AUSTIN, Texas - "A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story" premieres at South by Southwest. It portrays the way Lizzie has chosen to use her experience with bullying for good and she recently had a special surprise for a group of Austin students.
In the trailer for "A Brave Heart", we learn that Lizzie was born with a rare condition. She can't gain weight and her appearance led to severe cyber bullying as a teen.
A video calling her the world's ugliest woman was posted along with horrible comments but Lizzie decided to use that pain to inspire hope for others and that's the basis of the documentary film premiering at SXSW.
"I've had many is this my life, am I really awake right now moments," Lizzie says.
Sara Bordo directed the film and it was produced by her company, Women Rising. She says it's always been important to her and Lizzie that kids be some of the first to see it.
"For me it was about, if kids and parents and teachers are able to see Lizzie's story and that there is hope on the other side of bullying and that her life inspires them to keep going, that was really inspiring to me for kids to be the first to see the film," Bordo says.
So, this week, a group of students at Allison Elementary, where Lizzie's dad is the principal, got to see the trailer followed by a surprise guest.
Lizzie let them know they'd be seeing more than just the trailer. She then handed out tickets to the excited students
"I've known that I want my story to be in this film, but I want it to be their story as well. So having them see the trailer, I hope that they can see I went through something bad and maybe relate to it," Lizzie says.
As they get ready to see the final version of the film, Lizzie's parents say they're proud of the way she's sharing her story with the world.
Lizzie's dad Lupe says, "I sent Lizzie a text the other night that said I've probably seen trailer 100 times, and I'm so excited, it makes me cry and I'm so proud and I thank God for bringing you into our lives."
The documentary follows Lizzie's journey as she becomes a hero for anyone who has been bullied and she hopes the film will be a catalyst for change.
"I just want it to be the spark to influence for good and have people walk out of the theater and say I'm ready to go take a stand for myself and for other people," Lizzie says.
The film premieres Saturday at the Paramount for those with South by Southwest badges and wristbands.
No release date for the film yet and we want to wish Lizzie a happy birthday. She turns 26 tomorrow.
Learn more about the film here.