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POPULAR THEORY

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
POPULAR THEORY       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
BLUE FOX ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Popular Theory follows Erwin, a 12-year old genius, far smarter than any of her high school classmates. But Erwin's genius has come at a price: isolation. She doesn't have any friends and even her sister thinks she's a social leper. Determined to win the State Science Fair, she teams up with classmate Winston, a fellow outcast and chemistry guru, to create a popularity chemical which they add into sticks of chewing gum.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - With compelling performances and a story emphasizing brains over social status, Popular Theory is both a heartfelt story of friendship and innovation that young viewers will love. Erwin (Sophia Reid-Gantzert), a young genius named for Nobel Prize-winning physicist Erwin Schr�dinger, is the youngest student in high school and a bona fide loner. She enjoys spending time on her own doing complex science experiments so much that her aunt and father, who raise her, grow concerned and place a science plan on her. But when she meets fellow genius Winston (Lincoln Lambert), they team up to evade the ban and invent a pheromone that threatens to upset the natural order of high school.

Lincoln Lambert and Sophia Reid-Gantzert's dynamic is my favorite part of Popular Theory. At a young age, both actors seem to have mastered the art of owning their character, whether it's the micro-gestures of disgust, awe, sadness and hypochondria that Lambert portrays as Winston or Reid-Gantzert's comfort being Erwin. It's truly a delight to see them interact on screen as they transition from rivals to "colleagues," to friends, and as forces push and pull them apart. I'm a Lincoln Lambert fan, having spoken to him about his film Language Arts and having discussed his creative process. But I have to admit that Reid-Gantzert steals the show. That's largely because the screenwriters (Ali Scher and Joe Swanson) have crafted a teen movie that, thankfully, doesn't turn into a rom-com halfway through. Too often the archetype of the wannabe teenage girl eager to change herself exploited. Yes, there's an element of that trope in the film, both in Erwin's character and in Erwin's sister, Ari (Chloe East). But Erwin always stays true to who she is and takes pride in her status as a genius without coming across as too egotistical -- a good role model for young viewers. On another note, the dynamic in Erwin's home reminds one a bit of Matilda, with her aunt and father looking at her as some freak-of-nature genius. Some comical and unexpectedly sentimental moments come from Aunt Tammy (Cheryl Hines), who's an eccentric hairstylist. Erwin's father, Arthur (Marc Evan Jackson), stricken by the grief of losing his wife, feels a little like a prop character mainly because of a lack of screen time. He isn't given much to work with in terms of dialogue or emoting. I wonder how the film would be affected if Erwin was only raised by her aunt. The direction and production quality are other highlights. The few moments dragging the film down are wooden performances by secondary characters, but those are overshadowed by the strength and integrity of the plot.

Popular Theory shows how dangerous instantaneous popularity can be and comments on the ethics of using technology for personal and social benefit. Making change through friendship and positivity can make the high school experience and life better in more ways than one.

I give Popular Theory 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Popular Theory released in theaters on February 9, 2024.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

Popular Theory highlights the idea that friendship is all about chemistry! The movie shows the negative aspects of popularity and how a positive charge or change through friendship can make the high school experience, and life, more meaningful.

Erwin Page (Sophia Reid-Ganzert) is a 12-year-old genius at Magnolia High School and suffers from social isolation. Her formative years were spent primarily alone with her scientific experiments and books were her friends. Erwin's Aunt Tammy (Cheryl Hines) is certain that science is stunting her social development and with Erwin's Dad (Marc Evan Jackson) empties her room of all science materials to force her to interact with others. The situation is made worse in opposition with her popular older sister Ari (Chloe East) which contrasts the difference in the girls' social positions. High school can be depicted as survival of the fittest where popularity is all that matters to the student body. Erwin is disturbed when new student Winston (Lincoln Lambert), who is 13, enrolls at school and the two of them engage in competition for the upcoming science fair award and scholarship. Erwin and Winston end up together as science partners in their quest to win the competition by utilizing pheromones to impact popularity in their "Friendship Formula."

The ensemble cast in Popular Theory is funny and acidic and gives us the exact chemical reaction that one would hope for. The developing friendship and competitive nature of Erwin and Winston is believable and endearing. I really enjoyed the comedic timing of Cheryl Hines in her supporting role as Aunt Tammy. Also, I have to mention the hysterical drama offered by high school test subjects Casey (Kat Conner Sterling) and Alan (Varak Baronian) as they experience the reactions to their popularity quotient during the social experiment. Great performances by many other high school student cast members really make this movie combust. Popular Theory is directed by Ali Scher, who is also a co-writer with Joe Swanson. I really enjoyed the relationships and the dialogue they created. The movie has a fun soundtrack from music supervisor Ben Sokoler and music editor Jason Soudah which adds to the cause and effect of this film.

This film's message is that false friends can't replace true friends and, as in science, "particles have no meaning as isolated entities, but are better understood through their interconnections." You don't need to be popular at school or in life to thrive or be liked by everybody, but people do need somebody to connect with. Erwin and Winston don't win the science fair, but they do discover the real friendship formula.

I give Popular Theory 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This movie released in theaters February 9, 2024 so go learn why popularity isn't all that matters.

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Popular Theory is an adorable film that showcases true friendship. The camera work, charming script, clever cinematography and great actors make this film a delightful experience.

The story begins by introducing Erwin (Sophia Reid-Gantzert), a 12-year-old genius who's in 11th grade. She meets Winston (Lincoln Lambert), another 12 year-old-genius who's initially her biggest competition. But, they agree to be colleagues and work on an experiment for the school science fair. They face many obstacles but discover what friendship truly means.

I really love this film. So many aspects make it unique and really stand out. I love the camera movement; from scene to scene the film is packed with clever transitions that are so appealing to the eye. Cinematographer Damian Horan knew what he was doing - the colors are especially interesting. Erwin is constantly surrounded by the color blue; while Winston is represented by the color orange. When the two first meet the juxtaposition of the colors stands out, as their friendship grows they both start wearing each other's colors. The color palette is not only aesthetically pleasing, but is also very symbolic and adds to the storytelling. I've seen similar applications like in the film 500 Days Of Summer, but I love the way Damian Horan shot this film, almost making the colors a standalone character. The art direction by Gavin Mosier and set design decoration by Mily Moreno is genius; kudos to the entire art department. Sophia Reid-Gantzert as Erwin and Lincoln Lambert as Winston make the cutest duo. They're such great actors individually, but also they work so well together. One of my favorite characters is Cheryl Hines as Aunt Tammy; she's a hairdresser and utilizes her craft as an art form. I also like how every character serves a different purpose in the film. I love the storyline; not only is it adorable but this film offers a great representation of what kids go through in high school and I think people can relate to many aspects of this film.

This film deals with many different themes like bullying, friendship, doing what is best for others, and other themes. The film's message is that popularity isn't everything and anyone can find true friendship.

I give Popular Theory 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Popular Theory is available now in theaters.

By Zo� C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


GET ALONG

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GET ALONG
ISOLDE ASAL
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - At young koala Fred's home, there are often fights between his brothers and his father. When it gets noisy again, Fred runs crying to the playground, where he sees the lion girl Lizzy and the duck Mika. But the two soon leave the playground and Fred finds a coin in the sand. Mika realizes that she has lost her coin. Now they can't buy ice cream anymore. Back at the playground, they find Fred who has found that very coin. Lizzy wants to get the coin back....
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is an impressive animation undertaking by a team of young students, ages 7 to 11. When showing it to a group of kids the same age, they like everything about it except that the characters have no "legs" - there is an empty space between their bodies or clothing and their feet - which is odd and, since everything else about them is realistic, doesn't make sense. However, we felt the storyline is strong enough to include it, but will warm programmers about it since it was a big issue with some kids when viewing it.

The storyline is about sharing as one kid loses a coin, which is picked up by another and, in the end they learn to share.

The animation is well executed with the exception of "the missing legs" as described above. There is no narration so the background music plays an important role and is well suited for the film.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is an impressive animation undertaking by a team of young students, ages 7 to 11. When showing it to a group of kids the same age, they like everything about it except that the characters have no "legs" - there is an empty space between their bodies or clothing and their feet - which is odd and, since everything else about them is realistic, doesn't make sense. However, we felt the storyline is strong enough to include it, but will warm programmers about it since it was a big issue with some kids when viewing it.

The storyline is about sharing as one kid loses a coin, which is picked up by another and, in the end they learn to share.

The animation is well executed with the exception of "the missing legs" as described above. There is no narration so the background music plays an important role and is well suited for the film.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 4 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SARNEVESHT

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SARNEVESHT
YASER TALEBI
Series: FOREIGN DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - After the death of her mother 18-year-old Sahar is left in charge of her poor, mentally disabled father in an isolated village in Iran. This observational portrait captures a young woman caught between traditional gender roles and her desire for self-determination.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Very insightful documentary.

Follows 18-year-old Sahar who is left in charge of her poor, mentally disabled father in an isolated village in Iran after her mother passes. This observational portrait captures a young woman caught between traditional gender roles and her desire for self-determination.

Beautifully shot. Terrific camera work, great audio, excellent acting, poignant subject.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Very insightful documentary.

Follows 18-year-old Sahar who is left in charge of her poor, mentally disabled father in an isolated village in Iran after her mother passes. This observational portrait captures a young woman caught between traditional gender roles and her desire for self-determination.

Beautifully shot. Terrific camera work, great audio, excellent acting, poignant subject.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 25 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


LIA IRL

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LIA IRL
PILI MILI FILMS
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Young boy with learning difficulties befriends a voice-activated AI assistant that unknowingly prepares him for the real challenges of life.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Lia IRL is a great representation of introverted and shy people, or people who may have trouble in terms of being social. I love that they used AI, which is a very modern way to create such a story that others can relate to. It is well thought out and presented.

Lia IRL follows a boy named Simon who doesn't speak much around others. He receives a new phone from his parents with an AI Assistant on it named Lia. He tries to develop conversation with LIA as if she's a real person, but as AI assistants do, she only has a limited number of capabilities. Simon, with the help of LIA, gets social experience leading up to him making new friends.

This film focuses on introverted people who have social anxiety or some form of a learning disorder. The plot has a good message but has some shortcomings. The beginning doesn't give us too much backstory on what the situation is. The film is cute though, and is a good watch. In terms of camera work, the film's scenes mostly consist of a wide view that shows Simon in the middle and you also get a sense of the world around him. It doesn't move around much, mostly it stays in one spot, focusing on the phone once in a while. Since the film focuses on a normal life, the costumes fit that standard with typical clothes a kid wears today. The sets are mostly in Simon's home and some other places that he has to go to that are mostly sports or school related. The character Simon goes from being distant and quiet at the beginning of the film to being happier and actually making a friend as the film develops. LIA becomes a friend and when she leaves, he is forced to make new friends. That experience ultimately helps him in terms of his social life and understanding of social life. The production team did well on this film. It is well made. My favorite part is when Simon is beating up his phone with the pillow and the feathers are flying everywhere. It is funny because Lia had turned into Larry, which he didn't want, and he ends up doing a lot of damage with it.

The film teaches people about social life. Especially for those who can relate to it on a different level, they will find connections of wanting to find a friend but having trouble doing so. In this case, when you do find a friend and you lose that person, it can be very upsetting. It shows us that and how, while it may be hard to make friends and you may lose friends, that's okay. You will eventually find a good friend that's worth it, helpful, and loyal.

I give Lia IRL 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Lia IRL is a great representation of introverted and shy people, or people who may have trouble in terms of being social. I love that they used AI, which is a very modern way to create such a story that others can relate to. It is well thought out and presented.

Lia IRL follows a boy named Simon who doesn't speak much around others. He receives a new phone from his parents with an AI Assistant on it named Lia. He tries to develop conversation with LIA as if she's a real person, but as AI assistants do, she only has a limited number of capabilities. Simon, with the help of LIA, gets social experience leading up to him making new friends.

This film focuses on introverted people who have social anxiety or some form of a learning disorder. The plot has a good message but has some shortcomings. The beginning doesn't give us too much backstory on what the situation is. The film is cute though, and is a good watch. In terms of camera work, the film's scenes mostly consist of a wide view that shows Simon in the middle and you also get a sense of the world around him. It doesn't move around much, mostly it stays in one spot, focusing on the phone once in a while. Since the film focuses on a normal life, the costumes fit that standard with typical clothes a kid wears today. The sets are mostly in Simon's home and some other places that he has to go to that are mostly sports or school related. The character Simon goes from being distant and quiet at the beginning of the film to being happier and actually making a friend as the film develops. LIA becomes a friend and when she leaves, he is forced to make new friends. That experience ultimately helps him in terms of his social life and understanding of social life. The production team did well on this film. It is well made. My favorite part is when Simon is beating up his phone with the pillow and the feathers are flying everywhere. It is funny because Lia had turned into Larry, which he didn't want, and he ends up doing a lot of damage with it.

The film teaches people about social life. Especially for those who can relate to it on a different level, they will find connections of wanting to find a friend but having trouble doing so. In this case, when you do find a friend and you lose that person, it can be very upsetting. It shows us that and how, while it may be hard to make friends and you may lose friends, that's okay. You will eventually find a good friend that's worth it, helpful, and loyal.

I give Lia IRL 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 14 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


MY EMPATHY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MY EMPATHY
SAGE DRAKE
Series: INDIE FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A film that explores the current state of our planet and future. Produced by Angelita Bushey. Narrated by Rachel Amanda Bryant. Written and directed by Sage Christian Drake.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - My Empathy is an insightful film crafted with care, carrying a message that this generation needs to hear about the state of care, compassion, and kindness in our world today. Great storyline and filmmaking!

With compelling interviews of people from all age groups, including children, and a clear and simple structure, the film examines various facets of society and social behavior and how technology, the pandemic, and other factors have changed/impacted our way of reacting to them.

The idea behind the film and its execution align beautifully; each interview conducted and featured in the film reveals something new about the human experience, our view of empathy and how that's changed over the years. It might be tough to digest for the first twenty minutes, as the filmmakers jump right into the material, but this is a must-watch for members of our modern society.

I love how Sage Christian Drake and his team adhered so strictly to the purist documentarian format of "interview + b-roll = great story" and don't focus on adding too much pizzazz to the film. The camerawork is standard for a documentary, with many medium shots for interviews. Interestingly, though, the entire film is in black-and-white (save for the b-roll used with the narrator Rachel Amanda Bryant's voice). This is perhaps intended to show how the world actually isn't so cut-and-dried and that empathy helps us not see the world in such absolutes. The sets suit the storyline; most are in and around an urban landscape to showcase our modernizing, cosmopolitan society. Music is used sparingly, only when b-roll is played on the screen while the narrator speaks. In these instances, the music beautifully accentuates the points made, adding tension when the narrator describes strife in society, and an air of happiness when something constructive or positive is discussed. Christina and Michael Larsen are my personal favorite subjects (among the many featured in My Empathy). Their clarity of thought and diversity of experiences really enriched my perspective on empathy in our modern society. Sage Christian Drake deserves so much praise for this innovative idea; it's a pleasure to watch this almost-social experiment play out on screen. The seven-person director of photography team also aced the cinematography of the film, using a simple format to convey a beautiful message. This is a very minute thing to notice, but I love how the film is partitioned into "chapters" of sorts, with headers for points made about empathy and its prevalence in the world. This makes the viewing experience very cohesive (as opposed to fragmenting it too much) and I never feel like the transitions between points are too jarring.

My Empathy shows viewers the state of empathy in the world; though it might seem like our compassion is dwindling in some contexts, we are still holding onto our goodness.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - My Empathy is an insightful film crafted with care, carrying a message that this generation needs to hear about the state of care, compassion, and kindness in our world today. Great storyline and filmmaking!

With compelling interviews of people from all age groups, including children, and a clear and simple structure, the film examines various facets of society and social behavior and how technology, the pandemic, and other factors have changed/impacted our way of reacting to them.

The idea behind the film and its execution align beautifully; each interview conducted and featured in the film reveals something new about the human experience, our view of empathy and how that's changed over the years. It might be tough to digest for the first twenty minutes, as the filmmakers jump right into the material, but this is a must-watch for members of our modern society.

I love how Sage Christian Drake and his team adhered so strictly to the purist documentarian format of "interview + b-roll = great story" and don't focus on adding too much pizzazz to the film. The camerawork is standard for a documentary, with many medium shots for interviews. Interestingly, though, the entire film is in black-and-white (save for the b-roll used with the narrator Rachel Amanda Bryant's voice). This is perhaps intended to show how the world actually isn't so cut-and-dried and that empathy helps us not see the world in such absolutes. The sets suit the storyline; most are in and around an urban landscape to showcase our modernizing, cosmopolitan society. Music is used sparingly, only when b-roll is played on the screen while the narrator speaks. In these instances, the music beautifully accentuates the points made, adding tension when the narrator describes strife in society, and an air of happiness when something constructive or positive is discussed. Christina and Michael Larsen are my personal favorite subjects (among the many featured in My Empathy). Their clarity of thought and diversity of experiences really enriched my perspective on empathy in our modern society. Sage Christian Drake deserves so much praise for this innovative idea; it's a pleasure to watch this almost-social experiment play out on screen. The seven-person director of photography team also aced the cinematography of the film, using a simple format to convey a beautiful message. This is a very minute thing to notice, but I love how the film is partitioned into "chapters" of sorts, with headers for points made about empathy and its prevalence in the world. This makes the viewing experience very cohesive (as opposed to fragmenting it too much) and I never feel like the transitions between points are too jarring.

