Kat McNamara and Kenton Duty‘s new movie, Contest tackles a serious issue- bullying. The film follows the unlikely friendship forged between a bully and one of his victims (Dan Flaherty). One totally cool thing about Contest is its aim to spread awareness about bullying. In fact, the movie has partnered up with the Blue Shirt Day, an initiative by bullying prevention campaign STOMP Out Bullying. Check out what Kat and Kenton had to say about their new project and another behind-the-scenes pic below!

Kenton Kat Contest Kenton & Kat Talk Contest With BOP & Tiger BeatBOP&TB: Tell us about Contest!

Kat McNamara: Contest is a really great story. It’s a fictional story that follows two students- a bully and one who is bullied. They end up being forced to work together in a cooking contest and through that, they’re forced to break down those walls and those misunderstandings and form a true friendship. But, as the stakes get higher and the contest gets more intense, the old emotions start to form again and the lines between friend and foe get very blurred.

BOP&TB: What drew you to the project? Was it your own experiences with bullying or was there something else about Contest that really made you want to be involved?

Kat McNamara: There are several reasons I wanted to be involved. My experiences with bullying in the past was one of them. As a kid who was bullied and witnessed bullying, I think it’s an issue that really needs to be addressed. It’s basically an epidemic nowadays. It’s become the norm and I am not okay with that. It’s not okay for it to be normal for kids to be bullied. It’s horrific and it needs to stop and the only way for it to stop is if kids are made aware of the situation and how wrong it is and what the ramifications can be.

Kenton Kat Contest BTS 300x214 Kenton & Kat Talk Contest With BOP & Tiger Beat

BOP&TB: Have you ever had to deal with bullying in real life?

Kat McNamara: Yes, I have. I’ve been bullied a lot in my life because I’ve always been the different one. But you know, I’ve learned that you can’t let other people’s feelings about you say who you are and you just have to be strong and who you are and be your own person and know who’s right.

Kenton Duty: I always just sort of let it go, I didn’t let it bother me but not a lot of people have, I would say, the ability to do that or the friends to back them up, keep their minds off it. ‘Cause I was like, the short kid who had the glasses and the retainer in elementary school so I got it a lot.

BOP&TB: What was the hardest part of playing the bully?

Kenton Duty: It wasn’t as difficult, I guess, as I thought it was going to be going into it. The bully and the kid getting bullied are the two guys that you sort of follow, track like what they’re going through. The bully goes through a lot in just the movie, in his whole life he just goes through a lot and so does the kid getting bullied. And you get to see a sort of whirlwind happen to both of them.

Credit: BOP & Tiger Beat

Read more at Kenton Duty's Official Site