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Story of stateside PBS Children’s series ‘Reading Rainbow’ heads to big screen


Story of stateside PBS Children’s series ‘Reading Rainbow’ heads to big screen

Directors Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb announced the theatrical and digital release plans for the feature documentary Butterfly in the Sky…

The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and went on to screen at dozens of festivals, winning fourteen awards in total. For 26 series, Reading Rainbow met young viewers, on PSB in America, in their living rooms, and whisked them away on far-off adventures into the boundless world of books.

Inspiring and nostalgic, Butterfly in the Sky takes audiences behind the scenes of this beloved PBS children’s series and tells the story of its iconic host LeVar Burton, giving an inside look at the challenges he and the show’s creators faced in cultivating a love of reading through television. Reliving the show’s legacy is a refreshing return to the written page. But you don’t have to take our word for it.

LeVar Burton:

“Thomason and Whitcomb are terrific storytellers. To take a look at Reading Rainbow through their lens and share this story with audiences everywhere is very special. I hope audiences walk away with the same warm, fuzzy feeling I did when I watched this documentary for the first time.”

“Having both grown up in Texas, Reading Rainbow not only reflected the diverse cultures that surrounded us, but LeVar Burton also introduced us to other worlds in colorful and magical ways,” said directors Thomason and Whitcomb. “We believe Reading Rainbow is among the most important shows ever produced and a true unsung hero of children’s programming. It’s important for us to honor its legacy and teach a new generation about this milestone in television history.”  

Featuring LeVar Burton, (Reading Rainbow Host), Whoopi Goldberg (Guest Star), Jason Reynolds (Former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature), Twila Liggett (Reading Rainbow Co-creator), Larry Lancit & Cecily Truett Lancit (Reading Rainbow Co-Creators), Tony Buttino (Reading Rainbow Co-creator), Steve Horelick (Reading Rainbow Composer), Ed & Orly Wiseman (Reading Rainbow Director / Producer) and also staff who worked on Reading Rainbow and kids who were featured on the show during the it’s illustrious 26-year run.

The film’s release plan includes a stateside limited theatrical release starting March 17th in Select AMC Theatres, followed by a full run in New York and Additional Cities, facilitated by Mia Bruno of Fourth Act Film. The Digital Rights and International Rights have been acquired by Fith Season, and the film will be available on TVOD – including iTunes & Amazon – starting April 30th.

The film is Presented by XTR and is a Production of Sidestilt Films and Window Pictures. Produced by Bryan Storkel and Executive Produced by Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Leonardis, Bryn Mooser, Justin Lacob, Kathryn Everett, Andy Hsieh, Tony Hsieh, Raymond Esposito, John Brooks Pounders and Dava Whisenant. Edited by Bradford Thomason. Cinematography by Tony Hardmon & Brett Whitcomb. Original Reading Rainbow Music by Steve Horelick, Original Music by The Octopus Project.

All Reading Rainbow archival was provided courtesy of WNED PBS, Buffalo Toronto Public Media. ROCO Films is handling educational rights, and is making the film available for classrooms, libraries and educators this April.

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