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Warrior of Light | Editorial by David Benaym

Submitted by on 25 Feb 2008 – 5:34 PM Comments

Sabra Johnson, Danny Tidwell for movmnt magazine

I never fell for once-upon-a-time’s and happily-everafter’s. I demanded a certain messy humanity even in the fictional characters that drew me into their worlds. When I was growing up, Disney had already evolved their fairy tale style into more contemporary films like Pete’s Dragon and The Rescuers. These socially conscious movies set some sort of foundation for me; their heroes dealt with war and peace, poverty, and other social issues. Fantasia also moved me when it was re-released for its 40th anniversary. It succeeded in conveying classical music to my curious mind, and beautifully interpreted sounds and melodies into magical dreams. Mickey and hundreds of new characters showed me ballet and rhythm in ways I had never experienced before. I will always remember the hippos taking a bath while dancing on La Gioconda’s Dance of the Hours.At eight years old I was introduced to Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince. I am from the south of France, where Saint Exupery is a local hero. The prince’s quest is very similar to Dorothy’s adventure in The Wizard of Oz, but with philosophical elements very much like those found in Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland.At age fourteen, I realized that real life personalities also had amazing stories to tell. I neglected fiction and turned my attention to hard news. However, I also discovered Messiada, a political novel that dealt with the Middle East. With an extremely well-handled imagination, author Andrea Soussan wove real news-making personalities into the story, and gave it a certain credibility and almost prophetic feeling. The line between fantasy and reality seemed thinner than ever to me.

A warrior of light [...] is someone capable of understanding the miracle of life, of fighting to the last for something he believes in and of hearing the bells that the waves set ringing on the seabed. [...] Everyone is capable of these things. And, though no one thinks of themselves as a warrior of light, we all are.

Paulo Coelho – Warrior of Light, A Manual

It was only a few years ago when literature hit my reality in the gut. I discovered The Manual of the Warrior of Light by Paulo Coelho. I couldn’t believe it; it was literally as if someone had analyzed me for years and wrote about my personality, mentality, sensibilities, goals and demons.Then last summer I encountered a brand new phenomenon: when some of the real life people around me became part of a television storyline. It is never easy to write about people you know very well and interact with on a daily basis. So when we decided to dedicate this issue’s cover to Sabra Johnson, Neil Haskell, and Danny Tidwell (with whom I cofounded movmnt), we reached into fantasy to tease out a certain reality that many have not seen from them yet. The result is a magical photo shoot, as well as an in-depth conversation with all three filled with elements that TV viewers, journalists, bloggers, forums, and the rumor mill may have missed. Or shall I say, misinterpreted.Just as all of these stories and characters taught me about the wonder and beauty of life, movmnt hopes to bring the worlds of pop culture and the performing arts alive for our readers. This is why movmnt is launching Keep It Real, a nonprofit initiative designed to give back to the community in various ways. Look for much more about this in future issues and at

David Benaym, Warrior of Light and Editor in Chief of movmnt magazine