Archive for the 'Family News' Category

Register Now for LA Mini-Boot Camp on November 16

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

KFFC.2014.Banner.3.5.jpgFor kids wishing to enter our 2014 Film Critics Search Competition, we are offering a mini-boot camp in Los Angeles on November 16 in partnership with A&B Productions, Paramount and Disney. Hurry, as you must register by November 12.

We also have a live audition in New York on December 14 thanks to our partner KiDz HuB and Microsoft. There is a screening of the film “Christmas Bounty” the night before, one of the films selected to review. For details, please visit the search landing page.

Does your child love films and love being on camera? Here’s a chance for him or her to become a star as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. Our annual Film Critic Search Competition is now underway. The national competition is open to all U.S. children, ages 7 to 15. To enter, submit your child’s written and videotaped review of one of the five Official Competition Films then, get their friends and family to vote. Your child could be one of twelve winners who will review all the newest films rated PG-13 or younger, interview celebrities on and off the Red Carpet and appear on our #1 rated weekly radio show, KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions on the Voice America Kids Network.

Public voting determines the finalists and a panel of celebrity judges select the winners which will be announced on or around January 15, 2014.  Past competitions have generated more than 11 million votes for the child contestants – a number in line with “Dancing with the Stars” or “American Idol.”  Judges for this year’s competition include: Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theaters, HDNet Movies and Magnolia Pictures; Ben Lyons, film critic for the show, EXTRA and frequent contributor to ‘Good Morning America’; Thelma Adams, a Yahoo! Contributing Editor whose column “Thelma Adams on Reel Women” runs on AMC; George Pennacchio, entertainment reporter for ABC7 Eyewitness News team in Los Angeles KABC-TV.

The Official Competition Films include:  Planes, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Iron Man: Heroes United, Dear Dumb Diary and Christmas Bounty. All films are available this fall in DVD/Blu-ray or online at

The KIDS FIRST! Film Critics program, now in its fourth year, teaches kids to be critical viewers and users of media. Reviews by the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics reach an audience of more than 4+ million every month through broadcast, print and online media companies such as Voice America Kids Network, HDNet Movies kidScene,,, LA Parent, Colorado Parent, Westchester Family and more. Coaching is available to every child entering the competition in the form of guidelines, tips and webinars on the campaign’s website. Although the competition is restricted to 12 winners, every child who enters wins by learning valuable skills and has a chance to shine! Every contestant will receive a free skin for their mobile device from Zing Revolution.

The KIDS FIRST! Film Critics have made a name for themselves in Hollywood, interviewing talent on the red carpet and off and reporting about the latest films rated PG-13 or younger. More than 750 video film reviews have been posted to the KIDS FIRST! YouTube Channel in the last 30 months, with over a quarter of a million views. The youth reporters have covered more than 300 films and events including: Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards, Planes, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Gravity, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Epic, Jobs, Lee Daniel’s The Butler, Planes, Turbo, Grown Ups 2, Despicable Me 2, The Lone Ranger, Man of Steel, After Earth and many more. They have interviewed John Lasseter (Pixar), Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Mel Brooks, Duane “the Rock” Johnson, Josh Hutcherson, Ang Lee, Kirk De Micco, Selena Gomez, Nick Cannon and more.

Recent research shows that, during their school age years, most U.S. children spend more hours watching media than the hours they spend in school. Not all children’s media is bad; in fact, many programs can help increase a child’s cognitive, social and behavioral skills. Fundamental to KIDS FIRST! mission is teaching children to make critical media choices so that they seek out and use media in a beneficial way.  The KIDS FIRST! Film Critics program is part of a national outreach effort to promote the concept of critical media viewing to thousands of children and families nationwide by sharing the skills they develop by reviewing media on a weekly basis.

As for the winners, here are what some of the KIDS FIRST!  Film Critics’ parents have to say about their participation:

“First and foremost, thank you for giving Brianna the opportunity to participate in such an amazing opportunity.  This experience has definitely helped her with her confidence level and has enhanced her critical thinking skills.” Parents of Brianna Hope Beaton

Gerry is now 11 and his vocabulary, public speaking ability and interviewing skills have increased drastically. Our young filmmaker truly blossomed under guidance of KIDS FIRST! Parents of Gerry O.

