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What to know: This is a student production by an elementary student who deserves commendation for the intelligent way this film is produced and the authenticity of its story.
Recommended age 8-18
32 minutes
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EQUATION OF LIFE, THE cover image Click to play video trailer
Genuinely spectacular! This is a well done story about the truth and tragedy of bullying. Directed, written and starring 10-year-old Gerry Orz, he portrays Adam Syder, the new kid in the neighborhood. Adam's 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 takes enough.

One of the many reasons this film shines is the message it's stressing- Speak up! Bullying is problem in 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 through 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 including the bully Nathan, which I love. 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 happened behind closed doors." She's right, I don't. The bully could be going through abuse or they might be jealous and bullying is the only way they know how to express it. My hats off to Zane for an outstanding performance. We also have a heartbreaking story with 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). Let's just say 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 side of the grief.

All these aspects of the film are amazing and what makes it truly phenomenal is that it's done by a ten-year-old. Gerry Orz, tells a story in a mature manor that allows all ages to comprehends the dangers of bullying. Gerry's introduction to the film explains why he made it and what he wants you to learn from it. Just this introduction is worth the price for this film. He doesn't want anyone else to go through the pain of being bullied and this proves the power of film making. This is a film for adults and kids, especially.

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 and STOP bullying. This film comes out on DVD October 14, 2014.

Reviewed by Keefer C. Blakeslee, age 14, KIDSFIRST! Film Critic

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! Reviewed by Willie Jones, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

This film is about a young boy who moves to a new school and is bullied on the way home from school every day by an older boy. In the beginning, we see the bully being verbally abused by his mother, which leads him to bullying himself. The younger boy tells his feelings while videotaping himself and, on occasion, talks to his older sister who tries to suggest solutions. Ultimately, in the process of fighting back, the younger boy has a tragic accident and the older ones goes to prison. The boy's family disintegrates. One mom loses her job and is depressed. His sister runs away from home. There are number of issues presented in this film besides bullying. Among them are the issues of child abuse, gay parents and life as a runaway. This film ends on a hopeful note about what could have happened had the characters grown up differently or handled the situation differently. This is a student production by an elementary student who deserves commendation for the intelligent way this film is produced and the authenticity of its story.
Seven-year-old Nathan is a lively and sweet child who wants nothing else but to please his mother, but getting constantly emotionally abused at home. Five years later, 10-year-old Adam moves to a new city where he meets Nathan who has become a violent bully and abuser himself due to the torment he continues to experience at home. Adam's sister, Miranda, encourages Adam to ask for help but fails to convince him. After 111 days of suffering, Adam makes a mistake and takes matters in his own hands. The tragedy that follows will captivate viewers hearts, show how one act of kindness could have changed the lives of many people and impacted future generations. It stresses how important it is to educate youth about how to take proper safety measures when faced with bullying.
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