Friday, October 22, 2010

News Release for Rising Stars

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rising Stars
Inspirational film shines a new light on the high-profile world of musical talent contests

By Dan Wooding
Exclusive for ASSIST News Service
NEW YORK CITY, NY (ANS) -- In our modern, fame-obsessed voyeuristic culture, high-profile “talent contests” have spawned big television ratings and several new franchise industries. But at what price to those contestants involved?

An advert for the new movie
“One of the afflictions of our current society is the pressure to perform placed on children. This can rob them of their childhood, resulting in them growing into dysfunctional adults,” states Daniel Millican, the writer/director of a new film, “Rising Stars” which releases this month in theatres and deals with the issue of a high-pressure, high-profile television talent contest. “I wanted to tell a story that could combat the competitive pressures placed on adolescents and post-adolescents. I wanted to tell a story where they teamed up to create, not set apart to destroy each other. My goal when I sat down to conceive this story was to create a movie that would entertain and at the same time give a positive message - God created you to be the person you were meant to be, to fulfill his dream for you, not the image of what the world says you should be.”

Writer/Director Daniel Millican
Billed as “a family musical with heart”, "Rising Stars" explores the sacrifices that come with fame in reality television-obsessed culture. Challenged with creating songs and music videos, three musical acts find more than their futures on the line when the competition gets fierce and their lives are caught on tape broadcast to the nation. Egos clash and worlds collide as these teens find how far they will go to win the coveted prize and achieve stardom. To give “Rising Stars” an entertaining edge and the feel of a real talent competition, Millican recruited some of the hottest young performers today, from the stage, screen and music worlds. They include Graham Patrick Martin (The Girl Next Door, Two and a Half Men, The Bill Engvall Show, iCarly, Jonas), Kyle Riabko (90210, Limelight, The National Tour of Spring Awakening, The Broadway Production of Hair), Leon Thomas III (August Rush, Victorious, iCarly) and Jessie Payo, a former member of pop duo Jupiter Rising whose music has been featured on MTV’s The Hills and The City. Jessie's hit song with Jupiter Rising; “Electropop” was one of the popular songs ever on MySpace, receiving over four million plays.
They are joined by veteran actors, Fisher Stevens (The Flamingo Kid, Short Circuit, Hackers, Awake), Barry Corbin (WarGames, Urban Cowboy, No Country For Old Men) and Catherine Mary Stewart (Weekend at Bernie’s, The Girl Next Door) and a dramatic performance by Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum-selling Contemporary Christian recording artist, Rebecca St. James.

A scene from the film, Rising Stars
©2010 Screen Media Films
A recent study by Penn State University showed that the effects of high-stake public competitions can often have lasting debilitating effects on young people.... in particular, those individuals who give their best efforts after years of practice and performing...but still do not win the coveted ‘prize’. High-profile “talent contest” programming, have become in the end, glorified popularity contests. The participants are expected to rise to an unrealistic goal that causes them to pursue a tentative ideal and not the overall betterment of themselves. In most cases, the research shows, this high-stress competition most-often leaves young people with a lower self-worth of themselves than they had before the competition. In a competitive society, it is easy to assume that competition will build a strong sense of self. Noted behavioral researchers, David and Roger Johnson concluded in an extensive study on the effects of competition on young adults and children, that cooperative learning/teamwork situations, compared with competitive and individualistic situations, promote higher levels of self- esteem and healthier processes for deriving conclusions about one’s self-worth.
They indicate that “cooperativeness” is related to emotional maturity, well-adjusted social relations, a strong personal identity, and a basic trust in and optimism about other people. That is the message of “Rising Stars”.
Director, Daniel Millican is no stranger to exploring complex ethical and moral themes in his films. Following a successful career in commercials and music videos, Millican made the leap to features in 2000. With his first film, the critically-acclaimed, The Keyman: Finding Redemption, Millican explored the issues of regret and abandonment on and the destructive power of unforgiveness. Next came A Promise Kept, a look at the compromises often found in today’s cutthroat corporate environment and The Imposter, a modern day interpretation of the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
“Romans 12 says, “‘And let not your behavior be like that of this world, but be changed and made new in mind, so that by experience you may have knowledge of the good and pleasing and complete purpose of God’” asserts, Millican. I wanted to make a film that shows the joy and the possibilities of being the person you were created to be”.
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Dan Wooding, 69, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 46 years. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He was, for ten years, a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC., and now hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on KWVE in Southern California and which is also carried on the Calvary Radio Network throughout the United States. The program is also aired in Great Britain on Calvary Chapel Radio UK. Wooding is also a regular contributor to The Weekend Stand on the Crawford Broadcasting Network, and a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 192 countries. He is the author of some 44 books. Two of the latest include his autobiography, “From Tabloid to Truth”, which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, press this link. Wooding, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, has also recently released his first novel “Red Dagger” which is available here

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