Cinema Chile

“We are Bullying” Chilean short film triumphs abroad

August 10, 2023

25 awards and a powerful message that moves audiences around the world is what Senel Muñoz seeks to convey with his first short film We are Bullying. How many of us have not been witnesses or victims of bullying? In recent months the audiovisual world has witnessed this issue from another point of view.

A work that has touched hearts and generated an immense social impact through We are Bullying, a short film directed by Senel Muñoz and made by more than 20 independent professionals and in large part by the theater company El Crimen.

The theme has been present from my theatrical beginnings, I wrote the play “I am bullying” in 2012, with which we toured many theaters and brought it outside of Chile as well.

Selected in 26 competitions and granted with more than 25 awards so far this year, including the merit award for the best short film in Accolade Global Film Competition (USA), best short film (Turkey) and best first director (USA) , We are Bullying is not only a showcase of talent, but also a brave voice that across 4 interconnected timelines will present us an unexpected end.

In this exclusive interview, we immerse ourselves in the creative mind behind We are Bullying, exploring the challenges faced by the team to venture into the audiovisual, the motivations that led him to address the issue of bullying and how they hope this work can contribute to the fight against this issue in society.

Do not miss this exciting immersion into the director’s mind and all the details of its premiere in Chile!

 The entire cast of the short is entirely made up by theater actors, which we are preparing and educating to move this genre to the screen. We want to reach many more people and places through the audiovisual, we are communicators and we want the message to become massive, and this format gives us that possibility


How was the technical and artistic crew assembled?

The whole team is mostly part of, or was part of, the theater company “El Crimen” to which we added sound, lighting, editing, script and every area needed for the shoot. The beauty of this project is that the same actors are part of the technical crew, each actor also takes on a role in some department of creation and/or filming. We are multifunctional and take turns in roles.

What have been the main challenges?

The performance in front of the camera, since it was not our strength, so we prepared daily for it and learned a lot, and the second was how to put what was in our mind onto the screen. It is a new language for us and I feel that is what we are starting, which gives us much more desire and energy to continue.

You can make cinema, it requires effort, respect for this art, preparation and a lot of work, but the most important thing without having resources, is to be part of a large human group.

How was the process of choosing the characters? What did it mean for you too to discover new talents?

I work with my friends, theater family. I believe in them and I think anyone could play any character, in that sense we have never worked in order to impress the critics but to have fun and remain as a group that wants to communicate an important message. In the case of the lead role we chose a girl by her age, but whom I already knew and her talent, she has gained recognition and awards for best young actress in Venezuela.

How was the reception of the short film?

For us it was already a prize to be selected in a couple of festivals, we did not think to stay in so many, let alone win awards nor categories, not because the short was bad, but because we are just starting. As for the audience that has seen it, I am surprised at how shocked they are, and not because the short is explicit, but because it makes sense, reminds them, transports them, and generates a real atmosphere of what they once lived. It makes them think fast. I think that’s very well accomplished.

How do you plan to make the short film known to an audience in Chile and what is its long-term goal?

The first is to try to deliver the short to the Ministry of Education, as pedagogical or reflective material for use in schools. It would be wonderful if the short was bought or acquired by some more massive platforms, we also want to offer it to tv channels, and ultimately release it on any free platform, in addition to social media which are fundamental today.

Do you have plans to create more content related to social issues? Could you advance something on this?

At the moment we are in the post production of our first film “La Herencia” that relates the problems of Latin America. I do not rule out delving into bullying, and we strongly urge the group to make a short film on mental health in our country. We will certainly make a short for that topic at the end of the year.

What message would you like to share with the audience before they see your short film?

Do not expect a work of art, because I am not a filmmaker, but I hope that they reflect on the subject, that they observe their families, children and young people above all, and that they can analyze if they are part of the bullying chain, many times people do not realize.

What would you say to professionals in the theater world who would like to be introduced to the audiovisual?

I would like to share that fear or lack of resources are often a limitation, but each person can choose, and we choose to make a film and then a short film without having a single coin in our pockets, but hungry to grow. You can make cinema, it requires effort, respect for this art, preparation and a lot of work, but the most important thing without having resources, is to be part of a large human group.