Anti-cyberbullying film shot in Seal Beach has invite-only premiere in LA

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District One City Councilman/Mayor Joe Kalmick, Adrienne Kalmick, with Seal Beach resident and filmmaker Paul James Houghton. Photo by Adam Feinsilver

A 15-minute anti-bullying film that was shot in Seal Beach last summer, “From Under the Bridge,” had an in-person premiere in Los Angeles on Saturday, May 15. O’Malley’s on Main was featured in a pivotal scene. Keeping the setting local was important to the director.

“Bridge,” a story about a lonely girl who appears to have found the perfect guy online, was directed by Seal Beach resident and Seal Beach filmmaker Paul James Houghton under the name Paul James. Houghton studio is located in Old Town. He wrote and directed the shot film.

“The Premiere Private Screening (Invitation Only – this is important because the festivals need to know it has not been publicly shown) was at: Raleigh Studios on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood in their main theater,” Houghton wrote in a May 18 email.

District One Councilman/Mayor Joe Kalmick was among those invited to the premiere. He helped Houghton get the permits to shoot on the Greenbelt in August 2020.

“It was fun,” Kalmick said of the premiere.

The film was inspired by an infamous cyberbullying case.

“A lonely high school girl escapes depression and her bullies when she meets the perfect boy online, but is he too good to be true?” according to the studio website.

The film was inspired by the events that led to the suicide of 13-year-old Megan Meier. Houghton said her mother Tina Meier supported and approved of Houghton’s film. (In 2007, Tina Meier established the Megan Meier Foundation in her daughter’s memory. The Foundation’s goal: “To live in a world where bullying and cyberbullying no longer exist.”)

Saturday’s screening was preceded by a reception.

Kalmick guesstimated that 75 people attended the event.

Houghton, however, put the number at 80. According to Houghton, that was the maximum number allowed due to COVID.

He thought the performances were good. He said the film was not uplifting.

Filmmaker Houghton said they had hoped the film would be shown in the Bay Theatre.

However, it is not yet known when the iconic Main Street Seal Beach movie house will reopen.

In the meantime, Houghton said they had already been contacted by the Newport Beach Film Festival. He said that would likely be the next showing.

For now, Houghton said, the film will go on the “festival run” first, then be distributed online.

Houghton said his favorite would be the Raindance Film Festival in London.

Houghton said one day “Under the Bridge” would be distributed to cable channels that show short films.

For more information about the film, http://www.dreamotionstudios.com.

For information about the Megan Meier Foundation, visit www.meganmeierfoundation.org.

Anti-cyberbullying film shot in Seal Beach has invite-only premiere in LA