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Walden Media to produce American Girl films

July 25th, 2006 by Paul Martin

The “American Girl” doll characters are headed for the bigscreen via a producing partnership of Walden Media, Goldsmith-Thomas Prods. and Julia Roberts’ Red Om Films. First film from the team will be based on Kit Kittredge, the American Girl character who endures hardships growing up during the Great Depression. Walden’s financing the live-action feature, whilst no distribution deal has yet been set.

The film partnership reunites the team that produced telepics for American Girl, including “Samantha: An American Girl Holiday” in 2004, “Felicity: An American Girl Adventure” last year and “Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front,” which will air on Disney Channel this fall.

American Girl, launched in 1986, is a division of toy giant Mattel. You can learn more about Kit at the official website.

[from Variety and ComingSoon]

“American Girl represents the ideal partner for us, as we both seek to inspire young minds and excite children about learning through entertainment,” said Walden Media CEO Cary Granat. “We are thrilled to be working with a company that is as committed to fostering extensive outreach programs as we are, and we look forward to what will be a wonderful collaborative partnership. We are tremendously grateful to Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas for bringing us this project, and for the amazing opportunity to work with a business leader such as Ellen Brothers.”

Ellen L. Brothers, president of American Girl, added, “We found a terrific partner to bring Kit’s stories to life. Walden Media’s passion for creating innovative and educational family films that feature affirming messages perfectly complements our mission at American Girl. We’re delighted to work with them and our friends at Goldsmith-Thomas Productions and Red Om Films in providing our fans with a fabulous new way to experience a character they know and love.”

Following a successful run of made-for-television films, the first American Girl character to arrive on the big screen will be Kit Kittredge, the clever and resourceful girl growing up during America’s Great Depression. Introduced in 2000 as the seventh historical character, Kit experiences the Great Depression first-hand after her father loses his car dealership. Through courage and determination, Kit finds a way to make a difference in her community and, along the way, learns valuable lessons about responsibility and compassion.

“When Julia Roberts, Lisa Gillan, and I pursued the rights to the American Girl franchise six years ago, we knew that the American Girls characters and their compelling stories would translate beautifully to film,” said Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas of Goldsmith-Thomas Productions. “We’re thrilled to be working with Walden Media, a visionary company whose people are as enthusiastic as we are in bringing these rich characters to life through live- action feature films.