“Camille’s writing skills have improved and she is more comfortable and articulate in front of the camera while I’ve become more confident behind the camera. Overall, KIDS FIRST! has been a fabulous experience for Camille and myself and I highly recommend this program to other families who have children interested in becoming film critics!” Parent of Camille Bajema

“The bonus part of being KIDS FIRST! Film Critics are conducting red carpet interviews; attending press junket, watching all the new movie releases before they hit theaters. My daughter and I truly enjoy and proud to be part of KIDS FIRST! family. This journey has propelled Cheyenne to the next level in communication, reviewing and writing skills.” Parent of Cheyenne Nguyen

KIDS FIRST! is a project of the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, a national, nonprofit organization founded in 1991 whose mission is to teach children critical viewing skills and to increase the visibility and availability of quality children’s media.

KIDS FIRST! evaluates, rates and endorses children’s films, DVDs, CDs, TV shows, apps and games using volunteer, community-based juries of adults and children from diverse backgrounds and offers a variety of means to showcase and enhance consumer awareness of sponsored products.

Industry supporters of the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Campaign include, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, ARC Entertainment, Warner Home Video, Walt Disney Home Entertainment . Campaign support also comes from national nonprofit organizations that include the National Education Association and the National Council of Women’s Organizations, with a cumulative membership of over 17 million.

Check out the following links.
For information about KIDS FIRST!
For information about the KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Campaign
Visit KIDS FIRST! on Facebook
Visit KIDS FIRST! on Twitter

Enter, Vote and Support KIDS FIRST!

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012


SUPPORT KIDS FIRST! We know that Holiday Time is the #1 time for making tax-deductible donations to your favorite nonprofits. Please keep us in mind in your annual giving and consider making a contribution to KIDS FIRST!

TIME TO ENTER AND VOTE! KIDS FIRST! needs your help to choose the next group of Film Critics. 2013 will be the third year we welcome new faces to represent KIDS FIRST! to review tons of new feature films, DVDs and old classics. Our youth critics also attend Red Carpet Events and host our very own radio show, KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions on Voice America Kids. We are so excited to welcome these new faces – but don’t worry, you will still see many of our 2011 and 2012 critics next year!

There is still time to enter. If you haven’t entered yet, there’s still plenty of time to do it. Auditions are being accepted from any child ages 7-14. To enter, you will need to watch one of our search titles: Big Top Scooby-Doo!, E.T. : The Extra-Terrestrial, 30th Anniversary, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, Princess Bride, 25th Anniversary or Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups  (if you have a group that would like to have an event and enter, please contact us so we can help.)

Next, complete the entry form and submit your written review. After that, you will upload your review and get out the vote. For full rules, instructions and links to the entry form and upload information, visit the 2013 KIDS FIRST! Film Critic landing page. There are also great tips and short online webinars to help to increase your chances of winning a Film Critic spot for next year.

Now it is time to vote! Whether you or one of your friends has auditioned, or if you just want to have a say about who will be the next KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, you will need to help get out the vote. Visit the 2013 Film Critic Search website and click on the tab “Browse & Vote Here.”  Scroll through the pages and watch the reviews. If you like a video, choose the star rating you think is appropriate and click on it (you will have to hover your mouse over the stars beneath the video to choose your rating.)

Vote for all your favorites, tell all your friends, post it to your social media sites and do it often. Voting closes on December 31, 2012 at midnight. Winners will be announced shortly after.

Please support of our Film Critics Program. Every little bit helps! Even if you can only contribute $5, we need your support. Your donation to KIDS FIRST! is always tax deductible, so help us to help kids. At KIDS FIRST! we believe that Smart Kids Make Smart Consumers. Please visit our fundraising page, or contact us directly, if you can help.

‘Wimpy Kid: Dog Days’ Memories of Summer Laughs

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012


Greg Heffley leaves the worries of school for the pressures of summer vacation in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: dog days, and gives our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics plenty of laughs. Julia Chestnut, age 12, says, “Greg is funny and always finding himself in embarrassing situations that are so hilarious.”