My Empathy shows viewers the state of empathy in the world; though it might seem like our compassion is dwindling in some contexts, we are still holding onto our goodness.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 98 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


CHRISTMAS IN JULY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CHRISTMAS IN JULY
CHRISTOPHER EMMANUEL LONDON
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - As her parents argue upstairs, wishful and naive Cassandra wishes that her family could go back to happier times. On the day her father is moving out, she has an idea to stop the constant fighting. With a bit of convincing, she is able to get her older sister, Kenya to assist her with her plan. As a last effort, the girls recreate their family Christmas traditions in hopes that it can end the fighting and stop their family from ripping apart.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I love the message and the Christmas magic inspired by the girls in Christmas in July.

This is a story about mending a family and how two girls take control to help foster change. It focuses on the relationship between the sisters and how they confront their parents about the stress that their fighting is causing them along with a reminder of the importance of family.

The story of a broken or hurting family is relatable to many kids. Two sisters hear their parents argue upstairs and the youngest, Cassandra, wishes that her family could return to happier times. On the day her father is moving out, she has an idea to stop the constant fighting by recreating the Christmas feeling of earlier years. Together with her older sister, Kenya, the girls confront their parents and work to unite their family by mending a family heirloom quilt. Working together they start to rebuild not only the quilt, but their family as well. I love how the girls collaborate to make their parents stop fighting and think of the effect of their arguments. The production quality is very good. Director of Photography, Esteban Quesada, really reveals the family members' emotions with all the close-ups in this short film. The set works well; the film takes place in a middle class family home. The background music and soundtrack truly add to the emotion in this film but they are not credited. The background music is well selected, whether conveying sadness or happiness like the upbeat Christmas song at the end during the credits. I really enjoyed the closeness of sisters Cassandra (Liliane Amina Hamilton) and Kenya (Suzanne Hillary Hamilton) who are sisters in real life. They have good chemistry with both their dad (Andrew Salmon) and their mom (Dana Pierce) and are all believable together as a family. The film is written and directed by Christopher Emmanuel London and you feel his message of hope in the storyline and the film. The sound is also very good thanks by Sound Operator Sergio Gutierrez and Lev Kovalenko. My favorite scene is when the family works together to mend their family heirloom quilt and make new positive memories. It gives you hope that they can live harmoniously together again if they want to.

The film's message is about hope and a reminder that what is broken can be mended if everyone works together from a place of love.

I give Christmas in July 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Selene W., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - love the message and the Christmas magic inspired by the girls in Christmas in July.

This is a story about mending a family and how two girls take control to help foster change. It focuses on the relationship between the sisters and how they confront their parents about the stress that their fighting is causing them along with a reminder of the importance of family.

The story of a broken or hurting family is relatable to many kids. Two sisters hear their parents argue upstairs and the youngest, Cassandra, wishes that her family could return to happier times. On the day her father is moving out, she has an idea to stop the constant fighting by recreating the Christmas feeling of earlier years. Together with her older sister, Kenya, the girls confront their parents and work to unite their family by mending a family heirloom quilt. Working together they start to rebuild not only the quilt, but their family as well. I love how the girls collaborate to make their parents stop fighting and think of the effect of their arguments. The production quality is very good. Director of Photography, Esteban Quesada, really reveals the family members' emotions with all the close-ups in this short film. The set works well; the film takes place in a middle class family home. The background music and soundtrack truly add to the emotion in this film but they are not credited. The background music is well selected, whether conveying sadness or happiness like the upbeat Christmas song at the end during the credits. I really enjoyed the closeness of sisters Cassandra (Liliane Amina Hamilton) and Kenya (Suzanne Hillary Hamilton) who are sisters in real life. They have good chemistry with both their dad (Andrew Salmon) and their mom (Dana Pierce) and are all believable together as a family. The film is written and directed by Christopher Emmanuel London and you feel his message of hope in the storyline and the film. The sound is also very good thanks by Sound Operator Sergio Gutierrez and Lev Kovalenko. My favorite scene is when the family works together to mend their family heirloom quilt and make new positive memories. It gives you hope that they can live harmoniously together again if they want to.

The film's message is about hope and a reminder that what is broken can be mended if everyone works together from a place of love.

I give Christmas in July 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Selene W., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 10 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


CARDBOARD MAN

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CARDBOARD MAN
ART WEISS
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - A superhero named Cardboard Man goes on a mission to find out who has stolen the world's packing tape.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Cardboard Man is such a sweet film made by very creative teenagers! This short film has little bits of humor that make the movie better and the characters are also very interesting.

This film starts off with breaking news: tape is being stolen from around the world! Soon, everyone relies on the town superhero, Cardboard Man. Along his journey, Cardboard Man encounters different people that help him find out who is stealing all of the tape. Can Cardboard Man stop this villain?

I like how, even though the film is 5 1/2 minutes, the producers manage to fit the entire plot of the film in, without cutting any important parts. It is very interesting to see how well all of the scenes fit together. The cinematography is great! I like how, in two different scenes, they make the movements of the first scene happen just before the second one starts. For example, in the scene with the three kids playing, the first scene shows the boy pointing his hand up, and then the scene afterwards shows the same action but he is starting to talk to his sister.

The costumes definitely fit the time period in this movie because, since it is set in the present time, the people are dressed like how people dress now. For example, in the beginning of the news scene, the news reporter is dressed exactly like how a news reporter on WBAL would dress. The locations suit the story since this helps watchers understand where the story is happening. For example, when Cardboard Man is talking to his neighbor at his house, the neighborhood helps the watcher understand that Cardboard Man is not talking to a person at the grocery store. The sound effects help develop the story because, surprisingly enough, they make you understand what Cardboard Man is thinking. For example, if you hear a 'ding', you understand that Cardboard Man agrees with something another person said.

There isn't much character growth in this, but one of the characters that is well written is Feta Thunberg (Mollie Weiss) because she has a certain "villain" charm that I like. She is evil, but she also acts nice. I like the theme song that the music composer (Ruth Weiss) made because it is a simple yet interesting song. My favorite character is Feta Thunberg because, as soon as she is introduced, she makes it clear that she does not want Cardboard Man to be successful, which is great because it shows she is confident in her actions.

The film's message is about how the right hero will save the day. In the end, Cardboard Man saves the day, no matter how many other people try to solve the tape shortage. I give Cardboard Man 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. This film is super kid-friendly and will definitely keep everyone interested! By Ariadna P., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Cardboard Man is such a sweet film made by very creative teenagers! This short film has little bits of humor that make the movie better and the characters are also very interesting.

This film starts off with breaking news: tape is being stolen from around the world! Soon, everyone relies on the town superhero, Cardboard Man. Along his journey, Cardboard Man encounters different people that help him find out who is stealing all of the tape. Can Cardboard Man stop this villain?

I like how, even though the film is 5 1/2 minutes, the producers manage to fit the entire plot of the film in, without cutting any important parts. It is very interesting to see how well all of the scenes fit together. The cinematography is great! I like how, in two different scenes, they make the movements of the first scene happen just before the second one starts. For example, in the scene with the three kids playing, the first scene shows the boy pointing his hand up, and then the scene afterwards shows the same action but he is starting to talk to his sister.

The costumes definitely fit the time period in this movie because, since it is set in the present time, the people are dressed like how people dress now. For example, in the beginning of the news scene, the news reporter is dressed exactly like how a news reporter on WBAL would dress. The locations suit the story since this helps watchers understand where the story is happening. For example, when Cardboard Man is talking to his neighbor at his house, the neighborhood helps the watcher understand that Cardboard Man is not talking to a person at the grocery store. The sound effects help develop the story because, surprisingly enough, they make you understand what Cardboard Man is thinking. For example, if you hear a 'ding', you understand that Cardboard Man agrees with something another person said.

There isn't much character growth in this, but one of the characters that is well written is Feta Thunberg (Mollie Weiss) because she has a certain "villain" charm that I like. She is evil, but she also acts nice. I like the theme song that the music composer (Ruth Weiss) made because it is a simple yet interesting song. My favorite character is Feta Thunberg because, as soon as she is introduced, she makes it clear that she does not want Cardboard Man to be successful, which is great because it shows she is confident in her actions.

The film's message is about how the right hero will save the day. In the end, Cardboard Man saves the day, no matter how many other people try to solve the tape shortage. I give Cardboard Man 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. This film is super kid-friendly and will definitely keep everyone interested! By Ariadna P., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GHOULASH

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GHOULASH
STEPHEN BURHOE
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A pair of trick or treaters find themselves about to the main course for some witches'' celebration feast. But they soon turn the tables on the villains.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Ghoulash is adorable, from the costumes to the message about perseverance that we see throughout the film. The story starts with two young girls who go trick-or-treating. They stumble upon a large house, and soon, they are about to become two witches' main course for dinner. As the two girls are stuck in the house, they make a plan on how to get out of the house.

I liked how the story continues to get more suspenseful every minute, it really hooked me in. The cinematography is excellent, I like the shots showing the girls walking up the stairs in a trance, it looks suspenseful. The sets and locations are great! Since it's Halloween and the kids are out trick-or-treating, it makes sense that the girls are at another house. The background music makes the film seem a lot more suspenseful. I also love the music at the end, when the witches are running away; it signifies that the problem is over. There are plenty of visual effects - ghosts and monsters - and they are all incredible. It feels that both girls earned more confidence throughout the film. At first, they were afraid of the witches, but in the end, the girls know what to do and are very clever on how to escape them. The costume designer did an amazing job, especially with the Halloween costumes. They resemble the Halloween costumes I wore when I was younger. My favorite part of the film is when the girls dress up as werewolves to scare the witches away. That is funny and adorable!

The message of this film is that perseverance is everything. Without perseverance, the girls would not have made it out of the house and escaped from the witches.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Ari P., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Ghoulash is adorable, from the costumes to the message about perseverance that we see throughout the film. The story starts with two young girls who go trick-or-treating. They stumble upon a large house, and soon, they are about to become two witches' main course for dinner. As the two girls are stuck in the house, they make a plan on how to get out of the house.

I liked how the story continues to get more suspenseful every minute, it really hooked me in. The cinematography is excellent, I like the shots showing the girls walking up the stairs in a trance, it looks suspenseful. The sets and locations are great! Since it's Halloween and the kids are out trick-or-treating, it makes sense that the girls are at another house. The background music makes the film seem a lot more suspenseful. I also love the music at the end, when the witches are running away; it signifies that the problem is over. There are plenty of visual effects - ghosts and monsters - and they are all incredible. It feels that both girls earned more confidence throughout the film. At first, they were afraid of the witches, but in the end, the girls know what to do and are very clever on how to escape them. The costume designer did an amazing job, especially with the Halloween costumes. They resemble the Halloween costumes I wore when I was younger. My favorite part of the film is when the girls dress up as werewolves to scare the witches away. That is funny and adorable!

The message of this film is that perseverance is everything. Without perseverance, the girls would not have made it out of the house and escaped from the witches.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Ari P., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


FRANK

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
FRANK
KAPOW INC
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - "Frank" is a short documentary that features Frank Arroyo, the longtime owner of a historic bike shop in the Lower East Side of New York City. The film is a brief portrait of his life, memories, and captures the contributions he's made to the community of bike enthusiasts living in the city. We explore key events and his influence on the community through customer testimonies, interviews, and historical photos.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed the short film Frank. It's a wonderful documentary with an inspiring story of how Frank is a documentary about a small business owner named Frank Arroyo who sells bikes in the Lower East Side of New York. It includes real customer stories and a segment about how Frank used his bikes to help the residents of his city during times of crisis, such as 9/11 and rallies.

I enjoyed seeing how a small shop can bring so many people together, and how a business matters to so many more people than just the owner. It is nice when customers can have such a personal relationship with a vendor such as Frank, who really cares about the people he helps. From the outside, Frank's bike shop looks very small. However, shots of the inside really surprised me - there are bikes right next to each other, from the floor to the ceiling! Though Frank doesn't have a lot of space, he manages to fit a lot into it. This documentary was filmed on location in the Lower East Side of New York. Though Frank and his customers share some tragic events such as natural disasters and attacks at some points, happy music throughout the film helps maintain its good nature. The film starts out with very upbeat music and some shots of the city streets. The speakers' perspectives are honest and unscripted. The documentary could have glorified the shop with a goal to get customers, like a commercial, but Frank and his customers recount true events and experiences. My favorite part of the film is the sense of togetherness shared by Frank and his customers. Frank's bike shop has been in business for 40 years, so he recalls some of his customers as children, who now bring their families to buy bikes from the shop.

The film's message is that what goes around, comes around. Frank has offered his help to his city's inhabitants in times of need, and in return, he gets loyal customers who keep his business running.

I give Frank 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. I recommend this title for a youth and family film festival. Older children and adults will appreciate this inspirational true story of how a small, hole-in-the-wall business can work as a building block for a city. By Ella S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I enjoyed the short film Frank. It's a wonderful documentary with an inspiring story of how Frank is a documentary about a small business owner named Frank Arroyo who sells bikes in the Lower East Side of New York. It includes real customer stories and a segment about how Frank used his bikes to help the residents of his city during times of crisis, such as 9/11 and rallies.

I enjoyed seeing how a small shop can bring so many people together, and how a business matters to so many more people than just the owner. It is nice when customers can have such a personal relationship with a vendor such as Frank, who really cares about the people he helps. From the outside, Frank's bike shop looks very small. However, shots of the inside really surprised me - there are bikes right next to each other, from the floor to the ceiling! Though Frank doesn't have a lot of space, he manages to fit a lot into it. This documentary was filmed on location in the Lower East Side of New York. Though Frank and his customers share some tragic events such as natural disasters and attacks at some points, happy music throughout the film helps maintain its good nature. The film starts out with very upbeat music and some shots of the city streets. The speakers' perspectives are honest and unscripted. The documentary could have glorified the shop with a goal to get customers, like a commercial, but Frank and his customers recount true events and experiences. My favorite part of the film is the sense of togetherness shared by Frank and his customers. Frank's bike shop has been in business for 40 years, so he recalls some of his customers as children, who now bring their families to buy bikes from the shop.

The film's message is that what goes around, comes around. Frank has offered his help to his city's inhabitants in times of need, and in return, he gets loyal customers who keep his business running.

I give Frank 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. I recommend this title for a youth and family film festival. Older children and adults will appreciate this inspirational true story of how a small, hole-in-the-wall business can work as a building block for a city. By Ella S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


BEYOND THE GATE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BEYOND THE GATE
HUNTER NICKLESS
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Group of friends who love exploring abandon places come across an abandon school with a disturbing backstory and discover a dark secret that changes their lives.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really like the story and the special effects in Beyond The Gate. I like the idea behind this film and its creativity.

The story follows three high school friends who explore an abandoned high school which they would have attended if it hadn't closed. Suspicious circumstances and a dark secret add to their interest in exploring this location.

This is a great example of student filmmaking, using special effects. The production quality is really outstanding. Excellent high school student production, although I wish there was more suspense built up before the kids discover the glowing locker. I really like the distorted scenes where Jake and Megan are in another dimension or universe. The lighting is really good throughout and adds to the eeriness of the film. The sets and locations fit the story. The high school is too pristine for a building that was supposedly abandoned 10 years ago. The sound mixing is quite excellent; the dialogue is easy to hear and the sound effects are appropriately scary and add to the mystique of the film. The special effects by Hunter Nickless are amazing, especially for a high school student who has only made one previous film. Hunter made all the graphics and created the editing himself (overseen by teachers) and it is very impressive. The three key characters in the film are Jake (Sam Broome), Megan (Chance Hagen) and Madison (Lorelei Lee). The three actors seemed quite comfortable together and enjoy the humor shown by Jake. Hunter Nickless is the writer, director, producer, cinematographer, editor, special effects and sound designer of this film. This is his second film and I hope that he continues to learn about film production and brings his creative talents to the screen. My favorite scene is when Megan opens the locker and disappears to another dimension. I really love the graphics and special effects showing her and Jake's travel.

The film's message is that friend's stick together.

I give Beyond The Gate 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Selene W., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really like the story and the special effects in Beyond The Gate. I like the idea behind this film and its creativity.

The story follows three high school friends who explore an abandoned high school which they would have attended if it hadn't closed. Suspicious circumstances and a dark secret add to their interest in exploring this location.

This is a great example of student filmmaking, using special effects. The production quality is really outstanding. Excellent high school student production, although I wish there was more suspense built up before the kids discover the glowing locker. I really like the distorted scenes where Jake and Megan are in another dimension or universe. The lighting is really good throughout and adds to the eeriness of the film. The sets and locations fit the story. The high school is too pristine for a building that was supposedly abandoned 10 years ago. The sound mixing is quite excellent; the dialogue is easy to hear and the sound effects are appropriately scary and add to the mystique of the film. The special effects by Hunter Nickless are amazing, especially for a high school student who has only made one previous film. Hunter made all the graphics and created the editing himself (overseen by teachers) and it is very impressive. The three key characters in the film are Jake (Sam Broome), Megan (Chance Hagen) and Madison (Lorelei Lee). The three actors seemed quite comfortable together and enjoy the humor shown by Jake. Hunter Nickless is the writer, director, producer, cinematographer, editor, special effects and sound designer of this film. This is his second film and I hope that he continues to learn about film production and brings his creative talents to the screen. My favorite scene is when Megan opens the locker and disappears to another dimension. I really love the graphics and special effects showing her and Jake's travel.

The film's message is that friend's stick together.

