The Equation of Life – A Must-See for Any School Age Kid – Let’s End Bullying Now

213194.jpgOctober is Bullying Prevention month and we have an incredible film to share with you. Inspired by a true story, this film explores the experiences of bullying from both sides – the bullied and the bully. There are many anti-bullying films on the market but this one is unique. It was written and produced by a 10-year-old. This is a dramatization of a real life experience from someone who’s been there and, because of that, it is all the more poignant. And, most importantly, it doesn’t just leave you with a hold in your heart. It offers up practical suggestions for how to drop bullying now. This is a subject so important it should be seen by everyone. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Willie J comments, “The Equation of Life, directed, produced, written by and starring Gerry Orz, is a moving film that needs to be seen by anyone going to school.” Keefer B. adds, “One of the many reasons this film shines is the message it stresses- speak up!” See their full reviews below. This film is available on DVD October 14 and there is a premiere at the Warner Grand Theater in San Pedro the same evening, October 14 at 6:00 p.m.

The Equation of Life
by Keefer C. Blakeslee, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Genuinely spectacular! This well done story tells the truth and tragedy of bullying. Directed, written and starring 10-year-old Gerry Orz who portrays Adam Syder, the new kid in the neighborhood. Adam is being bullied by Nathan (Zane Paul), a boy who has a mother (Willow Hale) that treats him like garbage. Day after day Adam is beaten up and called names by Nathan and soon Adam has had enough.

One of the many reasons this film shines is the message it stresses- speak up! Bullying is a problem in our society. Whether it’s physical, verbal or cyber-bullying, it needs to stop and the message is addressed in a passionate way by the filmmaker. Orz shows the reality of what happens to many children who suffer from bullying. He doesn’t take the easy route where someone is picked on and the teacher comes in and fixes the problem. He tells us the truth.

Everyone’s point of view is examined, which I love, including the bully Nathan. The bully is not the villain. He wants to be friends with Adam, but his mother says otherwise. Whenever someone picks on me, my mom always tells me, “You don’t know what happens behind closed doors.” She’s right, I don’t. The bully could be going through abuse himself or he might be jealous and bullying is the only way he knows how to express it.

My hats off to Zane Paul for his outstanding performance. We also have a heartbreaking story about Adam’s sister Miranda (Kaitlin Morgan). She knows Adam is being bullied, but she doesn’t tell anyone. She thinks Adam will take care or it, which he does, in the wrong way.

By far, my favorite character is Adam’s mom (Kate Orz). Something tragic happens and we see this emotional scene between her and Miranda. It’s hard to sit through because both Kate’s and Kaitlin’s performances make this film even more powerful. It shows the struggle of not only the person being bullied, but the family’s grief as well.

All these aspects of the film are amazing and what makes it truly phenomenal is that this film was made by Gerry Orz when he was ten years old! Gerry tells this story in a very mature manor that allows all ages to comprehend the dangers of bullying. His introduction to the film explains why he made it and what he wants you to learn from it. The introduction alone is worth the price of the film. Gerry doesn’t want anyone else to go through the pain of being bullied and this proves the power of making a film on the subject.

This is a film for adults and kids, especially kids. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to 8- to 18-year-olds. This film has one word in it that is not terrible, in fact it’s appropriate, but parents may not want their kids to hear it. Even with that I still highly recommend this film to kids so they can know to speak up and STOP the bullying. This film comes out on DVD October 14, 2014.

The Equation of Life
By Willie Jones, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Independent cinema nowadays is not what it used to be. Indie films used to be the unique ones, the ones with low budgets yet they still entertained. These films could get away with a lackadaisical script or acting in return for a fun or a good message. Keep in mind that films like Cloud Atlas, with a budget of over 100 million, are considered also independent films. What the young Gerry Orz has created is truly a throwback to true indie films.

The Equation of Life, directed, produced, written by and starring Gerry Orz, is a moving film that needs to be seen by anyone going to school. It is a film that is not just about bullying, but about understanding. It is about tolerance and guilt and reasoning. The Equation of Life is a unique anti-bullying film not because its message is different or because it presents the message in a different way, it is different because it doesn’t rush to judge. That is the key to any film trying to get to the foundation of a problem – to make sure all the characters and their situations are considered in order to give the audience true, unbiased understanding.

As I stated earlier, a lot of independent films lack something due to having smaller budgets and little resources. The acting in this movie is tolerable. There are some truly moving moments from the cast and a few cast members are pretty good and, for the most part, the characters are believable. I promise you, their performances do not get in the way of the experience.

And the experience is quite moving. In a script like this that tries to teach and explain, both problems and solutions are offered. The Equation of Life offers problems and solutions so real, and so probable, that it comes off as a documentary at times. There aren’t any crowd-pleasing cop-outs in order to make the film prettier. The movie is direct.

Take this from a guy who has also done what Gerry has done. It is a difficult task to make a movie by yourself, with little financial support. But with a fine idea, support from family and friends and artistic know-how, any movie can be good. The Equation of Life, for that reason, gets 4 out of 5 stars from me. I recommend it for 6 to 18. Kids at the younger end here may not understand it but I believe they can get the concept. This film deserves to be shown to every student from elementary school until they graduate high school. It relates to any adolescent. It certainly does to me.

Congratulations Gerry, you did a very good job. Here’s to a fine career!