Having recently visited her parents’ birthplace of Sicily, the Ivanhoe resident was inspired to make a change in the land to which she is connected by her roots.
“During my frequent visits to Italy, I have been speaking with teachers, parents and students in relation to the bullying situation,” she said.
“I discovered that bullying is very prominent in the place I hold close to my heart, home to my heritage.”
According to a report by Sicilian journalist Francesca Garofalo, 52 per cent of Italian students are victims of bullying.
But why is this phenomenon so widespread?
“The education system is failing at targeting and confronting the issue, and there aren’t enough educational materials available,” Vita said.
“I believe ‘Story of Jack’ will be a vital resource in Italian schools, and that its message will be just as powerful translated.”
After working with an interpreter, Vita is now ready to relaunch ‘Story of Jack’ with Italian subtitles.
Released in 2012, Vita’s short film has already experienced resounding success in Australia, and has been lauded by government members and media outlets across the nation.
She penned the script to the film while she was undergoing treatment for cancer, writing the words on serviettes from her hospital bed.
Following her recovery, Vita went on to fund and produce the film herself, from teaching the actors to organising the film crew.
‘Story of Jack’ focuses on the life of a boy who is severely bullied from a young age through to his teenage years.
The 15-minute film focuses directly on how the actions of those around Jack affect his life and offers a moral perspective on the implications of bullying through one boy’s experience.
The film is a multi-faceted story, which explores the impact on not only the victim, but his loved ones as well.
The evocative work is inspired by Vita’s experience as a drama teacher: while teaching, she noticed that many of her students were only participating in the classes to gain the confidence they needed to overcome bullying.
‘Story of Jack’ was produced as an educational medium for teachers to increase awareness among students regarding the consequences of bullying, in an aim to alter their attitude towards the sensitive topic.
The film was circulated in schools, and Vita visited classrooms to speak about the effects and potential outcomes of bullying, as she has witnessed first-hand among some of her acting students.
Vita is no stranger to public speaking in the name of a good cause.
In 2012, she was knighted by the Honourable Jeff Kennett as a beyondblue ambassador and she regularly speaks at schools, community groups, hospitals and other organisations around Australia, raising awareness and educating people on the stigmas associated with depression and anxiety in today’s society.
Since releasing ‘Story of Jack’, Vita has donated the film to the Banyule City Council, for schools to use as a free educational tool.
“I’ve never made a cent out of [the film] and I don’t intend to,” she said in an interview with our publication last year.
“That was a gift to all the people who lack confidence and have suffered from bullying.”
Having made a significant difference in Australia, Vita is now eager to spread her message on an international level, starting with Italy.
She hopes to reach out to government members who may have a connection to the Italian education system in order to make this possible.
It’s a cause which is close to Vita’s heart, and one which she is determined to pursue.
“Life to me is a journey and I believe that sometimes we are handpicked to spread a particular message,” she concluded.
“We can’t pre-empt everything that is going to happen in life but there is no rule in the book that says we can’t still spread the positivity around.”