The Global Search for Education: Director Linda Malik Talks Willow’s Tale: Inspiring Imagination Through Animation

C. M. Rubin
3 min readAug 15, 2023

This month, audiences can screen Willow’s Tale on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by KIDS FIRST! Film Festival.

Willow’s Tale, a whimsical animated film by Linda Malik, celebrates the boundless potential of imagination. Willow, a black cat with a vibrant mind, embarks on thrilling adventures that save the world. This enchanting tale encourages viewers, especially children, to embrace their imagination and unleash their creativity. With delightful animation and meticulous attention to detail, Willow’s Tale will leave audiences inspired and longing for their own imaginative journeys.

The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Linda Malik.

Linda, what inspired you to create Willow’s Tale, and what message or themes did you intend to convey through the film?

I was inspired by Willow, my real-life black cat that I rescued off the streets in Hollywood. Her big eyes, fluffy tail, and quirky personality were all great attributes for the cartoon character in Willow’s Tale — a little black cat with a big imagination. She is on a mission to change the narrative of black cats, typically portrayed as bad luck, with her happy and wacky adventures.

Can you discuss the significance of using a black cat as the main character in Willow’s Tale and how it relates to the film’s themes?

Willow turns into a superhero and saves the world: That is the theme of the film. Why a black cat? Why NOT a black cat?! Willow is a fun and lovable character, and her mission is to change the narrative of black cats with her happy tales — one cartoon at a time!

How did you approach the balance between the imaginary adventures in Willow’s mind and the real-world elements in Willow’s Tale?

I used bookends, just like in my picture book, Willow’s Tale, where the cat starts out daydreaming in her real-world home (she is an indoor cat with a big imagination). Her mission is to save the world or humanity, and she turns into a superhero, which takes her on wild adventures worldwide and beyond. Mission accomplished: She lands right back in her real-world home, happy and content to have saved the world.

In what ways do you hope Willow’s Tale will inspire viewers to embrace their imagination and let their creativity shine?

Willow is a little black cat, and she likes to dream big. I hope she can inspire viewers to let their imagination go wild and dream BIG.

Thank you, Linda!

C. M. Rubin and Linda Malik

Don’t miss Willow’s Tale, now streaming on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by KIDS FIRST! Film Festival.