Andrew Cole in a scene from #NoJoke
Andrew Cole in a scene from #NoJoke

Bullying Is #NoJoke For Andrew Cole

Canadian film production company Lofty Sky Entertainment has just released the trailer for its newest film, #NoJoke.

#NoJoke is a documentary that follows Toronto singer/songwriter Andrew Cole as he sets out to convince his musical idols to help him record a song in support of victims of bullying. Along the way, he’s joined by the likes of Jeff Goldblum, Slash, Patrick Stewart, Lemmy, Chad Smith, Jane Lynch and more, all sharing their talents and their sometimes painful experiences with bullying.

A press release explains that "Andrew’s journey to understand bullying leads him to experts and the ghosts of his past—going beyond the tropes of today’s anti-bullying campaigns to the heart of a complex and emotional issue."

Cole reportedly first began working on the project in 2012, before attracting some heavy hitters in the world of film to it. #NoJoke is written and directed by multiple Gemini Award recipient and Hot Docs winner Manfred Becker and is executive produced by Adam Leipzig, former president of National Geographic Films and SVP at Walt Disney Studios.

Leipzig has been behind such films as March of the Penguins, The Way Back, Titus, and A Plastic Ocean. The film is produced by Peabody Award winner and three-time Canadian Screen Award nominee Jason Loftus, CEO of Lofty Sky Entertainment.

The just-released trailer includes footage with several of the artists and actors who shared their time, talent and their stories of bullying. Among them are Jeff Goldblum, (Sir) Patrick Stewart, Slash, Steve Vai, Meat Loaf, Chad Smith, Julian Lennon, Cedric the Entertainer, Jane Lynch, Lights, and Ozzy Osbourne.

The film's title track was co-written by Andrew Cole and Alan Frew and Michael Hanson of Glass Tiger. The version to appear in the film includes one of the last recorded vocals from the late Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead.

“We have great respect for the artists who contributed to making this possible,” says Jason Loftus in a press release. “Frankly, at the outset, no one knew who Andrew was, and there was no reason for them to do so. We’re thankful that so many of them cared. Some were affected by bullying–as victims or as bullies themselves–and wanted people to know they’re not alone."

“We also believe this film adds something important to the discussion about bullying. Bullying hurts, but what can we do about it? This film shows that there are different perspectives and views on what to do and whether it’s working. And at times it challenges our conventional ideas–including how we draw the line between victim and perpetrator. We think it’s an ideal time for this conversation, and we thank the experts who participated in this project. We hope it will spark both personal reflections about how we treat each other, and discussion about how we best approach this issue together.”

The launch of the trailer was backed by close to 350 supporters, nonprofits and influencers with a social reach over 3 million people in a successful campaign on Thunderclap. A release date for the film has not yet been announced. Proceeds from the film will support charities providing services to those affected by bullying and abuse.

Andrew Cole released his first album, Why We Wonder, independently in 2010. Guests on the record included Tom Cochrane and Kathleen Edwards. Cochrane appeared alongside Kenny Greer, Alex Lifeson and Kenny Aronoff on Cole's 2012 EP, Voices. In 2014, Cole was featured on Glenn Morrison's single "Colourblind," a Canadian radio hit.

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