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4REAL is a media and technology initiative that inspires and engages people on global issues.
Season 1 of the 4REAL TV series takes celebrity guests on global adventures to highlight some of the world's most inspiring young leaders.
Celebrity guests of 4REAL Season 1 are Cameron Diaz, Mos Def, Joaquin Phoenix, Eva Mendes, Casey Affleck, K'naan, M.I.A. and Flea. 4REAL Season 1 was in released in December 2007 and has been viewed by tens of millions of people in 166 countries and 35 languages on National Geographic, MTV, Travel Channel, The CW, CTV, Link TV, Halogen, Glitz, Channel 3, and TV New Zealand.
- 4REAL Yawanawa - Joaquin Phoenix journeys into the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, where the Yawanawa, an indigenous tribe, is on the rise thanks to the leadership of Chief Tashka and Laura Yawanawa.
- 4REAL City of God - Mos Def travels to Rio's infamous City Of God where Brazil's #1 rap artist, MV Bill, shows how his program empowers favela youth through hip hop culture and educational opportunities.
- 4REAL Liberia - UK rapper/artist M.I.A. learns about the work of child rights leader Kimmie Weeks. They visit with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, fix a playground and throw a block party in Monrovia.
- 4REAL Kenya - Hip hop star K’naan travels to Kenya's Kibera, the largest slum in East Africa. There, he connects with local hero, Salim Mohamed, who runs a medical clinic and a soccer program for over 4,000 kids.
- 4REAL Aiti - In the hills of Aiti, Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers meets rural health aide, Camseuze Moise, who provides medical care and health education to thousands of people.
- 4REAL Peru - Cameron Diaz treks into the Andes mountains of Peru, where young medicine man, Puma Singona, of the Quechua tribe, is keeping his people's ancient knowledge and wisdom alive.
- 4REAL Pawnee - Casey Affleck visits the Pawnee Nation reservation in Oklahoma to meet Crystal Echo-Hawk and her Nvision crew who empower Native youth through hip hop & art.
- 4REAL Vancouver - Eva Mendes visits health advocate Liz Evans and the Portland Hotel Society in Vancouver's downtown eastside, a place rife with homelessness, addiction and mental illness.
4REAL School is a dynamic set of teaching guides and resources based on 4REAL episodes that has been used in schools worldwide and licensed for the entire Vancouver School District.
4REAL has presented live to over 50,000 students in schools and special events.
Through celebrity participation and fundraising events, 4REAL has helped raise over half a million dollars for featured causes.
Awards and accolades
Season 1 producers, Sol Guy and Josh Thome, named Emerging Explorers by National Geographic as New Media Cultural Storytellers.
4REAL Yawanawa screened at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Viewer's Choice – Best Editing, Writing and Directing, 4REAL Kenya, Eureka International Film Festival.
4REAL Guy and Thome received the 2009 Harmony Award.
The original second season of 4REAL was cut short by the 2008 global financial crisis which froze all funding for the participating broadcasters. In 2012, 4REAL founder Josh Thome began developing a new version of 4REAL designed for the digital and social media environments. A pilot episode of the new version is currently in production as of August 2014[update].
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4REAL was founded by filmmaker Josh Thome when he was invited to the Global Leadership Jam in 2000, an event that brought together 30 outstanding young leaders from around the world. Learning about these leaders' effective social initiatives and epic personal stories, the idea of 4REAL was born; take celebrities (and audiences) on adventures to meet, learn and be inspired by these young leaders while offering ways for people to connect and contribute to their initiatives.
With development funding from Heart and Joaquin Phoenix along with technology leader Rod Beckstrom, Josh set out with his brother Jade traveling, filming and writing to develop the idea of 4REAL. In 2003, Josh reconnected with childhood friend Sol Guy, a veteran of the music industry, and invited him on development trips to the Yawanawa community in the Amazon of Brazil and the Chincero community in Peru. After these experiences Sol came on as a co-producer and host of the series.
After three more years of development and production adventures around the world, Josh and Sol landed a broadcast deal with CTV in 2006. Joaquin Phoenix agreed to be the celebrity guest for the first 4REAL episode featuring the Yawanawa community in the Amazon. Afterward a powerful experience with 4REAL, Joaquin joined the team as an Executive Producer to recruit other celebrity guests.
4REAL is produced by Vancouver-based Direct Current Media.