boot camp

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Steven Spielberg, Gabriella chu
Steven Spielberg and Gabriella Chu

Morgan Freeman, Gerry Orz, Keefer Blakeslee
Morgan Freeman, Gerry Orz, Keefer Blakeslee

Report from kids and parents

My son Rami absolutely loved the camp. He says "it was challenging, but exciting. We got to watch movies and review them in both written and video format. It taught me alot about the film industry. I would rate it a 5 out of 5."
He attended the camp in Brooklyn.

My son Will took the KIDS FIRST! Boot Camp at Reel Kids in Superior, Colorado. We feel unbelievably fortunate to have had this opportunity for Will. Will learned a lot about the vocabulary and language of being a film critic, critcal writing and analyzing a film, presentation and on camera skills. He gained self confidence and got a lot more clarity on where he might fit in in the film world. We are extremely thankful to Ranny and KIDS FIRST! for this learning opportunity. Monica Augustine, Colorado, 2015

Cheyenne Nguyen and Nick Cannon

Mel Brooks, Keefer Blakeslee

Haley Powell at Muppets Most Wanted

Rio 2, Rachel Crow, Brianna Hope Beaton
Rachel Crow, Brianna Hope Beaton

Netflix, Ted Sarandos, Gerry Orz
Netflix's Ted Sarandos and Gerry Orz


If you have any questions about any of this, please contact our office at 505-989-8076 or email us here.


This workshop does not in any way guarantee the participant employment in the entertainment industry.

This event is subject to cancellation if inadequate registration is not received or other unexpected circumstances make it impossible to take place.

All camps have limited enrollment and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.


Do You ...

  • Love, really love films?
  • Love talking about the latest films?
  • Envision yourself talking on the Red Carpet?

Come Spend a Week ...

  • Watching the latest films.
  • Learning to write film reviews.
  • Learning to talk about films on camera.
  • Meeting guest film critics, producers and actors.
  • Learning interview techniques.
  • Improving your on-camera skills.
  • Being coached by seasoned professionals.
Parents ...

Kids love movies.
It’s part of their socializing experience.
They love being on-camera and are comfortable there.
At the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp we put what kids love to good use and make learning fun!

During this one-week day-camp, now in its third year, your child will learn to...

View and review - watch films and write about them.
Discuss and debate - live and on-camera.
Look critically at different elements that make a film a film from directing and acting to cinematography, writing and art direction.

Remember parents...
Your kids are not just "talking about film" they are learning life skills that will "last a lifetime."

2015 Dates & Locations

All camps are one week day camps that meet Monday through Friday. Parents are invited to join the camp on the afternoon of the last day to observe our mock "Red Carpet" event.

  • All camps have a limited enrollment and will be filled on a first come/first served basis.
  • There are full and partial scholarships available in select cities for local participants primarily. Download the scholarship application for details.
  • All camps meet for 5 days, Monday through Friday.
Summer Boot Camps!
Santa Fe, Seattle, Martha's Vineyard, Brooklyn, Washington DC/Silver Spring

Santa Fe Community College, Dept of continuing educationJune 15 - 19
Registration Deadline: May 25
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily
Ages 9-13
Fee: $360
Enrollment limited to 25 children
Santa Fe Community College,
Continuing Education Department
6401 Richards Avenue
Santa Fe, NM 87508

June 22 - 26
B-47 StudiosRegistration Deadline: May 22
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily
Ages 10-15
Fee: $459
Enrollment limited to 20 children
B-47 Studios
942 Elliott Ave W.
Seattle, WA 98119

Martha's Vineyard Film SocietyDates: July 27-31
Registration Deadline: June 27
9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. daily
Ages 10-15
Fee: $459

Enrollment limited to 20 children
Martha's Vineyard Film Center
79 Beach Rd.
Vineyard Haven, MA 02568

Hispanic Information and Technology NetworkDates: August 3 - 7
Registration Deadline: July 2
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily

Ages 10-15
Fee: $459
Enrollment limited to 20 children
Includes breakfast and lunch daily
63 Flushing Avenue
Building 292, Suite 211
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Discovery CommunicationsDates: August 10-14
Registration Deadline: July 10
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily
Ages 10-15
Fee: $459

Enrollment limited to 15 children
Discovery Communications
(DCI World Headquarters)
One Discovery Place
Silver Spring, MD 20910


Tuition $360 and $459
(Price noted under each camp)

Includes all materials. Does not include lunch unless noted.
Full and partial scholarships are available. Please see the application for details.

Application: Scholarship request here.

Deadline: Requests must be submitted no later than 45 days prior to the start of your camp. Recipients will be notified 3 weeks prior to camp start date.


Pay for $459 camps here

KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp Registration, Summer, 2015
Name of camper
Pay for $360 camps here

KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp, Summer Camp, $360
Name of camper


Ranny.Gerry.KeeferRANNY LEVY
The invasive impact of media on children became the impetus, in 1991, for Levy to create KIDS FIRST! / Coalition for Quality Children's Media, dedicated to promoting and nurturing quality children's media as a vehicle for social change. A former educator, Levy designed an award-winning television series, Kidnetics, for PBS Affiliate, WNIT-TV, produced an ACE-nominated television show (Cable Magazine), and managed an independent film production and distribution company, OneWest Media, selling to national and international markets including PBS, the Discovery Channel and Showtime. Ranny has written two books, "The New York Times / KIDS FIRST Guide to The Best Children's Videos" and "A Parent's Guide to the Best Children's Videos, DVDs and CD-ROMs" and is a frequent speaker at conferences about children's media.