Some favorite scenes: For Brianna Beaton, age 12, it’s the pot roast covered in dog slobber from Greg’s escapade rescuing his little brother’s blanket, “and his mom and two brothers don’t know and start eating the pot roast. It is so gross and funny.” Julianna Noone, age 12, who also interviews stars Zachary Gordon and Robert Capron, loves when Rodrick tries to get the attention of a girl lifeguard, but gets mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from the other lifeguard, an older man. “Rodrick’s facial expression is priceless, and this scene is just so funny I could not stop laughing.” Anthony Aranda, age 10, likes the doubles tennis match Greg gets into, “He gets hit a lot of times with a tennis ball in different places, which is really funny.”

With memories of some of the best laughs of summer, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days comes out on DVD and blu-ray on December 18, 2012.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Reviewed by Brianna Beaton
(See Brianna’s full review on video.)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is very entertaining and hilarious to watch. It’s really a good film with lots of funny scenes and great messages.

School is finally out, and the perfect summer to Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) is to stay inside and play video games all day. On the other hand, his dad, Frank Heffley (Steve Zahn), decides he’s had enough of his son’s laziness and takes away his video games for the rest of the summer. With Greg’s main plans for summer canceled, he has to figure out what to do with the rest of his summer break.

There are several reasons of why I love this film, one being that, in the beginning, it goes from the book’s characters to real-life characters. Also, I am laughing at almost every scene. I really enjoy it and think the acting is good. My favorite part is when Sweetie, the family’s new dog, gets hold of Greg’s little brother’s blanket, Tingie. Greg happens to use his mom’s pot roast to get it back. Once he gets it back, he also gets the pot roast back, but it is full of dog slobber. Greg’s dad cleans up the pot roast to serve it for dinner but it still has some slobber on it, and his mom and his two brothers don’t know and start eating the pot roast. It is so gross and funny.

David Bowers does an amazing job on directing this hilarious film. Also doing a great job are the writers Gabe Sachs (screenplay) and Maya Forbes. The other actors are Robert Capron, playing Rowley Jefferson; Devon Bostick, playing Rodrick Heffley; and Peyton List, playing Holly Hills.

I found a couple of great messages in this film. One is to always tell the truth. Greg lies to his dad that he had a job, he lies to the different desk clerks at the country club about his name, and he lies to Holly that he is a member at the country club. It like a lying Macarena, but in the end it all catches up to him. Also, sometimes it’s okay to mess up. Just admit it, take responsibility and learn from it.

I recommend Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days for ages 5 to 15, but the whole family will enjoy it too.

I give this film five out of five stars because it is very very funny, has a great message and is good for the whole family to enjoy. It will keep you laughing.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Reviewed by Julianna Noone
(See Julianna’s full review on video.)

This film is the third in this popular series and is based on the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, which are written by Jeff Kinney. These books are about the ups and downs of growing up and trying to deal with school, family and relationships. The stories are so well written and relatable that you can’t help but love the books and the movies.

This film stars Zachary Gordon, who does a great job once again as the main character, Greg Heffley, and Robert Capron as his lovable friend, Rowley Jefferson. This film starts out with Greg and Rowley finishing the school year and planning out their summer vacation. There’s only one problem, as usual for Greg: Nothing goes as planned. Follow along as Greg and Rowley try to make it through the dog days of summer.

My favorite character is Greg because he is funny and means well even when he makes mistakes. Deep down, he just wants everyone to like him. It is hard choosing one scene as my favorite, because most of the scenes at the country club are absolutely hysterical, but I was able to choose one, when Greg’s older brother, Roderick, played brilliantly by Devon Bostick, tries to fake drowning so the pretty lifeguard will save him. The problem is, she doesn’t even notice him, so an older, hairy man dives into the pool, pulls him out and performs mouth to mouth on him. Roderick’s facial expression is priceless, and this scene is just so funny, I could not stop laughing.

Not only is this movie well written and very funny, but it has a really strong cast that help bring to life the Heffley family and make this an enjoyable film that the entire family can relate to and enjoy. The movie also has a great message in it about growing up and learning from your mistakes. I love this fabulous film and urge you to take your family and go see this film today.