I give Beyond The Gate 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Selene W., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ONE MORE DAY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ONE MORE DAY
1 SOUL PRODUCTION
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Maria, a visually impaired high school student, attends class on the first day of school hoping to go unnoticed, knowing that she will be reunited with certain classmates who do not make things easy for her.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I like the story of One More Day, but I'm left confused. Do Maria's (Noa Flores Rodr�guez) classmates not know she's visually impaired? And how visually impaired is she? Her having this disability isn't revealed until the end of the film and the film makes it seem like she's color-blind but never specifically says exactly what her impairment is.

The story follows Maria, a visually impaired high school student, going through her first day of school being picked on by some classmates who won't stop bothering her. She struggles with her disability, her bullies, and with her inability to understand that it's okay to ask for help sometimes.

This film has a really good storyline that brings attention to people with visual impairments and their struggles. However, it falls short on truly shining a light on this topic. I didn't understand that Maria had a visual impairment until the last minutes of the film and, even then it, is never explicitly stated - some viewers might not understand that Maria is visually impaired at all and rather just think that it's a story about a girl who gets picked on (take note that the bullies never mention her eyesight at all - they're bullying her for other reasons). The best piece of cinematography in the film are the effects when we see the world through different eyes. Instead of what we usually see, a colorful world, we see what Maria sees, a gray one. It's a great piece of cinematography and very interesting too. The locations suit the story. There's a street, multiple rooms at a school and an apartment. These locations are well chosen. There's a special visual effect that shows different visual impairments that plays before the film's ending showing the world - in all its colorful glory - turning into a dull gray. It shows us what Maria is seeing. In the credits, we see other types of color blindness and visual impairments. A cool effect that makes the viewer sympathize with, or at least understand better, people who have visual disabilities. Maria doesn't change much. After adamantly refusing the prospect of needing help, Maria eventually asks someone to help carry her lamp which gives me hope for her. However, throughout the entire film, she's constantly upset, which makes me believe this visual impairment of hers is something new or more recent. She's grieving what she lost - a world of color - at the beginning of the film and again at the end of the film. In the middle, she admits she needs a little help and she realizes it's okay to need and ask for help. That gives me hope that she'll one day come to see the beauty of her world - even without its colors. Carlos Puig Mund�, the director and writer, deserves a huge shoutout. He, like Maria, has a visual disability and therefore, like Maria, has had to learn how to survive in a world not made for people with such impairments. I think his story is really impressive and that there's a certain beauty to the fact that he's bringing to life the stories that occur to him. I like the scene at the end of the film where we can see what Maria sees this entire time. There's a vibrant world - full of color and then something shifts and we see it only in various shades of gray. It made me sad to look at. Color makes things interesting. Gray is boring. And it's also very hard to see anything specific when everything's gray. I felt horrible for Maria. Until that scene I didn't really understand what her disability was or why she needed a lamp.

The film's message is that it's okay to ask for help.The message is kind of lost when, immediately after that, the bullies bully her again. The second message of the film is to shine a light on people with disabilities, like Maria with her visual impairment. Be aware that it contains profanity, shows kids doing risky things that kids might imitate, and contains bullying.

I give One More Day 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This film would appeal particularly to those with visual impairment issues or other disabilities or have someone in their inner circle of friends and family with those issues.

By Alma K., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like the story of One More Day, but I'm left confused. Do Maria's (Noa Flores Rodr�guez) classmates not know she's visually impaired? And how visually impaired is she? Her having this disability isn't revealed until the end of the film and the film makes it seem like she's color-blind but never specifically says exactly what her impairment is.

The story follows Maria, a visually impaired high school student, going through her first day of school being picked on by some classmates who won't stop bothering her. She struggles with her disability, her bullies, and with her inability to understand that it's okay to ask for help sometimes.

This film has a really good storyline that brings attention to people with visual impairments and their struggles. However, it falls short on truly shining a light on this topic. I didn't understand that Maria had a visual impairment until the last minutes of the film and, even then it, is never explicitly stated - some viewers might not understand that Maria is visually impaired at all and rather just think that it's a story about a girl who gets picked on (take note that the bullies never mention her eyesight at all - they're bullying her for other reasons). The best piece of cinematography in the film are the effects when we see the world through different eyes. Instead of what we usually see, a colorful world, we see what Maria sees, a gray one. It's a great piece of cinematography and very interesting too. The locations suit the story. There's a street, multiple rooms at a school and an apartment. These locations are well chosen. There's a special visual effect that shows different visual impairments that plays before the film's ending showing the world - in all its colorful glory - turning into a dull gray. It shows us what Maria is seeing. In the credits, we see other types of color blindness and visual impairments. A cool effect that makes the viewer sympathize with, or at least understand better, people who have visual disabilities. Maria doesn't change much. After adamantly refusing the prospect of needing help, Maria eventually asks someone to help carry her lamp which gives me hope for her. However, throughout the entire film, she's constantly upset, which makes me believe this visual impairment of hers is something new or more recent. She's grieving what she lost - a world of color - at the beginning of the film and again at the end of the film. In the middle, she admits she needs a little help and she realizes it's okay to need and ask for help. That gives me hope that she'll one day come to see the beauty of her world - even without its colors. Carlos Puig Mund�, the director and writer, deserves a huge shoutout. He, like Maria, has a visual disability and therefore, like Maria, has had to learn how to survive in a world not made for people with such impairments. I think his story is really impressive and that there's a certain beauty to the fact that he's bringing to life the stories that occur to him. I like the scene at the end of the film where we can see what Maria sees this entire time. There's a vibrant world - full of color and then something shifts and we see it only in various shades of gray. It made me sad to look at. Color makes things interesting. Gray is boring. And it's also very hard to see anything specific when everything's gray. I felt horrible for Maria. Until that scene I didn't really understand what her disability was or why she needed a lamp.

The film's message is that it's okay to ask for help.The message is kind of lost when, immediately after that, the bullies bully her again. The second message of the film is to shine a light on people with disabilities, like Maria with her visual impairment. Be aware that it contains profanity, shows kids doing risky things that kids might imitate, and contains bullying.

I give One More Day 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This film would appeal particularly to those with visual impairment issues or other disabilities or have someone in their inner circle of friends and family with those issues.

By Alma K., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 20 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


DANCING SQUID

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
DANCING SQUID
ERIC THOMAS
Series: INDIE ANIMATED SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Animated Squid dancing to Garage Band EDM
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a cute animated short that works as an interstitial.

The film features two squid that dance around the screen. That's it. No storyline beyond that.

The animation is acceptable and would work well at a film festival as an interstitial.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. By Julie s., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a cute animated short that works as an interstitial.

The film features two squid that dance around the screen. That's it. No storyline beyond that.

The animation is acceptable and would work well at a film festival as an interstitial.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. By Julie s., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 1 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


I SQUISHED GRANDPA

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
I SQUISHED GRANDPA
LILY ANDREWS
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Young Rose has a special relationship with her grandpa. However when Grandpa goes missing the day after telling a Rose an unsettling tale, she believes his disappearance may be her fault.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I truly enjoyed I Squished Grandpa. It has an adorable main character and a suspenseful plot.

This high school student film starts following a young girl named Rose (Rose Borden) who asks her grandpa for a bedtime story. Her grandpa agrees, and tells Rose about how grandparents shrink as they get older. Rose goes to bed, afraid, and wakes up the next morning not knowing where Grandpa is.

This film is definitely kid-friendly, and it resembles a "perfect" weekend with the grandparents. I like the suspense in the storyline. It makes good use of how dialogue with children can be confusing at times when grandpa tells Rose that older people start shrinking. That causes Rose to have nightmares and then, when she wakes up, we don't know where Grandpa has disappeared to, which starts a small adventure for her and us. The camera work is quite good and makes use of medium shots, long shots and close-ups. . One shot that stands out to me is when Rose is tossing and turning in her sleep. The camera really captures the worry on her face as she is sleeping. The sets and locations suit the story. I like how they contributed to Rose trying to find her grandpa, since she goes to a few different places searching for him - his bedroom, the pier, and other places. The sound effects stand out to me. When Rose is walking, she steps on a raspberry and it makes a squishing sound. This makes the audience think she squished something, and it made me think that perhaps Rose stepped on Grandpa! There isn't much character growth shown with any of the characters, but I love how, in the end, Rose realizes she didn't squish Grandpa. The costumes all stand out for me; they remind me of what I wore when I went to my grandparents' house. My favorite part of the film is when Grandpa comes back home, because it is so heartwarming to see Rose hugging her grandpa, knowing he is alright.

The film's message is to never jump to conclusions. Rose immediately thinks she squished her grandpa, which made her very worried, until she found out that he was okay.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Ari P., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I truly enjoyed I Squished Grandpa. It has an adorable main character and a suspenseful plot.

This high school student film starts following a young girl named Rose (Rose Borden) who asks her grandpa for a bedtime story. Her grandpa agrees, and tells Rose about how grandparents shrink as they get older. Rose goes to bed, afraid, and wakes up the next morning not knowing where Grandpa is.

This film is definitely kid-friendly, and it resembles a "perfect" weekend with the grandparents. I like the suspense in the storyline. It makes good use of how dialogue with children can be confusing at times when grandpa tells Rose that older people start shrinking. That causes Rose to have nightmares and then, when she wakes up, we don't know where Grandpa has disappeared to, which starts a small adventure for her and us. The camera work is quite good and makes use of medium shots, long shots and close-ups. . One shot that stands out to me is when Rose is tossing and turning in her sleep. The camera really captures the worry on her face as she is sleeping. The sets and locations suit the story. I like how they contributed to Rose trying to find her grandpa, since she goes to a few different places searching for him - his bedroom, the pier, and other places. The sound effects stand out to me. When Rose is walking, she steps on a raspberry and it makes a squishing sound. This makes the audience think she squished something, and it made me think that perhaps Rose stepped on Grandpa! There isn't much character growth shown with any of the characters, but I love how, in the end, Rose realizes she didn't squish Grandpa. The costumes all stand out for me; they remind me of what I wore when I went to my grandparents' house. My favorite part of the film is when Grandpa comes back home, because it is so heartwarming to see Rose hugging her grandpa, knowing he is alright.

The film's message is to never jump to conclusions. Rose immediately thinks she squished her grandpa, which made her very worried, until she found out that he was okay.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Ari P., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 4 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


DYING TO DEFROST

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
DYING TO DEFROST
HEATHER ANN ABEYASEKERA
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - This poor vampire has lived through the centuries, freezing down to the marrow! She's at the end of her tether and she's had enough. She's gonna do whatever it takes to feel the warmth on her skin, or it'll be the death of her, AGAIN!!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What a fun, imaginative piece of fantasy although the timeline is a bit confusing since she wants to "go back" to being human, but this story starts at 16000 BC. when humans did not wear the attire shown here. But, that doesn't take away from the fun nature of this animated film.

The storyline is about a poor vampire who has lived through the centuries, apparently in the basement of a house. She's gotten colder and colder every year and is fed up with it to the point that she is ready to do anything to get warm, including becoming human again. She visits an alchemist for a concoction to solve her problem and... you'll have to watch the film to find out what happens.

Fun animation, well executed. Love the color palette of purple, black and grey. The background music is noticeably an integral part of this film, enhancing her every movement and thought. The film is entirely non narrative, which makes the music even more important. With kids' interest in vampires keen right now, the topic is particularly relevant.

The film's message is to follow your goosebumps - I mean your desires - in order to get what you need.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What a fun, imaginative piece of fantasy although the timeline is a bit confusing since she wants to "go back" to being human, but this story starts at 16000 BC. when humans did not wear the attire shown here. But, that doesn't take away from the fun nature of this animated film.

The storyline is about a poor vampire who has lived through the centuries, apparently in the basement of a house. She's gotten colder and colder every year and is fed up with it to the point that she is ready to do anything to get warm, including becoming human again. She visits an alchemist for a concoction to solve her problem and... you'll have to watch the film to find out what happens.

Fun animation, well executed. Love the color palette of purple, black and grey. The background music is noticeably an integral part of this film, enhancing her every movement and thought. The film is entirely non narrative, which makes the music even more important. With kids' interest in vampires keen right now, the topic is particularly relevant.

The film's message is to follow your goosebumps - I mean your desires - in order to get what you need.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 4 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SCI-KIDS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SCI-KIDS
JOHN XAVIER LAMBERT
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Four friends sneak into their school's science lab to make their favorite thing - slime! They soon discover that the secret ingredient that they used to make the slime has given them extraordinary brilliance in science, technology, engineering and math (S.T.E.M)! Excited about their newfound abilities, the Sci-Kids work together to avoid mayhem as they solve mysteries at the school.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Sci-Kids is an awesome film with a great message. I really like the storyline and the cinematography.

The story follows four friends who sneak into their school's science lab to make their favorite thing - slime! They soon discover that the secret ingredient that they used to make the slime has given them extraordinary brilliance in science, technology, engineering and math (S.T.E.M)! Excited about their newfound abilities, the Sci-kids work together to avoid mayhem as they solve mysteries at the school.

My hat is off to the director creating an entertaining and relevant film. The storyline is good, but very predictable. Kids do something wrong; get covered in mysterious goo; and gain special abilities -- this reminds me of every superhero story. I really like the cinematography, especially the shots when Javier is getting ready and transitions from outfit to outfit. I enjoyed the storyline, but did notice some flaws. For example, the mics pick up background noises like shoes brushing against the pavement. The background music stands out; the scene where the janitor is dancing is super fun. The cast all play their roles exceptionally well, especially Hunter Silverman who plays Mike, who sold every bit of his role with his facial expressions and the intonation of his voice. My favorite part is when the janitor is dancing; this scene was hilarious.

The film's message is that there is nothing you can't do. Be aware that it does contain bloody, gory acts of violence; shows negative behavior; and shows kids doing risky things that kids might imitate -- the kids sneak into the school during recess and make a mess.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. Reviewed by Gavin S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Sci-Kids is an awesome film with a great message. I really like the storyline and the cinematography.

The story follows four friends who sneak into their school's science lab to make their favorite thing - slime! They soon discover that the secret ingredient that they used to make the slime has given them extraordinary brilliance in science, technology, engineering and math (S.T.E.M)! Excited about their newfound abilities, the Sci-kids work together to avoid mayhem as they solve mysteries at the school.

My hat is off to the director creating an entertaining and relevant film. The storyline is good, but very predictable. Kids do something wrong; get covered in mysterious goo; and gain special abilities -- this reminds me of every superhero story. I really like the cinematography, especially the shots when Javier is getting ready and transitions from outfit to outfit. I enjoyed the storyline, but did notice some flaws. For example, the mics pick up background noises like shoes brushing against the pavement. The background music stands out; the scene where the janitor is dancing is super fun. The cast all play their roles exceptionally well, especially Hunter Silverman who plays Mike, who sold every bit of his role with his facial expressions and the intonation of his voice. My favorite part is when the janitor is dancing; this scene was hilarious.

The film's message is that there is nothing you can't do. Be aware that it does contain bloody, gory acts of violence; shows negative behavior; and shows kids doing risky things that kids might imitate -- the kids sneak into the school during recess and make a mess.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. Reviewed by Gavin S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 17 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


LOVE DON'T BULLY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LOVE DON'T BULLY
ILYSA SPENCER
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Santa Fe middle school students explore bullying in society and at school.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I like hearing about others' experiences with bullying and how they got past it in the short film Love Don't Bully. It is important that people hear how common it is and how we all have a responsibility to stop it.

This film is about young peoples' experiences with bullying and their thoughts on why it exists and how to stop it. There are points of view from children and adults. Each person gives their story and how they have dealt with bullying.

I like that everyone that spoke expressed how they moved past the bullying. They discussed different things like keeping good friends, talking to a therapist and working hard to not judge people. The interviews are about everyone's bullying experiences and what they learned from it. I particularly enjoyed the anti-bully boy and wanted more from that character. There is nothing particularly interesting about the camera work, angles or shots. Students are filmed against a plain backdrop. The lighting is not particularly good, but works well enough to not detract from the impact of the film. Many of the interviews have the camera angled up at the person being interviewed, which I found to be distracting. It seems that we are often looking up at the speaker. There are many different angles and uses of lighting that cause shadows. It is unclear if that was intentional or not. The session with Navi has different lighting but it is the same interview format. The audio is pretty serviceable, although one scene outside suffers from lack of use of a windscreen. There isn't background music during the film. There is only music in the introduction and outro. My favorite part is when the anti-bully boy comes out! The film quality may not work well on a big screen; I recommend a small screen or virtual screening rather than a big screen event.

The film's message is about how to deal with any bullying encounter you have and offers ways to stop bullying from happening.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Avalynn G., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like hearing about others' experiences with bullying and how they got past it in the short film Love Don't Bully. It is important that people hear how common it is and how we all have a responsibility to stop it.

This film is about young peoples' experiences with bullying and their thoughts on why it exists and how to stop it. There are points of view from children and adults. Each person gives their story and how they have dealt with bullying.

I like that everyone that spoke expressed how they moved past the bullying. They discussed different things like keeping good friends, talking to a therapist and working hard to not judge people. The interviews are about everyone's bullying experiences and what they learned from it. I particularly enjoyed the anti-bully boy and wanted more from that character. There is nothing particularly interesting about the camera work, angles or shots. Students are filmed against a plain backdrop. The lighting is not particularly good, but works well enough to not detract from the impact of the film. Many of the interviews have the camera angled up at the person being interviewed, which I found to be distracting. It seems that we are often looking up at the speaker. There are many different angles and uses of lighting that cause shadows. It is unclear if that was intentional or not. The session with Navi has different lighting but it is the same interview format. The audio is pretty serviceable, although one scene outside suffers from lack of use of a windscreen. There isn't background music during the film. There is only music in the introduction and outro. My favorite part is when the anti-bully boy comes out! The film quality may not work well on a big screen; I recommend a small screen or virtual screening rather than a big screen event.

