"Our children will be living with and learning from people from all over the planet," declared Suellen Reed, Indiana's newly re-elected superintendent of public education. Reed was introducing The Wind Trilogy, a trio of locally produced films for elementary school students last week at the Indianapolis Art Center. The films, supported by a grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Trust and produced by the International Center of Indianapolis, were co-directed by Candace Denning and Craig Nordhoff and written by Denning.
Puppets from 'The Wind Trilogy.'
Indiana has one of the fastest growing immigrant populations in the country, according to Reed. Over 200 languages are now spoken here. But dealing with cultural differences and diversity can be difficult. The International Center conducted interviews with students who had moved to Indiana from other countries in order to better understand their experiences and to develop ways of establishing links between them and their Indiana classmates.
The Wind Trilogy was produced to help address this need among third- through fifth-graders. Denning spent four months drafting scripts and assembling a creative team, including over 40 actors, designers and technicians. The trilogy itself consists of three 20-minute episodes in a story about how the kids of a fanciful town called Grayville learn to get along with another set of kids who live in a nearby forest. Music and art and how the kids understand these things turn out to be both an initial source of tension between the groups and, ultimately, the bond that brings them together. The characters in the films are portrayed by puppets created by Bart Simpson, better known locally as the Blue Monkey Sideshow's master of ceremonies.
The films were produced in both English language and Spanish versions. Initial distribution will be free to a limited number of schools and community organizations as a pilot program. Funding is currently being sought to help with film duplication and distribution to schools throughout the state. A curriculum guide is now being written based on information gleaned from the pilot program.
The Wind Trilogy project is part of a larger program, Bridges to the World, created by the International Center of Indianapolis. This program is intended to help Indiana youth better understand people from around the world; prepare students to live and work in a complex society; and develop creative programs that encourage youth to engage in dialogue and build community through hospitality, civility and respect.
To find out more about The Wind Trilogy, call Cheryl Strain at 955-5150, ext. 230 or e-mail email@example.com.