I rate this film five out of five stars, as I think this is a film your entire family will love as much as I do. Trust me, you will love it!

And remember, a man who makes no mistakes is a man who hasn’t learned anything.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Reviewed by Anthony Aranda
(See Anthony’s full review on video.)

This movie is awesome. It has so many funny parts in the movie. It was hilarious. This movie is based on the third and fourth book of the Wimpy Kid series, The Last Straw and Dog Days, which are also really good.

This movie is all about a person named Greg Heffley who is ready for summer. He has a lot of plans to have a lot of fun, but everything seems to go wrong. He is acting really lazy because all he is doing is playing video games and trying to impress a girl named Holly Hills. Rowley invites him to the country club where they can go swimming, play tennis and play golf.
The main characters in this movie are Greg, Greg’s family, Holly Hills and her family, and Rowley and his family. My favorite character in the movie is Greg because he is really funny and is kind of like me. He also does a lot of stuff to get out of spending time with his family. He will go do something else even if he doesn’t really want to so that he can get away from them.

My favorite part in the movie is when Rowley invites Greg to the country club and he meets Holly Hills. He has to play a tennis game with Rowley against Holly Hills and his mortal enemy, Patty Farrell. He gets hit a lot of times with a tennis ball in different places, which is really funny. Rowley gets hit a few times too, but it is mostly Greg who keeps getting hit. It made me laugh a lot.

I would recommend this movie for ages 5 and up because this movie is rated PG and there is only one scary part in the movie that younger children might not like. Everyone will think this movie is really funny and a great movie to watch with the whole family.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Reviewed by Julia Chestnut
(See Julia’s full review on video.)
(See Julia’s live interviews on location.)

I LOVE this movie. It is full of comedy and it makes you laugh the entire movie.
School is out and summer is waiting, and Greg (played by Zachary Gordon) is ready for summer and can’t wait to just play video games. Slowly, everything starts to go wrong. He finds himself sneaking into a country club each day to try and hang out with Holly Hills (played by Peyton List). My favorite part is when Greg gets called into the pool by his little brother and Greg finds out that he is peeing and then all the other little kids are peeing and then his little brother splashes the water with pee in it on Greg. It is so funny! Zachary Gordon plays Greg Heffley. He and Robert Capron are the stars in this movie, and they play best friends. Greg is funny and always finds himself in embarrassing situations that are so hilarious to the viewers watching!

Robert Capron plays his part very well as Rowley Jefferson. He is Greg’s best friend in this movie, but Rowley always embarrasses Greg in front of a big group of people. Rowley is funny and comes from a loving family and is a great best friend to everyone. He can connect with everyone. When he gets made fun of, he doesn’t care and he doesn’t let them get in his way of things.

Peyton List plays her part very well, too. She plays Holly Hills. In the movie, Greg likes Holly and tries to hang out with her for a while. He sneaks into the country club each day to hang out with Holly. I can see why Greg likes Holly, she is a very cute girl and is nice. She helps with everything and she is never selfish. She never looks at the bad side of people; she only looks at the good side. She is a great friend to everybody.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is great! I give it five out of five stars. It is so funny and full of comedy. I would recommend ages 8-12.

Blu-ray Pluses for Families

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Avatar_ExtendedDVD.JPGTo Blu-ray or not to Blu-ray, that is the question — with apologies to the Bard for debasing Hamlet’s famous musing. But the question is more than academic for families considering where to spend their home entertainment money. Blu-ray represents yet another investment in the never-ending line of technology advancements. Is it worth changing over your home entertainment system yet again?

While Avatar director James Cameron praises the quality of Blu-ray over standard DVD (“On Blu-ray, you can see the one-to-one relationship of what the actors did to how it was translated in the movie,” Cameron told attendees at the Digital Entertainment Group conference held in Los Angeles on Nov. 2, discussing the Blu-ray release of Avatar, which has become the No. 1 Blu-ray title of all time worldwide), parents of young children may be swayed more by a practical consideration: Blu-ray discs are less susceptible to damage from scratches and fingerprints than standard DVDs, thanks to the special hard-coating developed for them.

