LOS ANGELES — Cinedigm’s film "A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story" is now available. The award-winning documentary can be viewed on various On Demand platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Video, with a library card on Hoopla Digital and on Cable VOD (check your local listings). Individuals, educators, communities and organizations that want to host their own screenings in schools or theaters may also do so via Tugg.com.
The film premiered at SXSW this past March, winning the prestigious Audience Award in its category. It has won top honors at every festival it has played since, including the special Spirit Award at Geena Davis’ Inaugural Bentonville Film Festival. It opened in theaters on Sept. 25. Directed and produced by first-time filmmaker Sara Hirsh Bordo, "A Brave Heart" showcases original music from multi Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. YouTube celebrity Justine Ezarik (“iJustine”) and Alexis Jones, founder of "I am that Girl," serve as executive producers alongside Velasquez.
"We couldn't be more proud to be releasing 'A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story,' " said Chris McGurk, CEO and Chairman, Cinedigm. "The best documentaries have heart, passion and aim to change the world for the better. This film has all that and the amazing Lizzie, too! Lizzie, Sara Bordo and the entire Women Rising team deserve huge credit for making this important film and we look forward to great success across all platforms."
"A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story" follows the inspiring journey of 26-year-old, 63-pound Lizzie from cyberbullying victim to anti-bullying activist. Born with a rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Velasquez was first bullied as a child in school for looking different. As a teenager, she was bullied even more prominently online when she discovered a YouTube video labeling her "The World's Ugliest Woman." The film chronicles unheard stories and details of Lizzie's physical and emotional journey up to her multi-million viewed TEDxAustinWomen talk and follows her evolution as motivational speaker and activist as she lobbies Congress for the first federal anti-bullying bill; the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA). The film features private moments with Lizzie's family including her parents, Rita and Lupe, and siblings Chris and Marina Velasquez. Also appearing in the doc are anti-bullying advocate and Founder of the Megan Meier Foundation, Tina Meier, anti-bullying expert Dr. Bob Faris and Congresswomen Linda Sanchez, author of SSIA.
“This movie shines a light on my personal journey, but we have always felt that this truly is everyone's story. We've heard from so many people from all over the world who have been bullied in their own ways and we want to offer hope and show what's possible when you get on other side of bullying," said Velasquez.
"I've been so touched by everyone who has shared their stories with us and we wanted to make sure that anyone who wanted to see the movie could do so. My hope is that we can then all come together to inspire change, take the high road and create a more positive environment," said director/producer Bordo.
Bordo produced the inaugural TEDxAustinWomen event, under her Women Rising banner, where Velasquez's "How Do You Define Yourself?" talk was given. TEDxAusitnWomen ultimately became the No. 1 TEDWomen event of 2013 and Velasquez's talk has been viewed more than 10 million times combined with both English and Spanish versions. Bordo and Women Rising then went on to produce "A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story," which Bordo also directed. The film's production was funded via a Kickstarter campaign and was one of the site's most successful crowd-funded documentary projects of all time. For more information about the film and screening opportunities, please visit ABraveHeartFilm.com.