13-year-old Alec Ybarra, from the Denver, Colorado area, has a shocking story about bullying, and it’s all true. It was so awful, he switched schools.
It’s often said that it is not what happens to us that make up who we truly are—rather, it’s how we respond to what happens to us that reveals our true character. If that’s true, Alec is a young man of great character.
Alec tapped into his creativity to fight bullying.
Approximately one out of every five students has reported being bullied at school, but the reality may be much more.
After Alec endured horrendous bullying for one long year, he decided to use his creative talents to help himself recover, as well as help others in similar circumstances.
Alec made a movie based on his personal experiences called “Unmarked.”
It took Alec just two days to write the script of the entire movie.
“It’s about a friend’s angry mother who tries to destroy the student that knows information about her son that could get her son in trouble,” he said, in an interview with WQAD. “That’s what happened in real life.”
Wait. A mom was bullying a young student too? Sad to say, but it’s true.
The film shares the powerful message that it doesn’t matter who is doing the bullying—what matters is that you stand up for yourself and tell the truth. That message struck a chord with some big-time film producers, who helped Alec spread his message to an even larger audience.
Alec not only wrote the film, he edited and directed it, and acted in it as well.
Alec said making the film was a very cathartic experience.
“Now looking back at it, I’ve been working on the film itself for a year and a half, [and] it’s helped a lot,” he said.
“I went through a whole year of this situation. It tore me down a lot. Then I was able to make a film about it, that can hopefully help a lot of people going through similar things.”
Being bullied was not only awful for the young teen, it was hard for his parents as well.
“It’s tough because you don’t want your son beat up or bullied, especially as time went on and we found out a parent was involved,” Fred Ybarra, Alec’s father said. Both parents were happy that their son was able to use filmmaking as a way to address the horrendous bullying he experienced.
“It is a passion of his,” Fred Ybarra said. “I thought he was going to outgrow it, but it’s what he loves doing, and he’s good at it.”
Alec’s new school welcomed the boy and his project.
Parker Performing Arts School, the school Ybarra now attends, have fully supported the young teen and his movie.
“To have a student who is so passionate to teach others about it, and to show others how to live through it is very empowering, especially with adolescents and teens. Sometimes voices of their peers are far louder than educators and adults,” principal Jennifer Burgess said.
The movie was selected to be shown at film festivals.
Alec’s film was an Official Selection of the Los Angeles Film Awards and the American Filmatic Arts Awards, and he hopes it will be in theaters soon. He also hopes the movie can positively affect other kids who may currently be in the middle of such a difficult situation.
“The message of the film I am trying to portray is standing up for yourself,” he said.
“That is one of the things I had to do a lot in real life, especially since that person had gotten everyone to turn against me. That’s what I want to portray through the script and the film and acting—you need to stand up for yourself in these situations.”
Watch Alec’s movie trailer below: