Farrelly brothers film touches hearts and enlightens minds

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					The Ringer
        Red Carpets and Rave Reviews
        Farrelly brothers film touches hearts and enlightens minds

                                                                               “Some may think that God has
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           “Outrageous, yet surprisingly sweet.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Catholic News Service

                                                                                taken something away from them,
                                                                                but they’re brilliant. I’ve fallen
                                                                                in love with these guys.”             SPECIAL OLYMPICS HIT THE BIG SCREEN as The Ringer
                                                                                                   Johnny Knoxville   opened in theaters throughout the United States on 23 December
                                                                                                                      2005. The release of the film was preceded by a star-studded world
                                                                                                                      premiere where real-life Special Olympics athletes, who costar-
                                                                                                                      ring with Johnny Knoxville in the film, came to strut the red carpet
                                                                                                                      for the first movie premiere (maybe not the last?) of their lives.

                                                                                                                      The Premiere
                                                                                                                      Amateurs no more, Special Olympics actor-athletes had every reason for flash-
                                                                                                                      ing smiles and giddy exuberance as they took to the red carpet at the world
                                                                                                                      premiere held at the Director’s Guild of America in Los Angeles, California, USA
                                                                                                                      on 14 December 2005. Not only did athletes get a taste of superstardom; they
                                                                                                                      got to party with famous celebrities who starred in The Ringer and many others
                                                                                                                      who came out to show their support for the athletes and the film.
                                                                                                                           Attending the premiere were Special Olympics athletes featured in the film,
                                                                                                                      including Leonard Flowers, Eddie Barbanell, John Taylor, Janna Ambort and
                                                                                                                      Nicole Bradley accompanied by Olympic greats Carl Lewis, Rafer Johnson,
                                                                                                                      Scott Hamilton, Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner.
                                                                                                                           Also attending from the cast and crew were the film’s star Johnny Knoxville,
                                                                                                                      Katherine Heigl, Bill Chott, Zen Gesner, Brian Cox, Director Barry W. Blaustein,
                                                                                                                      Producers Peter and Bobby Farrelly, Producer Bradley Thomas, and Executive
                                                                                                                      Producer Timothy Shriver. Other celebrities included California First Lady Maria
                                                                                                                      Shriver, Owen Wilson, Nick Cannon, Tom Arnold, Mekhi Phifer, Haley Duff, Emma      Guests at the Los Angeles, California, premiere included (from left)
                                                                                                                      Roberts, Kate Walsh and TR Knight.                                                 Special Olympics Board Members Bart Conner and Scott Hamilton,
                                                                                                                           After the screening, the actors took the stage to answer questions and        Special Olympics International Global Messenger (Class of 2004–2006)
The Ringer stars at the 14 December 2005 premiere in Los Angeles, California                                                                                                                             Bryan Ruff, Board Vice Chair Nadia Comaneci, Board Member Carl
(USA), including (from left) Jed Rees, John Taylor, Johnny Knoxville, Edward                                          share their experiences while filming The Ringer, then joined the almost           Lewis, The Ringer cast member Leonard Flowers and Special Olympics
Barbanell, Janna Ambort, Leonard Flowers and Nicole Bradley.                                                          700 guests at a reception which featured The Kids of Widney High, a band           Washington (USA) athlete and Board Member Stacey Johnston.
Photo: Juan Ocampo/Bernstein & Associates                                                                             composed of musicians with disabilities who also were featured in The Ringer.      Photo: Juan Ocampo/Bernstein & Associates

