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Glendale eighth-grader’s anti-bullying short film takes first prize in local contest

A Rosemont Middle School eighth-grader’s short film that blends two messages — be kind to others and stand up to bullying — won the top prize in a local competition.

Daniel Tweedy’s passion for filmmaking was already well-known to his classmates and teachers; that’s why he was approached by Rosemont Principal Cynthia Livingston to enter the “Great Kindness Challenge.”

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For his entry, Daniel produced “Kindness You Are All That I Needed” with the help of the school’s drama club and his family. The competition was organized by Dignity Health Glendale Memorial in partnership with the nonprofit Kids for Peace.

Just over a minute in length, the film was shot on his school’s campus. It opens with Daniel being pushed to the ground by a pair of bullies. After that, he moves on to pick up another student’s book that fell to the ground.

That act of kindness is paid forward as more and more students do good deeds for each another. It all ends with Daniel doing something nice for the bullies, who end up befriending him.

“I had the idea that since the bully pushed me down, maybe if they just had a little bit of kindness they could become a good person,” Daniel said.

The film was inspired by a sermon at his church about the concept of a “chain of kindness.”

Daniel said he took that concept a bit further in his video and created a “kindness circle.”

Daniel’s film — which captured a $500 prize for his school — has been viewed more than 55,000 times on Facebook and shared by people as far away as Iran.

“It just made me really happy that so many people are being impacted by kindness,” Daniel said. “It’s not just in our state or our country — people all around the world have been seeing this.”

Daniel’s dad, Craig Tweedy, helped with the camera work and said the film has really been resonating with his son’s classmates.

Craig Tweedy said the students are more receptive to the film’s message since it’s coming from a fellow student, rather than from teachers. “That’s what Daniel’s been telling us,” he said. “Some of the students feel like [the film’s] made a really connection to them because it’s peer to peer.”

Daniel’s made short films before and last year participated in a film club at school. He also enjoys acting and wants to be in front of the camera as well as behind one as a director again down the road.

“When I go to high school, I want to take cinematography,” Daniel said.

A YouTube channel with more kindness-themed productions is also a likely next step, he said.

But Daniel does have other professional aspirations: He said he also wants to an FBI agent.

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Arin Mikailian, arin.mikailian@latimes.com

Twitter: @ArinMikailian


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