The film's message is about how to deal with any bullying encounter you have and offers ways to stop bullying from happening.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Avalynn G., KIDS FIRST!

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


DEATH OF A STAR

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
DEATH OF A STAR
BRANDON WADE
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 8 -12
Topic - Family
Description - Two NASA engineers work together one night on a failing Mars rover.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed Death Of A Star because of the ending shots -- they are wonderful shots with clear quality and a black and white effect. It also has a great message.

The story follows two NASA engineers who work together to make a Mars Rover. After many failed attempts of making the Mars Rover, Alex (Eben Mahan) tells his colleague that he's been fired. After hearing the devastating news they decide to spend their time with one more space tour.

I like how unpredictable this storyline is. I would've never thought the two elders in the film are the two engineers. The cinematography is amazing; the shots are amazingly clear, especially the images at the end which are great. The visual effects of space nebulas are amazing. I love the shots of the Rover too! The majority of the film takes place in a lab and the lab set here is perfect for the film. The background music adds the dramatic effect, building to a crescendo at the height of Alex's frustrating monologue about having been fired. The actors, Eben Mahan and Angie Sandoval, play their roles exceptionally well from their facial expressions to the intonation of their voices, plus there is great chemistry between them. Although colleagues, it's clear that they care for each other and are respectful of each other's work. I love the ending shot. The love of the filmmaker, WadeBE, for the work of those at the NASA Houston Space Center is clear and he brings magic to the screen.

The film's message is that we are not our mistakes, and we can always learn from them and move on.

I give Death of a Star 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Gavin S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I enjoyed Death Of A Star because of the ending shots -- they are wonderful shots with clear quality and a black and white effect. It also has a great message.

The story follows two NASA engineers who work together to make a Mars Rover. After many failed attempts of making the Mars Rover, Alex (Eben Mahan) tells his colleague that he's been fired. After hearing the devastating news they decide to spend their time with one more space tour.

I like how unpredictable this storyline is. I would've never thought the two elders in the film are the two engineers. The cinematography is amazing; the shots are amazingly clear, especially the images at the end which are great. The visual effects of space nebulas are amazing. I love the shots of the Rover too! The majority of the film takes place in a lab and the lab set here is perfect for the film. The background music adds the dramatic effect, building to a crescendo at the height of Alex's frustrating monologue about having been fired. The actors, Eben Mahan and Angie Sandoval, play their roles exceptionally well from their facial expressions to the intonation of their voices, plus there is great chemistry between them. Although colleagues, it's clear that they care for each other and are respectful of each other's work. I love the ending shot. The love of the filmmaker, WadeBE, for the work of those at the NASA Houston Space Center is clear and he brings magic to the screen.

The film's message is that we are not our mistakes, and we can always learn from them and move on.

I give Death of a Star 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Gavin S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 10 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


HOW TO MAKE A FILM ABOUT MY SON, JACK

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
HOW TO MAKE A FILM ABOUT MY SON, JACK
MICHAEL PLEWA
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A short documentary covering everything a filmmaker needs to know about making a film about Jack, my 1-year-old son, who loves trucks, toys, and especially flowers. And what to say to Jack when making this film means you can't be with him as much as you wish. A filmmaker explores the pain and joy of being a working parent.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What a charming sweet film as this father/filmmaker shares the ups and downs of making a film about his young son. It's clear that this is his first child as his naivete sort of jumps off the screen. Jack is completely adorable and I wanted to see more of him, not hear about how hard it was to shoot this film. But, there you go and there is so much joy watching Jack as he explores his world from his one and a half year perspective.

How to Make a Film About My Son, Jack explores the complexities of a filmmaker trying to make a film about his young son. This documentary is a love letter from a father to his son - a snapshot in time.

The production quality is quite good with lots of beautiful shots, good lighting and good audio. The documentary is supposedly about Jack but, in reality, the story is more about the father and him experiencing fatherhood. Jack is an adorable subject. He does not effectively communicate at his age so the graphic interpretation of his communication on screen is most welcome. We see how much Jack enjoys flowers and, in fact, flower was one of his first words. I love the focus of some of the shots, especially those from Jack's perspective that are shot low to the ground. For example, Jack is running to pluck a dandelion and the camera is solely focused on the dandelion until Jack arrives and his hand grabs the flower. It's one of my favorite shots. The background music by Benjamin Pawlak is very soothing and fits this documentary quite well. The sound mix throughout the film is very good and the dialogue is very clear. The film's progression is a little confusing because the film starts showing Jack walking and running and then later shows him as an infant and beginning to crawl - later, it reverts to scenes of him walking and running once again. The film is directed and narrated by Michael Plewa, who is also Jack's father. My favorite scenes are those showing Jack's happiness as he looks and touches various flowers and other natural foliage.

The film's message is that being a father has moments of joy, sadness and difficulty and it's important to be present during all of them. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Selene W., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What a charming sweet film as this father/filmmaker shares the ups and downs of making a film about his young son. It's clear that this is his first child as his naivete sort of jumps off the screen. Jack is completely adorable and I wanted to see more of him, not hear about how hard it was to shoot this film. But, there you go and there is so much joy watching Jack as he explores his world from his one and a half year perspective.

How to Make a Film About My Son, Jack explores the complexities of a filmmaker trying to make a film about his young son. This documentary is a love letter from a father to his son - a snapshot in time.

The production quality is quite good with lots of beautiful shots, good lighting and good audio. The documentary is supposedly about Jack but, in reality, the story is more about the father and him experiencing fatherhood. Jack is an adorable subject. He does not effectively communicate at his age so the graphic interpretation of his communication on screen is most welcome. We see how much Jack enjoys flowers and, in fact, flower was one of his first words. I love the focus of some of the shots, especially those from Jack's perspective that are shot low to the ground. For example, Jack is running to pluck a dandelion and the camera is solely focused on the dandelion until Jack arrives and his hand grabs the flower. It's one of my favorite shots. The background music by Benjamin Pawlak is very soothing and fits this documentary quite well. The sound mix throughout the film is very good and the dialogue is very clear. The film's progression is a little confusing because the film starts showing Jack walking and running and then later shows him as an infant and beginning to crawl - later, it reverts to scenes of him walking and running once again. The film is directed and narrated by Michael Plewa, who is also Jack's father. My favorite scenes are those showing Jack's happiness as he looks and touches various flowers and other natural foliage.

The film's message is that being a father has moments of joy, sadness and difficulty and it's important to be present during all of them. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Selene W., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


LUKI AND THE LIGHTS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LUKI AND THE LIGHTS
TOBY COCHRAN
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - LUKi, a charming and upbeat robot known for living life to the fullest, confronts a life-altering ALS diagnosis.

Through the lens of LUKi's unwavering resilience, the story of his battle against ALS transforms into a testament to the human (and robotic) spirit's ability to find light even in the darkest of times. With every choice he makes, every smile he shares, and every second he cherishes, LUKi paints a vivid portrait of what it means to truly live, even as the sands of time slip through his grasp.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really enjoyed the short film Luki and the Lights. It's perfect for children who are coping with loss or diagnosis of a degenerative disease in themselves or a family member. The film is sad at times, but the main character's positive attitude towards his terminal diagnosis of ALS encourages kids to make lemonade when life hands you lemons!

The film follows Luki, a robot who enjoys playing soccer with his friends. One day, he notices that his arm is malfunctioning and that the light in it has gone out (the robots have lightbulbs in their bodies to symbolize life). Unfortunately, Luki learns that he has ALS, a disease with a bleak outlook - but, despite his deteriorating health, he shows how he can still make something wonderful out of any situation.

To begin with, I love how the robot, Luki, has so many human attributes and does so many human things from making his morning coffee to taking a shower to sleeping in a bed and living in a house, just like a human would do. It makes him very relatable. I like that the story is told not only from Luki's perspective, but also from that of his friends'. It reminds us that many people are affected by a bad diagnosis, and it's important to make happy memories with your loved ones while you can. I really like the art style for the animation - the color palette is bright and mostly warm. Several times during the movie, there is a shot of Luki's bedside table, showing the progress of the disease as he eventually struggles to switch his alarm clock off. These scenes are necessary to maintain consistency in the film. All the characters in the film are animated robots of different shapes and sizes. Luki is a human-like robot with a square head and a screen for a face, and he has lightbulbs all over his body. The light bulbs going out one by one are a fitting representation of deterioration because it is accurate without being too harsh. Although the film is animated, we see some beautiful landscapes of sunsets and grassy hills where Luki plays with his friends - this is the spot Luki ultimately chooses as his final resting place. The music throughout the film is uplifting, which helps us deal with a pretty sorrowful storyline. Happy music keeps the balance and makes for a wholesome film, rather than a downhearted one. The film has no actors, and there is no dialogue. However, Luki still undergoes character development. After his diagnosis he is sad and angry, but he manages to rise up and keep his mind open. He decides to do something proactive with his emotions and even builds himself a wheelchair he had previously resented. He learns to see the bright side of a bad situation when he challenges his friend to a race and wins because of his wheelchair. My favorite part of the movie is a scene after Luki's death. His friends take a walk in their favorite park, where there is now a bench dedicated to Luki. They play a game of soccer, just as they would have with their best friend. This is my favorite part because it shows recovery after a loss -- Luki's friends miss him, but they know Luki would want them to move on and find happiness again.

Luki and the Lights was written by Sascha and Anjo when Anjo was diagnosed with ALS to help their kids grasp what Anjo was going through. There is no cure for ALS at this time. This is a heartwarming film about learning to make the most out of what you have and living life to the fullest day by day. The world is an unfair place sometimes, but if you keep a positive mindset, nobody can stop you from having fun! Though Luki and the Lights is wholesome and may help a child process a loss or diagnosis, it is also emotionally heavy, as we watch the main character deteriorate and eventually die. There is nothing inappropriate about this film, but parents may want to consider how their own children will handle the content.

I give Luki and the Lights 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. I recommend this film for a youth and family film festival because it is a beautiful story about overcoming loss and encourages viewers to keep a positive outlook on life. By Ella S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really enjoyed the short film Luki and the Lights. It's perfect for children who are coping with loss or diagnosis of a degenerative disease in themselves or a family member. The film is sad at times, but the main character's positive attitude towards his terminal diagnosis of ALS encourages kids to make lemonade when life hands you lemons!

The film follows Luki, a robot who enjoys playing soccer with his friends. One day, he notices that his arm is malfunctioning and that the light in it has gone out (the robots have lightbulbs in their bodies to symbolize life). Unfortunately, Luki learns that he has ALS, a disease with a bleak outlook - but, despite his deteriorating health, he shows how he can still make something wonderful out of any situation.

To begin with, I love how the robot, Luki, has so many human attributes and does so many human things from making his morning coffee to taking a shower to sleeping in a bed and living in a house, just like a human would do. It makes him very relatable. I like that the story is told not only from Luki's perspective, but also from that of his friends'. It reminds us that many people are affected by a bad diagnosis, and it's important to make happy memories with your loved ones while you can. I really like the art style for the animation - the color palette is bright and mostly warm. Several times during the movie, there is a shot of Luki's bedside table, showing the progress of the disease as he eventually struggles to switch his alarm clock off. These scenes are necessary to maintain consistency in the film. All the characters in the film are animated robots of different shapes and sizes. Luki is a human-like robot with a square head and a screen for a face, and he has lightbulbs all over his body. The light bulbs going out one by one are a fitting representation of deterioration because it is accurate without being too harsh. Although the film is animated, we see some beautiful landscapes of sunsets and grassy hills where Luki plays with his friends - this is the spot Luki ultimately chooses as his final resting place. The music throughout the film is uplifting, which helps us deal with a pretty sorrowful storyline. Happy music keeps the balance and makes for a wholesome film, rather than a downhearted one. The film has no actors, and there is no dialogue. However, Luki still undergoes character development. After his diagnosis he is sad and angry, but he manages to rise up and keep his mind open. He decides to do something proactive with his emotions and even builds himself a wheelchair he had previously resented. He learns to see the bright side of a bad situation when he challenges his friend to a race and wins because of his wheelchair. My favorite part of the movie is a scene after Luki's death. His friends take a walk in their favorite park, where there is now a bench dedicated to Luki. They play a game of soccer, just as they would have with their best friend. This is my favorite part because it shows recovery after a loss -- Luki's friends miss him, but they know Luki would want them to move on and find happiness again.

Luki and the Lights was written by Sascha and Anjo when Anjo was diagnosed with ALS to help their kids grasp what Anjo was going through. There is no cure for ALS at this time. This is a heartwarming film about learning to make the most out of what you have and living life to the fullest day by day. The world is an unfair place sometimes, but if you keep a positive mindset, nobody can stop you from having fun! Though Luki and the Lights is wholesome and may help a child process a loss or diagnosis, it is also emotionally heavy, as we watch the main character deteriorate and eventually die. There is nothing inappropriate about this film, but parents may want to consider how their own children will handle the content.

I give Luki and the Lights 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. I recommend this film for a youth and family film festival because it is a beautiful story about overcoming loss and encourages viewers to keep a positive outlook on life. By Ella S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 11 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SHTANDER, SHTANDER, KATYA!

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SHTANDER, SHTANDER, KATYA!
ALEXANDRA SHADRINA
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A story about the relationship of two teenagers, who used to look at each other as friends, but this summer he fell in love with her. She can't respond the same but is afraid of losing their friendship until a silly game destroys everything.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - uploading soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - uploading soon
Runtime: 13 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


WEIQI FANTASY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
WEIQI FANTASY
MAING CAOCHONG
Series: FOREIGN STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Weiqi is a competition between black and white. The theory of Weiqi is extensive and profound, which contains profound culture. Not everyone has the talent to master chess, but to experience the game and understand the culture of Weiqi, even if you may not become a chess player, you can stimulate your imagination and enlighten your wisdom. From China;
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This short stop-motion film is adorable and well executed.

The film's main characters are two blobs - one white, one black. They appear to be competing in the beginning, transforming themselves into various critters - one more interesting than the last. In the end, they conform in a way that indicates their cooperation.

The animation is very well made, giving the blogs distinctive characteristics. The background music helps push the story along - it is simple but poignant with the bass driving the pulse of the film. This was submitted in the middle school category, yet the filmmakers age is give as age 44 - so that is confusing. I'm unsure if actual students were involved in creating this or the filmmaker just selected the wrong category. This will be important as far as categorizing it for KIDS FIRST! Film Festival.

The film's message seems to indicate that even opposites can find a way to collaborate.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This short stop-motion film is adorable and well executed.

The film's main characters are two blobs - one white, one black. They appear to be competing in the beginning, transforming themselves into various critters - one more interesting than the last. In the end, they conform in a way that indicates their cooperation.

The animation is very well made, giving the blogs distinctive characteristics. The background music helps push the story along - it is simple but poignant with the bass driving the pulse of the film. This was submitted in the middle school category, yet the filmmakers age is give as age 44 - so that is confusing. I'm unsure if actual students were involved in creating this or the filmmaker just selected the wrong category. This will be important as far as categorizing it for KIDS FIRST! Film Festival.

The film's message seems to indicate that even opposites can find a way to collaborate.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 1 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


BRIGHTEST STAR, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BRIGHTEST STAR, THE
TUOMAS TUPPURAINEN
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - When a curious child falls into a long-forgotten cave, she is confronted by a mysterious spirit and must decide whether the being is kindhearted or something more perilous. From Finland; dialogue in English
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Although I can appreciate the artistry of The Brightest Star, the plot is somewhat confusing and the ending left me at loose ends.

This film follows a little girl named Sophie who wonders into an abandoned cave and meets a mysterious spirit. Sophie follows this spirit into the sky and is transformed into a shooting star, leaving her parents to search for her.

After watching the film, I was still confused about the mysterious spirit and how it ended up inside the cave. The ending also left me with a lot of questions: how did Sophie magically transform into a shooting star? Do her parents ever find her? Is Sophie permanently a star forever now?

The animation is interesting and well executed. The different camera angles are well utilized, especially in the scenes that take place in the sky. I love the scene where Sophie is looking down on her parents as they search for her. This wide angle shot is visually dynamic and interesting. Sophie is drawn as a youthful, curious, and adventurous little girl. The mysterious spirit looks rather ominous, but not evil. It and Sophie appear to have a good relationship at the end. One of the standout backgrounds is the opening scene that takes place in an open field. This scene has exquisite detail while also maintaining a hazy or dewy spring feeling. The background music in this short film helps create a feeling of mystery and curiousness. An example of this is when Sophie first discovers the secret cave and the music is low and feels very ominous. My favorite scene is the opening scene. Due to the sense of loss - of Sophie wandering away, never to see her family again, I would recommend this for older audiences. The sense of abandonment might be too frightening for young children.

The film's message is about letting your curiosity lead you in everything you do, because you might make new friends along the way. Of course, the down side is that you may just wander off into another world and never see your family again.

I give The Brightest Star 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. By Tia O., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Although I can appreciate the artistry of The Brightest Star, the plot is somewhat confusing and the ending left me at loose ends.

This film follows a little girl named Sophie who wonders into an abandoned cave and meets a mysterious spirit. Sophie follows this spirit into the sky and is transformed into a shooting star, leaving her parents to search for her.

After watching the film, I was still confused about the mysterious spirit and how it ended up inside the cave. The ending also left me with a lot of questions: how did Sophie magically transform into a shooting star? Do her parents ever find her? Is Sophie permanently a star forever now?