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                                                                                                                                                             “People who normally wouldn’t approach
                                                                                     From left: Arielle Kebbel, an actress who
                                                                                     has appeared in a number of television                                   people with intellectual disabilities will
                                                                                     shows (CSI, Entourage, Gilmore Girls),
                                                                                                                                                              want to approach them. I think when you
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Sneak Previews
                                                                                     and Eddie Barbanell, The Ringer cast
                                                                                     member and Special Olympics Florida
                                                                                     (USA) athlete, enjoy a moment together
                                                                                                                                                              walk out of this movie you wish you have                                                                                In addition to the world premiere, Special Olympics Programs around
                                                                                     at the California premiere.                                              friends like these guys.”                                                                                               the country held their own premieres prior to the film’s 23 December
                                                                                                                                 The Ringer co-star                                                                                                                                   general release. The screenings ranged from town-hall style meet-
                                                                                                                                 Katherine Heigl                                                           Peter Farrelly                                                             ings and athlete forums to athlete and volunteer recruitment
                                                                                                                                 (center) and her co-                                                      Producer, The Ringer                                                       opportunities and awareness building with local middle school and
                                                                                                                                 star on television’s
                                                                                                                                 hit series Grey’s                                                                                                                                    high school students and even a bit of fundraising. Local celebrities
                                                                                                                                 Anatomy, Kate Walsh,                                                                                                                                 and The Ringer cast members and producers themselves added their
                                                                                                                                 admire Special                                                                                                                                       “star power” to many of the screenings.
                                                                                                                                 Olympics Southern
Special Olympics Texas (USA) athlete and                                                                                         California athlete                                                                                                                                      Despite a diversity of audiences and venues, there was definitely
The Ringer co-star Leonard Flowers rubs                                                                                          Tim Ward’s gold
                                                                                                                                                                                               Producers and star take a bow at
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      a common theme —people loved the movie!
shoulders with Hollywood actor Matt                                                                                              medal bling.
Dillon at the premiere.                                                                                                                                                                        the Hollywood premiere. From left:
                                                                                                                                                                                               Peter Farrelly, Johnny Knoxville,
                                                                                                                                                                                               Bobby Farrelly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Photos: Juan Ocampo/Bernstein & Associates
Around the country, Special Olympics athletes shared the spot-
light as they walked the red carpet at over 30 advance screening
events in celebration of the true stars of Special Olympics and in
anticipation of the movie release.
     The movie is about an ordinary man who attempts to “fix” a
Special Olympics competition, pretending he has an intellectual
disability. It is an extreme fabrication, at times irreverent, but one
with side-splittingly funny complications. And although the film                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In Rhode Island, The Ringer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Producer Bobby Farrelly came back
is a hilarious comedy, it has a message — one that producers Peter                                                                                                                                                                                                                    to his roots for a town-hall style
and Bobby Farrelly and Special Olympics are delighted rings loud                                                                                                                                                                                                                      meeting (pictured here with North
and clear: don’t underestimate or stereotype people with intellec-                                                                                                                             The Ringer Director Barry
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Kingstown High School students),
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      which was aired as a one-hour
tual disabilities; they are as multifaceted and flawed as everyone                                                                                                                             Blaustein (left) and writer Ricky                                                      special on Cox Cable Network.
else — in other words, normal.                                                                                                                                                                 Blitt . Blaustein auditioned 600                                                                                                  In Texas, (from left) Special
                                                                         Enjoying The Ringer                                                                                                   actors with intellectual disabilities
                                         In just a few weeks, The                                                                                                                              all over the country. There were
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Olympics athlete and The
                                                                         premiere are (from left)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ringer co-star Leonard
                                    Ringer has delivered this            Special Olympics Chairman                                                                                             150 Special Olympics athletes in                                                                                                  Flowers; David Sords, Vice
                                    message to over 4 million            Timothy Shriver, The Ringer                                                                                           small parts and supporting roles                                                                                                  President, Public Affairs,
                                                                         cast member Leonard                                                                                                   in The Ringer.
                                    moviegoers. Special Olympics                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 for Coca-Cola; Heather
