to participate in Spirit Day.

On October 15, Spirit Day inspires millions to "go purple" to support LGBT youth in a united stand against bullying. According to GLSEN's 2013 National School Climate Survey, 8 out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment at school, and over 60% of LGBT students who did report a bullying case said their school staff did nothing. Spirit Day draws the participation of celebrities, corporations, media outlets, sports leagues, schools, faith institutions, national landmarks, and individuals around the world to take a stand against bullying and show their support for LGBT youth.

Take the pledge to "go purple" now, and check out www.glaad.org/spiritday for access to anti-bullying resources and more ways to get involved in Spirit Day.

Spirit Day is made possible by the generous support of its presenting Partners Wells Fargo and Target; official partners DOW, Google, NBA and WNBA, NFL and WWE; and supporting partners American Eagle Outfitters, Barilla, Chobani, Comcast NBC Universal, Kirkland and Ellis, and Toyota.

Past participants in Spirit Day include the White House, the Empire State Building, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Cher, Laverne Cox, Kim Kardashian, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Shaquille O'Neal, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The View, The Talk, The Tonight Show, the NBA, the NFL, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, WWE, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, the Las Vegas Strip, and more.