Michael Jann and Michele Jourdan of Citronella Stories announced today that their award-winning animated short Bug Therapy will have a special limited release in North America across online platforms and select theaters, at no cost, for the entire month of May, to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month.
The short, which highlights the importance of therapy and mental health and boasts a buzzworthy celebrity voice cast, will begin a wider release in June, with plans for a global release this fall. The filmmakers are currently developing a feature-length Bug Therapy movie, as well as an animated series extension.
“Right now, more people than ever are struggling with mental-health. We just wanted to make people laugh, and say ‘everyone struggles with something, and there’s no shame in asking for help’,” said Jann and Jourdan. “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!’”
Synopsis: Citronella (voiced by Meghan 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 (Sterling K. Brown) battles depression over never feeling seen, Fly (Jay Leno) is OCD and germaphobic and can’t stop washing his hands, Grasshopper (Tom Green) suffers from addiction to coffee, Praying Mantis (Emily Goglia) is narcissistic/delusional and believes she’s God, Dragonfly couple (Michael Jann and Michele Jourdan) are co-dependent, and Spider (Jason Reisig) tries to overcome his phobia of spiders.
The film is directed by Jason Reisig (Smallfoot) and written/created by Jann ( Emmy-nominated former Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon writer) and Jourdan of Citronella Stories, and animated by 88 Pictures. Randy Mills is producer, Eric Bergman co-produces, Jann and Jourdan are executive producers, along with Reisig, Mills and 88 Pictures’ Milind D. Shinde.
This special limited release of Bug Therapy across online platforms will begin on May 1, 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.
Bug Therapy is also set to screen at NAMICon 2023, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Conference which takes place in Minneapolis from May 24-27, 2023 with encore screenings online June 6-8 during the NAMICon virtual conference. Jann and Jourdan will be screening the film and sharing their personal story at the event.
NAMICon CA CEO Jessica Cruz noted, “[Bug Therapy] is literally our mission statement! To fight the stigma, and to change the conversation about mental health. This could help so many people.”
NAMICon features more than 50 sessions and a networking environment that engage, challenge and include guests in dynamic discussions and inspiring moments in the name of mental health awareness, education and advocacy.
Jann and Jourdan are represented by Mitchel Stein of The Stein Agency, Angie Lucania and Sean Dubravac of Entertainment Lab, and Lon Haber & Co | Mugsy PR. McGraw is repped by UTA. Trainor is repped by CAA. Leno is repped by ICM. Brown is repped by CAA and JWS Entertainment. Green is repped by Gersh and The Conversation Company. Goglia is repped by Firestarter Entertainment. Reisig is repped by Hummel Entertainment.