On Friday night the bully Savannah White of Matthew Marshall’s new short film Malicious Attack was spreading her meanness during a scene which was shot at the Elgin Theatre Guild in St Thomas. The film is a 30 minute short dramatic film that looks at this very big issue of bullying.
Savannah is played by Elina Lattanzio who is the complete opposite in real life to the character she plays. But Elina very much has her finger on the pulse of Savannah and what makes her the way she is. “Savannah has been made to feel small in her life, so she makes others feel small so that she can feel bigger” says Lattanzio. On this night the victim that Savannah is making feel smaller is the character Linda Tai played by Dina Jasim. Savannah during the scene uses word to belittle and put down Linda. “The things I have to say to her as Savannah are not very nice” says Lattanzio. But the character Savannah doesn’t care. If hearing them once is not bad enough during film Jasim as Linda had to hear them repeatedly during multiple takes. Which Marshall as the director was very aware of. “I created the characters and wrote the words for the scene. But in watching it before my eyes it was hard to watch Savannah inflict the pain of the words on the character of Linda. I felt really bad for Dina. I kept asking if she was ok. Says Marshall. Jasim was ok with the words in the context of the scene knowing that it was acting and not meant. She feels the scene opens up discussion to the topic of what people say to each other. “Words can hurt deeper than we think and they don’t have to come from a bully. The words and the things that are said to us, get into our body like a disease, slowly affect our brains and hearts” says Jasim.
The film produced under the banner of m & s Marshall Productions, in association with IME Films takes a twist on the traditional bully story line as at it’s heart it is a ‘good girl gone bad’ due to being bullied. Savannah bullies the “outcast” Raven, the “Pregnant Teen”, Sara and the “immigrant” in Linda. But Savannah does not stop there, she also bullies your run of the mill sweet “good girl” Naomi Spencer (played by Katie Ostojic). Each of these characters has a different reaction and response to the bullying they experience. Naomi is the relentless target of the bullying by Savannah. Naomi’s best friend Macey (Morgan Flanagan) tries to find ways to help Naomi expose the bullying, but Naomi is unwilling to come forward. The Attacks on Naomi continue till she is pushed to a breaking point. “The story gives lots of opportunity to discuss the issue of bullying and the reactions of those that are bullied” says Marshall.
It is the hope of the entire cast and crew that the film will teach audiences why bully awareness does not only refer to awareness in the public eye. “ Bullying awareness means awareness of specific incidents to authority figures, awareness of bystanders in their role and awareness of the bullies themselves of the potential gravity of their actions”, says Lattanzio
This is the third filming day of six that have been happening in the remainder of March. “There is some very critical and dramatic scenes that will be filming in the coming days and week that will drive the message of the story home”, says Marshall. He is hoping that more community organizations will come on board to assist in various ways to get the message of bullying in the film.
The film can be found on IMDb at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6156436/combined