Tuesday, April 29, 2008

An interview about Prince Caspian, opening May 18

Interview with Randy Testa about Prince Caspian
Walden Media is unique among film production companies. We work with parents, teachers, museums, and national organizations to develop supplemental educational programs and materials associated with our films and the original events and/or novels that inspire the films.Ripples had the opportunity to interview Dr. Randy Testa, Vice President of Education for Walden Media, about the upcoming release of C.S. Lewis's Prince Caspian (May 16, 2008).Testa has lectured widely on the book, most recently at Calvin College's Festival of Faith & Writing, where he addressed a standing-room-only audience. He also is responsible for the classroom resource materials that are available at walden.com.

What is a central theme of Prince Caspian?

This book is about fall and redemption -- the redemption of Narnia after the fall. A terrible thing has happened in Narnia. We don't know what it is, but we find out as the story unfolds.This story speaks to the importance of people knowing where they have been in order to know where they are going. The past is lived out in the present. My Amish friends say, "A people without a past has no future." So the issue of what has come before and who is allowed to know what has happened are really, really, really important issues in Prince Caspian.

What do you mean by "who is allowed to know"?

When Miraz, the King of Narnia, finds out that Caspain's nurse has been telling him stories about Old Narnia and its inhabitants, Miraz tells Caspian that it's "utter nonsense" and the nurse is banished. Later Dr. Cornelius, Prince Caspian's tutor, gets into really hot water because he has been telling Caspian about Old Narnia. It is a big "No, No." Again, the question of what is permissible to know and what can be known without recrimination is a wonderful topic to discuss with kids.What we are taught in our classrooms is not always the whole story, is it?Education can either open new worlds or close us off to them.As John Dewey said, "Education is not preparation for life, it is life itself."

This movie is rated PG. What guidance can you give parents about who should see the film?

One needs to use parental common sense. It is very important for children to know the story before seeing it as a film. When they are watching it in a darkened theater, it is easy for a parent or teacher to lean in and say "You know we read this story and we know it has a happy ending."What resources are available to help the homeschool parent or classroom teacher?If you go to walden.com/walden/walden/guide_matrix.php/#caspian, you will find resources for connecting the book and film. We like to say, "Read it before you see it."Walden Media is in the business of taking classic books and turning them into great films.What is the link between these two mediums?We always begin with the written word. "In the beginning was the Word." It's one thing to read a story and quite another to see it. I spend a lot of time on the road telling audiences that movies, like books, are a text. We move from a written text to a visual text. There is a translation process that occurs. I'd like to think our educational materials help teachers and students make this translation.There can be a literal adaptation of a book to the screen or a faithful one. The two may or may not be related. We like to quote children's author Lois Lowry who says, "A faithful film adaptation is one that is true to the spirit of the book." With these Narnia books in particular, the words "true" and "spirit" are very important to us.
Watch the film trailer here.

What is the personal lesson you have taken away from reading Prince Caspian?

I find the friendship between Dr. Cornelius and the young Caspian to be almost at the heart of the story. I say this as a teacher. The story really asks us as teachers to think about the knowledge that we impart to our students versus the wisdom we impart. For we know well that those are not necessarily the same things. This is the most intriguing and moving aspect of the story for me.About Walden MediaLLCWalden Media specializes in entertainment that sparks imagination and engages young people in the learning process. Producing both original works and adaptations of acclaimed children's literature, Walden Media projects are enhanced by comprehensive outreach and supplemental programs for teachers, librarians, and parents.

Walden Media produced (in association with Walt Disney Pictures) the Academy Award winning film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Upcoming Walden Media releases include the second film in the Narnia series, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (with Walt Disney Pictures), Journey 3D (with New Line Cinema), and The City of Ember (with Twentieth Century Fox).Walden Media is a division of Anschutz Film Group (AFG).


Anonymous said...

Hey i have found your blog very informative! I am really waiting for Prince Caspian to release. I am big narnia fan myself.
I have seen the lion, the witch and the wardrobe. It's awesome. And i am expecting a little more from Prince Caspian. I saw the trailer. It's totally amazing. I just can't wait for the movie.
16 more days to go.

Leticia said...

We've had that date on our calendar since the first of the year in our home! I'll be reviewing it here on May 17.