designed to recapture the audience’s imagination, rekindle curiosity and spark an enthusiasm for lifelong learning.
“Our company is focused on creating multiple learning avenues, both before and after the film, around the subject matter of the story,” says Cary Granat. “We explore the themes online, in school and in after-school programs with groups like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Young Life, 4 H, Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCA. We want kids to go out and actually do things in the community tied to what the story is about. Oftentimes books become a great resource to allow us to talk to kids through a shared kind of common experience. So, they've read the book, now they can go see the film.”
“The theme of bullying is really important to bring to kids in school today,” adds Granat. “Teachers are using the book as a staple in their curriculum. It’s part of an accredited reading list of all 50 states, plus many places internationally. For us this is really hitting the jackpot: great themes, accredited nationwide, and it's something that kids really adore.”
“In the book, the chapter headings are literally military headings. This was a very smart way to teach kids that there's very little difference in terms of bullying on the war field and bullying in school,” comments Granat. “In the movie, Billy makes this incredible stand. He lays the gauntlet. And then he starts to question ‘what have I done?’ The rest of the story is Billy building up again that same level of courage, tenacity, temerity, and boldness.”
Billy’s actions inspire the other boys to change. “What it takes is the first person to start doing something differently. Once they do and they have that conviction, other people will follow that example,” says Granat. “It's a great story of the exemplary role model. It's amazing how everybody who starts out in this gang, slowly but surely joins Billy’s team. He has taken the step to do the right thing.”
“Hopefully young audiences can take away a feeling of empowerment,” adds Granat. “It's their responsibility and only their responsibility to take that first step themselves. They can't wait for someone else to show them how to do it. That's really another great