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Kevin Hart Announces Mental Health Focused Collab

Headspace Studios and LOL Studios, the production arm of Laugh Out Loud, the comedy brand and multi-platform network founded by the world’s top comedian Kevin Hart, announced their content collaboration blending comedy and mindfulness with the goal of inspiring and motivating people around the world to live a life full of compassion and awareness.

“Partnering with Headspace to bring wellness and positivity to everyone through premium comedic content delivers on our mission at LOL to keep the world laughing together,” said Founder and Chairman of Laugh Out Loud, Kevin Hart. “LOL Studios and Headspace are bringing a diverse set of comedians together in Meditate With Me and I am sharing my own journey with Mindful Runs and Energy Shots, seamlessly fusing comedy with wellness.”

The slate of content will roll out in January and include:

“Meditate With Me” YouTube Series – Each episode focuses on the meditation journey of various comedians and the inner monologue or chatter that occurs when they sit down to meditate. Confirmed talent include Kevin Hart, Hasan Minaj, Amanda Seales and Deon Cole. The episodes will live on the LOL Network YouTube channel.
Daily “Energy Shots with Kevin” featured in Headspace’s The Wake Up – Headspace’s daily Wake Up content is designed to help members start their day on a mindful note by prompting users to take healthier actions, focusing on five key elements of living a mindful life: meditation, sleeping, moving, eating and playing. “Energy Shots with Kevin” will feature daily motivational episodes, which will be accessible to Headspace Plus subscribers.
“Mindful Runs” with Kevin Hart – A part of Headspace’s Move mode, created to help members strengthen both their mind and their body while making running fun, Kevin will guide and motivate members in this mind-body fitness experience for Headspace Plus members. Mindful running is about being mentally connected to your physical movement through intention, breathing, form and recovery.
“Headspace and Kevin Hart share a passion for bringing joy to people around the world. So, our partnership with LOL Studios is an organic opportunity to merge the worlds of comedy and mindfulness together to make our planet a healthier and happier place,” stated Sam Rogoway, Chief Content and Product Officer at Headspace. “We are excited to break new ground with Kevin and LOL by introducing mindfulness concepts through inspirational comedy.”

“Our work with Headspace showcases our collaborative approach to production and partnership with world-class brands,” said Candice Wilson Cherry, Head of Development and Production at Laugh Out Loud. “We are bringing new and exciting content, IP and projects to market that ignite conversation and spotlight voices who are representative of Comedy In Color. With Headspace we’ve brought together our brands perfectly, mixing Comedy In Color with wellness and premium content.”

Photo Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

Movies Coming Out this Week – December 1st

Trail of Ashes – Fantasy, Mystery
When the empress’s daughter Lina disappears, the Crow Tribe, still rebelling against the empire, plans a mission to find her first, in an attempt to have leverage over their enemy. Silas, raised by the Crow Tribe, is tasked with intercepting a “quill” (or justice-seeker) sent to investigate the prime suspect in the case: an inquisitor, one of the empress’s elite. Silas, now posing as the quill Ranieri, is conflicted when he learns the inquisitor he is to interview is actually his long lost brother, Marco, who was raised by the empire after both brothers were orphaned due to a tragic and mysterious incident. As the investigation deepens, Silas realizes that nothing is what it seems. The case will unlock secrets that will blur the reality of everyone involved.
Arturo Lizardi, Héctor Escudero, Cecilia Arguelles, Jasmin Sanabria, Migdalia Rosario, Carlos Miranda

Angela’s Christmas Wish – Family, Holiday
Angela’s Christmas Wish is a heart-warming tale of a determined little girl who sets out to reunite her family in time for Christmas. Based on the characters from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt, it is a tender and funny story about the importance of family and togetherness.
Damien O’Connor, Frank McCourt, Lucy O’Connell

