Bullying has been an issue in schools and on playgrounds for decades, and with the explosion of the Internet and social media, it can now take place anywhere, anytime.
After watching a news report on bullying in 2012, two childhood friends from Rosedale, Raymond Deane and Phillip Hammond, decided to produce a film to help curb the bullying trend across the country. Now the duo is bringing their anti-bullying horror film, “Red Head Randy,” to Valley Stream for a free screening on Dec. 21 at 11 a.m. at the Sunrise Multiplex.
Hammond, who co-wrote and produced the film with Deane, the director, said the movie is intended for viewers ages 13 and older. In the early stages of developing the film, Hammond added, it was going to be a traditional horror movie, but he and Deane ultimately decided that if they geared it toward younger people, it could have more of a positive influence.
“Red Head Randy” takes place at a fictional high school in Montauk, where, in 1989, a boy named Randy Kismet was bullied to the point of suicide. Twenty years later, with the bullying problem at the high school worse than ever, Randy rises from the dead to teach his bullies, who are now adults, and the school’s current bullies a lesson.
The filmmakers raised close to $20,000 for the movie by using the crowdfunding site indiegogo.com. Hammond and Deane cast local actors and filmed the movie in the tri-state area, including in Valley Stream.
Brian Kehoe, a Valley Stream resident and a Central High School graduate, played one of the characters who bullied Randy in 1989. His character grows up to be the school’s corrupt principal. Kehoe wasn’t able to attend a screening for the cast and crew in New Jersey, so he will see the film for the first time this weekend.
He said he is excited to view the finished product. “I’m looking forward to seeing how everything has come together,” he said. “I’m hoping it’s a positive thing for [kids] to see and that it brings more awareness.”
Jill Vogel, the Central High School District’s director of guidance, who oversees several programs aimed at curtailing bullying and serves as dignity coordinator, said, “It’s always a good thing for the anti-bullying and anti-suicide message to be promulgated.”