LOS ANGELES, April 26, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c)(3) organization, and Warner Bros. Entertainment announced the release of four anti-smoking public service announcements (PSAs) produced by young filmmakers. The PSAs are designed to encourage teenagers to abstain from using tobacco products and to educate audiences about the risks and health impacts of smoking. Two of the four PSAs were created by youth filmmaking teams in partnership with Ghetto Film School, a non-profit founded to educate, develop, and celebrate the next generation of great storytellers, and their full-service boutique production company, Digital Bodega, which is run by alumni of the program. The other two PSAs were created by filmmaker, producer, and actress Anna Akana, who through her digital influencer status will help engage youth between the ages of 13 and 17.
The notion of peer-to-peer communication was central in the development of the PSAs. With this fresh approach targeted at the core youth age group, young talent set out to pitch, write, and produce the PSAs. "Cats Can't Deal" and "Time Travel" were written and developed by Akana, who has 1.4 million YouTube subscribers and reaches millions of viewers with her weekly YouTube show. "Life," featuring popular 19-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter Alessia Cara's song Seventeen, and "No Smoke Squad" were written and developed by youth from Ghetto Film School's Digital Bodega. Beyond delivering anti-smoking messages, these PSAs also further the growth of young filmmakers by fostering creative development and distributing their work to new audiences.
"We are reaching audiences in a new way – this is not your average anti-smoking PSA and I'm excited to get this message across using comedy," said Akana.
"Working with Warner Bros. and EIF to develop anti-smoking PSAs has truly been a great opportunity for our team," said Iasmel Vasquez, Executive Producer at Digital Bodega and an alumnus of Ghetto Film School. "From the initial pitch process to post-production, this has been an experience we're all extremely proud of, and we can't wait for the final product to reach viewers."
The PSAs will be distributed on DVDs from Warner Bros. and other major studios before youth-rated films that depict smoking. They will also be distributed on national and regional TV networks and stations, on out-of-home outlets, and through digital channels – reaching millions of target-demographic viewers annually – beginning this year.
View the PSAs:
"Time Travel" (Anna Akana) to be released Tuesday, May 3
Facts About Youth Smoking:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov), the Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service, and the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) provide information on the prevalence of tobacco use by youth and the health effects associated with using tobacco as an adolescent. Nearly everyone who uses tobacco in the U.S. started during their adolescent years, and nearly nine out of 10 cigarette smokers tried smoking before the age of 18. Every day in the United States, more than 3,800 young people between the ages of 12 to 17 smoke their first cigarette, and an additional 2,100 young adults become daily cigarette smokers. Nearly half of those who continue to smoke will die earlier than their non-smoking peers. If young people refrain from tobacco use until they are 18 years old, most will never start smoking. Youths are sensitive to nicotine and can feel dependent on it earlier than adults do. Consequently, the younger a person is when they start using tobacco, the more likely they are to use it as an adult because people who start regularly using tobacco when they are younger are more likely to have trouble quitting than people who start later in life. Teens who smoke are not only short of breath today, but they may end up as adults with lungs that will never grow to full capacity. Such damage is permanent and increases the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – and among youth who persist in smoking, a third will die prematurely. If smoking continues at the current rate among youth in this country, 5.6 million of today's Americans below the age of 18 will die early from a smoking-related illness. That's about one of every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger alive today.
About Entertainment Industry Foundation:
As one of the entertainment community's leading charitable organizations for more than 70 years, the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars to support initiatives addressing critical health, education and social issues. Visit eifoundation.org
About Warner Bros. Entertainment:
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. is a global leader in all forms of entertainment and its related businesses across all current and emerging media and platforms. A Time Warner Company, the fully integrated, broad-based Studio is home to one of the most successful collections of brands in the world and stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry from feature film, television and home entertainment production and worldwide distribution to DVD and Blu-ray, digital distribution, animation, comic books, video games, product and brand licensing, and broadcasting. Warner Bros. is one of the most creative, flexible, innovative, diverse and global entertainment companies in business today and one that knows how to seize opportunities—particularly for growth through new and emerging technologies while maintaining a leadership position in each area of its established businesses. Visit wbcitizenship.com
About Ghetto Film School:
Ghetto Film School (GFS) was founded to educate, develop and celebrate the next generation of great American storytellers. Based in the South Bronx, New York, and MacArthur Park, Los Angeles, Ghetto Film School's 1,000 individuals are annually engaged in the organization's programming, always free of charge. In 2009, GFS led a partnership with the NYC Department of Education to open The Cinema School (TCS) in the Bronx, the nation's first and only film high school offering students a rigorous liberal arts curriculum grounded in creativity. The Fellows Program is an intense, 15-month, after school honors course for TCS juniors and seniors who show incredible potential or skill in different areas of filmmaking. GFS LA, started in 2014 with partners 21st Century Fox and nonprofit Heart of Los Angeles, is a 30-month rigorous immersion in cinematic storytelling for Southern California teens. Ghetto Film School also houses the alumni-run Digital Bodega, a full-service boutique production company. They demonstrate a commitment to the education-to-industry transition through The Roster, a new citywide initiative to identify and strengthen the professional networks and pathways necessary for diverse, early career talent to successfully advance within New York City's vibrant creative industries. Visit ghettofilm.org
About Anna Akana: Anna Akana is an actress, comedian and filmmaker most known for her online weekly show with 1.4 million subscribers. As an actress, you can see her in the films Ant-Man and Hello, My Name Is Doris.
SOURCE Entertainment Industry Foundation