Home truths can be ugly. One home truth is that the masculinity that society inflicts on boys can lead to horrible violence – beating up a rival, raping a woman. Toronto agency, Bensimon Byrne, its sister content agency, Narrative, and director, Hubert Davis, tell that story in the simplest way possible for advocacy group, White Ribbon. Simple stories have incredible power.
Davis, who has been nominated for an Academy Award and Emmy Award for his work as a documentary filmmaker, directed the film pro bono via Untitled Films.
The PSA, Boys Don’t Cry, looks a toxic masculinity from a boy’s perspective, juxtaposing the “rules” that are drummed into him with scenes from his everyday life as he grows into a young man. Scenes that cause him to suppress “forbidden” feelings like hurt and fear in accordance with the rules of being a boy, and scenes of the behaviour that results.
National research has found that one in five students is affected by bullying and half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. White Ribbon wants to spark a conversation about the importance of healthy self-esteem, compassion, and emotional intelligence in boys. The video asks viewers to visit www.boysdontcry.ca to learn more about how to promote healthy masculinities, prevent bullying and contribute to a future without gender-based violence.
“It was important for me to make this film because I believe strongly that men have a responsibility to educate themselves in order to be part of positive change,” Davis said.
“As a society we still live with negative, outdated concepts of manhood, with very toxic results. If we want to prevent gender-based violence, we need to address what’s at the roots of it.”
Humberto Carolo, White Ribbon’s Executive Director and a gender-based violence prevention specialist, added, “To have someone as esteemed as Hubert Davis direct this PSA really underscores the importance of building a vision of masculinity worldwide that embodies the best qualities of being human.
“We hope the video will help continue a cultural shift that helps brings us to a future without violence against women and girls and people of all genders and sexual orientations,” Carolo added.
Agencies: Bensimon Byrne & Narrative
Executive Creative Director: Joseph Bonnici
Associate Creative Directors: David Mueller & Debbie Chan
Writer: Matt Doran
Project manager: Sara Leroux
Strategist: Brittany Dow
Agency Producer: Michelle Pilling
Account Management: Vanessa Kissoon, Jackie Kleinberg, Tony Koutoulas, Andrea Lee & Madeleine Porter
Production Company: Untitled Films
Director: Hubert Davis
Executive Producer: Tom Evelyn
Line Producer: Tom Evelyn
Post Production Offline: Rooster Post Production
Executive Producer: Mellissa Khan
Editor: Michelle Czuker
Post Production Online: Alter Ego
Producer: Hilda Pereira
Editor: Darren Achim
Transfer: Alter Ego
Colourist: Clinton Homuth
Producer: Tyna Maerzke
Director & Engineer: Jared Kuemper