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Spielberg, Hanks and Winfrey Star in First Lady's Joining Forces PSA Campaign

Posted October 12, 2011

The following is a press release issued by
Office of the First Lady

Major TV Networks Commit to Broadcasting PSAs to Support Joining Forces

Washington, D.C. -  In response to First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces program, a national initiative to support and honor America’s service members and their families, the entertainment industry’s Inter-Guild Joining Forces Task Force today released new public service announcements (PSAs) featuring Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey. The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild of America West formed a Joining Forces Inter-Guild Task Force to provide creative and production support for Joining Forces and to inform and inspire their memberships about the service of America’s military families.

The new PSAs, which were written, directed and produced by members of the Task Force, tell real stories about America’s military families and call on all Americans to give back to ensure service members and military families have the support they have earned.  Last June, the Guilds hosted the First Lady for a special Joining Forces event in Los Angeles to discuss the stories and issues of today’s military families so that their experiences can be integrated into film, television and digital media. These PSAs are a direct outcome of the commitments that were made by the Inter-Guild Task Force to the First Lady in Los Angeles. A+E Networks, CBS, Comcast NBC, Disney ABC, FOX, and WB have agreed to support the PSA campaign. 

The PSAs feature a call to action from the First Lady to encourage Americans to get involved to support military families by visiting www.joiningforces.gov. This website’s resources were recently revamped to include thousands of additional opportunities for Americans to volunteer in their own communities. This website enhancement was supported by the Inter-Guild Joining Forces Task Force and included significant contributions from major organizations including Blue Star Families, the Points of Light Institute, All For Good, the American Red Cross, Service Nation, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Visitors can send messages of thanks, find opportunities to get involved and share stories of service.

The Inter-Guild Joining Forces Task Force is led by Academy Award-winning producer Bruce Cohen, who assembled the production teams to create the campaign.  The PSAs feature star power on camera and behind the scenes with "Invictus" producer Lori MCreary; Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer; "Army Wives" creator Katherine Fugate; "Lost" creator and executive-producer, Damon Lindelof; and director Tom Shadyac known for his work in "Ace Ventura," "Bruce Almighty"; among many others.

“The entertainment community answered the Joining Forces call and has done what they do best – bring to life stories that move us,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Through this PSA campaign, Americans will learn more about the unique challenges and needs of our military families, see their strength, resilience and service, and find out how they can give back to these extraordinary troops and families who have given us so much.”

“As a military mom I know just how much it means when people reach out to show their support for our service members and their families,” said Dr. Jill Biden. “The First Lady and I hope that this campaign will inspire more Americans to take action and reach out to military families in their own communities around the country.”

“It is a tremendous honor for the guilds to be participating in this incredibly important initiative” said producer Bruce Cohen. “The phenomenally talented members of the creative team behind these PSAs are all hoping that people across the country will be inspired to get involved.”

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden created Joining Forces to bring Americans together to recognize, honor and take action to support military families as they serve our country and throughout their lives. The initiative aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of society to ensure military families have the support they have earned. The initiative focuses on key priority areas – employment, education, and wellness while raising awareness about the service, sacrifice, and needs of military families.

Inter-Guild Joining Forces PSA Creative Teams:

All PSAs:
Producer: Lori McCreary, producer of "Invictus"
Co-Producer:  Leif Lillehaugen, producer of "War of Words"
Composer:  Hans Zimmer, composer of "The Lion King," "Madagascar," "Shark Tale," "The Prince of Egypt," "The Road to El Dorado," "Gladiator," "Pearl Harbor," "As Good as it Gets" and "Thelma & Louise."
Task Force co-chair: Wendy Smith

Steven Spielberg PSA:
Writer: Katherine Fugate, creator of the Lifetime AFTRA-covered series "Army Wives"
Producer: Marshall Persinger, executive producer of "Army Wives"
Director: Joanna Kerns, director of "Army Wives" and "Grey’s Anatomy" 

Tom Hanks PSA:
Writer: Damon Lindelof, writer, creator and executive-producer of "Lost"
Producer: Jason Taragan, associate producer of "Paul Blart: Mall Cop"
Director: Steve Carr, director of "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," "Next Friday" and "Dr. Dolittle 2"         

Oprah Winfrey PSA:
Writer & Director: Tom Shadyac, director of "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," "Liar, Liar," "Bruce Almighty," and "Evan Almighty"

To view full versions of the PSAs please visit the following links: Spielberg PSA; Hanks PSA; Winfrey PSA.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, broadcasters, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audio books, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet and other digital media. The 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters and recording artists of AFTRA are working together to protect and improve their jobs, lives and communities in the 21st century. From new art forms to new technology, AFTRA members embrace change in their work and craft to enhance American culture and society. Visit AFTRA online at www.aftra.com.

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