EXCLUSIVE: Lee Hirsch, whose feature documentary Bully became a cause celebre when it received an R rating, has signed with ICM Partners. Bully premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and was released by The Weinstein Company. Hirsch’s feature debut came on Amandla! A Revolution In Four Part Harmony, which won the Sundance Audience Award in 2002. He also produced and directed Act Of Honor for the History Channel, and episodes of the Discovery Channel series Nextworld.
Hirsch is also the founder, director, and producer of the Local Voices for Obama project, a series of ads featuring supporters of President Obama. His ads garnered him several 2009 Reed Awards, including Best Presidential Ad and Best Independent Expenditure.
March 26, 2012 – New York, NY – After a recent plea to the MPAA by BULLY teen Alex Libby and The Weinstein Company (TWC) Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein failed – by one vote – to get the film its deserved PG-13 rating, TWC is choosing to move forward with releasing the film unrated by the MPAA on March 30. BULLY will be released in theaters on Friday, March 30th in New York at the Angelika Film Center and AMC Lincoln Square and in Los Angeles at The Landmark, ArcLight Hollywood and AMC Century City.
Why Is MPAA Partnering With Harvey On Free Publicity For ‘Bully’?
‘Bully’ Director Responds To MPAA, Calls Ratings System “Broken”
Do the movie studios which make up the MPAA realize that Chris Dodd is now part of non-member The Weinstein Company’s publicity machine? First there was Harvey Weinstein’s PR offense over the MPAA’s refusal to change the rating for The Weinstein Company documentary Bully from an R to a PG-13. Then at the Oscars the MPAA chief and Harvey Weinstein were seen hugging it out. Now Dodd, Weinstein and the film’s director Lee Hirsch will come together for a screening and panel discussion. Joining the group Thursday March 15th in Washington DC will be Kaya Henderson, the D.C. public schools chancellor. I’m not trying to say that bullying isn’t an awful problem or the MPAA isn’t wrong in its rating. But looks like Weinstein once again will get free publicity for one of his films – and how many actual MPAA members wouldn’t love that for their pics.
Bully director Lee Hirsch said today that the media frenzy over the MPAA giving his school-bullying film an R rating has helped the Weinstein Co documentary gain exposure and made the movie more important. “It’s given youth a sense of ownership over it and raised our profile,” Hirsch told Deadline today. It’s been another busy news cycle for the doc: A petition started by Michigan student Katy Butler featuring 200,000 signatures demanding the MPAA change its rating to PG-13 was delivered to the LA offices of the organization, which responded by defending its original decision to rate the film R on the basis of excessive foul language. “The R rating and description of ‘some language’ for Bully does not mean that children cannot see the film,” Classification and Rating Administration chair Joan Graves said. “As with any movie, parents will decide if they want their children to see Bully.”
Hirsch said the filmmakers had started their own petition, which received several thousand signatures, but were shocked by Butler’s much bigger success. “It really is a miracle and a dream come true,” the director said of Butler’s efforts. “It’s much bigger than the ratings battle. I can tell you straight up though, we couldn’t have dreamed this up.” Read More »