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Wonder: How the first movie we ever see shapes us as adults

The Secret of NIMH

The Secret of NIMH

Yesterday, Marc Maron had director Todd Haynes on his WTF podcast. They talked about the first movies they’d ever seen in a theater and how those movies shaped them. The first movie I remember seeing in a theater was The Secret of NIMH. I was 6. Right around that same time, my grandmother took me to see the original movie Annie. Those two movies shaped my love of powerful and personal narratives.

The Secret of NIMH fostered my already deep love for animals and my disdain for those who are cruel to them. The main character, Mrs. Brisby (a rat) was caring and compassionate, but also tough and brave. That was the first time I realized one person could be all of those things. She felt compelled to protect those she loved, and also to protect and rescue those who were being marginalized.

Annie showed me that we can define the word “family” on our terms, and demonstrated how music can unite people and move a story along. I also remember being completely wowed by the Indian character, Punjab, and I absolutely loved the dancing. If I close my eyes, I can still see that mansion. I couldn’t believe that anyone had a house that big and that extravagant.

I guess it’s no wonder that I ended up working in theater and environmental conservation, and why my passion for those causes continues to this day. It all started when the lights went down in a theater, and a light started to glow in me.

What was the first movie you saw in a theater and how did it shape you?

About Christa Avampato

The short of it: Writer. Health, education, and art advocate. Theater and film producer. Visual artist. Product geek. Proud alumnae of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (MBA). Inspired by ancient wisdom & modern tech. Proliferator of goodness. Opener of doors. Friend to animals. Fan of creative work in all its wondrous forms. I use my business skills to create passion projects that build a better world. I’ve been called the happiest New Yorker, and I try hard to live up to that title every day. The long of it: My career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, entertainment, technology, and financial services. I’ve been a product developer and product manager, theater manager, strategic consultant, marketer, voice over artist, , teacher, and fundraiser. I use my business and storytelling to support and sustain passion projects that build a better world. In every experience, I’ve used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, programs, and events. While building a business career, I also built a strong portfolio as a journalist, novelist, freelance writer, interviewer, presenter, and public speaker. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post,,, Royal Media Partners publications, and The Motley Fool on a wide range of topics including business, technology, science, health, education, culture, and lifestyle. I have also been an invited speaker at SXSW, Teach for America, Avon headquarters, Games for Change, NYU, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The first book in my young adult book series, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was acquired by a publisher and launched in November 2017. I’m currently working on the second book in the series. A recovering multi-tasker, I’m equally at home in front of my Mac, on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I also cut up small bits of paper and put them back together as a collage artist. My company: I’m bringing together all of my business and creative career paths as the Founder of Double or Nothing Media: • I craft products, programs, and projects that make a difference; • I build the business plans that make what I craft financially sustainable; • I tell the stories that matter about the people, places, and products that inspire me. Follow my adventures on Twitter at and Instagram at


4 thoughts on “Wonder: How the first movie we ever see shapes us as adults

  1. I love this. The first movie I saw in a theater was E.T. I was 5 years old. It filled me with the power of love and imagination. Your post is definitely making me pause and think thoughtfully about the first movie I choose to take my daughter to in a theater. Great post!


    Posted by mourningdovemotherhood | January 8, 2016, 5:43 am

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