BULLIED: A True Story based on the Life of Frankie Cappello” is a film that tells the story of Frank Cappello a boy from Little Italy who struggles with growing up gay in the 1970s and 1980s. Severely bullied for his differences, Frankie went on to become an actor, producer, director, and all-around filmmaker who uses his art to combat abusive behavior. The Film aims to bring attention to the still-prevalent problem of bullying which often goes unreported. The film screenings actually end on a powerful note when the cast partakes in a Q&A to discuss the issue.

“Bullied: A True Story based on the Life of Frankie Cappello” is currently touring film festivals across the United States of America and a special screening will be presented in New York City at the Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Avenue @ 2nd Street) on Saturday, February 16, at 1:30 PM.

Frankie Cappello recently discussed his life, working, and the issue of bullying via an exclusive interview.

Theater, films and childhood

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you get into making Movies and which genres have you gravitated towards?

Frankie Cappello (FC): My parents saw the interest I had in being an actor/singer and with that, they nurtured my interest by enrolling me in theater companies and connecting me with singing coaches.

The one great thing about growing up in NYC was the access to amazing artists that helped me hone my craft! The genres I enjoy most are comedies, dramedies, love stories, Sci-Fi, indie flicks, documentaries and of course, major films.

MM: How much did your bad experiences in childhood impact your career and adulthood?

FC: Majorly.

However, through the negative experience, I was somehow able to build my inner strength and that positivity helped to guide my life and career.

MM: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced growing up that you most wish would change in today’s world?

FC: Growing up, bullying wasn’t so much of a concern to parents as it is today.

I'm happy to see that it's finally being talked about worldwide. The action that we're taking today is making a difference in eradicating it once and for all. It is so important that those being subjected to bullying not blame themselves, as most kids did in the past.

MM: How did “Bullied” come about and how has the film been received as it travels around the nation?

FC: I was sitting at a diner with friends and the topic of bullying came up and I started to talk about being raised in Nolita, New York City's Little Italy. I told two out of my horrific stories and someone suggested that I put pen to paper, so I did. As "Bullied” has been screened, I’ve discovered that it has been most shocking to parents of bullies.

No one wants to believe their child may actually be a bully. That some of the things they’ve regarded as “boys will be boys” is actually abusive and traumatizing to other children. It’s been a wake-up call to parents on what is going on in school, on the bus, and on the playground.

Parents and movie projects

MM: What do you hope people take away from “Bullied”?

FC: I hope parents will take the time to talk with their children. Find out what's on their mind, good and bad, and empower them to be someone who makes a difference in the world. I want kids being bullied to see that it does get better but you must demand that it get better. Tell a trusted adult about what is happening. Do not be ashamed and do not think you deserve the terrible treatment.

Never be afraid to be who you are in life. Be you, do you and love you...that's all you can do. For those bullying others, I say stop bullying...starting today!

MM: What other movie projects are on the horizon for you?

FC: Next up, I'm directing a dramedy love story of a script that I wrote. I'm working with an amazing group of actors who are bringing to life the words I set before them and I'm loving it. Following that, I have several other projects in the works. For more information, Google “Bullied a True Life Story” and visit our website.