Up to date information about children’s entertainment - film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

Deadline Extended for Endorsement and Film Festival Enries to July 15

June 25th, 2014

We have extended You have til July 15 to submit your films, DVDs, audio recordings, apps, TV shows and e-books for a KIDS FIRST! endorsement or for consideration in our KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. Don’t delay, do it today. The sooner you get it to us, the quicker you get your endorsement.

KIDS FIRST! has been supporting quality children’s media for 23 years and is the most highly respected media endorsement program in the country. Unlike an awards program which limits the number of winners, every title that meets our criteria and is approved by our kids’ juries receives an endorsement. Our base-line criteria includes:

NO gratuitous violence or abuse
NO inappropriate sexual behavior
NO bias in terms of race, gender, culture or religion
NO condescension toward children
NO replicable unsafe behavior

KIDS FIRST! Endorsed Titles Receive

  • The right to use the KIDS FIRST! endorsement seal and rating on all promotional and packaging materials..
  • A unique title landing page on the KIDS FIRST! website featuring reviews by our jurors, your trailer or sample clip, cover art and link to your website to purchase.
  • Consideration for a KIDS FIRST! Best Award
  • Coverage on the KIDS FIRST! Radio Show, KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions (100,000 lilsteners)
  • Promoted in KIDS FIRST! News (45,000 readers/mo)
  • Promoted on KIDS FIRST! Social media (450,000 reach)

For more information, go to http://www.kidsfirst.org/submit-a-title/

Subscribe to our Blog on Huffington Post

April 22nd, 2014

We are thrilled to announce our new KIDS FIRST! blog on Huffington Post. Please, go check it out and subscribe, comment and share. Please do it today and pass it on to your friends and family. This is a big deal for KIDS FIRST! and gives our kids a whole new audience to reach!

Here’s the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kids-first/

Spend a Week Viewing and Reviewing the Latest Films

April 14th, 2014

If you have a 10 to 15-year-old in your life who loves films and dreams of being on the red carpet, KIDS FIRST! has the perfect opportunity. Your tween can participate in the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp this summer in New York City/Brooklyn at Zing Revolution and Silver Spring, MD at Discover Communications for an experience they will never forget.

Give your child the opportunity to build self confidence and learn more about behind-the-scenes aspects of the film industry as they critique the latest films, learn to write reviews, practice interview techniques, improve on-camera skills, visit with industry professionals and are coached by seasoned professionals. All campers will have the opportunity to join the KIDS FIRST! Film Critic team of reporters.  Lara Lavi, managing partner at Zing Revolution comments, “We are thrilled to offer our ZING REVOLUTION HQ in Brooklyn to KIDS FIRST! As a Board member and fan of the organization we love seeing young people nurtured like this.”

Each week-long boot camp will meet Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Locations include:

  • July 14 – 18, 2014 - Silver Spring, MD, Discovery Communications (DCI World Headquarters. One Discovery Place Silver Spring, MD 20910
  • Aug. 4 - Aug. 8, 2014 - New York City/Brooklyn, Zing Revolution (140 58th Street, Brooklyn Army Terminal, Brooklyn, NY 11220)

Leading the KIDS FIRST! teaching team is Ranny Levy, founder and president of KIDS FIRST! / Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, a former television producer, educator and long-time children’s media advocate.  Documentary filmmaker, Nancy Kenney brings years of teaching experience to the team and a practical knowledge of how to inspire students. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Nancy co-founded the Children’s Peace Initiative and produces documentary films. Terry Solowey, former assistant director of outreach for Sesame Street Preschool Education Program and manager of outreach for Thirteen/WNET brings additional years of experience in media education. Rounding out the team is Janet Davidson, and EQUITY/SAG actor and DGA director with more than 200 episodic and 20 telefilms credited to her including Earth 2, Cagney & Lacey, Soul Food, Judging Amy and Any Day Now.

The KIDS FIRST! Film Critic’s program, now in its fourth year, has received acclaim from publishers and educators alike. The reviews, both written and videotaped, by the team of youth reporters reach an audience of more than 7 million monthly through affiliations with broadcast, print and online publishers including Huffington Post, Kidsville News, Working Woman, Kidzworld.com, HDnet Movies KidScene, LA Parent, Westchester Parent and many more.

