NEW YORK, March 7, 2012 - Film directors Brett Ratner and Tom Ford are partnering with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the Ad Council and Talenthouse to invite filmmakers to submit a public service advertisement (PSA) that addresses the prevalent use of anti-gay language among teens. The project (or PSAs) is an extension of GLSEN's award-winning national Think Before You Speak PSA campaign.
"I am honored to be part of this campaign for GLSEN, helping to educate audiences on the power of words and their impact," said Brett Ratner. "These PSAs are the perfect creative platform to encourage individuality and increase awareness, and I am excited to watch them."
According to GLSEN's 2009 National School Climate survey, three-quarters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students hear slurs such as "faggot" or "dyke" frequently or often at school and 9 in 10 report hearing anti-LGBT language frequently or often. Homophobic remarks such as "that's so gay" are the most commonly heard type of biased remarks at school.
"GLSEN's PSA campaign with the Ad Council continues to demonstrate its extraordinary value in changing the hearts and minds of young people all across the country about the impact of anti-LGBT language," said GLSEN's Executive Director Eliza Byard. "We are excited that young, creative artists will lend their talent, skill and enthusiasm to further heighten awareness about the need to ensure safer schools for all students."
Launched in October 2008, Think Before You Speak is the first campaign to educate teens about the prevalence and consequences of anti-LGBT behavior and previous PSAs have starred Hilary Duff and Wanda Sykes. In 2011, new TV PSAs were developed in partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) featuring Phoenix Suns' players Grant Hill and Jared Dudley.
Beginning today, filmmakers are invited to submit a PSA that reflects and encourages the theme of "Think Before You Speak" with submissions due on May 2. The PSAs will direct audiences to visit ThinkB4YouSpeak.com to learn how to get involved and take a pledge against using anti-LGBT language. Ratner and GLSEN have joined forces with digital social media platform, Talenthouse to seed the opportunity to upstart filmmakers within their creative community.
Filmmakers can learn more about the contest and enter their submission at: http://www.talenthouse.com/create-psa-glsen-brett-ratner-tom-ford
"With the launch of the GLSEN's 'Think Before You Speak' campaign and it's prominent panel of judges, Talenthouse has the opportunity to make this important topic known by creating hundreds of engagements and millions of impressions within the social web," said Talenthouse General Manager Matt Wilkinson. "The time is right to provide a solution that makes us all more aware and more responsible."
One winner will be selected by a panel of judges including GLSEN, the Ad Council, Brett Ratner, director Evan Bernard and fashion designer and filmmaker Tom Ford.
The winning director will be flown to Los Angeles to attend GLSEN's annual Respect Awards gala in October, where their PSA is set to screen and they will be presented with an award from Ratner. The winning PSA will also receive global exposure and be featured across Ratner's social media channels.
"We are thrilled to have the participation of such talented directors as Brett and Tom, in 'Think Before You Speak,'" said Priscilla Natkins, Executive Vice President and Director of Client Services at the Ad Council. "We're looking forward to seeing the creative direction that each will take in helping raise awareness about the harmful effects of using anti-gay language and creating a safer environment for all teens."
"Language and the way it is used have enormous power," said IfWeRanTheWorld Founder and CEO Cindy Gallop who serves on the Ad Council's Campaign Review Committee. "This is an opportunity to change the power of language for good, through the equally powerful medium of film, and I'm very excited about the opportunity to help judge the results."
Since 2008, the Think Before You Speak campaign has obtained high audience recognition and seen significant shifts in key attitudes and behaviors surrounding the use of anti-LGBT slurs like "that's so gay." According to an Ad Council survey of over 1,000 teens ages 13-16, 49% of teens have seen or heard at least one Think Before You Speak PSA. And, since the PSAs launched in 2008, there has been a significant increase in the percentage of respondents who reported that "people should not say 'that's so gay' at all" (28% in 2008 vs. 38% in 2011).
To date, Think Before You Speak has received significant PSA placement and media coverage, combining more than $23 million worth of media exposure for the campaign's message since its launch in 2008.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
About the Ad Council
The Ad Council (www.adcouncil.org) is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshalling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has effected, and continues to effect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives.
The cutting-edge social media technology platform, Talenthouse, launched in October 2009, utilizing social media to engage consumers and gain reach through life-changing, creative contests. In just two years, Talenthouse has developed more than 150 creative invites, integrating social media technology to aid emerging and established brands and artists gain recognition and virally grow their audiences
About Brett Ratner
Brett Ratner has established himself as one of Hollywood's most successful directors and producers whose films include the 'Rush Hour' series, 'X-Men: The Last Stand', 'Red Dragon', along with music videos for Madonna, P. Diddy and Mariah Carey. In addition to success in film and music, Brett has also segued into photography.
About Tom Ford
Tom Ford is an iconic fashion designer responsible for establishing the highly successful Tom Ford label and widely recognized for his previous creative direction at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Ford also directed, produced and co-wrote his first feature film entitled 'A Single Man'. Adapted from the Christopher Isherwood novel of the same name, the Oscar nominated film stars Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode and Nicholas Hoult. Tom Ford currently lives in Los Angeles, London and Santa Fe.
About Evan Bernard
Evan Bernard is a New York based commercial and music video director excelling at youth oriented, comedy based spots. His directorial debut was the Beastie Boys music video "Root Down" off their 1994 release "Ill Communication." Since then Evan has directed videos for artists including Robbie Williams, Moby, Green Day, Dixie Chicks and Slayer to name a few. Bernard continues to be an in demand commercial director most recently directing a Kindle campaign for Amazon and a PSA for the GLSEN and NBA's "Think Before You Speak" campaign.
About Cindy Gallop
Cindy Gallop is the former chairman of BBH New York and 2003 Advertising Woman of the Year. She is the founder of crowdsourced microaction platform IfWeRanTheWorld. Gallop currently serves on the Ad Council's Campaign Review Committee.