Wednesday, January 25, 2023

LeVar Burton-Hosted ‘80s Kids TV Series ‘Reading Rainbow’ Gets Feature Doc Treatment From XTR

Reading Rainbow, the 1980s kids television series that was hosted by LeVar Burton for 23 years, is set to be the subject of a new feature documentary.

XTR is behind Butterfly in the Sky, a film that chronicles the journeys of a handful of broadcasters, educators, filmmakers, and host who believed television could inspire a lifelong love of reading.

The project comes on the back of and was inspired by films such as Won’t You Be My Neighbor and I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story.

It will explore the show’s long-run and will feature archival footage and interviews with Burton as well as many others.

Butterfly in the Sky is directed by Jasper Mall duo Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb and is produced by Sidestilt Films. Bryan Storkel (Alabama Snake) produces with XTR’s Bryn Mooser, Justin Lacob and Kathryn Everett exec producing.

Reading Rainbow was my window into the big city and into diverse cultures,” said Brett Whitcomb. “With segments like those in “Hill of Fire,” “Liang and the Magic Paintbrush,” and countless other episodes, Reading Rainbow was arguably the first time I encountered “documentary-style” television as a young person, planting a seed that would inspire me for the rest of my life and lead me to where I am in my career to this day.”

“As a Mexican-American growing up in Houston, I was always surrounded by diversity,” said Bradford Thomason. “More than any show on television, Reading Rainbow reflected the cultures that surrounded me. When the book fair came to my school, I went straight for the Reading Rainbow titles. I didn’t know it at the time, but the show’s mission statement was manifesting itself in me. I devour books to this day and I know Reading Rainbow had a hand in that.”

“We are honored to tell the Reading Rainbow story and document the show’s incredible work to increase literacy for children around the world,” added Justin Lacob, Head of Development at XTR. “Decades later, the impact of Reading Rainbow still lives on through my lifelong love of reading which I share with my own kids.”


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