In November of 2006, KNBC Los Angeles ran a feature on Regenerate Films:
Brooke Nevin and Gabriel Sunday
While the organization continues to develop and produce exciting audio/visual programs in the teen driving safety arena, Regenerate has boldly begun to tackle another critical issue in the community – teen suicide. Once again, the issue was incubated amongst teenagers and noted experts to determine the best way to stop this senseless “silent killer.” Regenerate founder David Miller listened to those young people, many of whom have helped produce films for Regenerate’s traffic safety program, and decided to raise the bar considerably. Instead of a public service announcement or a short film, Miller decided to organize a feature motion picture team, raise the budget from independent sources and begin shooting a full-length feature movie with Regenerate as a key partner.
Actors Joe Mantegna (The Godfather Part III), David Carradine (Kill Bill, Kung Fu), Mariel Hemingway (Manhattan) and Saturday Night Live’s Harry Shearer and Nora Dunn have joined the cast of MY SUICIDE, which marks the theatrical feature debut of an extraordinary young man – Gabriel Sunday (Now You See It) of Petaluma, California – who at 20 is already an experienced Regenerator, actor, stand-up comic, gifted impressionist, world-class magician and filmmaker.
MY SUICIDE also stars Brooke Nevin (I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer) and co-stars Steven Anthony Lawrence (Cheaper by the Dozen), Vanessa Lengies (American Dreams), Sandy Martin (Napoleon Dynamite) and Michael Welch (Joan of Arcadia).
David Lee Miller (Breakfast of Aliens) writes and directs, with Harold Ramis (Groundhog’s Day) executive producing. Eric J. Adams (Dolores Way) co-wrote the screenplay and produces with Todd Traina (Stanley’s Gig), Larry Janss (The Rites of Pwo), Karen Dean Fritts, Steven Jay Rubin (Bleacher Bums), and Michael McDonough are also executive producers. Kimberley Browning (Smart Card) is the line producer, Alana Henry is the co-producer and Laura Corrin is casting.
Can MY SUICIDE actually save lives too? That’s the hope of writer/director Miller, who believes the film will change attitudes toward suicide and simultaneously illuminate one of this country’s silent killers.
“No one talks about teen suicide, and yet it’s one of the deadliest killers of young people every year,” says Miller, who five years ago co-founded Regenerate with his son, Jordan, after a plague of fatal traffic accidents involving teenagers devastating his community. “The kids aren’t talking about suicide, the parents are afraid to talk about it and professionals appear to be powerless. So how do you reach the teens? By empowering them to speak truthfully through this feature film.”
By following a potentially suicidal teenager, Miller takes us on a quest which will eventually allow all audiences to see what could push a modern teenager towards the ultimate form of rebellion – suicide. But he does it with a light, wicked touch.
“It’s the only way to get the point across. This is a teenage Harold and Maude,” he explains. “A dark teen romantic comedy about suicide and the healing power of love. I’ve got to pack the film with entertainment value and most importantly, humor, authenticity and drama that’s straight from the hearts of teenagers.”
The film has been endorsed by Dr. Edwin Schneidman, the world’s leading authority on suicide prevention and the father of Suicidology. Shneidman also appears as himself in documentary style scenes psychoanalyzing the movie’s fictional leading man. Schneidman says, “In all my years working in the field of suicide prevention, this is the most exciting film concept I’ve ever seen.”
Miller credits Sunday with helping get the independent production financed and moving. “Before my writing partner Eric J. Adams introduced us to Gabe,” he explains,”we really didn’t know if the concept would work. We were looking for a teenager who is a filmmaker, stand-up comic, impressionist, plus a dramatic, comic and physical actor. And the camera has to love him too. It was impossible casting until we discovered Gabriel Sunday in Petaluma. This kid has it all and everybody who meets him sees it. He’s the next Robin Williams.”
G-Technology, a leading manufacturer of professional storage solutions, has donated several 500GB G-RAID drives to Regenerate for use in the post production of upcoming Regenerate‘s Teen Suicide Prevention documentary.
These drives rock –they’re the best we’ve ever used — and Regenerate is eternally grateful. Keep up the great work G-Tech! We can’t wait to try the new G-RAID Pro.
Videos Drive Home Point to Teens With traffic accidents the leading cause of death among youths, a film company taps teenage actors and crews to promote safety.
April 17, 2005
Author: Gregory W. Griggs
The one-minute video that Miller produced in 2002 eventually evolved into Regenerate, a nonprofit film-production company that makes public service videos aimed at reducing teen deaths from vehicle accidents, suicide, alcohol and drugs.
