What is the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival
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Feature 60+ min.
Early Deadline $40
Short 59 min. or less
The KIDS FIRST! Film Festival showcases new and classic children's films, TV shows and DVDs from studios, independent producers and youth filmmakers. It travels to more than 75 venues annually. Our festival adds new titles twice a year and all accepted titles will be considered for a KIDS FIRST! Best Award. Check the deadline schedule to find the one that works best for you and submit accordingly. The Festival accepts approximately 75 titles twice a year, 150 annually.
To qualify for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, your film/DVD/TV show must
meet the KIDS FIRST! criteria and
be suitable for children between the ages of 2 to 18.
The production quality must be acceptable for the large screen
and the entertainment value suitable for a festival
audience. Programs lacking in these last two qualities
may be better suited for a KIDS FIRST! endorsement particularly
if they have strong educational value and work best in a
face-to-face learning environment. Independent and student producers need to clear all copyrighted music or film clips for film festival play. Do not submit films without clearances.
Screenplays are now accepted year-round through our endorsement program. Go here to submit.
Application: Three, non-returnable preview screeners must be submitted in DVD format (NTSC) with your Festival application.
Upon acceptance, you must send an additional 5 non-returnable DVDs for festival play. Additionally, if your film is 30 minutes or shorter, it will be included in our online KIDS FIRST! Film Festival Venue Partner Site. From this site, our venue partners may preview your film and, with our approval, download for their festival play. Your application gives pre-approval to these terms.
Upon acceptance, your film will be offered to the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival Venue Partners for a period of 2 years. If necessary, you may suspend screenings after the first 6 months from acceptance date with 30 days written notification.
Once you submit a title to the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, you may not withdraw it. Please be sure you have no conflicts prior to submitting.
Acceptance notification will be emailed and mailed by USPS approximately 15 days prior to the start of the screening period for which it is accepted. Late submissions and non-acceptances will be notified later. You will receive an acceptance agreement which specifies your deliverables and deadlines. Upon acceptance, you may use the "Official Selection KIDS FIRST! Film Festival" seal in all your publicity or box art. Only the film that is accepted may use this. If it is part of a series, others in the series may not use it unless they too have been accepted into the festival.
Upon acceptance, you will be asked to send 300 dpi cover art (if available), production stills and, for films over 30 minutes in length, a promotional trailer. Full instructions will be sent with your acceptance letter.
Your title will be offered to all KIDS FIRST! Film Festival Venue Partners. We do our best to get your film as many bookings as possible. For feature films, providing a promotional trailers definitely increases bookings by 5 to 10 times.
Your film/DVD/TV Show:
- Receives an "Official Selection KIDS FIRST! Film Festival" designation which may be used in any of your publicity materials.
- Is included in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival Venue Partner website.
- Is assigned a detail page on the KIDS FIRST! web site which will feature artwork, reviews and trailer from the film. The site receives 1 million hits monthly.
- Will be considered for a KIDS FIRST! Best Awards
KIDS FIRST! Best Awards and the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival are projects of the Coalition for Quality Children's Media
Tips About Copyright Clearances
Independent and student producers need to clear the copyrighted music for film
festivals or not use copyrighted music at all. The music business regards the use of music at
film festivals as a violation of copyright unless permission has been
granted. They have provided a low fee of $250 to $750 for one year film
This also applies to film clips. To actually clear a film clip, you
need to clear the studio, every actor in the clip, music if there is any and Writers and Directors Guilds. The studios consider the use of a clip without clearance as a violation of copyright. And getting clearance is a lengthy, tricky and expensive task.
Young filmmakers need to understand it is not their right to use
anything they want in their films. When they do, it gives them a great and unfair advantage over films and filmmakers who have not used copyrighted materials because they can't pay for them and
have chosen to not use them without permission.
This information was generously provided by Barbara Zimmerman, President, BZ/Rights & Permissions, Inc. You may contact her at:
2350 Broadway, Suite 224
New York, NY 10024
Great American Pitchfest:
Ed Silver Agency
"I just wanted say how extremely helpful I found the jurors' comments on my screenplay "Is It Me?" While generally very positive, which was gratifying, the comments included specific suggestions to improve the screenplay overall as well as make it more appealing to the most appropriate age group, 8-12. I agree with all of the suggestions and they will certainly help me make this screenplay the very best I can.
Whatever happens in October, I am very happy I submitted my screenplay to KIDS FIRST! and will continue to enjoy visiting your website with frequency. Thank you." Michael Fishman
"We are so excited to have been nominated for our short film 'Mbiya and His Cow' produced by Mindpool Productions. The children had so much fun with being part of the production of this film. We are really holding thumbs that it does well in the festival. Oh how I wish that I could be there as part of the award ceremony but being so far away from the States it is a real challenge for us. Be that as it may, we consider this a major achievement not just for the children of South Africa but also the children of the African continent. Please keep me posted on the progress and looking forward to the verdict in mid October." Jacqui Hlongwane-Papo, Executive Producer, Mbiya and His Cow
"It's easy to make the typical mindless junk that passes for entertainment these days - it is so much harder to make things that teach, entertain and have a message that sticks with you, that you want to savor and recall over and over, just like the special books that we'd
read over and over again when we were all kids ourselves. That's my mission and I know it's yours at KIDS FIRST! too Thanks so much for letting me be a part of this!" Kelly Kennedy, Producer/Director, The Baseball Card Shop