Late March, the anti-bullying film “Ruben” was awarded with the Young Positive Media Award 2013. Each year, the Dutch National Academy for Media and Society presents this award to positive initiatives that reach young people via media. The film and its music video tell the story of fifteen-year-old Ruben, who is bullied because he is gay and eventually finds help.
The Young Positive Media Award is meant for positive role models for young people in the media. In 2011, rapper Ali B won the award for the television program “Op volle toeren,” and in 2012 the award went to http://www.edgie.nl/, a website that helps young people how to handle their money and financial situation. The film “Ruben” stars fifteen-year-old actors who were bullied themselves and want to make a statement against the bullying of homosexuals.
The film “Ruben” was made entirely on a voluntary basis by director Thijs Verhoeven and producer Hans van der Hulst, with the complimentary cooperation of approximately one hundred and fifty actors, composers, sound mixers, film editors, suppliers, and advertisers. They approached EduDivers to compile a teaching package for the film, in order for it to be used for educational purposes. About the cooperation, director of EduDivers Peter Dankmeijer says: “We immediately were enthusiastic about the film. It hits you like a hammer.
Every time we showed it at a teachers training, I had to hand out handkerchiefs to one or two teachers. The film was so emotional. It is definitely a tear jerker, and that is helpful in making young people more empathic. We developed an excellent anti-bullying lesson to go with it to help teachers discuss the film, and to ensure that young people will not only change their attitude, but will actually behave in a more tolerant way.”
The “Ruben” lesson is the first Dutch teaching package that is scientifically sound in counteracting homophobia and the bullying of homosexuals. The package is part of the MijnID-campaign and can be ordered through the website of EduDivers.