Disney Stars Join More Kid-Friendly Bullying Film The Contest
Thanks to Lee Hirsch's unblinking documentary Bully and The Weinstein Company's tireless efforts to promote the picture as well as battle the MPAA for a PG-13 rating that would allow the film to play in schools, the topic of bullying drew a lot of attention this year. Now first-time filmmaker Ajay Giunta will attack this topic in his directorial debut, a narrative he penned called The Contest.
Percolate Productions, a New Jersey-based production company whose emphasis is family-friendly films with socially conscious themes, is backing the picture, which centers on two students—one a bully, the other one of his victims—who are forced to find common ground when they are teamed up to compete in a cooking contest. THR reports Kenton Duty of Disney's sitcom Shake It Up!, Katherine McNamara (New Year's Eve) and Dan Flaherty lead the cast that includes Kyle Dean Massey (Hart of Dixie), Mary Beth Peil (Dawson's Creek), Chris Riggi (Adult World), Owen Teague (Malibu Country), Raviv Ullman (A.K.A. Ricky Ullman of Phil of the Future), Robert Wuhl (Arli$$) and Kelley Missal (One Life to Live) and Youtube star Jan “Johnny” Uczkowski.
Though little else is known about The Contest at this point—including who will be playing what role—it looks like Giunta is coming at the bullying problem from a less gritty and taboo place, instead crafting a kid star-studded narrative the whole family can easily watch and possibly learn from. While I won't say this film will have the same impact as Bully, it's sure to be a welcome alternative for parents who fear foul language as much as the MPAA assumes all parents do.
The Contest is now shooting in New York.
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