Top Docs:  Award-Winning Documentary Filmmakers

”When We Were Bullies” with Jay Rosenblatt

March 2, 2022

After a series of highly improbable coincidences, filmmaker Jay Rosenblatt (“The Smell of Burning Ants”) finds himself back in his old elementary schoolyard making a film about a bullying incident from 50 years ago. Building on Jay’s own hazy recollections and those of his former 5th grade classmates, “When We Were Bullies” brilliantly pieces together a highly personal story that masterfully evokes universal themes and excavates a shared emotional terrain.

 

Ken recently spoke with Jay on “Top Docs” to discuss how he landed upon just the right animation technique to tell the story, what it was like for him to meet up decades later with his former 5th grade teacher, and how Jay, unexpectedly, came to connect the bullying incident with a separate personal trauma that he had tried to keep hidden from his classmates. A thoroughly original and deeply touching film, “When We Were Bullies” is one of five documentary shorts nominated for this year’s Oscar for Best Documentary Short.

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