For more information and to register, go to http://www.kidsfirst.org. Please act soon, because space is limited. Tuition: $459. There is a limited number of partial scholarships available.

About:  KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Boot Camp is a program of the 23-year-old, national, nonprofit organization,  Coalition for Quality Children’s Media  whose mission is to teach children critical viewing skills and to increase the visibility and availability of quality children’s media. For more information visit www.kidsfirst.org.

About: Zing Revolution: Zing Revolution is the industry leader in innovative technology and pop culture product development. Zing has the largest image offering in the world for music, fashion, art, television, movies and animation for premium 3M vinyl skins for consumer electronic accessories for over 300 electronic devices, home décor, extreme sports board skins and more. For more information visit www.zingrevolution.com 

Women’s Media Center Report Finds Women Still Underrepresented, Misrepresented in U.S. Media

March 20th, 2014

WomenMediaCenter.jpgThe U.S. media have exceedingly more distance to travel on the road to gender-blind parity, according to a report released today from the Women’s Media Center.

While noting barriers broken by top women in media like Shonda Rhimes, creator and executive producer and Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times, WMC’s 2014 Status of Women in U.S. Media Report notes a troubling status quo and, in some places, a slipping back in time.

Sports news coverage remains overwhelmingly white and male, even as women’s sports and women sports fans are surging, the report says. Moreover, women of color — who are spotlighted in this report for the first time —are among those who have lost ground in recent years.

“The media is failing women across the board,” said Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center. “The Women’s Media Center produces the annual Status of Women in U.S. Media Report to provide an overview of the role of women in media and thereby in society. It is a road map for where we are as a society and where we need to go for women to achieve an equal voice and equal participation. The numbers tell a clear story for the need for change on every media platform.”

WMC released the report today just before an afternoon panel discussion on “Women, Media and Leadership,” being held in conjunction with Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Karen Finney, host of MSNBC’s “Disrupt with Karen Finney” is moderating the panel. Panelists will discuss the report and examine the gender disparities, challenges and opportunities for making women more visible and powerful in media.

Using an avalanche of new surveys, studies and reports, the Women’s Media Center report examines the representation of women in newspapers, online-only news sites, television, radio, social media, video games, film and television, sports news, newsmakers and corporate/technology leadership.

Click here to download the report.

Here are highlights from the 2014 report:

As newsroom staffing declined 6.4 percent from 2011 to 2012, the overall tally of women staffers continued to hover at 36 percent, a figure largely unchanged since 1999. Nevertheless, the count for women of color continued its more extreme fluctuations.

The number of women in radio news jumped 8 percent from 2012 to 2013, narrowing one of the historically widest gender gaps in the news industry. However, elsewhere in broadcast news, there were, as examples, losses in female on-air talent and broadcast managers.

White men continued to dominate the ranks of Sunday morning news talk show guests, except on a single MSNBC show with a black female host.

Two women—1.09 percent—were among the 183 sports talk radio hosts on Talkers magazine’s “Heavy Hundred” list. The Top Ten among Talker’s news talk show “Heavy Hundred” included no women.

More than 150 print publications and websites covering sports—an arena whose editors are 90 percent white and 90 percent male—were slammed with an “F” in an Associated Press Sports Editors-commissioned study.

Over a five-year period ending in 2012, the 500 top-grossing movies had 565 directors, 33 of whom were black and two of that 33 were black women.

Women represent 28.8 percent of speaking characters in the top-grossing films in 2012.

Only six percent of the top 100 films in 2012 hired a balanced cast of women and men.

For production of the 250 top-grossing domestically made films of 2013, women accounted for 16 percent of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers and editors, slightly lower than the 2012 and 1998 figures.

According to a two-month snapshot in 2013, men wrote 82 percent of all film reviews.

Women snared 43 percent of speaking parts in prime-time TV, according to the latest study, up from 41 percent previously. Those women, however, tended to be much younger than their male acting counterparts.

More white women but fewer women of color have been directing prime-time TV shows but the overall numbers for women has remained virtually unchanged.

The report was researched and written for the Women’s Media Center by Katti Gray, veteran journalist and custom content producer. Cindy Royal, Ph.D., an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University in San Marcos reviewed it. Cristal Williams Chancellor, media relations manager of The Women’s Media Center and senior producer for Women’s Media Center Live with Robin Morgan, edited the report.

