Filmmaker Spotlight: Lauren ParsekianApril 26th, 2011 | Posted by in IndieFlix in the Media | Movie Reviews | New Releases
Typically our blog writer Kyle conducts our Filmmaker Spotlight interviews, but as I have had the privilege of working with first-time filmmaker Lauren Parsekian closely, I wanted to ask her about her experiences with her documentary, Finding Kind, personally. Parsekian co-founded the Kind Campaign with her close friend, Molly Stroud, in 2009. Kind Campaign is a movement and school program devoted spreading kindness and bringing awareness to the girl bullying and abuse that takes places in schools every day. Stroud and Parsekian co-produced Finding Kind, which tells their story as they traveled across America interviewing women and girls about their experiences with girl bullying. IndieFlix is doing a Theatrical on Demand release of this film, arranging screenings with the help of people passionate about this film and its message. I had the honor of interviewing Lauren Parsekian as she packs for an appearance later this week.
What did you learn about youths today and their treatment of one another through the making of this film? How has it affected you?
Lauren: Girls and boys are killing themselves over these experiences. It shouldn’t be considered normal to fear going to school, the workplace, or neighborhood functions; to be constantly worrying about what your “friends” are saying about you; or to wake up every morning wishing that you would be accepted by the people in your life. As I have grown up, there have been females who I have realized are not positive influences or people who are going to love, respect and support me. I have realized that it is okay to eliminate certain relationships from my life. That doesn’t mean I go around talking badly about the person or start some campaign to get everyone to turn against him or her. It comes down to taking a look at the friendship and having enough respect for myself and that person to just walk away.
How did you decide on making a documentary of your cross-country road trip? What do you hope Kind Campaign has left with them?
Lauren: Molly (Stroud, co-producer) and I were talking about how we need to get this story across the country, and how we needed a lot of different perspectives in order for it to really work. We probably stopped in about 100 different places. Over the last 18 months, we’ve spoken to girls at 250 schools across America. We don’t want the conversation to end after our hour-long assembly, so we are creating a program for schools to they can implement a Kind Campaign Club into their school agenda. Our Kind Campaign anti-bullying curriculum package will include the virtual assembly, student workbooks, professor workbooks, a copy of our documentary, and the Kind Club curriculum.
Was it difficult for you to discuss your personal bullying experiences in front of school groups? How did the children react to you and to being on camera?
Lauren: We were really surprised to see how open, honest, and vulnerable how girls were willing to be on camera – and women as well. As soon as we turned on the cameras, we were blown away by how heartbreaking these stories were.I remember being in middle and high school thinking that was my whole world, and that the social anxieties I experienced were going to be a part of my life forever. It’s important for girls to know that what they are experiencing in school is not their entire life story and it will get better.
IndieFlix will be hosting a Private Benefit Screening at Seattle’s Town Hall on May 11th. Lauren Parsekian and Molly Stroud will be present to discuss their filmmaking experiences and Kind Campaign. For more information on the film and the upcoming event, visit the links below. Have any of you and your loved ones been affected by bullying in schools? Do you have any messages for Lauren and Kind Campaign? Write them here!