Reading Rainbow is set to be the topic of XTR’s new documentary Butterfly in the Sky. It’ll focus on the long-running show on PBS that was hosted by LeVar Burton for 23 years and inspired generations of youth to fall in love with reading.
Per Deadline, Butterfly in the Sky will examine the journeys of filmmakers, hosts , educators and broadcasters who wholeheartedly believed television could inspire the passion and love for reading.
Directed by Jasper Mall duo Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb, the documentary is produced by Sidestilt Films alongside Bryan Storkel and XTR’s Bryn Mooser and Justin Lacob. Kathryn Everett serves as an executive producer.
The documentary is in the same vein of Won’t You Be My Neighbor and I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story. It will feature archival footage and interviews with Burton and othhers.
“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.”