The company — a partnership of Miller, his father, David, and partner Mark Barker — uses teenage actors and production crews for its videos, which run mostly on public access channels over cable television.
So impressed with the quality of Regenerate’s work, the Santa Ana Police Department awarded the company an $80,000 contract last year to produce a 14-minute video on the hazards of drunk driving.
“I think we’ve definitely raised awareness,” said Miller, 18, a freshman at Santa Barbara City College. “Teens need to realize that they just need to drive safely.”
Miller said his first video was inspired by the deaths of his friends, Jordan Bass and Kenneth Glass. The two 16-year-olds were killed and two other youths were injured when the Mercedes-Benz station wagon that Glass was driving spun out of control and crashed into a brick wall. Investigators determined the vehicle was traveling about 100 mph when it crashed three days after Christmas in 2001.
Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among young people nationwide. In California, 617 youths ages 15 to 19 died in crashes and 59,833 were injured in 2003, according to the most recent figures available from the California Highway Patrol.
The model for Regenerate’s mission is the American Legacy Foundation’s anti-tobacco “Truth” campaign.
“We’d like to do for teen driving safety what ‘Truth’ has done for cigarette smoking,” said David Miller, a film producer and writer. The Millers joined forces with Barker, a former neighbor, to create Regenerate, whose motto is “by youth, for youth.”
With seed money from Thousand Oaks, the original members of Regenerate produced a series of messages on teen safety that the city reproduced on video and sent to more than 450 cities in California to play on public access television. The spots have been picked up on the Oxygen network.
Using jarring rock soundtracks from local garage bands, fast cuts and stark white-on-black graphics, the public service announcements are attention-grabbers. “More teens have died in the last 10 years in car accidents … than soldiers in the Vietnam War,” one spot says.
Hoping to attract some star power, David Miller persuaded actress Mariel Hemingway to appear in Regenerate’s “To Save a Child,” an instructional video for teachers on the need to identify depression and self-destructive behavior as early as possible.
Then, the teen video-makers landed a deal with Santa Ana police to produce the short video “.08,” a reference to the blood-alcohol level of a legally drunk motorist.
Using mostly student actors from Orange County, the crew from Regenerate supervised the location filming, which included a fiery 11-vehicle crash.
The main character in the video, a teen named Danny, takes beer to a pre-spring break party, then crashes his car on the drive home. His girlfriend is killed and he ends up behind bars. The video’s surprise comes at the end when it is revealed that Danny’s blood-alcohol level was less than half the legal limit.
“I wanted a video that was going to be very MTV-ish with short segments that were powerful,” said Santa Ana Police Lt. Cmdr. Tony Levatino, who secured a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety for the project. He appears as a traffic officer in the video.
“What we thought was critical was that the film have some kind of impact and importance to our target audience, 15- to 22-year-olds. Regenerate was all about that.”
Regenerate hopes to give the teen-to-teen message greater exposure by working with the Ad Council, known for its “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” campaign. It also is talking with Los Angeles-based Farmers Insurance about developing a teen driver safety curriculum.
THQ, a Calabasas-based video-game manufacturer, has offered to approach its industry trade group about adding the teen-produced safety messages across its game platforms. THQ is sponsoring a Regenerate fundraising event at 7:30 tonight at Westlake High, featuring a performance by the comedian Gallagher.
“We’re big fans of what they’re doing,” said Peter Dille, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for THQ. “It’s hard to sit through a presentation of what they do without being touched by it.”
Regenerate is sharing profits from this weekend’s event with Westlake High and Students Against Destructive Decisions, a teen-oriented group that discourages driving while intoxicated.
LOS ANGELES – David Miller, CEO of Regenerate, is pleased to announce the appointment of Steven Jay Rubin to Executive Director of the non-profit media organization which enables teenagers to produce teen issue-oriented public service announcements, short films and multi-media events.
Miller, who co-founded the organization in 2002 to deal with a rash of teen reckless driving deaths in Los Angeles and Ventura County, will now focus on production and creative issues, including the organization’s upcoming feature film on teen suicide. Regenerate recently produced “.08,” a powerful teen anti-drunk driving film for the California Office of Traffic Safety.