Philomena is an artist, educator and advocate of child well-being.Philomena studied Media Technology at Jack Yates High School in Houston, Texas and earned a BA in Moving Image Arts from the Santa Fe University of Art & Design. Philomena has worked directly for the betterment of children since 2007 when she worked as a production assistant and juror for KIDS FIRST! She has worked with children of all ages in preschools, summer camps, museums and juvenile correctional facilities where she teaches video production, photography, theatre, painting and graffiti art, poetry and graphic novels. Philomena is the founder of the non-profit organization, Unlocked Minds, Inc., a programming resource that provides creative outlets, goal-oriented mentorship and professional networks to incarcerated and at-risk youth. Currently, Ms. Salem teaches at the Santa Fe Art Institute, Golden Acorns Camp of Living Arts & Culture, the Garcia Street Club Preschool and will be joining the staff for the 2015 KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp.

Terry Solowey has a wide range of expertise in early childhood / elementary education and children’s media. She is a writer and developer of print and multimedia programs with a focus on outreach, curriculum and content development. Ms. Solowey served as Assistant Director of the Sesame Street Preschool Educational Program, as Manager of Outreach for Thirteen/WNET and Program Director for KIDS FIRST! where she continues to serve on the Advisory Board and works with the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Program.

Nancy Kenney holds a MS in International/Intercultural Development Education in 1980, studied film music composition at Berklee College of Music, developed two new urban sustainable neighborhoods in Santa Fe, NM, is a documentary videographer and an online educator for AICP planners and AIA architects. Nancy serves as Vice President of the Trustees for the Coalition of Quality Children’s Media after years of enjoying her daughter’s and her participation with KIDS FIRST! Conci Althouse was the first KIDS FIRST! Film Critic at age 8. She is now 24 and works in LA as a Director of Photography. Working for 20 years with KIDS FIRST! has been a labor of love. Nancy continues to invite everyone to jump on board with the youth critics and jurors, parents, grandparents and film makers who make great media for our future leaders!

Janet began her career in NY as an EQUITY/SAG actor. She then moved into producing and directing commercials. After moving to LA she joined the DGA as a 1st Assistant Director. She is credited in more than 200 episodic and 20 telefilms. She combined her acting background with the technical side and started directing TV. Her credits include; Earth 2, Cagney & Lacey Soul Food, Judging Amy and multiple episodes of Any Day Now. Janet is a founding member of New Mexico Women in Film and is on the board of Women in Film and Television International. Besides coaching actors privately Janet also teaches acting workshops. In her spare time she teaches film and drama at Pecos High School and is a faculty member at the University of New Mexico. Go to imdb for more>

With a life-long interest in film and children's use of film, Carol Darcy, with an EdD in Education Leadership and Curriculum Development (Boston University) was instrumental in creating an annual film festival for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)'s annual conference which includes programming from the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. As a media literacy expert, Carol provides opportunities for educators to learn from media experts, view and respond to a variety of films and discuss ways to provide substantive film and media experiences children from pre-school through primary school. She has taught kindergarten, undergraduate and graduate students and has supervised pre-service teachers. She designed a professional development course called Being a Pro-Active Media Literacy Advocate. Carol joins the KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Boot Camp staff this summer on Martha's Vineyard.

Cornelius HannaCORNELIUS B. HANNA – Born in Brooklyn, New York, Cornelus has 30+ years' experience in radio, television and film. His father, (Richard Hanna) Dick London was recognized as New York City’s top radio personality of the 1970s. Cornelius' bloodline led him to Arizona State University, Walter Cronkite School of Broadcast Journalism with a degre that includes a secondary degree in Education. Currently, he is the CTE Media Arts Director for StarShine Academy, President of KidStar Radio Network and Co-Program Director of the largest kids talk radio network,

Cornelius has been a sports radio personality, disc jockey, television reporter, live host, writter/producer of three independent films and owns CB Hanna Productions. He has been at the highest stage for the CMA’s, Grammy’s, Emmy's, Super Bowls, Major Motion Pictures, World Series, Political Conventions, Telethon’s, World Cup Soccer, Championship Boxing Fights and similar. He ihas taught K – 12 for the past 15 years, developing student skills in media arts. Cornelius is a strong believer in leading youth to career opportunities and a positive future. His connection with youth has given him an appreciation and understanding of their interests, goals and determination to grow. His knowledge and wide range experiences strongly connect everyone from past generations to present generations.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp is a project of the Coalition for Quality Children's Media, a national, 23-year-old, nonprofit (501-c-3) organization whose mission is to teach children to become critical media users.

*This workshop does not in any way guarantee the participant employment in the entertainment industry

** A $150 non-refundable deposit is required when registering to hold your place. Final payment is due no later than 30 days prior to the start date of the camp. Because of the limited registration, there are no refunds. Please be sure to check any scheduling conflicts before registering your child.

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