about our film
Two best friends have a deadly falling out when one of them joins a dangerous clique.
Childhood best friends (Michelle Page and Cali Fredrichs) hit emotional crossroads when only one is chosen to join the popular clique in high school (Francia Raisa). The friendship tries to survive — in secret. But on the night of the big Spring Formal, loyalties are tested, ties are severed and friendships end with devastating consequences.
cast & crew
- Yin Chang • Creator
- Deb Havener • Executive Producer/producer
- Jason Berrent • Executive Producer
- Chadwick Armstrong • Producer
- Lauren Brown • Co-producer
- Lelina Chang, Melora Chang • Associate Producer
- Aimee Teegarden, Vinh Dang • Associate Producer
- Complete list of Cast and Crew IMDb
michelle page (‘maxine’)
Michelle Page began her career in professional theatre, appearing in numerous major theatrical productions in Dallas and Ft. Worth. In Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, Michelle garnered praise for her role as Rebecca Gibbs by theatre critics. Upon moving to Los Angeles, she made her film debut opposite Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. Since, Page has made guest appearances on hit television series, CSI: NY, Bones, The Mentalist, Ghost Whisperer, Cold Case, CSI: Miami, Saving Grace, Castle, and Crossing Jordan. She can be seen opposite Robert Picardo in the film Sensored and stars in the upcoming Lionsgate release Rogue River opposite Bill Moseley. Page has also appeared in several national commercials, including Clean & Clear, Taco Bell (with famed boxer Evander Holyfield), and an anti-meth campaign for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Page studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
francia raisa (‘julie’)
For a girl who was born into Latin radio royalty, 2011 ALMA Award nominee actress, Francia Raisa is certainly one of the most gracious rising stars in Hollywood. Her father has been the number one disc jockey in Los Angeles on 97.9 FM La Raza as the winning Latin radio personality El Cucuy. Just a month into her senior year, she booked one of her first lead roles, starring opposite Hayden Panettiere in Bring it On: All or Nothing. Francia continued onto a new level of stardom after starring as the lead female role of MGM’s ABC Family TV movie The Cutting Edge 3: Chasing the Dream. Francia currently plays “Adrian Lee”, a series regular, on the hit ABC Family TV show The Secret Life of the American Teenager. The series, created by Brenda Hampton (7th Heaven) premiered in the summer of 2008 – breaking all records for an original ABC Family drama series and debuting in the No. 1 spot in its time slot on all of cable television. The show has gone on to win the 2008 Teen Choice Award for Choice Summer TV Show, and continued to be nominated in 2009, 2010 and 2011, catapulting Francia and her cast into teen stardom. Additionally, Francia guest-starred on the CBS network’s CSI, USA’s In Plain Sight and reprised her role as the lead for the sequel to MGM’s The Cutting Edge: Fire and Ice.
cali fredrichs (‘dawn’)
Cali Fredrichs was born in Richmond, Virginia and was raised and educated in Seattle, Washington. From her earliest years, Cali always had a love of acting and pursued every opportunity she could to that end. As a child she began taking classes and studying, and in addition to a successful start as a child model, Cali was soon enrolled in theater and stage productions and performing regularly throughout Seattle. At just 18 years old, Cali relocated to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams as a professional actress. She continued her studies and enrolled in numerous classes for acting and improv. Within months, she was noticed and approached and almost immediately signed and represented. After a series of supporting and lead roles in independent films, in the last two years Cali has appeared on the TV shows Greek and as the lead guest star in House M.D., as well as a supporting appearance in the major motion picture The Social Network. Her ambition is to be the best artist she can and to be challenged by playing the most interesting and powerful roles available, while of course working with the most talented people in film and television.
micky shiloah (‘aaron’)
Micky Shiloah was born and raised in New York. At the age of 7, Micky landed a heavy role where he performed for an audience of over 5,000 people at Radio City Music Hall in The Next Stage- A Time For Music. He then landed the Off Broadway play, God is Nearer Than the Door performed at the Village Gate Theater. Following that, he booked yet another play, Favorite Stories performed at the New York City Youth Theater. In addition to his growing resume, he booked numerous commercials and print ads. His professional career was put on hold for several years to finish school. In the meantime, he worked on his music and landed roles in theater productions of The Orphan Trainand The Moonlight Room, keeping his acting muscles fresh in his school’s theater group. After graduating high school, Micky decided to dive back in his professional career and immediately began booking various commercials and print ads. With his ultimate passion to pursue acting, Micky moved out to Los Angeles landing his first lead role in the independent feature film The Party is Over. He stars alongside award-winning actress Kathy Baker. Look for The Party is Over as well as original music from Micky this year.
Yin Chang is a filmmaker and writer born and raised in New York currently residing in Los Angeles. As an actor, Yin made her feature film debut in Walt Disney’s “PROM”. She is most recognized for her work in three seasons of CW’s “Gossip Girl”, a TV show hailed by New York Magazine as, “The greatest teen drama of all time.” Yin has made numerous appearances on major TV shows and starred in “The Bling Ring”.
