Portland Teens' Movie on Bullying Selected for Seattle Festival

Sticky notes teach a valuable life lesson in 'To Do:', an animated short film about bullying made by two Portland teens that's premiering in Seattle this weekend.

By Fiona McCann April 21, 2015

Scene from the animated film To Do: by Cody Stoltz and Bailey Volchok.

Sticky notes are no strangers to "To Do" lists. But what if that list was a matter of life or death? Two Portland teens have made a moving animated short film about bullying (watch it below), and they've used sticky notes to get their message across. Now that film, To Do: has been selected to premiere at the 2015 National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) which kicks off in Seattle on Thursday.

Fifteen-year-old Cody Stoltz and his sixteen-year-old cousin Bailey Volchok, both of whom attend Westview High School in Beaverton, began work on To Do: in September of last year. The film—which runs at just over two and a half minutes—tells the story of a high school victim of online bullying. At his lowest ebb, he's ready to stop trying but a story told through sticky notes reminds him that there is a lot to live for.

“Everyone has their low point, including me,” says Volchok, who hand drew the more than 500 sticky notes that make up the animated sequence. “But you can face those fears and if you do what you love and follow what you love, then great things can happen.“

Her cousin and co-filmmaker Stoltz is no stranger to the kind if insult hurling depicted in the movie. “I’ve experienced people saying mean things online to me too," he said. But for Stoltz, it's important to remember that these things will change with time. “We want people to think that there is more to look forward to in life and it’s not just about how they treat you now. Years from now, the roles can easily switch.”

To Do: will be one of 248 films from 30 states and 25 countries selected for NFFTY, which showcases work by filmmakers 24 and younger from around the world. In its ninth year, NFFTY is the largest youth film festival in the world, and this year runs from April 23 to 26.  

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