Archive for the 'Member News' Category

Send Us Your Wii Games!

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Great news for game producers! KIDS FIRST! now accepts Nintendo Wii games for review. To celebrate this new venture, KIDS FIRST! is offering discounted submissions for any Wii titles submitted by between now and September 1, 2009. Anyone submitting Wii titles will receive a member’s rate even if they are a non-member.

Already this summer KIDS FIRST! jurors have been getting interactive with visual media as they review games for the Nintendo Wii. This move has been a great hit with both adult and child jurors. Each title provides many hours and days of entertainment as the kids and grownups grab their Wii remotes and get off the couch to learn how to become a band leader in “Major Minor’s Majestic March;” how to climb trees quickly in “Go Play Lumberjacks;” how to do tricks on the trampoline in “Go Play Circus Star;” and how to get their groove on in “Dance Dance Revolution Disney Grooves” and so much more.

The Wii craze is taking the nation. Sales last Christmas for this family gaming system sky-rocketed, despite the troubled economy. Schools have Wii gaming competitions for fundraisers and libraries gather groups for some relaxing play time. With the ever-growing popularity of the games, we at KIDS FIRST! feel it’s important to support the family-friendly media kids interact with. To see some of the KIDS FIRST! jurors in action, check out our “Dance Dance Revolution Disney Grooves” review.

To learn more about submitting a title for KIDS FIRST! review, check out our website at

To learn more about becoming a KIDS FIRST! juror or to sign up for our online training classes go to our website

Congratulations to Award-Winning”PAMOJA MTAANI” (“Together in the Hood”), Behavior Change Video Game

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

The “PAMOJA MTAANI” (“Together in the Hood”), Behavior Change Video Game, created by Warner Bros, won the Global Business Coalition’s Business Excellence Award.

As a key component of the Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation, this open world five player LAN-Based PC game educates youth in Kenya.

The Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria honored Warner Bros. Entertainment with the Core Competence Business Excellence Award for the video game “Pamoja Mtaani” (“Together in the Hood”) at the GBC Business Excellence Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C on June 24, 2009. “Pamoja Mtaani”, Swahili for “Together in the Hood”, is an open world, five player LAN-based PC video game created by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment in collaboration with technical experts within the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and noted serious games developer, Virtual Heroes, Inc.

Warner Bros. Entertainment, in partnership with PEPFAR, applied its core competence to develop an action-based videogame pilot that is delivering targeted HIV prevention messages to East African youths. The videogame combines traditional gameplay with messages aimed at changing behavior, focusing on key behaviors that can reduce HIV infections among youth. The game development is part of The Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation, a  public-private collaboration among PEPFAR and businesses with critical core competencies such as messaging, new technologies and market research.

The “Pamoja Mtaani” videogame can be played at select youth venues in Nairobi, which are an integral component of this new initiative to revolutionize HIV prevention. The game, intended to engage youth through fun interaction, is designed to help influence HIV risk perceptions, attitudes and behaviors among young people in Nairobi.

Congratulations to KIDS FIRST! producer William VanDerKloot

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

This producer of KIDS FIRST! titles such as The Big Airshow  is winning awards with his title, “Flying the Secret Sky.” The Story of the RAF Ferry Command has recently been honored with awards at a number of prestigious film festivals.  The program most recently won Best Feature Documentary at CinegearExpo in Los Angeles, where it was screened at Paramount Studios.

The film also won the Golden Ace Award at the Las Vegas Film Festival, and the Special Jury Award at the Worldfest Houston Independent International Film Festival.  At the Las Vegas Festival, there were over 2000 entries from 20 countries, and at Worldfest Houston there were over 4500 category entries from 37 countries.

Earlier this year, “Flying the Secret Sky” won the prestigious CINE Golden Eagle for feature-length documentary.

Flying the Secret Sky tells a story of passionate risk-taking, of young men braving dangerous flights in primitive aircraft.  These “cowboys of the air” are forgotten heroes of the war, who flew without guns and embodied an improvisational spirit that was key to Allied victory.  Their story includes the American civilian chosen to fly Winston Churchill to secret wartime meetings, during the darkest days of WW II.

The documentary special was filmed in HD on-location in the US, Canada and the UK. It has aired nationally on PBS.  WGBH – Boston is the Television distributor, and PBS Video distributes a feature-length version on DVD, which is available now.  The program is also distributed  worldwide by PBS International.

The story is told by the veteran aviators themselves, including Air Commodore Taffy Powell, Kirk Kerkorian, and Bill VanDerKloot, the American civilian pilot who flew Winston Churchill during the war.  Included is never-before-seen home movie footage of Churchill in the American-built B-24 that safely delivered him to vital war conferences and secret meetings.   Also included is rare footage of Ferry Command aircraft and crews from archives around the world, as well as original footage and CGI.

Before the U.S entered the War, most of the Ferry Command pilots were American civilians who pioneered the global air routes we use today.  Theirs is one of the great unknown stories of the war and of aviation history.

For more information go to

Learn to Make Puppets From Award-Winning Professionals for Free

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Through a workshop especially designed for classrooms, Dog & Rooster Productions brings you “Hollywood and the Art of Puppetry.” Renowned puppeteer Greg Aronowitz educates kids on the history of animatronic puppets in filmmaking, and then shows them step-by-step how to make their own puppets with simple art supplies. Ideally suited for children ages 5-12.
The Labou team has completed over 50 of these workshops to much critical success with several non-profit organizations including Easter Seals as well as local schools, museums and libraries across the nation.

The workshop is now downloadable for free from under “Free Stuff”.  It has a video that teaches kids about the history of puppets in Hollywood, and the accompanying puppet cut-out sheets.  The kids love it!

qubo Highlights Kid Film Winners

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

In response to the phenomenally successful first round of quboPic premieres that aired this past winter, qubo, the TV and online entertainment service for children and families, will debut a second round of user-generated animated short films on qubo Channel as well as on qubo’s broadcast blocks on ION Television, NBC and Telemundo beginning Thursday, July 16.

Thousands of young animators from across the country logged on to to create short animated films using an innovative storytelling web application called “Zimmer Twins”.  qubo selected fourteen films to be to be converted into fully animated mini-movies for national broadcast.  qubo producers will re-master each film, converting it to high-resolution video with broadcast quality color, music and sound effects.  qubo has also enlisted character actors to record the dialogue  and narration written by the animators in their text bubble scripts.

The “Zimmer Twins”, Edgar and Eva, are animated characters featured in interactive cartoons that kids can create from scratch, modify and share with their friends in a rich, safe web environment. The “Zimmer Twins” section on includes storytelling tools, pre-made animated clips and simple editing instructions that tap into kids’ inherent love of stories.  The clips and storytelling prompts explore classic kid themes like science, animals, magic and adventure.  The animation interface is designed around the basic elements of sentence structure, and reinforces reading, grammar, and writing techniques. After creating their stories, users can post and share their creations and even vote for their favorite user-created submissions online.  In 2007, the “Zimmer Twins” won the International Interactive Emmy® Award.

“We were thrilled with the response to our first round of quboPic premieres and can’t think of a better way to honor and thank our viewers than by launching a second effort, “said  Rick Rodriguez, president and general manager, qubo.  “We are proud to showcase the creativity of these talented children on our air. The “Zimmer Twins” helps reinforce qubo’s mission of engaging children’s minds while promoting reading and literacy.”

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