Yin created the powerful bullying awareness short film “Strain” igniting compassion and empathy among viewers. During a live interview segment, NBC New York said, “’Strain’ is a silent short film but with great significance that speaks volumes…it’s making waves and in the halls of government.” New York Senator Jack Martins noted that it “is the most powerful film” he has seen on the topic of bullying. “Strain” has also been featured in a four-page cover story in Newsday among several other newspapers internationally.
Yin has been featured in well-known publications including Variety, Seventeen, and was selected by NYLON Magazine as one of the 45 Young Hollywood stars of the next generation. Yin continues to rise as a compelling filmmaker and writer with many projects in the works including a book she co-authors that will be launching Summer 2014.
Deb is a producer and award-winning screenwriter. She is currently producing the feature Midnight Swing with Nolan Gerard Funk (upcoming Chronicles of Riddick 3) and is in development on a thriller feature and a series of musical shorts. She is a 2-time Nicholl Fellowship semi-finalist and works in the Reference Department for one of America's Star Libraries (rated 5 stars and #1 in its class by the Library Journal).
Jason is best known for his work with the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil. He has toured internationally with two Cirque productions and was asked to create the lead role of The Trickster in Cirque du Soleil’s spectacle, ‘Kooza‘ directed by David Shiner. Other stage appearances have included Nicky Silver’s ‘Fit To Be Tied‘ (Los Angeles) and ‘The Cohen Project‘ (San Francisco). Jason has appeared in commercials and ads for Adidas Originals, The Sundance Channel, Beatles Rockband, xBox Dance Central and Infiniti Motors. Along with performing, Jason co-owns Zehner/Berrent Productions with director Joshua Ryan Zehner. Together they have produced and directed original works including collaborations with Cirque du Soleil, Disney, The Second City, Circus Circus Las Vegas and David Letterman. Zehner/Berrent directed Cirque Berzerk in downtown Los Angeles. The show ran sold out for 9 weeks and was placed on The Los Angeles Times list of summer must-sees.
Chadwick Armstrong is a producer-actor who is currently producing a feature film, Monty, based on the late actor Montgomery Clift. Armstrong attended Florida Southern College earning his bachelors in Advertising. He continued on to work for Armstrong International – a world leader in intelligent system solutions for steam, air, and hot water utility applications. Armstrong International is his family-owned company that provides over 110 years of business in steam systems that improve utility performance, lower energy consumption and reduce environmental emissions. His family-run business even owns, operates, and maintains utility plants for Fortune 500 energy users. Succeeding the family business Armstrong relocated to California in pursuit of his true passion in the entertainment industry. In addition to producing and acting, he self produces online movie reviews forArmstrong Entertainment earning his place as a popular internet personality garnering over a million views on YouTube.
Lauren Brown has been writing about pop culture and entertainment for over 12 years. She’s currently the site director of OKMagazine.com and has been on staff at CosmoGIRL, Us Weekly, Inside TV and Sirius Satellite Radio. As a freelance writer, Lauren’s work has appeared in Glamour, Seventeen, Radar Online, The Nest, Girl2Watch.com, MTV, Glamour and Glamour.com. Lauren is also the author of several books including Reese Witherspoon: The Biography and The Girl’s Life Guide to Surviving Middle School. Her first novel (for the middle grade set) called The Doggy Divas: Roxy’s Rules came out In 2010. Lauren lives in NYC with her husband and two pop culture savvy cats.
I was that 5-year-old with the crooked teeth who came home with bruises on her back in elementary school. I was that 10-year-old who ran home crying after a classmate called her a ‘stupid chink’ for answering a question correctly. I was that chubby 11-year-old who was viciously made fun of because of her “weird Chinese name”. I was that 12-year-old with the blue tinted glasses and teeth full of braces who hid in the cafeteria bathroom because a popular boy called her an ugly loser.
My self-esteem was at its ultimate low while my insecurities skyrocketed. I thought my life sucked and attempted to overdose on over-the-counter pills when I was 13 years old.
In high school, I decided to reinvent myself—if I changed my looks and people’s perception of me surely I would change my confidence, right? I snuck behind my parent’s backs to wear colored contacts and dye my hair. I talked back to everyone thinking I was the toughest chick on the block. A lot of time after school was spent in detention. I was a hair away from getting expelled for my attitude problems and cutting class.
I became that wanna-be 14-year-old who dropped her wonderful friends for a chance with the cool crowd. I became that bitchy 15-year old girl who verbally harassed easy targets. People were talking and I reveled in it. I thought I had finally earned my place.
In actuality I let my family down; I let my true friends down; most importantly, I let myself down.
Fast forward several years later, I am now a much more compassionate, mature and motivated human being. I grew up and learned from these irrational decisions and evolved into a stronger person—but I’m still learning. I would never change who I am today. I am proud of my morals and outlook towards life, family, and friends. And I’ve learned what it truly means to be grateful and appreciative for everything you have.
Hearing about the recent suicides caused from bullying upsets me deeply. I knew first-hand what it was like to be bullied yet I still chose to be one in high school. Plain and simple- it was easy. Easy to put others down to make myself feel better.
