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As the status surrounding Coronavirus changes by the day and restrictions gradually lift in cities, states, and countries worldwide, Oscar-winning actor and philanthropist Sean Penn continues his crusade in saving lives with free COVID-19 testing via his new PSA Guardians 

Released by Penn’s nonprofit CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort), the emergency relief organization he co-founded with Ann Lee, CORE praises Los Angeles’ guardian angels in the short film - namely those putting their lives at risk and helping those in need everyday of the pandemic. The 90 second piece pays homage to those on the ground administering COVID-19 tests as well as all the many other frontline volunteers, the City of Los Angeles, and the L.A. Fire Department (LAFD) tirelessly working to protect and save lives. With increasingly more parts of the nation beginning to resume business activities and operations, Penn reiterates that testing is now more critical than ever to help keep people safe.  Underserved populations are a significant part of the workforce, and they will have greater potential exposure to carriers of COVID-19.

core – CORE Guardians

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Produced by SAVAGE Content Ltd. and Untethered Content, the film was created by award-winning creatives, Oliver Frank, director Samuel Bayer, and editor/director Mischa Meyer at Spot Welders. It features an emotionally touching script narrated by Edward James Olmos set to poignant music composed by Matthias Biermann & Sebastian Pille.  

As the film moves from image to image of an almost-desolate Los Angeles where only essential workers and CORE volunteers remain on the streets, Olmos’ voiceover reads, “Angels come in many ways. You might not recognize their faces, don’t know who they are. From downtown to LAX, from South Central to PCH, watching over us. Protecting us. Let them know that we see them.” 

Asked on what his vision was for the PSA, director Samuel Bayer explains, “I witnessed firsthand the brave and selfless work of CORE and its volunteers and thought perhaps by documenting the anguish that Los Angeles feels right now and the hope that I saw at those testing facilities, maybe a film could touch people and help give back to CORE.  I wanted to create something real and honest. A snapshot, a small piece of the story. It sure isn’t about me, there’s nothing heroic in making a film about this pandemic. I saw real heroes. That’s the story I tried to tell.”

A frequent collaborator of Bayer's, editor & creator Mischa Meyer shares, “Seeing these first responders and volunteers at test sites all over the city, and how dedicated they all were helping, is what ultimately inspired the entire concept of this piece. From young college students, to doctors and experienced firefighters, we saw real angels at work and that’s what we wanted to talk about and show how we can all support them at these demanding jobs that keep us safe."

CORE co-founder Sean Penn says, “Sam Bayer so beautifully captures our most essential message. Testing is more vital than ever as we work to safely reopen. The hope to disarm this beast is volunteerism. I am a full tilt believer in a policy of mandatory service, but when I see CORE’s volunteers serving…that one makes me weep.”

CORE is working on the frontlines managing and staffing free testing sites, relieving firefighters to do their more skilled work within their communities. The organization has been operating free COVID-19 testing sites in Los Angeles in partnership with Mayor Garcetti and LAFD since March 30, and is currently managing 12 sites across California, with seven in the Los Angeles area. Having administered more than 80,000 tests, CORE has activated a team of 120 staff and over 300 volunteers.  The NGO plans on additional sites opening around the country.

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