Stand! – PG – Musical
1919. Stefan and his father Mike fled Ukraine for the New World, where they struggle to earn enough to re-unite the family. Stefan is instantly smitten with the Jewish suffragette neighbor, Rebecca – but Rebecca’s brother Moishe and Mike oppose the would-be Romeo and Juliet. Returned soldiers, angry at the lack of jobs after the war, violently threaten the city’s immigrants, including Emma, the refugee from racist violence in Oklahoma. When a movement develops for workers to leave their jobs in protest, AJ Anderson, a wealthy lawyer, pits all against each other in a dramatic and inspirational final stand.
Robert Adetuyi, Danny Schur, Rick Chafe, Laura Slade Wiggins, Gregg Henry, Lisa Bell, Gabriel Daniels, Marshall Williams

Photo Credit: Dusan Petkovic / Shutterstock.com

Pete Davidson and Maude Apatow Join the Virtual Table Read Benefit for “It’s A Wonderful Life”

Pete Davidson, featured star of Saturday Night Live, The King of Staten Island and The Dirt, and Maude Apatow, actress in Euphoria, Hollywood and The King of Staten Island, join Ed Asner and a star-studded team of actors – including Mia Farrow, Ellie Kemper, Carol Kane, Ed Begley Jr., Diedrich Bader, Bill Pullman, Richard Kind, B.D. Wong, and Michael Shannon – for a one-night-only live virtual celebrity table read of the 1946 holiday classic “It’s A Wonderful Life” on Sunday, December 13, 2020, 5:00 PM (PT), 7:00 PM (CT) and 8:00 PM (ET). Proceeds of this special holiday event will benefit The Ed Asner Family Center, dedicated to promoting mental health and enrichment programs to special needs children and their families. Tickets available at: edasnerfamilycenter.org.

“We are so thrilled to have Pete reenact the role of George in “It’s a Wonderful Life” with his talented wit and clever vocalizations. And we look forward to having Maude join the cast as Violet with her creative flair. Please join us for this once in a lifetime opportunity to snuggle up on your couch and experience this all-star cast virtual table read from the comfort of your own home, while helping to raise money for The Ed Asner Family Center. It will be a very meaningful night!” said Matthew Asner, Co-Founder/President/CEO of The Ed Asner Family Center.

The re-imagined virtual annual gala will also honor Jeffrey Frost, President of Sony Pictures Television. Emmy®-winning producer Norman Lear will present the accolade to Frost, a champion of an inclusive Hollywood and ardent supporter of individuals with special needs. Hosted by Tom Bergeron, the table read will be directed by Victor Nelli.

The “It’s a Wonderful Life” Gala tickets to the table read and/or special commemorative gift boxes with holiday surprises are perfect presents for friends and family, given in the holiday spirit. Guests will also enjoy a unique silent auction providing additional holiday gift opportunities including commemorative film items, gift baskets, trips, sports opportunities and presents for loved ones.

The Ed Asner Family Center was created and founded by Matthew Asner and Navah Paskowitz-Asner. Longtime advocates for those with special needs and on the autism spectrum, the Asners personally understand the challenges that differently “abled” families face, and have transformed the healing power of a creative, loving environment into the new The Ed Asner Family Center. All proceeds will benefit the center’s programs including virtual and in-person camps, arts, and vocational enrichments for special needs individuals and their families, as well as in-person and telehealth counseling and support groups.

Photo Credit: DFree / Shutterstock.com

Comedy is Giving Back

Comedy Gives Back, the nonprofit organization that supports struggling comedians navigating the lockdown of most live entertainment venues, today announced the rerelease of song and video titled “Christmas Magic” its celebrity studded 2020 fundraising holiday endeavor to kick off their giving season.

Being on-stage alone is the job; feeling alone offstage is unacceptable. Through the pandemic and the holidays isolation and loneliness could crush the spirit of the most determined up-and-coming comedian. It is well documented to lead to far higher rates of depression, anxiety, alcohol and substance abuse. This is unacceptable and Comedy Gives Back (“CGB”) is changing that.

CGB benefits stand-up comedians in times of need ranging from emergency financial relief grants, to access to mental health services or substance abuse treatment. A new partnership with Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services (didihirsch.org) will further enable CGB to provide free mental health services to comedians in need. “Comedy Gives Back is a great organization and we are proud to partner with them to provide free therapy and support groups to comedians who are struggling with depression, anxiety, substance use and suicide. Our partnership is a great example of how together, we can save lives!” said COO, Lyn Morris, LMFT.