                                                                         Flowers, The Ringer                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Sords; and The Ringer star
                                    Chairman Timothy Shriver and         Producer Bradley Thomas,                                                       Above: California’s First Lady Maria Shriver and four-time world champion                                                                                                Johnny Knoxville.
                                    President Bruce Pasternack           20th Century Fox Vice                                                          figure skater (1981-84) and 1984 Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton, both
                                    believe the movie presents a         Chairman Bob Harper and                                                        Special Olympics Board Members, meet up on the red carpet at the premiere.
                                                                         Fox Searchlight President                                                      Opposite: At the premiere reception, athletes gravitate to the star wattage of
                                    unique opportunity to harness        Peter Rice.                                                                    actor Owen Wilson. From left: Special Olympics Washington (USA) athlete
                                    the power of mainstream mass                                                                                        and Special Olympics Board Member Stacey Johnston, Owen Wilson, Special
                                    media and challenge stereo-                                                                                         Olympics Georgia (USA) athlete and Special Olympics International Global
                                    types and negative thinking                                                                                         Messenger Bryan Ruff, and Special Olympics Texas (USA) athlete and                                                            In Illinois, (from left) Amy
                                                                                                                                                        The Ringer co-star Leonard Flowers.                                                                                           Sickinger, Special Olympics
                                    about people with intellectual
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      training partner at Neuqua Valley
                                    disabilities. Patty Moore,                                                                                                                                                                                                                        High School and President of the
                                                                                                                                                             Pasternack and Shriver hope all moviegoers will join Special
                                    mother of a 7-year-old with                                                                                                                                                                                                                       school’s Best Buddies Club;
Comedian and actor Tom Arnold                                                                                     “On a one-to-four                     Olympics in its effort to use this film as a starting point for a thought-                                                     Special Olympics Illinois athletes
                                    intellectual disabilities who
congratulates The Ringer cast mem-                                                                                                                      ful discussion about one of the last                                                                                          Jimmy Kosic, Barbara Kozdron and
bers and Special Olympics Texas
                                    saw the movie, agrees. She                                                     scale, The Ringer gets                                                                                                                                             George Hebel; with emcee Mack at
                                                                                                                                                        remaining civil rights movements today:
(USA) athletes Janna Ambort (left)  overheard a comment from a                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Night from Kiss-FM radio.
and Nicole Bradley at the premiere. teenager exiting the theater.
                                                                                                                   three Snowflakes.”                    to fight for equality and dignity for peo-                                                                                                                                In New York, The Ringer star
                                                                                                                                                        ple with intellectual disabilities. “We                                                                                                                                  Johnny Knoxville (center)
Photo: Juan Ocampo/                 “He said he felt so guilty.                                                              Joel Siegel                                                                                                                                                                                         and fellow cast member John
Bernstein & Associates                                                                                                                                  hope that this film will encourage thou-
                                    His heart was obviously                                                                  Good Morning America                                                                                                                                                                                Taylor (back row, right), who
                                                                                                                                                        sands of new volunteers, coaches,                                                                                                                                        is a professional actor with
                                    changed for the good!
                                                                                                                                                        athletes and Unified Sports® partners                                                                                                                                    intellectual disabilities; mix it
So one changed heart at a time, our loved ones’ lives will be                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    up with young movie-goers.
                                                                                                                                                        to join the world of Special Olympics—
validated by this film. Awareness at its best,” Moore says of
                                                                                                                                                        a world full of joy and acceptance and
the film.
                                                                                                                                                        a world without bias, prejudice or
Johnny Knoxville met with Special Olympics Founder Eunice                                                                                               false preconceptions.”
Kennedy Shriver at the Rock Terrace School, in Rockville,                                                                                                    The international release of The
Maryland (USA), to speak with youth about the importance                                                                                                                                               Special Olympics President
of acceptance. Knoxville then stayed to play basketball with                                                                                            Ringer is scheduled for 25 March
                                                                                                                                                                                                       and CEO Bruce Pasternack                                                                                                  In North Carolina, Special
students with and without intellectual disabilities.                                                                                                    2006. The DVD of The Ringer will be            and his wife, Lynne, at the                                                                                               Olympics athlete Carl Hibbert,
Photo: Marc Hemsworth                                                                                                                                   released on 16 May 2006.                       premiere.                                                                                                                 Jr., takes The Ringer poster
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Photo: Juan Ocampo/
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 home for his room.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Bernstein & Associates
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