For more information go to http://www.womensmediacenter.com/pages/2014-statistics

Key Findings from Families’ Education Media Use in America:

February 13th, 2014

NMDOH.jpgFollowing is summary from the recent report on Families’ Education Media Use in America released by the New Mexico Dept of Health. You may also want to see and hear what their experts (Dr. Javier Aceves, Dr. Janis Gonzales and Dr. Neal Horen) and parents have to say about Toddlers and Screen Time.  http://nmhealth.org/phd/mchdaytwo.shtml

Key Findings from Families’ Education Media Use in America:

1. Nearly half (44%) of the screen media 2- to 10-year-olds use is considered educational by their parents (56 minutes out of a total of 2:07 screen media per day). Eight in ten children (80%) use educational media at least once a week, including a third (34%) who are daily users.

2. Most parents think that their child has learned from educational media. Among parents of weekly educational media users:

a. More than half (57%) say their child has learned “a lot” about one or more subject areas (e.g., reading/vocabulary, math, or cognitive skills) from educational media.

b. Fifty-four percent say their child “often” takes specific actions as a result of their exposure to educational media, such as talking about something they saw (38%), engaging in imaginative play based on it (34%), asking questions about it (26%), or asking to do a project or activity inspired by it (18%).

3. Educational media use occurs most frequently among very young children (1:16 a day among 2- to 4-year-olds), with a large drop-off in use as children get older (:50 a day among 5- to 7-year-olds, and :42 a day among 8- to 10-year-olds). As children get older, the amount of time they spend with screen media goes up (from 1:37 to 2:36 a day), and the proportion that is educational goes down (from 78% to 27%).

4. Children spend far more time with educational TV (an average of :42 a day) than they do with educational content on other platforms such as mobile devices (:05), computers (:05), or video games (:03). For every subject except math, parents are more likely to say their child has learned a lot about it from educational television than from any other platform. Educational content on mobile devices was ranked lowest in learning by parents in every subject area.

5. Parents don’t believe their children learn as much from educational media about science as they do about other subject areas. Nineteen percent of parents say their child has learned “a lot” about science from an educational media platform, compared to 37% for reading and cognitive skills development and 28% for math.

6. Across every platform and almost all subject areas studied, Hispanic-Latino parents are the least likely to say their child has learned from educational media. For example, among Hispanic-Latino parents of weekly educational media users, 63% say their child has learned a lot or some about math from computers, compared to 91% of Black and 79% of White parents.

7. Many children have access to and are using electronic reading devices. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of 2- to 10-year-olds now have access to either an e-reader or a tablet device. However, only half (49%) of all children with access to such a device have read or been read to on it. On average, children now spend :05 a day with e-books, compared to :29 a day reading in print. Young children (2- to 4-year-olds) with e-platforms in the home are just as likely as older children (8- to 10-year-olds) to have used them (49% and 53% respectively, not a statistically significant difference.)

Paramount Pictures’ JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT is Awarded First Grownups Seal

January 23rd, 2014

JackRyan.jpgAARP today announced the launch of the AARP Movies for Grownups® Seal, which recognizes films that have a special appeal to 50+ audience members.  The first film to receive the Movies for Grownups Seal is Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions’ JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT, starring Chris Pine and directed by and co-starring Academy Award®-nominee Kenneth Branagh.

To receive AARP’s new Movies for Grownups Seal, a film must be selected by AARP’s Movies for Grownups editorial team, which dedicates hundreds of hours each year to screening eligible blockbusters and independent films, identifying movies with a distinct relevance to the 50+ audience. AARP’s Movies for Grownups Seal is the latest extension of the Movies for Grownups franchise, a highly-respected entertainment platform which was launched in 2002 by the editors of AARP The Magazine and features weekly film reviews, award-winning radio and YouTube programs, film festivals, an annual Movies for Grownups Awards gala and year-round coverage in AARP The Magazine and on AARP.org.

