Members of New Jersey Give a Kid a Dream and Jacklyn Atkins were filmed for the upcoming film “Bully,” written by the father-and-son team Joe and Santino Campenelli.
August began with a number of GAKAD members in their shots recreating a box gym, a key setting in the tale the Campanellis tale. Written by Joe and directed by his son, both Campanelli men were bullied at a young age for their weight, and Joe in particular discovering boxing for the physical and mental discipline to move beyond being a victim. The film is not-so-loosely based on their challenges and solutions to bullying — the bullies use the same names as those who pushed Joe Campanelli around.
Bullying is a subject that has become a hot topic among social theorists and child advocacy experts. The National Center of Educational Statistics explain that nearly a quarter of students report being bullied as of 2015. Weight is the second-most common reason according to the New Jersey Coalition of Bullying Awareness and Prevention.
Less common is how boxing trains someone mentally for thinking themselves as something other than a victim. It’s a subject that comes up often among the children under Jacklyn’s care in NJGAKAD, which she addresses in mentoring — how to protect yourself without throwing a punch — but also in the rigors of boxing training.
“Many bullies prey on those who lack confidence in themselves, those who they view as weak and those who are less likely to stand up for themselves,” Jacklyn explains. “Through boxing, our youth walk different. They walk with confidence and we build their self-esteem.”
While the Campanellis were developing “Bully,” they released a trailer for pitching the film for development, which is below. See more photos from the shoot at our Facebook page!