The animation is interesting and well executed. The different camera angles are well utilized, especially in the scenes that take place in the sky. I love the scene where Sophie is looking down on her parents as they search for her. This wide angle shot is visually dynamic and interesting. Sophie is drawn as a youthful, curious, and adventurous little girl. The mysterious spirit looks rather ominous, but not evil. It and Sophie appear to have a good relationship at the end. One of the standout backgrounds is the opening scene that takes place in an open field. This scene has exquisite detail while also maintaining a hazy or dewy spring feeling. The background music in this short film helps create a feeling of mystery and curiousness. An example of this is when Sophie first discovers the secret cave and the music is low and feels very ominous. My favorite scene is the opening scene. Due to the sense of loss - of Sophie wandering away, never to see her family again, I would recommend this for older audiences. The sense of abandonment might be too frightening for young children.

The film's message is about letting your curiosity lead you in everything you do, because you might make new friends along the way. Of course, the down side is that you may just wander off into another world and never see your family again.

I give The Brightest Star 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. By Tia O., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 7 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


JACK GETS EVEN

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
JACK GETS EVEN
TONY SILVA
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - A panhandling homeless boy gets suspicious when he is kicked out of his corner by a fake homeless woman.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed watching the short film, Jack Gets Even. It's well made, with smooth editing, and a decent music-to-dialogue balance. In addition, it has an important message.

The storyline follows a young homeless boy named Jack (Elijah Silva) who is trying to survive by making money panhandling on the side of the road. When he gets pressured away from his spot by a woman (Milena Saboya) who claims to be homeless, he follows her and discovers that she is not who she said she was.

I like that the story portrays a concept relative to real-life. There are times when people are in unfortunate situations where they go to extreme lengths to survive - like Jack panhandling for money. There are also times when people are deceitful to benefit themselves, like the woman in this film. The camera work is pretty good. It gets shaky at some points, such as when the camera follows Jack into the bushes. However, the actors are always in frame, so it doesn't detract from the story. There are various close-ups that show the dirt on Jack as well as the word "burger" which emphasizes the main points of his character. Jack's attire contributes to the idea of him being homeless and poor, because they are baggy, ripped, and dirty. Seeing the woman transition to a nice car and a beautiful house is important and relevant to the story because it shows how deceitful the woman is, and shows the difference between Jack's life and the woman's. The background music works well with slow, solemn music is when Jack is dealing with rejection and denial. The music enhances the impact on the viewers' emotions. The music gets louder and more aggressive when Jack gets into the deceitful woman's car. It is rock'n'roll with an upbeat tone, differentiating her situation from Jack's.

Jack is the main character, and also the standout of this film. Although he is young, he non-verbally portrays his desire for a better life, and his disappointment when he is turned down. His behavior when he tricks the woman into getting into her car is cleverly executed. The fake homeless woman's behavior wasn't quite as believable, but we still get the message. When she demands that Jack leave her spot, she could be more stern and dedicated to her story. Stacy (Bella Basoco) doesn't play a major role, but her youth and personality makes her an enjoyable acting partner for Jack. Tony C. Silva deserves props as both the writer and director. My favorite part of the film is when Stacy helps Elijah when he comes into the house, by giving him food, money, and a friend. It shows that, even though Stacy's mom is secretly a bad person, Stacy knows in her heart that helping him is the kind thing to do.

The film's message is that things aren't always what they seem. Though the woman seemed like she was homeless at first, Jack quickly discovers that she is deceitful, and is more fortunate than she lets on.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Maica N., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I enjoyed watching the short film, Jack Gets Even. It's well made, with smooth editing, and a decent music-to-dialogue balance. In addition, it has an important message.

The storyline follows a young homeless boy named Jack (Elijah Silva) who is trying to survive by making money panhandling on the side of the road. When he gets pressured away from his spot by a woman (Milena Saboya) who claims to be homeless, he follows her and discovers that she is not who she said she was.

I like that the story portrays a concept relative to real-life. There are times when people are in unfortunate situations where they go to extreme lengths to survive - like Jack panhandling for money. There are also times when people are deceitful to benefit themselves, like the woman in this film. The camera work is pretty good. It gets shaky at some points, such as when the camera follows Jack into the bushes. However, the actors are always in frame, so it doesn't detract from the story. There are various close-ups that show the dirt on Jack as well as the word "burger" which emphasizes the main points of his character. Jack's attire contributes to the idea of him being homeless and poor, because they are baggy, ripped, and dirty. Seeing the woman transition to a nice car and a beautiful house is important and relevant to the story because it shows how deceitful the woman is, and shows the difference between Jack's life and the woman's. The background music works well with slow, solemn music is when Jack is dealing with rejection and denial. The music enhances the impact on the viewers' emotions. The music gets louder and more aggressive when Jack gets into the deceitful woman's car. It is rock'n'roll with an upbeat tone, differentiating her situation from Jack's.

Jack is the main character, and also the standout of this film. Although he is young, he non-verbally portrays his desire for a better life, and his disappointment when he is turned down. His behavior when he tricks the woman into getting into her car is cleverly executed. The fake homeless woman's behavior wasn't quite as believable, but we still get the message. When she demands that Jack leave her spot, she could be more stern and dedicated to her story. Stacy (Bella Basoco) doesn't play a major role, but her youth and personality makes her an enjoyable acting partner for Jack. Tony C. Silva deserves props as both the writer and director. My favorite part of the film is when Stacy helps Elijah when he comes into the house, by giving him food, money, and a friend. It shows that, even though Stacy's mom is secretly a bad person, Stacy knows in her heart that helping him is the kind thing to do.

The film's message is that things aren't always what they seem. Though the woman seemed like she was homeless at first, Jack quickly discovers that she is deceitful, and is more fortunate than she lets on.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Maica N., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 10 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


WHITE GLOVE, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
WHITE GLOVE, THE
TAHERI STUDIOS
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - John finds a white glove on his way from class, leading to an encounter with a girl he falls for. He tries to forge a friendship with her.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The White Glove is interesting! It has nice characters and a good plot, with a twist at the end.

This story starts with a man named John who finds a white glove on the ground while going to class. A woman named Angela (Lyla Tsiokos) comes up to him and tells him that that is her glove. John immediately falls for Angela, and tries to talk to her. As John fails to become friends with her, he thinks that all hope is lost, until he realizes Angela is closer to him than he thinks.

This is a college student short that I believe adolescents will enjoy as much as I did. So much takes place in a little under five minutes! I like that the story shows perseverance and friendship, with a twist. John continues his pursuit to become friends with Angela, and finally makes a new friend, although he doesn't realize Angela's dark secret. One camera shot that I like is in the beginning, when we see John scrolling on Instagram and listening to music, because it seems that John is just minding his business when he finds the glove. The locations and sets suit the story - you can tell that they are students. I also like the outside scenes because it shows us how quickly you can lose people in a big city. The music at the end definitely adds suspense, because when a big secret is revealed, the music gradually becomes louder and higher pitched. I feel like Angela has some sort of character development. At first, she seems like she doesn't really interact with people that much, but towards the end, it is known that she hides secrets, and dark ones. One of the highlights of the film is the music. It contributes a lot to this film and truly hooked me in, especially at the end. My favorite part is the plot twist at the end. I love stories that have a good ending, and this plot twist is perfect, although it leaves us hanging. I guess we'll have to wait for the sequel to find out what Angela's devious little mind was up to. The film's message is don't trust anyone immediately. John meets Angela and he immediately feels a spark, but he doesn't realize that Angela is a bad person.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Ari P., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The White Glove is interesting! It has nice characters and a good plot, with a twist at the end.

This story starts with a man named John who finds a white glove on the ground while going to class. A woman named Angela (Lyla Tsiokos) comes up to him and tells him that that is her glove. John immediately falls for Angela, and tries to talk to her. As John fails to become friends with her, he thinks that all hope is lost, until he realizes Angela is closer to him than he thinks.

This is a college student short that I believe adolescents will enjoy as much as I did. So much takes place in a little under five minutes! I like that the story shows perseverance and friendship, with a twist. John continues his pursuit to become friends with Angela, and finally makes a new friend, although he doesn't realize Angela's dark secret. One camera shot that I like is in the beginning, when we see John scrolling on Instagram and listening to music, because it seems that John is just minding his business when he finds the glove. The locations and sets suit the story - you can tell that they are students. I also like the outside scenes because it shows us how quickly you can lose people in a big city. The music at the end definitely adds suspense, because when a big secret is revealed, the music gradually becomes louder and higher pitched. I feel like Angela has some sort of character development. At first, she seems like she doesn't really interact with people that much, but towards the end, it is known that she hides secrets, and dark ones. One of the highlights of the film is the music. It contributes a lot to this film and truly hooked me in, especially at the end. My favorite part is the plot twist at the end. I love stories that have a good ending, and this plot twist is perfect, although it leaves us hanging. I guess we'll have to wait for the sequel to find out what Angela's devious little mind was up to. The film's message is don't trust anyone immediately. John meets Angela and he immediately feels a spark, but he doesn't realize that Angela is a bad person.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Ari P., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


JACK THE MOOSE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
JACK THE MOOSE
WARREN COWELL
Series: SCREENPLAY, 81 PAGES
Topic - Family
Description - Mistaken for a rare-breed horse, a young moose is shipped across the ocean to compete against the world's fastest thoroughbreds.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Overall this is a wonderful premise for illustrating life stories to children of all ages. The concept of a moose being mistaken for a thoroughbred racing horse is wonderfully preposterous and plays well into the underdog triumphing against all odds genre. But the concept is more than that. It's about a kid who doesn't look like the rest of the kids coming into his own. It's about being the best racer one can be and it will resonate with kids who see heroes in all shapes and sizes. This re-statement is here because of its importance to kids' growth and their understanding of how it feels to grow up. This is a really fun vehicle. Opportunities abound for humorous dialog and silly animals making profound statements - I'm reminded of Zootopia- and they should be ferreted out not only to enhance the moral structure of the story but also to create that goal of all good animated features, a level of story that adults enjoy too.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Overall this is a wonderful premise for illustrating life stories to children of all ages. The concept of a moose being mistaken for a thoroughbred racing horse is wonderfully preposterous and plays well into the underdog triumphing against all odds genre. But the concept is more than that. It's about a kid who doesn't look like the rest of the kids coming into his own. It's about being the best racer one can be and it will resonate with kids who see heroes in all shapes and sizes. This re-statement is here because of its importance to kids' growth and their understanding of how it feels to grow up. This is a really fun vehicle. Opportunities abound for humorous dialog and silly animals making profound statements - I'm reminded of Zootopia- and they should be ferreted out not only to enhance the moral structure of the story but also to create that goal of all good animated features, a level of story that adults enjoy too.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: Screenplay


TRACEBACK

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TRACEBACK
ENRICO MONDINO
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Chiara is a girl who loves to take selfies and post photos on social media. But one day she discovers that she herself is a victim of her beloved social media. He notices that his phone is under the control of a hacker who has hacked into the school's network. With his friends, he will try to track and block the hacker.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I like the short film Traceback because of its intriguing conflict and natural acting! I was eager to find out what would happen in the end.

At a middle school in Italy, a group of students that appear to be pretty close, become victims of a cyberbullying joke by one of their peers, Giuliana. Giuliana hires a hacker who ends up posting private photos and videos of every student in the group.

The idea of a friend hacking one's phone as a joke is interesting, and the issue of cybersecurity is definitely a serious contemporary issue that kids tend to not pay a lot of attention to. Although the story development is pretty predictable, the theme is current and, as an audience, you want to see how it rolls out. Good camera work for the most part, although the club scene is poorly lit. In the beginning, the ground level shot captures many kids walking down the street, with the camera at knee level, we observe everyone staring at their phones while they walk, not paying any attention to the environment around them. I like how the angles are used to show that. It is about any kid, anyone and everyone. I also like the shot where the computer coding is projected on the face of Giuliana and found that pretty creative. The location in Italy is cool, but this story could have taken place in almost any place with a school building. The dialogue is in Italian with English subtitles, so be prepared for that. We get a very cursory overview of what Italy looks like and how these Italian teens behave, but I feel that it looks very authentic. The eerie, suspenseful music adds to the story, especially in the beginning when the hacker takes Chiara's phone - it makes the scene a lot more intriguing. I enjoyed the background music, especially in the opening scene. At one point in the film, when all the kids get notifications on their phones to meet, the whistle notification sound almost seems to sync with the soundtrack, which is very cool. Laura (Adele Maretti) stands out in her role and makes you believe in her character. My favorite part is when they all come together to try and find the hacker and resolve everything. It shows teamwork and good fellowship.

The film addresses a serious contemporary issue about cyberhacking that is a warning for young people to be careful who you share information with online and to protect your security on your phone and digital devices. You should be aware that there is a scene with teen drinking at the beginning of the film and one girl gets so sick she vomits.

I give Traceback 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Neo M. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like the short film Traceback because of its intriguing conflict and natural acting! I was eager to find out what would happen in the end.

At a middle school in Italy, a group of students that appear to be pretty close, become victims of a cyberbullying joke by one of their peers, Giuliana. Giuliana hires a hacker who ends up posting private photos and videos of every student in the group.

The idea of a friend hacking one's phone as a joke is interesting, and the issue of cybersecurity is definitely a serious contemporary issue that kids tend to not pay a lot of attention to. Although the story development is pretty predictable, the theme is current and, as an audience, you want to see how it rolls out. Good camera work for the most part, although the club scene is poorly lit. In the beginning, the ground level shot captures many kids walking down the street, with the camera at knee level, we observe everyone staring at their phones while they walk, not paying any attention to the environment around them. I like how the angles are used to show that. It is about any kid, anyone and everyone. I also like the shot where the computer coding is projected on the face of Giuliana and found that pretty creative. The location in Italy is cool, but this story could have taken place in almost any place with a school building. The dialogue is in Italian with English subtitles, so be prepared for that. We get a very cursory overview of what Italy looks like and how these Italian teens behave, but I feel that it looks very authentic. The eerie, suspenseful music adds to the story, especially in the beginning when the hacker takes Chiara's phone - it makes the scene a lot more intriguing. I enjoyed the background music, especially in the opening scene. At one point in the film, when all the kids get notifications on their phones to meet, the whistle notification sound almost seems to sync with the soundtrack, which is very cool. Laura (Adele Maretti) stands out in her role and makes you believe in her character. My favorite part is when they all come together to try and find the hacker and resolve everything. It shows teamwork and good fellowship.

The film addresses a serious contemporary issue about cyberhacking that is a warning for young people to be careful who you share information with online and to protect your security on your phone and digital devices. You should be aware that there is a scene with teen drinking at the beginning of the film and one girl gets so sick she vomits.

I give Traceback 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Neo M. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 19 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


NAMMA ARANYA PRADESHA

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
NAMMA ARANYA PRADESHA
PUJA GOYAL
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - This story is set in 2015, when a group of children join a Summer Theatre Workshop. Shocked by learning about man-made disasters and the impact of our actions on the environment; the children want to do more than just stage a play on the environment. They decide to start a Seed Club and create a forest in the middle of the city. With bare minimum resources available; they start a business selling lemonade to fund their work. In due course, they encounter various challenges which they need to overcome. They decide to write a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to join their Seed Club and give a speech for them in his radio show so more children can join them. Growing up can be challenging; finding real friends who can support your dreams and become part of the adventure can be even harder. Will the children overcome their difficulties and start a forest in the middle of the city? Will the Prime Minister read their letters in his radio show and support them? "Namma Aranya Pradesha" (Our Forest World) is a story about children's relation with the environment. It is a documentation of courage, resilience and race against time to save Planet Earth, one plant at a time.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - With lucid cinematography, a crisp script, and a strong cast, Namma Aranya Pradesha is a sweet, heartfelt film that fills you with hope for our world and the younger generation. It has great production quality and a terrific message!

A group of children in a theater workshop in Bangalore decided to do more than just stage a play about the environment. They decide to start a Seed Club and create a forest in the middle of the city, encountering and overcoming various challenges. They wrote a letter to India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, asking him to join their Seed Club and give a speech about it on his radio show so more children could join them. The story of Namma Aranya Pradesha is the first thing that fascinated me about this film; it's a truly unique story and one I hope inspires kids across the world. Seeing kids so excited about conservation should be motivating and uplifting! The camerawork is dynamic and clear; it focuses on the emotions of each character and spotlights, especially in some special moments, their relationships with one another. Bonding between the children is quite special, and it's wonderfully captured, thanks to a mix of close- and medium-shots, all of which are well-lit and well-composed. The costumes suit the storyline; I love how the students and the teacher have matching camp t-shirts. The sets, which are in Bangalore, work well - the urban jungle is as dense as the kids' small garden is verdant. I initially found the room where the students practice for their workshop to be a bit sparse (it's a big room with, well, nothing in it), but thinking back to my own days in theater, the open space in the room fits the setting of a drama workshop. The music is wonderful; but the real magic is the actors' performances, as is generally the case with theater. In one memorable scene, the music does indeed drive the action; it's a popular Kannada song which plays when Chotu is first introduced and sets the scene for the crowded area where he works. In other parts, the music accentuates the dramatic events the students learn about. But the score isn't particularly memorable. Tushar Patil, as Mr. Bean, the theater camp teacher, shows his mastery on screen. His chemistry with the students and quick comic timing make him the teacher many kids will wish they could have; at the same time, he delivers powerful monologues about the environment with appropriate levels of seriousness and sincerity. It's hard for films with large ensemble casts to establish a clear persona for each member of the cast; this both is and isn't the case with Namma Aranya Pradesha. The group of students will charm and delight viewers; Dhatri Jagadeesh Shetty's portrayal of the serious yet lovable Dhatri is one of my favorites, as is the young flower-seller, Chotu, who gets roped into the camp by Mr. Bean. Chotu is the most enigmatic, and he blossoms (pun intended) throughout the film. These two kids have the most defined roles and certainly, at times, I felt like the other kids were unessential to the storyline - but, only sometimes. Thanks to Mr. Bean's inclusive nature as a teacher, it feels, for the most part, like a legitimate class, just one with two especially sparkling standouts. Director, writer and producer Puja Goyal dons three hats with dexterity and ease. Though the editing of the film feels odd at times (we hear people talking, but no one is actually speaking on screen), the overall package is wonderful, thanks to her leadership. Additionally, Kiren Jhadav's cinematography is a high point of the film; the lovely lighting and clear shots enhance the story further. My favorite part of the film is the honesty and authenticity with which the child actors play their roles -- from "Dhatri ma'am" (Dhatri Jagadeesh Shetty) to the charming Chotu (Raghunandan Prasad), they all managed to steal a bit of my heart.

