Twenty-five years ago, Canadian producer Bruce Stacey wrote a short story, “Blue Daisies in the Summer of Winter,” to entertain his children while considering the fall of communism. In the midst of perestroika, Stacey was adopting two of his children in Russia, reflecting on the way that Russia had no living heroes to celebrate. Seeing communism as an angry ice storm and forgotten Christianity as a song, he imbued Russia’s daisies with magical power that inspired a frozen village of people to remember the song.
Adapting the story a few years ago, Stacey saw the need to personify the storm, developing the idea of the Ice Dragon. Adding in details about the Armor of God and the Giver of all Gifts to deepen the story, he hoped that families might one day explore the allegories the way they investigated the works of Lewis and Tolkien. After working in animation for thirty years, with credits like Kingdom Adventure and God Rocks! for television, he set out to develop the project as a feature-length film with approximately two percent of the budget of a blockbuster like Frozen, now Ice Dragon: Legend of the Blue Daisies in theaters this month.
Stacey realized that a story about a song needed to make music a prominent part of the narrative. “I love communicating truth to kids, and music was a big part of my background,” he shared. “On one level, music is disarming and on another, it’s a way to share the message. Early childhood specialists will tell you that combining words and music increases their impact.”
“Our greatest hymn writers knew this, and so they used popular music incorporating gospel truth to share their message.”
Debuting on seven hundred screens in Canada and the United States, the film’s promotion reaches to a broad audience. With the music and the story, about two unlikely friends who rediscover an older truth as impending doom rises up against their village in the form of a dragon, Stacey believes the parable or allegory there will allow more people to hear the message. And maybe sing the Song.
“I’m drawn to that musical genre,” Stacey admitted. “But I found myself asking, ‘Can I effectively communicate that the Song defeats the dragon?’ When Melody steps up to the top of the hill and sings, will the audience believe that it’s the Song can stop that evil?”
Stacey’s faith in the Song - and the words of Scripture - is evident when talking with him, and he uses that musical correlation to explain the story and the point of witnessing. “We carry that message as believers in our lives,” he explained. “And the story we’re telling is about two believers in a world of unbelievers.”
“Melody and Leif are asking the same questions we are. Can words in an ancient book carry power and be effective in the world today? Where does hope come from? How can we fight evil today, and is it only with a sword?”
In Ice Dragon: Legend of the Blue Daisies, Stacey has spun an allegory, a parable, of songs and the Song. He’s inviting the audience to be entertained and to engage wonder, and to sing the Song in their lives as they leave the theater together.
On March 24 and March 26, audiences in the United States and Canada can find the film in local theaters via Chelsea Road Productions and Fathom Events. For tickets, visit https://www.fathomevents.com/events/ice-dragon.