The more commonly touted advantage is, of course, the Blu-ray disc’s greater data-storage capacity — more than five times that of traditional DVDs. It is this greater capacity that enables Blu-ray discs to offer playback (and recording and rewriting) in high definition. Standard DVDs cannot store the amount of data needed to produce the sharp images and vivid colors of the increasingly popular HD, whereas a dual-layer Blu-ray disc can hold more than nine hours of HD video on its 50 gigabytes of storage. Of standard-definition video, the same disc could hold about 23 hours. Compared to a standard dual-layer DVD’s 8.5GB, Blu-ray discs’ storage capacity allows room for additional content and all those special features with which studios like to entice an at-home audience. High-def audio is also possible on Blu-ray.

Admittedly, the selection of movie titles currently available on Blu-ray is considerably less than DVD. Retail giant carries 150,000 titles on DVD but only 4,000 on Blu-ray, according to the company’s VP of movies and video, Bill Carr, speaking at the DEG conference. Yet DEG president Ron Sanders, who is also president of Warner Home Video, told the conference that, to date, standard DVD sales declined 14 percent while Blu-ray sales grew by 86 percent. Major movie studios Disney, Fox, Warner, Paramount, Sony, Lionsgate and MGM have released titles on Blu-ray, and, going forward, many studios have announced plans to release films on Blu-ray concurrent with standard DVDs. Many, in fact, release both together as a combo pack — with an additional digital copy that can be downloaded on other electronic devices — offering options for viewing almost anywhere.

Blu-ray 3D is yet another advancement to home-viewing options. Amazon, anticipating viewer interest and/or curiosity, offers information on its site about this format.

Toy Story 3 App Comes to iPad

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

On the heels of the success and industry recognition for its innovative format with the “Toy Story,” “Toy Story 2,” and “The Princess and the Frog” read-along applications, Disney Publishing Worldwide announces the availability of the “Toy Story 3” read-along app on the Apple iPad. Children can join Woody, Buzz, their pals, and a crew of new toys on the adventure of a lifetime in this fully interactive reading experience packed with eye-popping 3D effects, exciting games, sing-along tunes, multi-touch surprises, puzzles, and coloring pages. Children can hear the story read aloud, record their own narration, or explore at their own pace. “We are thrilled to expand our library of fully interactive read-along iPad apps with yet another blockbuster title,” said Yves Saada, Vice President, Digital Media, Disney Publishing Worldwide. “The read-along apps are a unique combination of Disney stories, fun activities and cutting edge technology, making these apps the first of their kind for children.”

In the Disney-Pixar feature film, “Toy Story 3,” which hit theaters on June 18, 2010, Buzz, Woody and the gang face an uncertain future as Andy gears up for college.  When the toys unexpectedly land in a room full of untamed tots who can’t wait to get their sticky little fingers on them, it’s pandemonium as they try to stay together, ensuring “no toys get left behind.”

Toy Story 3 iPad Application Highlights:

·         This cinematic, interactive storybook app features characters from Toy Story 3.

·         Two interactive reading modes allow kids to follow along as the story is read aloud, or explore at their own pace. Children can also select ‘Younger Reading Mode’ to simplify page turning.

·         Kids can see the story pop off the screen with fantastic 3D effects. Free 3D glasses are available at Disney Stores, available exclusively in the United States and Canada.

·         Children can play exciting games based on scenes from Toy Story 3.  Kids can watch Woody soar above the town, help him to safety in “Hang Glider,” and have a blast with Buzz as they overcome thrilling obstacles in “Falling with Style” – also in 3D.

·         Children can record their voice reading the story and hear it played back as narration.

·         Children can tap characters and objects for sound effects and fun surprises.

·         An interactive coloring feature that lets kids finger-paint and share their masterpieces with friends and family.

·         Kids can sing along to songs from the movie.

·         A visual page index allows kids the ability to jump to their favorite page.

·         Children can turn pages manually and move back and forth through the story as they wish.

The “Toy Story 3” app for the iPad is $8.99 and comes with a one-month free subscription to Consumers can download “Toy Story 3” directly from the App Store on the iPad or at  The “Toy Story” read-along app, the “Toy Story 2” read-along app and “The Princess and the Frog” read-along app can also be directly downloaded from the Apple App Store.

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