Movie explores the medicinal power of laughter

(L-r) Talk show host and Bronx Walk of Fame inductee Regis Philbin, producer John Galasso, and director Anton Evangelista during principal photography on the feature film Just Laugh!

A local filmmaker and producer have just completed work on a feature film that including interviews with both area residents and celebrities, and its topic promises to be of universal appeal.

Throggs Neck-based Laugh Loud Productions have completed the film Just Laugh – The Movie, a fun-filled documentary that explores the many positive benefits of simply laughing.

Director Anton Evangelista and producer John Galasso are the principal creative minds involved in the project, which took three years to complete.

Galasso and Evangelista first met when Galasso’s daughter tried out for and acted in Evangelista’s last film, Intervention, a period piece set in the Bronx in 1968, and the two became instant friends.

The documentary’s message is that regardless of political, religious or social boundaries, laughter is the universal language everyone understands.  Just Laugh presents evidence showing how laughter can promote overall good health and healing the body.

Some of the featured interviewers in the documentary include Regis Philbin, Doris Roberts, and Danny Aiello, as well as medical professionals and members of the Throggs Neck and Pelham Gardens communities.

“I love to laugh, and have always been a great audience,” Evangelista stated.

Scientific proof has shown that a good belly laugh increases blood circulation, decreases stress, and builds the immune system. The average adult American is said to laugh about 15 times a day, but the average four-year-old laughs once every four minutes.

“Everyone I talk to is looking for an outlet to counterbalance our daily struggles and stress,” Evangelista noted. “Whether it is either perception or reality, we all feel that we are in survival mode.”

The film features comedian Norman Cousins, who says he laughed himself out of the hospital, and explains in an interview how emotions play a great role in our overall well-being.

“Laughter is universal and it is free,” Galasso said. “It is cheap medicine. We are not inventing anything, our intentions are just to put a smile on people’s faces.”

The documentary also features Joel Osteen, a famed televangelist and best-selling author of inspirational religious books.

“The Osteen interview is unique, because he rarely grants interviews,” Evangelista said. “We have psychologists, clergy, doctors, and actors all in this movie.” 

Two screenings of the film will take place at the Whitestone Multiplex on September 14 at 3 and 5 p.m. Ticket prices are $10 per person.

A portion of the proceeds of each ticket at the Whitestone screening will benefit Calvary Hospital, whose executive director Dr. Michael Brecia was interviewed for the film.

Both men stress that the film is complete family entertainment, and that there are many children in the film.

“This movie is for everyone,” Evangelista said. “I think the audience will leave the theater feeling that they have learned something.”

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