The film's message is about doing our part to help save our environment; in an overpopulated country like India, that means being mindful of waste and advocating for appropriate national legislation.

I give Namma Aranya Pradesha 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - With lucid cinematography, a crisp script, and a strong cast, Namma Aranya Pradesha is a sweet, heartfelt film that fills you with hope for our world and the younger generation. It has great production quality and a terrific message!

A group of children in a theater workshop in Bangalore decided to do more than just stage a play about the environment. They decide to start a Seed Club and create a forest in the middle of the city, encountering and overcoming various challenges. They wrote a letter to India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, asking him to join their Seed Club and give a speech about it on his radio show so more children could join them. The story of Namma Aranya Pradesha is the first thing that fascinated me about this film; it's a truly unique story and one I hope inspires kids across the world. Seeing kids so excited about conservation should be motivating and uplifting! The camerawork is dynamic and clear; it focuses on the emotions of each character and spotlights, especially in some special moments, their relationships with one another. Bonding between the children is quite special, and it's wonderfully captured, thanks to a mix of close- and medium-shots, all of which are well-lit and well-composed. The costumes suit the storyline; I love how the students and the teacher have matching camp t-shirts. The sets, which are in Bangalore, work well - the urban jungle is as dense as the kids' small garden is verdant. I initially found the room where the students practice for their workshop to be a bit sparse (it's a big room with, well, nothing in it), but thinking back to my own days in theater, the open space in the room fits the setting of a drama workshop. The music is wonderful; but the real magic is the actors' performances, as is generally the case with theater. In one memorable scene, the music does indeed drive the action; it's a popular Kannada song which plays when Chotu is first introduced and sets the scene for the crowded area where he works. In other parts, the music accentuates the dramatic events the students learn about. But the score isn't particularly memorable. Tushar Patil, as Mr. Bean, the theater camp teacher, shows his mastery on screen. His chemistry with the students and quick comic timing make him the teacher many kids will wish they could have; at the same time, he delivers powerful monologues about the environment with appropriate levels of seriousness and sincerity. It's hard for films with large ensemble casts to establish a clear persona for each member of the cast; this both is and isn't the case with Namma Aranya Pradesha. The group of students will charm and delight viewers; Dhatri Jagadeesh Shetty's portrayal of the serious yet lovable Dhatri is one of my favorites, as is the young flower-seller, Chotu, who gets roped into the camp by Mr. Bean. Chotu is the most enigmatic, and he blossoms (pun intended) throughout the film. These two kids have the most defined roles and certainly, at times, I felt like the other kids were unessential to the storyline - but, only sometimes. Thanks to Mr. Bean's inclusive nature as a teacher, it feels, for the most part, like a legitimate class, just one with two especially sparkling standouts. Director, writer and producer Puja Goyal dons three hats with dexterity and ease. Though the editing of the film feels odd at times (we hear people talking, but no one is actually speaking on screen), the overall package is wonderful, thanks to her leadership. Additionally, Kiren Jhadav's cinematography is a high point of the film; the lovely lighting and clear shots enhance the story further. My favorite part of the film is the honesty and authenticity with which the child actors play their roles -- from "Dhatri ma'am" (Dhatri Jagadeesh Shetty) to the charming Chotu (Raghunandan Prasad), they all managed to steal a bit of my heart.

The film's message is about doing our part to help save our environment; in an overpopulated country like India, that means being mindful of waste and advocating for appropriate national legislation.

I give Namma Aranya Pradesha 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST!

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


PURPLE GLASSES, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
PURPLE GLASSES, THE
SUSAN SULLIVAN
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Set in the late 80's during middle school, The Purple Glasses explores the fun and new found freedom that this age brings along with the emotions of it all. Emily, a precocious young student, loses her glasses shortly after a fight with her cool-girl classmate Sara. Sara is left with a decision that brings her to a new realization. The story involves a twist of fate that brings the two middle school girls together.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I have mixed feelings about the film The Purple Glasses. I love the set, make-up, hair, costumes and editing, but the acting falls short.

The storyline follows a young intelligent girl named Emily (Carolina Rezende) who gets into an argument with Sara (Ariana Gomez). Sara later finds Emily's glasses and has to make a challenging decision that gives her a new perspective.

The plot is very heartfelt and sweet. The film is based on a true story which is so sweet and I love that the director uses this film to promote being kind to everyone. The audio is crystal clear and the video quality is superb, especially in the last scene at the restaurant even though it is set outside. The film is set in the 80s, which is my favorite thing about the film. The hair, costumes and makeup are totally gnarly. I was especially delighted in Emily's wild brushed out curls and the numerous popped collars throughout the film. The sets are beautiful - the school is very realistic and the restaurant at the end matches the mood of the scene with its serene and relaxed energy. I love the special effects, especially the neon geometric shapes during the credits. The acting is mediocre, especially on Ariana Gomez's part. She doesn't seem very genuine when being nice to Emily and frankly, Emily's adult actress, Melissa Paladino, does a better job representing her character. The most outstanding part is the ending - it is so heartwarming to see how it all ends and how little actions have big effects.

The film's message is that you never know how big an effect your actions might have.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Sofia T., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I have mixed feelings about the film The Purple Glasses. I love the set, make-up, hair, costumes and editing, but the acting falls short.

The storyline follows a young intelligent girl named Emily (Carolina Rezende) who gets into an argument with Sara (Ariana Gomez). Sara later finds Emily's glasses and has to make a challenging decision that gives her a new perspective.

The plot is very heartfelt and sweet. The film is based on a true story which is so sweet and I love that the director uses this film to promote being kind to everyone. The audio is crystal clear and the video quality is superb, especially in the last scene at the restaurant even though it is set outside. The film is set in the 80s, which is my favorite thing about the film. The hair, costumes and makeup are totally gnarly. I was especially delighted in Emily's wild brushed out curls and the numerous popped collars throughout the film. The sets are beautiful - the school is very realistic and the restaurant at the end matches the mood of the scene with its serene and relaxed energy. I love the special effects, especially the neon geometric shapes during the credits. The acting is mediocre, especially on Ariana Gomez's part. She doesn't seem very genuine when being nice to Emily and frankly, Emily's adult actress, Melissa Paladino, does a better job representing her character. The most outstanding part is the ending - it is so heartwarming to see how it all ends and how little actions have big effects.

The film's message is that you never know how big an effect your actions might have.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Sofia T., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 15 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


MY SECRET COUNTRY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MY SECRET COUNTRY
MARLO MCKENZIE
Series: FEATURE DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - MY SECRET COUNTRY is a sweet ode to the power of play, imagination and creativity that journeys into the imagination of three children. The charms of their creativity are revealed when we meet their imaginary friends, brought to life in 2D animation, who soon discover desserts around the world have gone missing. A nefarious creature named Kritik is suspected, and the pretend companions realize -- as in all good fairy tales --they must find three magical ingredients to save delectable desserts from imminent extinction. This allegorical tale and feature-length hybrid documentary, co-written with the young protagonists, will spark wonder in children and adults alike.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I like My Secret Country. This is the first documentary I have seen that takes a more professional look at children's imaginary friends, focusing not only on three children but also on a professor's view of children having imaginary friends. I was touched by how the interviews with the three children as they grew up were also included, which gives it more depth.

This documentary focuses on the trajectory of three young children and their relationship with their fantasy friends. It includes college professors and other adults giving their academic opinions on the subject. The same production team animated the children's ideas.

A lot of adults look at their child's fantasy friends with contempt because they may have forgotten about them as children and may wonder if the child is being too much of a misfit that's causing this. Instead of looking at imaginary friends from the perspective of an adult who can control the minds of children, this documentary is more respectful of the existence of imaginary friends. The most important part of this film is its focus on the animation, not the cinematography. I really like the representation of the desert in the anime. I really like Dora. I can actually understand all three main characters very well, but I really relate to Dori, because she has a calmness beyond her age; she thinks that people need to live independently and that hanging out with fantasy friends doesn't mean that there's something weird about her personality. She thinks that everyone can live a real life that includes fantasy, and, of course, hanging out with fantasy friends is indispensable. Her thoughts are very interesting and can be a source of reflection for many people. I am surprised by how much she knows about the world and how to communicate with others, including some friends that do not exist in the real world.

The film's message is that it's very important for kids to fantasize.

I give My Secret Country 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. I think this documentary may be more important for adults because it teaches them to respect their kids' fantasy life. By Xiangxi K., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like My Secret Country. This is the first documentary I have seen that takes a more professional look at children's imaginary friends, focusing not only on three children but also on a professor's view of children having imaginary friends. I was touched by how the interviews with the three children as they grew up were also included, which gives it more depth.

This documentary focuses on the trajectory of three young children and their relationship with their fantasy friends. It includes college professors and other adults giving their academic opinions on the subject. The same production team animated the children's ideas.

A lot of adults look at their child's fantasy friends with contempt because they may have forgotten about them as children and may wonder if the child is being too much of a misfit that's causing this. Instead of looking at imaginary friends from the perspective of an adult who can control the minds of children, this documentary is more respectful of the existence of imaginary friends. The most important part of this film is its focus on the animation, not the cinematography. I really like the representation of the desert in the anime. I really like Dora. I can actually understand all three main characters very well, but I really relate to Dori, because she has a calmness beyond her age; she thinks that people need to live independently and that hanging out with fantasy friends doesn't mean that there's something weird about her personality. She thinks that everyone can live a real life that includes fantasy, and, of course, hanging out with fantasy friends is indispensable. Her thoughts are very interesting and can be a source of reflection for many people. I am surprised by how much she knows about the world and how to communicate with others, including some friends that do not exist in the real world.

The film's message is that it's very important for kids to fantasize.

I give My Secret Country 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. I think this documentary may be more important for adults because it teaches them to respect their kids' fantasy life. By Xiangxi K., KIDS FIRST!

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


DAYS OF THUNDER

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
DAYS OF THUNDER
DIVULGACION HUELLAS_VERDES
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Luna is fourteen years old and she doesn't like to menstruate. When her mother gives her a cup as a gift, the excitement of using it does not last long when Luna experiences how complicated it is to utilize in her high school, where there isn't clean water in sinks and toilets. Her anger makes her approach to demand clean water from the Principal, but Luna does not dare to explain that she needs this vital liquid to facilitate her menstruation. It's not until her best friend is stained and cannot rinse her pants, that Luna decides to organize with her classmates to protest and collect rainwater.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Brilliant! What a great social statement by a group of young women.

The storyline follows a teen, Luna and her negative experiences around menstruation. When her mother gives her a cup, but Luna experiences how complicated it is to utilize at her high school, where there is no clean water in sinks and toilets.

Her anger makes her approach to demand clean water from the Principal, who is clueless. When her best friend stains her pants and can't rinse them out, Luna decides to organize a protest with her classmates and collect rainwater.

Well shot, great audio, excellent acting, poignant topic. Love the exit music! This short film would make a wonderful film to show at an event that is addressing youth empowerment.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Brilliant! What a great social statement by a group of young women.

The storyline follows a teen, Luna and her negative experiences around menstruation. When her mother gives her a cup, but Luna experiences how complicated it is to utilize at her high school, where there is no clean water in sinks and toilets.

Her anger makes her approach to demand clean water from the Principal, who is clueless. When her best friend stains her pants and can't rinse them out, Luna decides to organize a protest with her classmates and collect rainwater.

Well shot, great audio, excellent acting, poignant topic. Love the exit music! This short film would make a wonderful film to show at an event that is addressing youth empowerment.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 15 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SONG

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SONG
MATHIEU SILVERMAN
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - A songwriter struggles to overcome writers block.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The short film, Song, isn't for everyone. The plot leaves a bit to be desired and its simplicity may be lost on some audiences.

Song is a six minute high school short following a young music student, Logan, struggling with his audition piece, which he plans to submit for representation.

The film takes place in a single act, in one room, where the boy tackles his writer's block bit by bit, including calling a friend who offers him compassionate advice. True, there are no traditional storyline features, such as a climax, plot twist, and resolution. But, what I like about this is how it takes us inside Logan's head as he struggles over creating his audition tape as his left hand rapidly translates the music we can hear into notes on the page. It's a reminder that the creative process is messy and unpredictable and creativity doesn't appear on demand. The ending is less than satisfying but it is representative of real life. My heart goes out to this young man whose frustration oozes off the screen and he seems to be pretty much alone. There is only one scene that shows him facetiming with a friend who offers him encouragement. The entire film relies on the actor's performance and the musical content. I have some reluctance in accepting it, due to its not being uplifting or positive. However, musicians may relate to the film more than I did - or people in other artistic fields. The cinematography is one area I enjoyed in this film. There are some lighting issues in these interior shots, which would definitely benefit from better lighting. The close-ups of Logan's face and the sheet music reveal the emotions on his face and have a visual of his past failed attempts. The costumes are fine - Logan wears the same costume for the entire film, and the neutral colors fit the nature of the film. The movie is filmed primarily in his music room, with a short ending scene in a mailroom. Cyrus Mailer delivers a laudable performance as Logan. Though frustration and sadness are the only emotions he shows for the duration of the film, his performance seems natural and unscripted, as if it was improvisational. My favorite part is when Logan sings his song. The singing is praise worthy. That short performance gives the film some much-needed color.

The film's message is about perseverance. Sometimes we work really hard at something and still fail and we have to take those lessons and move on.

I give Song 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. I think high school students will resonate with this, without becoming bummed out, but younger kids would just find it depressing. By Ella S. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The short film, Song, isn't for everyone. The plot leaves a bit to be desired and its simplicity may be lost on some audiences.

Song is a six minute high school short following a young music student, Logan, struggling with his audition piece, which he plans to submit for representation.

The film takes place in a single act, in one room, where the boy tackles his writer's block bit by bit, including calling a friend who offers him compassionate advice. True, there are no traditional storyline features, such as a climax, plot twist, and resolution. But, what I like about this is how it takes us inside Logan's head as he struggles over creating his audition tape as his left hand rapidly translates the music we can hear into notes on the page. It's a reminder that the creative process is messy and unpredictable and creativity doesn't appear on demand. The ending is less than satisfying but it is representative of real life. My heart goes out to this young man whose frustration oozes off the screen and he seems to be pretty much alone. There is only one scene that shows him facetiming with a friend who offers him encouragement. The entire film relies on the actor's performance and the musical content. I have some reluctance in accepting it, due to its not being uplifting or positive. However, musicians may relate to the film more than I did - or people in other artistic fields. The cinematography is one area I enjoyed in this film. There are some lighting issues in these interior shots, which would definitely benefit from better lighting. The close-ups of Logan's face and the sheet music reveal the emotions on his face and have a visual of his past failed attempts. The costumes are fine - Logan wears the same costume for the entire film, and the neutral colors fit the nature of the film. The movie is filmed primarily in his music room, with a short ending scene in a mailroom. Cyrus Mailer delivers a laudable performance as Logan. Though frustration and sadness are the only emotions he shows for the duration of the film, his performance seems natural and unscripted, as if it was improvisational. My favorite part is when Logan sings his song. The singing is praise worthy. That short performance gives the film some much-needed color.

The film's message is about perseverance. Sometimes we work really hard at something and still fail and we have to take those lessons and move on.

I give Song 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. I think high school students will resonate with this, without becoming bummed out, but younger kids would just find it depressing. By Ella S. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


NORA AND SUNNIVA

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
NORA AND SUNNIVA
MARI LIE MIKKELSEN
Series: FOREIGN DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Nora and Sunniva is about two sisters who are blind. The girls have a black dot in the middle of their eye which grows as they get older, eventually the dot covers the whole eye and they become completely blind.

The film observes the girls in their everyday lives, at school and at home. We get to know the girls' personal interests through their imagination and we accompany the girls in their dream of flying their own kite. Through the film, you get to experience what it's like to be blind by putting yourself in the girls' situation.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really like the film Nora and Sunniva. It is so heartwarming, shows such a new and different perspective, and also brings awareness to a topic not everybody knows about.

The documentary follows two young sisters named Nora (herself) and Sunniva (herself) Gram. Sunniva has low vision and Nora is blind. Throughout the film you see how they live their lives at home, school and play. The film is from Norway, with dialogue in Norwegian, subtitled in English.

