Announces North American Release on May 1, 2023 to Coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month

Animated, Star-Studded Short Film, BUG THERAPY, Starring Sterling K. Brown, Meghan Trainor, Jay Leno, Tom Green, Dr. Phil McGraw, Emily Goglia and Jason Reisig Releases Across Online Platforms and Select Theatres in North America on May 1, 2023 to Promote Mental Health Awareness Month.

Citronella Stories announces the North American release of BUG THERAPY, a 3-D award-winning, animated short that focuses on mental health. Sterling K. Brown, Meghan Trainor, Jay Leno, Tom Green, Dr. Phil McGraw, Emily Goglia and Jason Reisig all voice characters pushing barriers to de-stigmatize mental health.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness month Bug Therapy will be available at select theaters and on limited virtual platforms at no cost starting May 1. You can watch the film here:

Michael Jann (Emmy-nominated former Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon writer) and Michele Jourdan collaborated on the project to eliminate the stigma attached to mental health and underscore the importance of therapy.

ABC News praised the short saying, “The writers saw comedy as a way to successfully tackle serious issues while sticking to a family-friendly format’”

In Bug Therapy, Citronella (Trainor), a mosquito who faints at the sight of blood, tries to muster the courage to attend group therapy, led by Dr. Pill (Dr. Phil McGraw), to overcome her phobia. She learns that everyone faces mental health struggles – Stick Bug (Brown) battles depression over never feeling seen, Fly (Leno) is OCD and germophobic and can’t stop washing his hands, Grasshopper (Green) suffers from addiction to coffee, Praying Mantis (Goglia) is narcissistic/delusional and believes she’s God, Dragonfly couple (film writers Michael Jann and Michele Jourdan) are co-dependent, and Spider (Reisig) tries to overcome his phobia of spiders.

“This film is literally our mission statement to fight the stigma, and to change the conversation about mental health,” said Jessica Cruz, CEO NAMI CA (National Alliance on Mental Illness). “This could help so many people.”

The film, which has received stellar reviews and festival awards, was the recipient of an Epic Games MegaGrant. It is set for a wider theatrical release in June, with a global release scheduled this fall. The filmmakers are also in development creating a full length feature film, as well as, a series as part of ever expanding Bug Therapy universe.

The film is animated by 88 Pictures and directed by Jason Reisig (Smallfoot). Randy Mills is Producer and Eric Bergman Co-Produces. In addition to being co-creators, Michael Jann and Michele Jourdan of Citronella Stories are Executive Producers, along with Jason Reisig, Randy Mills, and 88 Pictures’ Milind D. Shinde.

Why An Animated Film On Mental Health?
Animated films continue to break barriers and box office records all over the globe, as evident with 2023 Academy AwardⓇ-winner for Best Animated Film, PINOCCHIO, 2022, Academy AwardⓇ-winner for Best Animated Film, ENCANTO, and INSIDE OUT, which, like BUG THERAPY, addresses mental health issues in a creative and positive way, and won the 2015 Oscar for Best Animated Film. Due to its popularity, a sequel, INSIDE OUT 2 is in production and set for release in June of 2024. The combined box office earnings of these three films alone stretch well over $1 Billion. Many of these films have taken home multiple OscarⓇ Awards, Golden GlobesⓇ, GrammyⓇ Awards and more. This is a clear demonstration of the massive popularity and global demand for meaningful, captivating elevated animated genre films like BUG THERAPY.

Michael Jann and Michele Jourdan: “Right now, more people than ever are struggling with mental-health challenges. We just wanted to make people laugh, and bring the issue to the forefront of conversation with the message, ‘everyone struggles with something, and there’s no shame in asking for help’. We’re blown away by the amazing stars who instantly jumped on board to make this film as funny and entertaining as it is. Their hilarious performances show, ‘it’s okay to not be okay!’”

How To Watch Bug Therapy for Free in May
This special limited release of BUG THERAPY across online platforms will begin on May 1st, May Day, an appropriate date as the origin of “Mayday” comes from the French phrase ‘M’aidez’, which means “Help me”, and fits with the main messages of the film. Big Therapy will also screen at the NAMI Conference which takes place in Minneapolis, MN from May 24-27, 2023 with encore screenings online June 6-8.

Jann and Jourdan will be screening the film and will share their personal story. NAMICon will engage, challenge, and include guests in dynamic discussions and inspiring moments —all in the name of mental health awareness, education and advocacy.

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