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When We Were Bullies

TV-14 | documentary | 36 MIN | 2022

When We Were Bullies is an Academy Award®-nominated documentary short from longtime HBO collaborator Jay Rosenblatt (Phantom Limb, Human Remains). The film begins with a mind-boggling coincidence from 25 years ago, which ultimately leads filmmaker Rosenblatt to track down his fifth-grade class to see what they remember from a bullying incident that occurred 50 years ago.

Weaving together a collage of archival material, found footage, stop-motion animation, and interviews with classmates and a teacher from the time, the film is a highly personal look back at a Brooklyn schoolyard incident that had been obscured by the elusive nature of memory but had resonated for decades. In a playful yet poignant reflection, Rosenblatt begins to understand his complicity, his sense of shame, and the shared nature of such incidents and their aftermath.

Rosenblatt is an internationally recognized artist and has completed more than 30 films. His work explores our emotional and psychological cores. His films have received more than 100 awards and have been screened throughout the world. Rosenblatt is a recipient of a Guggenheim, USA Artists and a Rockefeller Fellowship. He is currently the Program Director of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.

HBO Documentary Films in association with Locomotion Films present a film by Jay Rosenblatt; animation, Jeremy Rourke; music by Erik Ian Walker (with a nod to Franz Schubert); cinematography, Kirsten Johnson, Ellie McCutcheon, Jay Rosenblatt. 

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