Cartoon Network Presents World Television Premiere of "CONTEST"
Film Anchors Network's Fall Campaign Supporting Award-Winning
Stop Bullying: Speak Up Initiative
Feature-Length Live-Action Movie to Premiere Sunday, Oct. 6, 6 p.m. (ET/PT);
Online Live Q&A with Author/Family Expert Rosalind Wiseman to Follow at 8 p.m.
Cast Features Rising Young TV & Film Stars Kenton Duty, Daniel Flaherty, Katherine McNamara;
Original Soundtrack Songs Also Performed by Key Cast Members
In recognition of National Bullying Prevention Month (October) and its ongoing commitment to bullying prevention through Stop Bullying: Speak Up, Cartoon Network will present the world television premiere of CONTEST, a new, feature-length live-action movie drama, on Sunday, Oct. 6, at 6 p.m. (ET/PT). Featuring a cast of rising young actors from popular television series and movies, CONTEST (rated TV-PG-LV) explores themes of trust, forgiveness, loyalty and redemption presented in a story about a bully who learns to appreciate and understand others not like himself, and a victim who accepts that true friendship can result from unlikely circumstances. The television premiere event will be followed immediately with a live online Q&A at StopBullyingSpeakUp.com with author and family expert Rosalind Wiseman (Masterminds & Wingmen, Queen Bees & Wannabes) to discuss issues presented within the film, and recommendations on how kids, parents and educators can most effectively address bullying in their own schools & neighborhoods.
"CONTEST is our latest effort to help inspire more open discussion between kids, parents and educators about the issue of bullying," said Stuart Snyder, president and COO of Cartoon Network. "Along with our other on-going efforts and partnerships, this movie is a new, entertaining approach for us to continue spreading the message that bullying can be addressed effectively when someone has the courage to speak up."
CONTEST is set in a small town high school where athletes are revered and the swim team rules. Within this arena, Matt (Kenton Duty) is a major bully. Tommy (Daniel Flaherty) is his favorite victim. School administrators warn Matt that if he and his friends don't stop bullying, he will be expelled, destroying his chances for a swimming scholarship. In an effort to salvage his scholarship opportunity, Matt pretends to become Tommy's friend by joining him in a television cooking contest for teens. Somewhere along the way, though, Matt suddenly begins to wonder if he's just acting the part or if he is really enjoying Tommy's company and becoming his friend. As the contest unfolds and stakes grow higher, old emotions resurface, loyalties are challenged and the line between friend and foe is blurred.
"CONTEST is the story of Tommy, who just wants to avoid trouble, and Matt who discovers that being a bully isn't being true to himself," added Alice Cahn, Cartoon Network vice president of social responsibility. "It's also a story of courage - that speaking up is what you do when faced with bullying, and there are friends, expected and unexpected, who stand by you, ready to help. That's also what our Stop Bullying Speak Up campaign is all about, and we're delighted to have CONTEST join us in this mission."
Kenton Duty (Shake It Up!, Lost), Katherine McNamara (upcoming Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn, Madison High, New Year's Eve) and Dan Flaherty (The Americans, Nurse Jackie) lead the cast, which also includes Kyle Dean Massey (Hart of Dixie, Sex In The City 2), Mary Beth Peil (The Good Wife, Dawson's Creek), Chris Riggi (Gossip Girl, Vampire's Suck), Owen Teague (Malibu Country), and Raviv Ullman (Phil of the Future). The film also showcases YouTube sensation Jan "Johnny" Uczkowski. Robert Wuhl (Arli$$, Bull Durham), Tina Benko (The Avengers, Brotherhood) and Kelley Missal (One Life to Live) round out the ensemble cast.
From Percolate Productions, a New Jersey-based independent production company whose emphasis is family-friendly films with socially conscious themes, CONTEST is written and directed by newcomer Anthony Giunta, and is produced by Howard T. Alter and Stephen N. Lerner. Martin Katz is co-producer and Nick Andrus is line producer. Giacomo Belletti is the director of photography, with casting by Michael Cassara. Original music for the CONTEST soundtrack, including 12 original songs, is written by Robert J. Cornejo. CONTEST also was recently announced to headline this year's Children's FilmFest at the 36th Annual Mill Valley Film Festival presented by the California Film Institute.
Immediately following the 6-8 p.m. television premiere of CONTEST, Cartoon Network will offer a live online Q&A at www.StopBullyingSpeakUp.com with author and family expert Rosalind Wiseman. Wiseman, one of the original advisors to the Stop Bullying: Speak Up campaign, will answer questions posed from viewers related to bullying themes presented in CONTEST. Author of the brand new Random House book Masterminds & Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World, Wiseman is well-suited to discuss how parents, educators and coaches can reach out to help boys overcome their most common yet difficult challenges - many of these challenges are depicted within CONTEST. The online chat will remain on the StopBullyingSpeakUp.com website for 30 days, as CONTEST will be scheduled for at least two additional encore airings in October.
Cartoon Network (CartoonNetwork.com) is consistently the #1 U.S. television network among boys 6-11. Currently seen in 99 million U.S. homes and 194 countries around the world, Cartoon Network is Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.'s ad-supported cable service now available in HD offering the best in original, acquired and classic entertainment for kids and families. In addition to Emmy-winning original programming and industry-leading digital apps and online games, Cartoon Network embraces key social issues affecting families with solution-oriented initiatives such as Stop Bullying: Speak Up and the Move It Movement.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.