Rubin will immediately focus on five major projects: “Gallagher: Back to High School,” a regional fundraiser featuring the comedy superstar, scheduled for April 17, 2005 at Westlake High School; Regenerate’s series of Defensive Driving DVDs to be produced in the same signature style that has driven the organization’s public service announcements and short films – utilizing strong MTV-style graphics and contemporary music; Regenerate’s new Montgomery County, Maryland chapter, which will respond to a number of teenage reckless driving fatalities that have plagued this bedroom community outside the nation’s capitol; Regenerate’s expansion into Greater Los Angeles, especially Hollywood and the entertainment industry where an ongoing effort will be made to tie-in with motion picture and television celebrities and behind the scenes personnel. Rubin will also be working closely with our internet engineers and designers to enable the Regenerate DVD Network, a distribution arm which will offer for sale nationally a series of youth targeted driving safety DVD packages to families, classrooms, driving schools, police departments and municipalities.
Steven Jay Rubin is a motion picture producer, author and former studio and network public relations executive. For eleven years, he was under exclusive contract to Showtime Networks Inc. In 2002, he produced the made-for-cable films Bleacher Bums (based on the award-winning stage play, which starred Brad Garrett, Peter Riegert, Wayne Knight and Charles Durning) and Silent Night (a true World War II drama that starred Linda Hamilton and which was nominated for four Canadian Emmy Awards).
Rubin began his career as a film journalist before joining United Artists in 1978 as an advance publicist on the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Some of his credits over the years in the motion picture and television PR field include Pretty in Pink, Weekend at Bernie’s 2; Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, Mom and Dad Save the World, Gladiator, Desert Bloom, Eddie and the Cruisers 2, and the cable remakes of Inherit the Wind; That Championship Season and 12 Angry Men, the latter campaign for which he was nominated for the Maxwell Weinberg Television Showmanship Award from the Publicists Guild of America.
As a film historian, Rubin is the author of seven books and was recently nominated by DVD Exclusive for his insightful running commentary on the making of the World War II adventure, “The Great Escape,” which was featured on the special feature DVD released by MGM in 2004. His fellow nominees in this category include Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King), George Lucas (The Star Wars Trilogy), Matt Groening (The Simpsons) and Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins: the 40 th Anniversary Edition).
Regenerate introduces its 2005 fundraising extravaganza which will fund teen driving safety operations in new year
Westlake Village, California – As part of its continuing efforts to implement its unique driving safety campaigns engineered by teenagers, Regenerate will present a benefit performance of super comedian Gallagher at Westlake High School in Westlake Village, California on Sunday night April 17, 2005 at 7:30 p.m. A silent auction will precede the event and a VIP invitation-only party will follow.
The evening, dubbed “Gallagher: Back to High School,” will be open to the public and will take place in the Westlake High School gymnasium. Comedian Vic Dunlop will host the event and 18 year old actor and stand-up comedian Gabriel Sunday will open for the comedy superstar. Gallagher, with his signature “Sledge-O-Matic” hammer, is known for smashing everything from fruit and baked goods to hamburgers and cottage cheese on stage, often drenching the audience with chunks of food and mush. But his show is about more than the simple destruction of perishables. The comedian is versatile and his reknown act will include plenty of social and political commentary, in addition to the splattering.
Says Gallagher, “My job is to observe society and not get involved, almost like I’m from another planet. Politicians don’t say what they really feel because they have political parties to represent. People on TV don’t say what they really feel because they are afraid of sponsors. Comedians are the only ones who say what they really feel, except for maybe Dr. Phil.”
“This is a participatory show,” Gallagher continued. “There will be people on stage throughout much of the show and based on how people react, I’ll be making a lot of things up as we go.” The exposing of irony gets plenty of laughs, but wielding that giant hammer and clobbering watermelons is what made Gallagher a celebrity, landing him 16 television specials, an E! “True Hollywood Story” and getting him named one of the top 100 standup comedians of all-time by Comedy Central.
One hundred percent of the funds raised by “Gallagher: Back to High School”will be used by Regenerate to continue its work mentoring teenagers to produce their own public service announcements and films on issues of importance to the teen community.
Says incoming Executive Director Steve Rubin, “We’re working on a number of issues including suicide, substance abuse and violence in the schools, but driving safety has become our number one mandate. We’ve discovered that the teens actually listen and watch the programming produced by their peers. It’s the only way to get through to them. We must begin to change the way teenagers drive in America today. Only the young filmmakers have a clue about reaching the young people who need to hear this crucial message.”
Potential sponsors and those interested in purchasing tickets, should contact the organization at (310) 471-8585. Or contact Executive Director Steve Rubin directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.