This film is enjoyable because it is so touching. There is one scene where Nora's friends help her take off her snow boots because she can't. That scene is so amazing; it makes me feel all fuzzy inside. It is also very fascinating to see how different the girls' lifestyle is compared to mine. The quality of this film is absolutely stunning. The audio and video are crystal clear. The music choices are impeccable and the special effects are astonishing. The drawing style effects are so cute and appealing, they give such a home-y feeling to the film. The sets are very realistic. The house has just the right amount of neatness combined with the chaos of children. The school house is beautiful and I love watching them use the braille machine. The music perfectly matches the mood, especially whenever they use their imaginations and nice bright music plays. There are some very nice animations throughout the film. They show how Nora sees the world, which is so inspiring. I love that they show her perspective. The performances are perfect - Nora and Sunniva Gram are well chosen, especially Nora, she really makes me feel warm inside. The most outstanding part is the sisters' relationship. It is so adorable to see them help each other figure everything out. In one scene Sunniva is annoying Nora and, instead of lashing out, Nora calmly asks her to stop. Nora is such a kind older sister and Sunniva is so bubbly. They're the perfect pair.

The film's message is that people with disabilities can still have lots of fun.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Sofia T., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - really like the film Nora and Sunniva. It is so heartwarming, shows such a new and different perspective, and also brings awareness to a topic not everybody knows about.

The documentary follows two young sisters named Nora (herself) and Sunniva (herself) Gram. Sunniva has low vision and Nora is blind. Throughout the film you see how they live their lives at home, school and play. The film is from Norway, with dialogue in Norwegian, subtitled in English.

This film is enjoyable because it is so touching. There is one scene where Nora's friends help her take off her snow boots because she can't. That scene is so amazing; it makes me feel all fuzzy inside. It is also very fascinating to see how different the girls' lifestyle is compared to mine. The quality of this film is absolutely stunning. The audio and video are crystal clear. The music choices are impeccable and the special effects are astonishing. The drawing style effects are so cute and appealing, they give such a home-y feeling to the film. The sets are very realistic. The house has just the right amount of neatness combined with the chaos of children. The school house is beautiful and I love watching them use the braille machine. The music perfectly matches the mood, especially whenever they use their imaginations and nice bright music plays. There are some very nice animations throughout the film. They show how Nora sees the world, which is so inspiring. I love that they show her perspective. The performances are perfect - Nora and Sunniva Gram are well chosen, especially Nora, she really makes me feel warm inside. The most outstanding part is the sisters' relationship. It is so adorable to see them help each other figure everything out. In one scene Sunniva is annoying Nora and, instead of lashing out, Nora calmly asks her to stop. Nora is such a kind older sister and Sunniva is so bubbly. They're the perfect pair.

The film's message is that people with disabilities can still have lots of fun.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Sofia T., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 28 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


MELODY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MELODY
HARRISON J. THOMAS
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Melody and her friend Ethan share a special bond. When tragedy strikes, Ethan's guilt compels him to seek absolution in a unique way. Melody is written, produced, directed, edited, scored, colored and starring 12 year-old Harrison Thomas.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Melody is an amazing film and it's really impressive that it was written, directed, edited, composed, produced and stars a 12-year old - Harrison J. Thomas. The script stands out; I love the plot and the story's message. The acting falls a bit short in certain scenes but doesn't detract from the overall impact of the film.

Ethan's (Harrison J. Thomas) best friend, Melody (Emily Constantine), was found dead after having been missing for two days. He's overcome with guilt because Melody had been planning to see him when she disappeared. Ethan finds a unique way to cope with the loss of his best friend and the self-condemnation that comes from believing it was his fault. Plus, he finishes writing one of Melody's songs. This is a really amazing story that copes with grief, guilt and loss. I absolutely love that, because Melody liked writing songs, after her death, Ethan takes it upon himself to finish a song she hadn't finished. The shot that impressed me the most is the close-up of Ethan's phone lighting up with Melody's last-ever text before the camera pans over to a sleeping Ethan. That's really when I went, "oh no." We see it in such a way that the plot is even more dramatic. I think that piece of cinematography was a very good choice on the director's part. Melody's last texts were: "Ha! I knew you'd change your mind." "I can see you in the bushes." "Ethan is that you?" "This isn't funny Ethan." "Ethan." The camera panning from the texts to a sleeping Ethan, combined with the dramatic music in the background is a great addition to the plot.

There is one location that stands out. There's a flashback to Ethan and Melody talking, sitting with their backs to a tree. Later, after Melody's death, Ethan goes back there with a picture of her. This leads viewers to believe it's the same tree and that the two friends probably spent a lot of time there.

I really love the dramatic background music as the camera pans from Ethan's phone lit up with text messages from Melody to a sleeping Ethan. I think it really helps dramatize the plot, as well as adds some suspense. I wasn't so keen on the song at the end of the film, "Melody Theme." It is integral to the storyline as this is the song that Ethan finished for Melody after her death. I just didn't love it. The melody is good but the lyrics and the vocals fall short. The lyrics feel very basic - not very unique, original or well thought-out.

Ethan's dad (Brendan Cooney) seems very worried about Ethan throughout the film. He mentions that Ethan isn't coping well and hasn't even cried yet. Later in the film, Ethan's dad cries, begging Ethan to come back, to eat something, to do anything! But Ethan doesn't say a word and just turns back to his piano. Eventually it becomes clear that Ethan isn't talking, eating, or doing anything besides playing piano because he was working on Melody's song. He leaves in the middle of Melody's funeral to go to the tree where he spent so much time with her. He talks to her photograph and tells her that he finished her song and finally, at that moment he cries. That shows growth in his character as he is starting to cope. He goes from showing no emotion and not talking to crying and singing. It's a step. There are multiple stages of grief and they don't necessarily take place in any order. He's going through them.

I am so impressed by Harrison J. Thomas. The film trailer includes a few clips of Harrison answering questions about his film. He sounds smart and carries himself well. Sometimes when I hear that a kid made a film, I think their parents must have done a lot of the work but you can clearly tell that's not the case here. I love his script and I am super impressed by his resume at such a young age. He speaks highly of the people who work with him which is a sign of good character. My favorite part of the film is the scene that shows Melody's last text messages and then pans to a sleeping Ethan. The film's message is about how you can't control everything. Bad things are inevitably going to happen. Some things are just "acts of God." Sometimes you have to let things take their course and let fate decide. The only thing you can control is yourself. Everything else is never 100% predictable. Programmers should be aware that there are some issues that might be problematic. Melody sneaks out in the middle of the night to meet her friend. She goes missing and is found dead two days later. The "risky thing kids might imitate" is sneaking out. But the film also does a pretty good job of showing the consequences that sneaking out might have so I actually think this would serves as a warning against doing so. I give Melody 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Watching this film could be educational as it could possibly deter children from sneaking out in secret after seeing what happened to Melody when she does that. By Alma K., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Melody is an amazing film and it's really impressive that it was written, directed, edited, composed, produced and stars a 12-year old - Harrison J. Thomas. The script stands out; I love the plot and the story's message. The acting falls a bit short in certain scenes but doesn't detract from the overall impact of the film.

Ethan's (Harrison J. Thomas) best friend, Melody (Emily Constantine), was found dead after having been missing for two days. He's overcome with guilt because Melody had been planning to see him when she disappeared. Ethan finds a unique way to cope with the loss of his best friend and the self-condemnation that comes from believing it was his fault. Plus, he finishes writing one of Melody's songs. This is a really amazing story that copes with grief, guilt and loss. I absolutely love that, because Melody liked writing songs, after her death, Ethan takes it upon himself to finish a song she hadn't finished. The shot that impressed me the most is the close-up of Ethan's phone lighting up with Melody's last-ever text before the camera pans over to a sleeping Ethan. That's really when I went, "oh no." We see it in such a way that the plot is even more dramatic. I think that piece of cinematography was a very good choice on the director's part. Melody's last texts were: "Ha! I knew you'd change your mind." "I can see you in the bushes." "Ethan is that you?" "This isn't funny Ethan." "Ethan." The camera panning from the texts to a sleeping Ethan, combined with the dramatic music in the background is a great addition to the plot.

There is one location that stands out. There's a flashback to Ethan and Melody talking, sitting with their backs to a tree. Later, after Melody's death, Ethan goes back there with a picture of her. This leads viewers to believe it's the same tree and that the two friends probably spent a lot of time there.

I really love the dramatic background music as the camera pans from Ethan's phone lit up with text messages from Melody to a sleeping Ethan. I think it really helps dramatize the plot, as well as adds some suspense. I wasn't so keen on the song at the end of the film, "Melody Theme." It is integral to the storyline as this is the song that Ethan finished for Melody after her death. I just didn't love it. The melody is good but the lyrics and the vocals fall short. The lyrics feel very basic - not very unique, original or well thought-out.

Ethan's dad (Brendan Cooney) seems very worried about Ethan throughout the film. He mentions that Ethan isn't coping well and hasn't even cried yet. Later in the film, Ethan's dad cries, begging Ethan to come back, to eat something, to do anything! But Ethan doesn't say a word and just turns back to his piano. Eventually it becomes clear that Ethan isn't talking, eating, or doing anything besides playing piano because he was working on Melody's song. He leaves in the middle of Melody's funeral to go to the tree where he spent so much time with her. He talks to her photograph and tells her that he finished her song and finally, at that moment he cries. That shows growth in his character as he is starting to cope. He goes from showing no emotion and not talking to crying and singing. It's a step. There are multiple stages of grief and they don't necessarily take place in any order. He's going through them.

I am so impressed by Harrison J. Thomas. The film trailer includes a few clips of Harrison answering questions about his film. He sounds smart and carries himself well. Sometimes when I hear that a kid made a film, I think their parents must have done a lot of the work but you can clearly tell that's not the case here. I love his script and I am super impressed by his resume at such a young age. He speaks highly of the people who work with him which is a sign of good character. My favorite part of the film is the scene that shows Melody's last text messages and then pans to a sleeping Ethan. The film's message is about how you can't control everything. Bad things are inevitably going to happen. Some things are just "acts of God." Sometimes you have to let things take their course and let fate decide. The only thing you can control is yourself. Everything else is never 100% predictable. Programmers should be aware that there are some issues that might be problematic. Melody sneaks out in the middle of the night to meet her friend. She goes missing and is found dead two days later. The "risky thing kids might imitate" is sneaking out. But the film also does a pretty good job of showing the consequences that sneaking out might have so I actually think this would serves as a warning against doing so. I give Melody 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Watching this film could be educational as it could possibly deter children from sneaking out in secret after seeing what happened to Melody when she does that. By Alma K., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 8 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


WHISPER OF A BUTTERFLY, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
WHISPER OF A BUTTERFLY, THE
ALEN PAVSAR
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Jan, an 17-year-old mechatronics enthusiast and autistic teenager. He joins a class competing for a scholarship in an international company in the development of software for a modern ventilation system powered by artificial intelligence. There is also an attractive musician in the class and the only girl, Tara, who also wants to win. The class is led by the implacable teacher Frenk, who does not approve of the special needs of the students and walks around the edges with different methods of practical teaching. Despite all the obstacles from the teacher and classmates, Jan proves that he can do it.

The story of the film is based on real-life events and interesting fact is that main actor Ali Ogrizek is indeed autistic. From Slovenia, dialogue in Slovenian, English subtitles
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - With lucid and dynamic cinematography, a touching story and superb performances, The Whisper of a Butterfly is a sensitive and engaging testament to the fact that nothing can stop those who dream, and that compassion is key in our world.

The storyline follows Jan, a 17-year-old teen with autism who loves technology. He joins a class competing for a scholarship in an international company to develop an AI software for a ventilation company. He must navigate his interpersonal relationships, including with a beautiful but opportunistic classmate and his harsh teacher, Frank.

The story is beautiful and profound; there are many moments that tug at your heartstrings and others that make you smile. The storyline is written and executed with immense attention to detail about how students with autism react to situations and people. The cinematography is incredibly professional, with a mix of closeup and medium shots, and some artful wide shots thrown in. The use of color and light by cinematographer Igor Pecoler truly stands out, as does his attention to detail; Pecoler isn't afraid to let some shots hang for just a while longer to drive home a point. The costumes are used in an interesting way - Jan's jacket is often used as a prop - you can tell his emotional state by its placement and how he toys with it. In keeping with other elements of the film, the sets are impeccably put-together, with Frank's classroom being especially futuristic due to its use of AI and other technology. The music is dramatic and accentuates the goings-on in the film; when some classmates or Frank conspire against Jan,, the music grows dark and insidious. The music also serves as a tool to explain to the audience Jan's emotions when he can't put them into words.

Jan is played by Alja� Ali Ogrizek, who steals the show. His diction and dialogue delivery, powerful emoting, and skillful management of a difficult role make him truly shine. The ambitious Zarja is played by Ana Praznik, whose chemistry with Jan -- both positive and negative -- is undeniable. Mitja Ritlop plays the unforgiving, insensitive, yet incredibly deep Mr. Frank. His performance is one of my favorites, as he truly makes the viewer hate his character within the first five minutes of his screen time. At the same time, viewers can, in some places, resonate with him, which drums up the conflicting emotional response such a character is designed to produce. Overall, an incredible cast further lifts this incredible story. Allen Pavsar is the mastermind directing, writing and producing The Whisper of a Butterfly. His emphasis on clear, clean realism is evident in everything - from the dialogue to his direction of the actors to emote in specific scenes. The production design team excels as well; not a hair is out of place in any scene, and everything looks perfectly realistic. Jan is a character who won my heart within the first few frames of the movie -- he's a genuinely good person who refrains from judging anyone because he "can't see inside their head" to know what they are thinking. And he's passionate and hard-working, which makes anyone likable.

The film's message is about respecting people of all backgrounds. It promotes the lesson that having autism or another developmental disorder does not make one less than others. And it pushes everyone to achieve their dreams and defy the odds.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - With lucid and dynamic cinematography, a touching story and superb performances, The Whisper of a Butterfly is a sensitive and engaging testament to the fact that nothing can stop those who dream, and that compassion is key in our world.

The storyline follows Jan, a 17-year-old teen with autism who loves technology. He joins a class competing for a scholarship in an international company to develop an AI software for a ventilation company. He must navigate his interpersonal relationships, including with a beautiful but opportunistic classmate and his harsh teacher, Frank.

The story is beautiful and profound; there are many moments that tug at your heartstrings and others that make you smile. The storyline is written and executed with immense attention to detail about how students with autism react to situations and people. The cinematography is incredibly professional, with a mix of closeup and medium shots, and some artful wide shots thrown in. The use of color and light by cinematographer Igor Pecoler truly stands out, as does his attention to detail; Pecoler isn't afraid to let some shots hang for just a while longer to drive home a point. The costumes are used in an interesting way - Jan's jacket is often used as a prop - you can tell his emotional state by its placement and how he toys with it. In keeping with other elements of the film, the sets are impeccably put-together, with Frank's classroom being especially futuristic due to its use of AI and other technology. The music is dramatic and accentuates the goings-on in the film; when some classmates or Frank conspire against Jan,, the music grows dark and insidious. The music also serves as a tool to explain to the audience Jan's emotions when he can't put them into words.

Jan is played by Alja� Ali Ogrizek, who steals the show. His diction and dialogue delivery, powerful emoting, and skillful management of a difficult role make him truly shine. The ambitious Zarja is played by Ana Praznik, whose chemistry with Jan -- both positive and negative -- is undeniable. Mitja Ritlop plays the unforgiving, insensitive, yet incredibly deep Mr. Frank. His performance is one of my favorites, as he truly makes the viewer hate his character within the first five minutes of his screen time. At the same time, viewers can, in some places, resonate with him, which drums up the conflicting emotional response such a character is designed to produce. Overall, an incredible cast further lifts this incredible story. Allen Pavsar is the mastermind directing, writing and producing The Whisper of a Butterfly. His emphasis on clear, clean realism is evident in everything - from the dialogue to his direction of the actors to emote in specific scenes. The production design team excels as well; not a hair is out of place in any scene, and everything looks perfectly realistic. Jan is a character who won my heart within the first few frames of the movie -- he's a genuinely good person who refrains from judging anyone because he "can't see inside their head" to know what they are thinking. And he's passionate and hard-working, which makes anyone likable.

The film's message is about respecting people of all backgrounds. It promotes the lesson that having autism or another developmental disorder does not make one less than others. And it pushes everyone to achieve their dreams and defy the odds.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST!

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


BONNO EVERSONG AND THE 20 SIDES OF FATE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BONNO EVERSONG AND THE 20 SIDES OF FATE
FREDERICK SCHOENHALS
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - In a dimly lit rec-room a group of middle-aged friends, still reeling from the loss of their beloved character, Paul, play an ongoing tabletop role-playing game. With the introduction of Bonno Eversong, a pacifist bard, skepticism hung heavy in the air. Bonno's arrival stirred doubt among the group; however, with time, his soothing melodies and quick wit began to sway their opinions. As the game progressed, the misfit band faced daunting challenges, including a menacing troll guarding a bridge and a fearsome fire-breathing dragon. Through determination, unexpected ingenuity, and Bonno's unwavering commitment to peace, they not only conquered the trials but discovered a renewed sense of unity, illustrating that strength can manifest in unconventional ways.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I like the film Bonno Eversong for its interactive storyline, funny characters, and the video game-like experience.

The storyline follows a group of middle aged friends playing a game in one of their home's basements. The game unfolds while they decide every move the characters can make. There are animated maps that show the path to the castle, where they intend to defeat a dragon.

