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The Neverending Story

Science on Screen Ⓡ presents THE NEVERENDING STORY, followed by a Special Presentation by Dr. Kirsten Read

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On Thursday, June 20th at 7pm, our 2024 Science on Screen® series of film screenings and presentations concludes with director Wolfgang Petersen’s beloved 1984 fantasy, The NeverEnding Story. This special screening will be followed by presentation Unlocking Minds: The Power of Shared Reading in Childhood Development by Dr. Kirsten Read.  Click here for tickets!


When a young boy named Bastian (Barret Oliver) ducks into a bookstore to avoid bullies, he meets a mysterious shopkeeper who hands him a novel called “The NeverEnding Story.” Tucked away in his school’s attic, Bastian soons finds himself swept away by the book’s epic tale of Fantasia, a mythical kingdom reigned over by a childlike Empress, and under threat by a growing dark force called “The Nothing.” As the book’s young hero Atreyu sets off on an increasingly perilous adventure to save his world and its Empress, Bastian soon finds himself wondering if there’s something more to the novel’s prophecy that it will take a human child to save Fantasia from darkness…  Based on the 1979 novel “Die unendliche Geschichte” (“The Neverending Story”) by German writer Michael Ende, Petersen’s film adaptation was the most expensive film produced outside the United States and the Soviet Union at the time of its release it was, and has endured as an 80’s classic revered by generations for its fantastic and dreamlike visuals, colorful characters, evocative score by the legendary Giorgio Moroder and Klaus Doldinger, and engaging and thoroughly entertaining story.

ABOUT THE PRESENTATION: Unlocking Minds: The Power of Shared Reading in Childhood Development

Join us for an enchanting evening as we embark on a journey through literature and neuroscience with a screening of the beloved 1984 classic, The NeverEnding Story. Paired with this timeless tale is a captivating presentation by Dr. Kirsten Read that blends literature with neuroscience, delving into the profound impact of reading to children on their cognitive development. Discover the magic of storytelling as Dr. Read illuminates the pathways through which shared reading fosters imagination, learning, and social bonds in young minds. Uncover the hidden treasures within the film as Dr. Read guides us to recognize moments that serve as gateways to children’s cognitive growth. Prepare to be transported to a realm where words weave wonders and the power of storytelling shapes the minds of tomorrow. Experience an evening of exploration, enlightenment, and the enduring charm of The NeverEnding Story.

Kirsten Read, PhD is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Santa Clara University who teaches courses on child development and publishes research on the language and learning benefits from shared storybook reading with young children.


Atalia Lopez is an Australian transplant, Letterboxd devotee, and Frida Cinema board member. She teaches classes on the intersection of film, literature, and the urban environment at Chapman University, and is proudly responsible for exposing hundreds of students to David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. Atalia completed her undergraduate studies in literature at Chapman University and holds a master’s degree from the University of Oxford. You may also know her as the host of The Frida’s monthly Film Trivia Nights, where she invented the “fourth round stretch.”


Science on Screen is an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre, with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and their grant initiative brings science to cinemas nationwide. The Coolidge Corner Theatre’s series has enhanced film and scientific literacy with this popular program, which launched at the Coolidge in 2005 in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and its pioneering nationwide film program. Since 2011, Sloan has awarded the Coolidge over $4 million to develop and administer Science on Screen programs around the US through partnerships with other nonprofits. The Coolidge has in turn awarded 393 grants totaling over $2.5 million to 121 film and science-focused organizations in 44 states (plus Washington, DC) across the country. Learn more at

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