Former Dimension Films president Cary Granat has teamed up with billionaire (and now exhibition mogul) Philip Anschutz to create a new production outfit Walden Media with plans to make films, TV programming, new media and publishing initiatives "that educate, foster curiosity and an ongoing interest in learning."
Walden Media's key executive team includes educational innovator Micheal Flaherty (co-founder and president), Digital Planet co-founder Joshua Greer (chief convergence officer), former Miramax and Jean Doumanian Productions executive John Logigian (chief operating officer) and Emmy award-winning producer Joel Stillerman (executive vice president, film and television).
'Forming Walden Media fulfills a long-term dream of mine," said Granat in a statement. "I have spent the last twelve years engaging audiences with general entertainment product, but have always wanted to find a way to ignite a sense of fascination, discovery and wonderment through the marriage of entertainment and education.'
The name Walden Media is derived from the time when Granat and Flaherty were students together at Tufts University; they made frequent visits to Walden Pond where they shared a passion for the work and life of Henry David Thoreau.
For the past several months, the Walden team has been researching and considering key topics, themes and individuals from areas such as literature, history and science. From these, the company is developing properties and programmes that will be "leveraged across all platforms to create a multi-dimensional learning environment," said the statement. "Most film and television projects will be supported by a full curriculum aligned with educational standards, a comprehensive Web site to encourage further exploration and satisfy curiosity, community outreach programs, and publishing initiatives designed to heighten the relevancy of the material," it continued.
Denver-based billionaire Anschutz has aggressively entered the film world in the last six months or so, acquiring a 55% stake in United Artists Theaters and stakes in Edwards Cinemas and Regal Cinemas. Walden represents his first investment in film production.