Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 18, 2021 } Playhouse Square

70 Years of 'Fun with a Purpose'

April 05, 2017   |   posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers

44pages-directortonyshaff.jpg

Highlights magazine is a reliable fixture in the doctor’s office waiting area, or, for kids lucky enough to have a personal subscription, a prized possession snatched from the mailbox. It is also the subject of “44 Pages,” by director Tony Shaff and producer Rebecca Green. The film follows the production of the publication’s 70th anniversary issue and the evolution of the world’s most popular children’s magazine.

“I started seeing kids in my life getting Highlights in the mail, and I noticed they were dropping their iPads to pick up this magazine and devour it from cover to cover,” says Shaff. “I started asking the question: why does this magazine capture so much attention from kids, and how is it still relevant?”

As filming began, new storylines arose concerning the ever-changing state of childhood, the uncertain future of print publications, and how the magazine aims to teach—or protect—its young readers from the larger issues of the world.

“Going into a film, you’re looking for the conflict and drama and all these high-stakes villains,” Shaff says. “‘44 Pages’ is about kind, genuine, ethical, honest people. One of the challenges was shaping a story that didn’t rely on those traditional plot elements.”

Many of those kind, genuine people work out of the publication’s headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.

“The magazine is family-owned and has been kept within the family for 70 years, so there is a strong tie to Ohio,” says Shaff.

Green, who also produced CIFF 39’s Opening Night film, “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” adds: “It’s a very positive, uplifting film, something that’s lacking in the news and the documentary space. I think it’s something that’s needed right now. It’s good for parents to see how the creative process impacts kids in a positive way, and how kids can connect to that part of themselves.”

Although Highlights is billed as a children’s magazine, Shaff finds that the basic core human values it teaches “relate directly to us as adults.” He hopes that viewers will not only walk away from the film with more insights into the magazine, “but a better understanding of how we can all be better to each other, and better citizens in the world.”

Highlights has been “illuminating” its readers since 1946, delivering more than a billion issues to children around the world.

“44 Pages” serves to continue spreading that light.

“It’s a film that shows you something you think you know, and gives you something different that you didn’t expect,” says Green. “On the surface, it is a memory from childhood and a magazine. But it opens you up to thinking about bigger topics, issues, and your role in society and your role in kids’ lives.”

Amy Brown

PDF  Download Related PDF [1.8 MB]

Related Screenings:
04/05/17 @ 7:30 PM – 44 PAGES
04/06/17 @ 12:00 PM – 44 PAGES

Permalink  [Permalink]

CIFF Facebook Posts

FILM UPDATE: CIFF44 alum MY NAME IS SARA will hold a special event featuring a moderated conversation and select scenes from the film this Sunday, June 7th at 5:00 PM EST. Get full info and register today (limited space is available): https://usc.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_cWE8cip2Rjy87cukns-i6g

about 6 hours ago   .   Link

CIFF Tweets

FILM UPDATE: #CIFF44 alum MY NAME IS SARA will hold a special event featuring a moderated conversation and select scenes from the film this Sunday, June 7th at 5:00 PM EST. Get full info and register today (limited space is available): https://t.co/9PLyJ2Kcal https://t.co/0QVw7i26cX

about 6 hours ago   .   Reply   .   Retweet   .   Favorite

CIFF on Instagram

Follow us @clefilmfest

We believe in the power of storytelling, and we know education is crucial to moving our world forward.  We are fortunate to have alums such as LONG TIME COMING (#CIFF43) and WHOSE STREETS (#CIFF41) that tell the story of the pioneers of the civil rights movement, as well as our present-day fight. Find where you can access these films at the CIFF ALUMS link in @clefilmfest bio.

Posted by clefilmfest at 7:00 PM

Questions? >

Questions?

Check out our FAQs for answers to common questions about entering the film festival.

Donate >

Donate

Your donation helps fulfill our mission to promote artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition.

Sign up for our email newsletter

go
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • youtube
  • flickr
  • alexa
  • foursquare

Donate

x

We promise you, it will make a difference!

Give Today