“We are delighted to announce the debut of the Movies for Grownups Movie Seal and are thrilled to award this distinction to JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT,” said Myrna Blyth, SVP and Editorial Director of AARP Media.  “Returning the beloved Tom Clancy character of Jack Ryan to the big screen, the film features performances by 50+ talents including director and co-star Sir Kenneth Branagh and co-star Kevin Costner. We believe the film will hold strong appeal for the 50+ demographic, which is responsible for one in four of all opening weekend ticket sales.”

Films selected to receive AARP’s Movies for Grownups Seal are invited to participate in AARP’s Movies for Grownups Marketing Powerhouse program, selecting their choice of marketing packages. The marketing program for JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT will include promotion on AARP.org and AARP’s digital Daily News Alert, as well as across AARP’s social media channels.  In addition, Paramount Pictures worked with AARP to arrange for screenings of JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT for AARP members in eight markets across the U.S. ahead of the film’s nationwide release.

“We are thrilled to be the very first picture to receive this seal of approval on behalf of such an important and discerning audience of adult filmgoers represented by AARP,” said LeeAnne Stables, EVP of Worldwide Marketing Partnerships, Paramount Pictures.  “The combination of this suspenseful thriller and the talents of Chris Pine, Kevin Costner and director Kenneth Branagh is something moviegoers of all ages will appreciate.”

JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT is playing in theaters now.

Based on the CIA analyst created by the late espionage master Tom Clancy, JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT is a blistering action thriller that follows Ryan (Chris Pine, “Star Trek”) from his quiet double-life as a veteran-turned-Wall Street executive to his all-out initiation as a hunted American agent on the trail of a massive terrorist plot in Moscow.

Ryan appears to be just another New York executive to his friends and loved ones, but his enlistment into the CIA secretly goes back years.  He was brought in as a brainy Ph.D. who crunches global data – but when Ryan ferrets out a meticulously planned scheme to collapse the U.S. economy and spark global chaos, he becomes the only man with the skills to stop it. Now, he’s gone fully operational, thrust into a world of mounting suspicion, deception and deadly force. Caught between his tight-lipped handler Harper (Academy Award®-winner Kevin Costner), his in-the-dark fiancée Cathy (Keira Knightley) and a brilliant Russian oligarch (Kenneth Branagh), Jack must confront a new reality where no one can seem to be trusted, yet the fate of millions rests on his finding the truth.  With the urgency of a lit fuse, he’s in a race to stay one step ahead of everyone around him.

Produced by Mace Neufeld, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, David Barron and Mark Vahradian.  Based on characters created by Tom Clancy.  Written by Adam Cozad and David Koepp.  Directed by Kenneth Branagh.

50 Films you MUST watch before Oscar Night 2014

December 17th, 2013

Awards.jpgThanks to my friend Marshall for this list. Here are his recommendations, based on critics’ awards, industry buzz and personal opinion.

1.    12 Years a Slave

2.    American Hustle

3.    Gravity

4.    Captain Phillips

5.    Nebraska

6.    Inside Llewyn Davis

7.    The Wolf of Wall Street

8.    Her

9.    Saving Mr. Banks

10.  Dallas Buyers Club

11.  Lee Daniel’s The Butler

12.  Philomena

13.  August: Osage County

14.  Blue Jasmine

15.  Rush

16.  All is Lost

17.  Fruitvale Station

18.  Frozen

19.  Enough Said

20.  Before Midnight

21.  The Great Gatsby

22.  Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

23.  Short Term 12

24.  Prisoners

25.  The Wind Rises

26.  Frances Ha

27.  Labor Day

28.  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

29.  Lone Survivor

30.  Blue is the Warmest Color

31.  Iron Man 3

32.  The Book Thief

33.  Pacific Rim

34.  Monsters University

35.  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

36.  Spring Breakers

37.  Mud

38.  The Croods

39.  Oz: The Great and Powerful

40.  Stories We Tell

41.  The Invisible Woman

42.  Despicable Me 2

43.  Star Trek: Into Darkness

44.  The Lone Ranger

45.  Ernest & Celestine

46.  The Past

47.  20 Feet from Stardom

48.  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

49.  Blackfish

50.  Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Awards Show Schedule:

People’s Choice Awards - Wednesday, January 8th (CBS)
Golden Globes - Sunday, January 12th (NBC)
Critics Choice (BFCA) Awards - Thursday, January 16th (The CW)
Screen Actors Guild Awards - Saturday, January 18th (TNT / TBS)
The Grammys - Sunday, January 26th (CBS)
BAFTA Awards – Sunday, February 16th (BBC America)

Independent Spirit Awards - Saturday, March 1st (IFC)
Academy Awards - Sunday, March 2nd (ABC)

KIDS FIRST! Endorsement / Film Festival Deadlines Last Extension - Dec 15

November 30th, 2013

KIDSFIRSTlogohighres.jpgWe have extended our deadline for both endorsement submissions and film festival submissions to December 15. That’s right, you have a little just a few more days to get your films, DVDs, web series, apps and audios into us for 2013 endorsements and film festival inclusion.

