Hollywood Heart's 50th Film Premier Review: You gotta have Heart

Hollywood HEART (Hope/Education/Art/Recreation/Teamwork) is a non-profit organization founded in 1995 by David Gale (Vice President of MTV New Media and Specialty Films Division), which positively impacts the lives of thousands of children and adolescents through its unique programs.  Originally created to give at risk children the opportunity to make their own films, Hollywood HEART has partnered with many organizations to create an international program, allowing any deserving child to experience the magic of filmmaking.

Hollywood HEART’s programs include: Camp Pacific Heartland, a camping program for children affected by HIV/AIDS, Camp Hollywood HEART, an innovative arts-based camp session for 14 to 18 year old youth who have graduated from Camp Pacific Heartland and The Movie Team, an interactive program that gives at-risk children the experience of making their very own movie.

Hollywood HEART’s unique programs in Southern California and Nevada have now officially launched in Cape Town, South Africa.  Hollywood HEART volunteers are working with the Cape Town Film Commission to address the overwhelming needs of HIV/AIDS impacted children.  The Movie Team utilizes the film industry background of its founders, board members and volunteers to give children the opportunity to write, direct, produce and star in their very own short films. Many celebrities have donated their time to the organization including Charlize Theron, John Gatins, and David Arquette

Fifty movies have been produced utilizing the talents of these children. Tonight at Universal Studios, Hollywood HEART Movie Team Premiers its 50th film, and “Flippin’ with the Stars” created by children from LA Housing. Also debuting with “Flippin” is a new PSA for the organization narrated by David Arquette.

“Flippin’ with the Stars” (Total running time: 15 minutes) is a parody of a reality television program, with celebrity look-a-like appearances by Usher, Martha Stewart, and Simon Cowell. The plot revolves around competing gymnast couples, vying for a spot on a hot TV show. One determined contestant takes their competitive spirit too far, leaving one competitor dead and another seriously injured. Also, The Movie Team recruited a professional canine actor to play the role of Estrella, the leading gymnast, who happens to be a dog.

The film is touching, humorous and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a bunch of kids having a great time making their own movie with their friends. Everyone is a star in these productions, whether they are in front of the camera or not. It is uplifting to see these kids creating their own films which help them form new friendships, increase self-confidence and helps them to understand the concept of teamwork.

Following the screening, we were treated to a rooftop reception overlooking Universal City. I had the pleasure of speaking with HH Executive Director Lisa Cavanaugh and Ray Costa about the importance of these programs for the children. Ray's company, Costa Communications is the publicity firm for Hollywood HEART one of the many industry professionals lending their time and talent toward Hollywood HEART's success. They set a shining example for us all to give back and help support these types of programs.

If you would like to get involved, or simply make a donation to help support these non-profit organizations (donations are tax deductible), please contact them directly through their websites below.

For more information on Hollywood HEART visit www.hollywoodheart.org

For more information on LA Family Housing visit http://www.lafh.org

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