This year’s CGB holiday song and video fundraiser follows its hugely successful “Comedy Gives Back Laugh Aid” fundraising event last April in which 90 comics, including many of the biggest names in the business, performed remotely in an eight-hour live stream raising over $500,000 and funding more than 650 grants to comedians who lost all of their income during this pandemic. It is time to refill the coffers for round two of lock down, and to continue to ensure the comedy community has a roof over their head, food in their belly and community to keep connected and sane.

To help achieve its holiday fundraising goals, CGB has enlisted a group of 60 of Hollywood’s most notable names in comedy along with Universal Music Group and 800 Pound Gorilla Records to rerelease and distribute its song and music video, “Christmas Magic.”

The funny, irreverent song and video “Christmas Magic” is set for digital release on November 24 for $1.29 via all the major platforms including iTunes and Amazon, and will be played on Spotify, Pandora, Sirius XM, and radio stations. All proceeds from the song will go directly to CGB in support of comedians that need their holiday pandemic services.

“Christmas Magic” is composed by Avery Pearson and Jordan Baum. An accompanying music video co-directed by Laura Murphy and Avery Pearson will also be rereleased on November 24, along with the song It will be available on the Comedy Gives Back website, YouTube, Facebook and at https://800PGR.lnk.to/christmas2020EM

Photo Credit: Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com

The Croods: A New Age Announces Partnership With Feeding America

In advance of the Thanksgiving weekend theatrical release of the new DreamWorks Animation comedy The Croods: A New Age (out Wednesday, November 25), Universal Pictures has partnered with the nonprofit organization Feeding America® for a groundbreaking three-tiered campaign to help provide one million meals** for families in need this holiday season.

First, Universal will launch the #CroodsCare Social Initiative on Twitter. The Croods are all about being good neighbors, so fans can send a tweet using #CroodsCare, tagging their neighbors or loved ones. For every tweet, Universal will make a donation to Feeding America. Every tweet using #CroodsCare between November 23 and December 31, 2020, will go towards providing up to 500,000 meals for families in need.

Second, Universal will launch a new The More You Know public-service announcement featuring the Croods and encouraging fans to donate directly to Feeding America. Fans can donate directly to Feeding America on the “Croods Care” landing page on the Feeding America website. For every donation fans make, Universal will make a matching donation up to $40,000 as part of the studio’s larger donation of $100,000 to the organization.

Third, Universal will launch a “Virtual Fruit Drive” on Nintendo’s blockbuster online video game platform, Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Fans playing the game can donate a virtual piece of fruit to “Croods Cove” island, which allows players to explore the universe of The Croods: A New Age. (To access the island, players can use Dream Code: DA-1282-8266-2121.) Every virtual piece of fruit donated to the island between Nov. 23 and Dec 31 will translate into real meals that Universal will donate to a family, up to 100,000 meals.

“We’re delighted to join forces with Universal Pictures and The Croods: A New Age to help alleviate hunger for so many families who are in need across our country this winter,” said Lauren Biedron, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships at Feeding America. “In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread unemployment, we estimate that more than 50 million people in America may not have enough to eat this holiday season. We’re grateful to Universal, DreamWorks Animation, and the tens of millions of Croods fans out there for helping us help our neighbors in need.”

For Universal and DreamWorks Animation, the partnership between The Croods: A New Age and Feeding America felt like a perfect fit. “The Croods: A New Age is a film that celebrates the strength, power and importance of family, and it reminds us that the word ‘family’ extends far beyond the people we are related to,” said Margie Cohn, President, DreamWorks Animation. “We are all part of a national family, a human family, and we need to look out for each other. We are happy to be able to join forces with Feeding America to help provide some security and comfort for the most vulnerable members of our American family this holiday season.”

**A $1 donation helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local member food banks.

Photo Credit: Sara Carpenter / Shutterstock.com

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