Welcome to our documentary film development area for Climbing Out of the Dark: The Long-term Effects of Bullying. This documentary film has been in development in Alan Eisenberg’s head for 15 years. But it had to wait, as Alan had to take his own journey out of the C-PTSD that was left in him from seven years of constant youth bullying. Unlike other documentaries about bullying, this one focuses on the after-effects of youth bullying survivors, which continue long after the bullying has ended. As studies have shown, bullying is not a “kids being kids” problem and it can ruin lives into our adult years.
This documentary film will look at the after-effects of a life of youth bullying through the story of Alan Eisenberg’s journey from bullying victim to bullying survivor and finally to bullying advocate and coach for others who suffer from the long-term effects of bullying. The film will explore the aftereffects that bullying scars leave, the mental and physical toll it has on bullying survivors and the bullies, and today’s experts who are studying how this issue is affecting our society.
The Film Concept:
Alan Eisenberg was bullied relentlessly during his years in Lexington, MA from age 7-13. He has a personality of a Highly Sensitive Person and this bullying caused long-term damage (C-PTSD) to him. During the years following the bullying, Alan would tell his parents, sister, and family that he knew somehow that he was damaged by the bullying and decided in 2007 to share his stories on a website, hoping it would release these unexplained feelings of sadness, anxiety, and anger. His website grew into a place where many others shared their issues of the long-term effects of bullying and eventually, the studies that confirmed Eisenberg’s belief that he was suffering from these effects.
His website became very popular (1.4 million visitors) and he was asked to go back to Lexington and be paid to speak about his bullying experiences in 2012. This was a trigger that sent Alan into a tailspin from his C-PTSD that led to stress, anxiety, health problems, and depression. He was too afraid to go back to Lexington and speak and he needed help.
Alan went to get professional psychiatric and psychological help. He slowly recovered over the next few years and discovered he was not alone in suffering from the long-term effects of bullying. As he got better, he realized he wanted to help others get through what he did. He started a company called Bullying Recovery and started researching and writing about recovery, while also becoming a Certified Coach as well as changing his life to better deal with these things in the future. He is an acclaimed author of two books on the subject of the effects of bullying on youth and adults.
The documentary concept would be a full circle of Alan’s journey to speak at his old Middle School in Lexington, MA, while looking at what happened to him and what is now being researched and discovered about many people who suffer from the long-term psychological and physiological effects of bullying.
During the journey to this speaking engagement, the documentary will share the stories of the people Alan grew up with, other people’s long-term damage from bullying and interviews with experts in the research field of the long-term effects of bullying to discuss what Alan knew and felt long before the research into this issue began.
The documentary will also interview the current administration at Alan’s old Middle School, Jonas Clarke, to see what the current bullying climate in Lexington, MA is. Today’s Lexington youth who are being bullied will also be interviewed with discussions between Alan and their families. This full-circle concept of Alan’s inability to go back to Lexington, to his journey to be able to return and speak will be the main theme of the story of overcoming and accepting the damage bullying caused him and others.
The Production Team:
Alan Eisenberg – Producer/Director
Alan Eisenberg is a graduate of Virginia Tech, with a degree in broadcast media communications. He has worked on several short-form and long-form films for use by PBS, Nostalgia Television, and the United States Federal Government. Alan’s work experience includes being a producer/writer/cinematographer on the PBS show “ParentSense”. Eisenberg has received many awards for his video work, including being named a Top 100 Producer by AV Video magazine, numerous Communicator, CINDY, Horizon, and AXIEM Awards for his work on producing and directing films and eLearning for the United States Government, and a Telly Award for his marketing video work. In addition to his film background, Eisenberg is also the founder and managing director of Bullying Recovery, LLC, a company whose mission is to help those who suffer from the long-term effects of bullying (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or C-PTSD) to find the help they so desperately need by providing media, materials, and support through links to seek and receive the help needed to recover. Eisenberg’s passion in the area of bullying recovery is based on his own recovery from a youth of constant bullying and the effects it had on his adult life. As a part of this important mission, Bullying Recovery founder, and author, Alan Eisenberg travels and speaks to all age groups about the issues of bullying, the damage that bullying does, and the story of his recovery from C-PTSD, due to bullying. Alan Eisenberg has spoken to thousands of people about these issues. Eisenberg is also the author of two books, “A Ladder in the Dark”, his memoir about his bullying recovery and “Crossing the Line”, a look at the extremes that bullying victims go through. Alan is also a Certified Coach in Life and Abuse Recovery and is bringing his two passions together to create a long-form documentary on the issue of the long-term effects of bullying. He is also an accomplished eLearning and multimedia producer.
Shane A. Hinkle, a master photographer, and filmmaker, most recently spent three years as the director of photography and creative director of Top Doctor Interviews, a television broadcast program in the Washington DC Metro area. His work has been featured on CNN, Bravo, Fox and the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). His varied experience includes 35 years of operation and ownership of Wendell Moore Studios. He picked up his first camera at the young age of 5, photographed his first wedding by the age of 14, and during high school, he continued his quest for photographic artistry with the founding of SHANE A. HINKLE ENTERPRISES, LLC. His proficiency knows no bounds — from major events to artistic portraits and major corporate exhibitions. His experience includes working in the high-fashion model industry to video production on corporate and organizational requests and photographic restoration. Hinkle has received numerous awards for his work, including being cited as Entrepreneur of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration, a number of international awards for photographic excellence from the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI), and state awards from the Virginia Professional Photographers Association (VPPA). In addition to his experience working with a diverse range of subjects and styles, Hinkle is also an accomplished radio/podcast host, and creator of “POWER UP,” celebrating over 20 years of his show that touts the benefits of a healthy mindset and goal-oriented approach to life.
Randolph Benson is a graduate of Wake Forest University and of the North Carolina School of the Arts’ School of Filmmaking. His film Man and Dog has appeared in film festivals worldwide and has garnered numerous awards, most notably a Gold Medal in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Student Academy Awards. His work has been featured on HBO, Bravo, the Independent Film Channel, numerous public television stations, Canal Plus–France, Telewizja Polska S.A.–Poland and KBS-Korea. Benson received an Eastman Kodak Excellence in Filmmaking Award at the Cannes Film Festival and a First Appearance Award at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. He is the recipient of a Winston-Salem Arts Council Grant, a South Carolina Arts Council Grant, a John G. Welch Endowment Grant, a William J. Kenan, Jr. Endowment Grant and a Semans Foundation Grant for Foreign Arts Study. In addition to filmmaking, Benson has been an instructor of film and video at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University for over a decade. His courses include Anytown USA, Directing Your Documentary, the Documentary Film Traditions, the Final Project Seminar and the Summer Video Institute.