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New Dimension For Kids Entertainment

New Dimension For Kids EntertainmentMovie executive teams with Tufts roommate to form new entertainment company. New York.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [05.17.01] Roommates while at Tufts, Cary Granat and Michael Flaherty traveled two different paths after college. One is a successful film executive in Hollywood and the other is an acclaimed inner-city educator in Boston. Despite their different careers, the two share more than a Tufts degree in common: they both have a distinct ability to reach kids.

Now the duo is joining forces to form Walden Media -- a film and television production company designed to use entertainment to reach and teach kids.

For Granat -- a 1990 Tufts graduate, the focus of the new company will be quite a change.

As Dimension Films president, Granat found box office success with teen thrillers like "Scream" and "Reindeer Games" and raunchy spoofs including "Scary Movie." Most recently, he released the feature film "Spy Kids," which earned strong reviews from critics and millions at the box office.

After talking with his college roommate, he started looking for a new direction.

"I told him about my box office grosses, he told me about how he was improving test scores," Granat told the New York Daily News.

Their conversation sparked an idea.

"We were trying to find a way to marry what Michael was trying to do in reaching kids with what I did in the entertainment industry," he told the Associated Press.

And so the pair formed Walden Media.

The new television and film company -- which will use entertainment to provide education -- received an added boost by billionaire businessman Philip Anschutz, who poured $100 million into the Tufts duo's vision.

In addition to the major investment, the pair has a high-powered team backing their new company. The Associated Press reports that Granat and Flaherty have assembled "former executives of Miramax, MTV, Orion Pictures, and the co-founder of Digital Planet" to help lead Walden Media.

Plans for programming are already underway.

According to the Denver Post, Walden Media will produce feature films and television programs, including some based on classic books and historical events. Among the first projects are a series of films inspired by author Jules Verne and a TV show called "One Planet," which will follow kids all around the world.

"Kids are frustrated with what they're learning in school," Granat told the AP. "We want to use entertainment to reach them."

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