It’s Not Better in Mentor: Bullying, Suicide, and Denial in an All-American Town (New England premiere)
Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, 4 – 6 p.m.
Wasserman Cinemateque, Sachar International Center, IBS
Part of the ‘DEIS Impact Festival of Social Justice
At first glance, Mentor, Ohio, seems like any other wholesome midwestern town, even earning a spot in Money Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Live. But Mentor’s tree-lined streets and marching bands could not prevent the spate of teen suicides caused by relentless bullying and an indifferent school system.
The Vidovic family came to Mentor to escape the war in Croatia only to have their daughter Sladjana commit suicide at age 16 after years of relentless bullying. More interested in maintaining its image than in helping protect vulnerable students, Mentor High School failed to punish the perpetrators.
Eric Mohat, 17, hardly seemed the type to be targeted by bullies. Active in musical theatre, he seemed like a happy kid. Until the day he committed suicide, the family had no idea of the bullying he endured.
Devastating, illuminating and buttressed with a haunting score, director Lambert skillfully documents bullying in the internet age and makes us wonder if Mentor is just the tip of the iceberg. This film is thought provoking and unforgettable.
A discussion with filmmaker Alix Lambert and bullying expert Dorothy L. Espelage, Ph.D., moderated by Joy Von Steiger, clinical director of the Brandeis Psychological Counseling Center, follows the screening.
–About the filmmaker:
Alix Lambert’s feature length documentary The Mark of Cain was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and aired on Nightline. She went on to produce additional segments of Nightline as well as produce 7 segments for the PBS series LIFE 360. Lambert has written for a number of magazines including Stop Smiling, ArtForum, and The LA Weekly, and is an editor at large for the literary journal OPEN CITY. She wrote Episode 6, season 3 of Deadwood: A Rich Find (for which she won a WGA award) and was a staff writer and associate producer on John From Cincinnati.