I am not proud of some of my decisions in high school but I did learn one major lesson in life—bullies are everywhere and take form in whatever age, sex, orientation, nationality and even in the ones you least expect. One thing all bullies have in common is a low self-esteem. If I had the chance to talk to the younger me, I would tell her to believe in herself; that even though it doesn’t seem like it now, the future has so much to offer and it gets so much better. I would have saved a lot of hurt feelings and avoided a lot of drama. Though I can’t go back in time, I know I can still do my part by sharing my experiences with you.
If you have ever hurt someone, physically or verbally, it’s not too late to stop. Take responsibility of your actions and talk to someone to see how you can heal yourself from the inside out. Taking your anger out on others is never the answer. If you have ever witnessed someone being bullied but ignored it or took part by laughing or spreading rumors, you have one of the most pivotal roles in helping to put an end to bullying. Speak to a trusted adult to help the victim, or pull the victim away and let them know they are not alone. Or stand up for the victim and tell the bully that what they’re doing is not cool (provided your own safety is not in jeopardy).
If you have ever been bullied, you are not alone. You deserve happiness. Believe in yourself and stay strong. Don’t be embarrassed to get help and talk to an adult that you trust. Your future is bright and filled with opportunities; give yourself a chance to shine. You are all unique in your own ways: Gifted, talented, courageous and brave. You owe it to yourself to stay strong and get through the tough times.
No matter who you are, remember that hurting others or yourself is never the answer. Do something about it and speak up. You have the power and the right to put an end to bullying.
"...Strain is of the highest quality and received rave reviews from the audience including my Chiefs who attended [the Long Island Youth Safety Coalition's Smart Decisions Conference]."
- District Attorney Kathleen Rice
"This is the most powerful film I have seen on this important topic."
- New York Senator Jack M. Martins
"It was such a privilege to host the Chang sisters and show their exquisite film STRAIN as the kick off to our Women's Film Series in January 2014 with our programming partner, The Women's Fund of Long Island. Yin, Lelina and Melora are truly some of Long Island's rising stars who we hope to have back again. STRAIN so beautifully kicks off conversations that we all must be brave enough to have with our children about bullying and suicide prevention."
- Sharon Maier-Kennelly, Executive Director, Landmark on Main Street
"'Strain' is a powerful film that tackles one of the most pressing social issues of the day, bullying, and does it in a compelling way."
- Angela Jaggar, President Angela and Scott Jaggar Foundation, Inc.
"Strain is a powerful, moving film that will leave the audience thinking about how their actions impact others."
- Julie Hertzog, Director of PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center (Nationally recognized leader on bullying prevention)
|Patrick and Nicole Armstrong||GNS Lacrosse Team|
|Doug and Tammy Bloss||Jeff Almeida|
|Lelina Chang||Suzi Winson|
|Melora Chang||Shiho Honda|
|Vinh Dang||Jenny Ivanova|
|Ryan Bloss||Steve Grasha|
|Leslie Hope||Donna Faulhaber|
|David Dean Portelli||Alexis Kelley|
|Yvonne Armstrong||Meredith Tomkovitch|
|Roberta Berrent||Jordan Roth|
|Johnson Chen||Yumi Tometsuka|
|Shiho Yamasaki||Shizuyo Takada|
|Ruriko Hayakawa||John Uytendaal|
|Ursula and Kat McNamara||Dan Gill|
|Lakey Wolff||Louville Catalan|
|Sydney Wang||David Yeh|
|Nancy Wang||Ryan Willard|
|Samuel Shim||Christine C.|
|Mitchell Jelen||Mami Miyata|
|Patrick Deslongchamps||Tamiko Koge|
|Selby Chu||James Leo|
|Wayne Chang||Christian and Logan|
|Constance Wu||Kevin Butler|
|Angela Kim||Naomi Kubota|
|Lindsey Carr||Melissa Fluck Boyer|
|Lauren Nadler||Susan Davison|
|Lee Sacks||Liz Onstead|
|Collette Livingston||Gabriel Barajas|
|Mark Ward||Patrick Rash|
|Melanie Knowlton||Eddie Liu|
|Chris Pang||Donna Merrick|
|Sonomi Kojima||Clay Edmonds and Janet Jenness|
|Azusa Asahara||Christopher Antoine|
|Jerome Vezina||Kellee June|
|Furay Chang||Mariko Iwata|
|Arielle Marie||Kikuyo Watamura|
|Vivian Chan||Mia Gai|
|Yoko Iinaga||Emma Wiseman|
|Risa Iwakura||Miya Nonaka|
|Harumi Abe||E.E. Charlton-Trujillo|
|Harsh Nayyar||Ellen Staab|
|Ritsuko Hayakawa||Yoko Mori|
|Yasuko Kihara||M Booth|
|Shoko Sato||Imren Miskinyar|
|Sergey Nazarov||Dory Ford|
|Hisako Ito||Rachel Michel|
|Yumiko Kuma||Sally Eckhardt|
|Cliff Timbrook||Andrea “Anjali Kaur” Purcell|
|Etsuko Saito||Chinatsu Miyata|
“This is the most powerful film I have seen on this important topic.”
- JACK M. MARTINS, New York State Senator