Film students' documentary explores consequences of cyberbullying
SAN ANTONIO -- Local students are sharing one teen's story to send a message about cyberbullying.
Students from Saint Mary's Hall created a four-minute documentary on former Alamo Heights High School student David Molak.
David committed suicide in January after his family says he was cyberbullied.
The students just got back from attending the All-American High School Film Festival in New York City where they submitted the 4-minute documentary.
It includes interviews with David’s parents and cyberbullying experts, as well as home video footage given to them by the Molaks.
The film is an intimate look into David’s childhood and into who he was a young man.
It shows him smiling, laughing, and playing games with friends, while his parents talk about how cyberbullying changed him from a happy, compassionate child to one who felt the world was against him.
The film also addresses how cyberbullying affects entire families as his mother Maurine says,” We will never be the same.”
“This is a terrible tragedy and we wanted to make sure it never happened again,” said the film’s producer and Saint Mary’s Hall Junior William Brown. “It kind of put it into perspective that this was a tragedy that happened to someone who was just like us.”
As part of the film competition, the students were asked to submit documentaries on how cyberbullying has affected their hometown.
“When we saw the topic for the competition was cyberbullying, he (David) was the first person I thought about,” said the film’s director and Saint Mary’s Hall senior Demar Gunter. “If we were going to tell a story from our hometown, we should tell his story.”
The students didn't know David, but they went through hours of home video footage.
To the Molak family, the documentary is a gift.
“I think I’ve watched it 70 times,” said Maurine Molak. “It's a beautiful piece of art. They honored him in a way that no one has honored him.”
The students hope the film does more than tell David's story.
They hope it sends a message about the consequences of cyberbullying and encourages students to stand against it.
“We need to step up,” said Brown. “We need to be a voice for change and that's what I hope our film is. A voice for change.”
Through the film competition, the documentary will now be shown across the country at various high schools.
The students hope to expand the documentary and share more of David’s story.
To watch it, go here.
To learn more, go here.