Remember, unlike awards programs that limit the number of awards given out, any title that meets our endorsement criteria and is deemed to be child friendly, gets an endorsement. If it’s not endorsed, we even tell you exactly why. That way, you can fix it and re-submit.

You have until December 15 to submit your audio recordings, films, DVD, apps, web series and games.  Screenplays are accepted year round.

Also, we have reduced our application fees! How cool is that.

Our member fees are only $100 per title for films, DVDs, audio, games and web series. Apps and screenplays are $55. Non-member fees are slightly more.

Check it out at  http://www.kidsfirst.org/submit-a-title/

Send us your wonderful children’s media.  We are ready and waiting!

Results will be published about 30 days after each deadline.

Netflix add Scholastic Shows As Kids Head Back to School

August 19th, 2013

Netflix.jpgAs vacations wind down, school supplies stack up and everyone begins to get back into the school-year routine, Netflix has even more to offer families as they head back to school. Recently, Netflix Inc. and Scholastic Media, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, announced a distribution agreement that will make popular television series and video content produced by Scholastic Media available to Netflix subscribers in the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland and Latin America.  This is the first time many of the Scholastic titles have been available in the streaming format.

Starting on Aug. 15, The Magic School Bus® (seasons 1-4; all 52 episodes), will be available exclusively for SVOD to Netflix members in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland and Latin America.  Additionally, Goosebumps® (seasons 1-4; all 74 episodes) will be available in the US, Canada, UK and Ireland.  The deal also includes several non-exclusive titles based on award-winning and best-selling books from the Scholastic Storybook Treasures™ line – including such classics as Harry the Dirty Dog, Danny and the Dinosaur, Chrysanthemum, The Snowy Day and The Mouse and The Motorcycle, and movies such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Stories and Stellaluna, which are now available in the US and Canada. Many of the titles have never been previously available to consumers on TV or online.

“When we first added The Magic School Bus and Goosebumps for our members in the US and Canada earlier this summer we knew they would perform well, but after seeing just how popular they were we decided to expand our relationship with Scholastic and bring these great shows to more of our markets,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer for Netflix.  “We are very happy to be the streaming home for popular classics from Scholastic Media.”

“We are delighted Netflix has recognized the power of Scholastic’s iconic and award-winning global brands,” said Deborah Forte, President of Scholastic Media and Executive Vice President of Scholastic Inc. “We are thrilled to see the shows are as popular as ever – which is validated by the Netflix subscribers we’re so happy to serve.”

Additional series that are available in the U.S. and Canada as part of the agreement include I SPY®, The Baby-Sitters Club®, Dear America®, Horrible Histories®, Dragon™, Turbo Dogs™ and Sammy’s Story Shop.
For more information, go to  www.netflix.com and  www.scholastic.com.

BBFC Investigates Kids’ Download Habits

August 8th, 2013

MovieDownload_1.jpgA new online study, commissioned by the Industry Trust for IP Awareness in partnership with the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), finds that a quarter of children and teens download or stream movies from unofficial sources that offer no guidance on age ratings.

The study asked 1,000 U.K. consumers, ages 11 to 15, about their online viewing habits. A third (37 percent) of younger children, ages 11 and 12, admit to having recently downloaded or streamed a film rated for ages 15+ from a pirate website. One in five of those 11 to 15 (21 percent) say they use pirate websites to keep up with what friends and older siblings are watching. More than a quarter in the same age group (27 percent) say their parents don’t know what films they are watching online, and a third (32 percent) wouldn’t feel comfortable with younger siblings copying their viewing behavior. For more info, go to http://worldscreen.com/articles/display/40504

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