I like the parallel storyline between the group of friends playing the game, and deciding on the plot, and the actual game or story they play and make decisions for. I also like how we see them "teleport" into the time and place they are discussing. I like how it looks like visual storytelling. The quality of this film is great; it's a combination of animation and real live action. The animated segments are very cool. I really like how realistic the monsters look when the characters are battling them. There is use of low camera angles and some high camera angles that show off the medieval creatures - for example, the fighting the monster at the bridge. The costumes are pretty cool, especially the medieval costumes and weapons. The location in the basement suits the storyline, and for the animated parts, the castle and bridge suit the story. The medieval songs are lovely and go with the medieval story. There is also suspenseful music that plays when the characters are fighting the monster. The electric guitar music in the battle scene with the dragon also stands out. It's a great contrast and suits the video game experience. As for special effects - towards the end of the film, while fighting the dragon, two of the characters show special powers in their hands. Lighting comes out of their hands, and we also see fireworks coming out of the wand of one of the characters. It looks realistic and believable. I think the green screens are little bit obvious at times, but overall it looks pretty realistic. The monsters are very defined and that really stands out. My favorite part has to be the introduction to the characters with the stop motion and cool backgrounds. It really intrigued me to watch because of the interactive experience and video game effect.

The film's message is to never give up and fight to the end. Be aware that there are some scenes of violence. When the characters are battling the monster, they are throwing arrows at it, and in the end they slay the Dragon.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. By Neo M., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like the film Bonno Eversong for its interactive storyline, funny characters, and the video game-like experience.

The storyline follows a group of middle aged friends playing a game in one of their home's basements. The game unfolds while they decide every move the characters can make. There are animated maps that show the path to the castle, where they intend to defeat a dragon.

I like the parallel storyline between the group of friends playing the game, and deciding on the plot, and the actual game or story they play and make decisions for. I also like how we see them "teleport" into the time and place they are discussing. I like how it looks like visual storytelling. The quality of this film is great; it's a combination of animation and real live action. The animated segments are very cool. I really like how realistic the monsters look when the characters are battling them. There is use of low camera angles and some high camera angles that show off the medieval creatures - for example, the fighting the monster at the bridge. The costumes are pretty cool, especially the medieval costumes and weapons. The location in the basement suits the storyline, and for the animated parts, the castle and bridge suit the story. The medieval songs are lovely and go with the medieval story. There is also suspenseful music that plays when the characters are fighting the monster. The electric guitar music in the battle scene with the dragon also stands out. It's a great contrast and suits the video game experience. As for special effects - towards the end of the film, while fighting the dragon, two of the characters show special powers in their hands. Lighting comes out of their hands, and we also see fireworks coming out of the wand of one of the characters. It looks realistic and believable. I think the green screens are little bit obvious at times, but overall it looks pretty realistic. The monsters are very defined and that really stands out. My favorite part has to be the introduction to the characters with the stop motion and cool backgrounds. It really intrigued me to watch because of the interactive experience and video game effect.

The film's message is to never give up and fight to the end. Be aware that there are some scenes of violence. When the characters are battling the monster, they are throwing arrows at it, and in the end they slay the Dragon.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. By Neo M., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 24 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


CONCIERGE, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CONCIERGE, THE
JOANNE SCHIOPPI
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Akino is a trainee concierge at the Hokkyoku Department Store, an unusual department store that caters exclusively to animals. Under the watchful eyes of the floor manager and senior concierges, Akino runs around to fulfill the wishes of customers with a myriad of needs and problems in her pursuit to become a full-fledged concierge.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Very unusual, quirky and enjoyable. I give The Concierge 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Julia S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


ETERNAL ILLUSION

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ETERNAL ILLUSION
DANIEL GOMEZ SANCHO
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Eternal Illusion is a 3D zoetrope that displays an experience lived in first person by its author, after the death of a loved one. It emphasizes the emotion of fear, which is one of the phases experienced during the mourning process, according to psychological literature. This artwork was developed based on this personal event to create a piece that seeks a middle ground between animation and sculpture. The innovation lies in combining the ancient technique of the zoetrope with 3D printing and the illusion generated by the looping movement as a representation of the cycle of grief, as well as the use of a central animated character that connects with fear through body movement. All this is surrounded by natural elements that represent the inherent dynamics of life and death. The project represents this emotion on a material plane through the development of a monochromatic 3D zoetrope, which offers an approach to the subject from an individual and collective perspective.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Eternal Illusion is a visual delight that leaves you with a feeling of relief after watching.

This short college student made film offers a 3D zoetrope that was created by director Daniel Gomez Sancho after the death of a loved one with the intent to address fear as part of the mourning process, based on his personal experience. The piece offers a dance between animation and sculpture and utilizes 3D printing and movement.

I enjoyed the visuals in this short film. The sculpture somewhat reminds me of Gustav Vigeland's work, with its layers of people clustered together on a board. In some ways, I feel like this piece is not quite finished, but on the other hand, it's strong enough to be shown as it is now. My favorite part is when the figures actually move at the end, while the whole piece is spinning. The details of the 3D figures is extraordinary. The background music works well and gives it a sense of forward motion.

The film projects an aura of calm as you watch it. I realize the filmmaker used this as a means to overcome his own grief, but for me, the sense of calm that comes from it is paramount.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Eternal Illusion is a visual delight that leaves you with a feeling of relief after watching.

This short college student made film offers a 3D zoetrope that was created by director Daniel Gomez Sancho after the death of a loved one with the intent to address fear as part of the mourning process, based on his personal experience. The piece offers a dance between animation and sculpture and utilizes 3D printing and movement.

I enjoyed the visuals in this short film. The sculpture somewhat reminds me of Gustav Vigeland's work, with its layers of people clustered together on a board. In some ways, I feel like this piece is not quite finished, but on the other hand, it's strong enough to be shown as it is now. My favorite part is when the figures actually move at the end, while the whole piece is spinning. The details of the 3D figures is extraordinary. The background music works well and gives it a sense of forward motion.

The film projects an aura of calm as you watch it. I realize the filmmaker used this as a means to overcome his own grief, but for me, the sense of calm that comes from it is paramount.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 2 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


OPERATION: STUPLLOYD

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
OPERATION: STUPLLOYD
JESSICA TO
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - To defeat Stuplloyd, the evil stepfather, Jaz joins forces with her friends to execute her meticulously planned mission... only to be thwarted at every turn and even losing her friends to Stuplloyd's charms. Forging ahead with her plans, Jaz wavers in the final moments when she's finally alone and confronting Stuplloyd, allowing her to learn to face her fears and find the beauty in change.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Operation: Stuplloyd is a very entertaining short film with an important message.

The storyline follows a young girl, Jaz (Leah Park), who doesn't want her step dad, Lloyd (Garfield Wilson) to join her family so she tries to make her friends steal some of his stuff - but they end up not going along with it and actually liking him.

The plot is a bit confusing. It is a story about the child of divorced parents who doesn't want change in her life. Although the film doesn't offer anything new in terms of blended families, the story plays out well and is well developed from writing to execution. Plus, I love their very diverse group of cast and crew. The production values are quite good. I particularly enjoyed the varied camera angles, showing different points of view from the girl, her friends and the stepdad. The lighting is exceptionally well done, which is a challenge with so many indoor shots. I like the quirky movements like when the girls do cartwheels in the hall to move from one room to another. And the props are fun and slightly goofy also. The background music works - although I found it annoying at times. Jaz (Leah Park) shows noticeable growth. At the beginning she is abrupt, irate and whiney. She just wants to get rid of her stepdad - even to the point of planning to violently attack him - though her friends are terrified at that idea. As the film develops, and her friends tell her that the guy is cool, she finally manages to accept that her step dad is now part of her family and discovers that change may not be so horrible after all. The best part of the film is how they switch from young girls to adults and portray themselves as secret agents.

The film's message is that not all change is bad. It can be exciting and beneficial. It can still be hard though.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Operation: Stuplloyd is a very entertaining short film with an important message.

The storyline follows a young girl, Jaz (Leah Park), who doesn't want her step dad, Lloyd (Garfield Wilson) to join her family so she tries to make her friends steal some of his stuff - but they end up not going along with it and actually liking him.

The plot is a bit confusing. It is a story about the child of divorced parents who doesn't want change in her life. Although the film doesn't offer anything new in terms of blended families, the story plays out well and is well developed from writing to execution. Plus, I love their very diverse group of cast and crew. The production values are quite good. I particularly enjoyed the varied camera angles, showing different points of view from the girl, her friends and the stepdad. The lighting is exceptionally well done, which is a challenge with so many indoor shots. I like the quirky movements like when the girls do cartwheels in the hall to move from one room to another. And the props are fun and slightly goofy also. The background music works - although I found it annoying at times. Jaz (Leah Park) shows noticeable growth. At the beginning she is abrupt, irate and whiney. She just wants to get rid of her stepdad - even to the point of planning to violently attack him - though her friends are terrified at that idea. As the film develops, and her friends tell her that the guy is cool, she finally manages to accept that her step dad is now part of her family and discovers that change may not be so horrible after all. The best part of the film is how they switch from young girls to adults and portray themselves as secret agents.

The film's message is that not all change is bad. It can be exciting and beneficial. It can still be hard though.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 12 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ANKA AND DOMINIK - SPACE FRIENDS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ANKA AND DOMINIK - SPACE FRIENDS
BORIS BAKAL
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Anka is not adapted or not adaptable and maybe because of that she is constantly the object of ridicule by her friends and schoolmates, so a spaceman comes to her aid. As for what happened next, you have to work hard, and the ending is really fun! From Croatia; Dialogue in Croatian, English subtitles
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Anka And Dominik - Space Friends is absolutely heartwarming to watch! I love how the two main characters show the power of friendship throughout the film.

This film starts off with a young girl named Anka (Laura Kunda Gustavsson), who tries to fit in with her classmates, but they snub and ignore her and make fun of her. As Anka struggles to make friends, an alien named Dominik (Lun Ble c) comes down to Earth and offers to play with her. The two of them have a lot of fun together, and soon Anka asks Dominik to be her friend.

This live action film from Croatia is based around children and close friends. The actors are all elementary school children and they are adorable. In the beginning, Anka is an "outsider" who is ignored and made fun of at school by her classmates, and she is afraid that she can't make any friends. After she meets Dominik, her mood changes and she becomes so much happier. Their relationship grows rapidly as we watch them play games outside and read books together. One of my favorite scenes is when they are sitting side by side reading and they choreographically change position in unison. Later, they are both coloring something and when they hold up what they were coloring, they have both created half a heart, which they put together to make one heart. It is at this point when the camera shows the librarian watching her and does not see Dominic and we wonder, is Dominik an imaginary friend? It's sort of irrelevant because his presence serves Anka in bringing out her personal happiness. I love how Dominik comes into Anka's life just as the bullying by the other classmates is starting to wear thin. I like how Anka and Dominik's friendship is presented throughout the film. We see how both of them are equally happy to have a new friend, since both are struggling to fit in. I like how, when Dominik arrives at Earth, the first angle you get of him isn't his face, which adds some mysteriousness. The costumes suit the storyline. Dominik's antennae stand out, as they show that he clearly is not from Earth. Since the location is mainly the school building and campus, and the main characters are students, they suit the story. The music sets the mood of Anka and Dominik's friendship. It is light, happy music, which perfectly symbolizes their friendship. There are a few special effects in the beginning of the film, when Dominik arrives on Earth. They are effective, because they show the audience that Dominik is not human. I like the costumes for the film because they remind me of my peers at school. That's good because that means the costumes resemble what students wear today. My favorite part of the film is when Anka and Dominik meet. When Anka realizes she has a friend, it is very heartwarming. I also love the scene at the end showing Anka and Dominik a little later - older - and they have a fleeting glimpse of each other which makes them both smile.

The film's message is that no matter what, you can always find a friend in someone.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. Take note that the dialogue is in Croatian with English subtitles. By Ari P., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Anka And Dominik - Space Friends is absolutely heartwarming to watch! I love how the two main characters show the power of friendship throughout the film.

This film starts off with a young girl named Anka (Laura Kunda Gustavsson), who tries to fit in with her classmates, but they snub and ignore her and make fun of her. As Anka struggles to make friends, an alien named Dominik (Lun Ble c) comes down to Earth and offers to play with her. The two of them have a lot of fun together, and soon Anka asks Dominik to be her friend.

This live action film from Croatia is based around children and close friends. The actors are all elementary school children and they are adorable. In the beginning, Anka is an "outsider" who is ignored and made fun of at school by her classmates, and she is afraid that she can't make any friends. After she meets Dominik, her mood changes and she becomes so much happier. Their relationship grows rapidly as we watch them play games outside and read books together. One of my favorite scenes is when they are sitting side by side reading and they choreographically change position in unison. Later, they are both coloring something and when they hold up what they were coloring, they have both created half a heart, which they put together to make one heart. It is at this point when the camera shows the librarian watching her and does not see Dominic and we wonder, is Dominik an imaginary friend? It's sort of irrelevant because his presence serves Anka in bringing out her personal happiness. I love how Dominik comes into Anka's life just as the bullying by the other classmates is starting to wear thin. I like how Anka and Dominik's friendship is presented throughout the film. We see how both of them are equally happy to have a new friend, since both are struggling to fit in. I like how, when Dominik arrives at Earth, the first angle you get of him isn't his face, which adds some mysteriousness. The costumes suit the storyline. Dominik's antennae stand out, as they show that he clearly is not from Earth. Since the location is mainly the school building and campus, and the main characters are students, they suit the story. The music sets the mood of Anka and Dominik's friendship. It is light, happy music, which perfectly symbolizes their friendship. There are a few special effects in the beginning of the film, when Dominik arrives on Earth. They are effective, because they show the audience that Dominik is not human. I like the costumes for the film because they remind me of my peers at school. That's good because that means the costumes resemble what students wear today. My favorite part of the film is when Anka and Dominik meet. When Anka realizes she has a friend, it is very heartwarming. I also love the scene at the end showing Anka and Dominik a little later - older - and they have a fleeting glimpse of each other which makes them both smile.

The film's message is that no matter what, you can always find a friend in someone.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. Take note that the dialogue is in Croatian with English subtitles. By Ari P., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


STATIC ETERNITY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
STATIC ETERNITY
TREVOR ANDERSON
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Noah is a young man dealing with life and technology in an ever-distancing world.

Winner of a Gold Key at Scholastic's Art & Writing Awards in Florida, as well as Best Student Short Film at Athvikaruni International Film Festival (Updated 01/29/24).
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Static Eternity has a very creative storyline that many teens can relate to. The way the plot connects to the title is very interesting. It shows how if you make simple changes, things can turn around.

This film follows a typical teenager named Noah who experiences difficulties in his everyday life. He finds it hard to juggle his schoolwork and his social life. Noah is also having difficulty connecting to his family. All of these things, and other life events, leave him feeling isolated. He needs to figure out a way to move forward and rekindle his connections with others in his life.

I enjoyed how the storyline portrays a realistic viewpoint of a teenager's life. Noah's struggles juggling his job, his schoolwork, and relationships with his friends and family, are evident in his actions and dialogue. In particular, the scenes with Noah and his friends in the cafeteria and bathroom are well thought out. The film is pretty well produced although there are some scenes when there is a hum in the audio which is annoyingly distracting and the lighting falls short in some of the indoor scenes, making them very dark and difficult to see the people in them. Also the audio levels jump all over the place. I had to constantly turn the volume up or down. However, that being said, the camera angles are varied and interesting. For example, the scene where a character is in the bathroom is shot with him lying on the floor, the camera point-of-view is from his eye level there. It also seems to represent how low and defeated he feels. After walking out of the bathroom, the camera looks upward as if the other characters are looking up at him. It seems to depict that his spirits are lifted after talking with them. The characters' costumes seem fitting for each scene. The set for the coffee shop is very detailed and decorated which stands out. The school cafeteria is also realistic. The music fits the mood of the film - the background music in the coffee shop works well and when he is at his desk it seems to reflect his emotions. The main character, Noah (Taylan Nightingale) has a major character breakthrough in his outlook towards life as the film progresses. In the beginning, he is very reserved and depressed and towards the end his character becomes more hopeful. The direction of the film works well; there are scenes with many actors, like in the school cafeteria, which could be confusing but they are well choreographed. My favorite part is when Noah is with Charlie (Ethan Nadeau). Charlie provides comic relief and lightens the mood in the film with his humor.

The film's message is that when you are feeling down and alone you can always turn to your friends. People go through difficult times, but with small changes there is hope for better times in the future.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Carlee S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Static Eternity has a very creative storyline that many teens can relate to. The way the plot connects to the title is very interesting. It shows how if you make simple changes, things can turn around.

This film follows a typical teenager named Noah who experiences difficulties in his everyday life. He finds it hard to juggle his schoolwork and his social life. Noah is also having difficulty connecting to his family. All of these things, and other life events, leave him feeling isolated. He needs to figure out a way to move forward and rekindle his connections with others in his life.

I enjoyed how the storyline portrays a realistic viewpoint of a teenager's life. Noah's struggles juggling his job, his schoolwork, and relationships with his friends and family, are evident in his actions and dialogue. In particular, the scenes with Noah and his friends in the cafeteria and bathroom are well thought out. The film is pretty well produced although there are some scenes when there is a hum in the audio which is annoyingly distracting and the lighting falls short in some of the indoor scenes, making them very dark and difficult to see the people in them. Also the audio levels jump all over the place. I had to constantly turn the volume up or down. However, that being said, the camera angles are varied and interesting. For example, the scene where a character is in the bathroom is shot with him lying on the floor, the camera point-of-view is from his eye level there. It also seems to represent how low and defeated he feels. After walking out of the bathroom, the camera looks upward as if the other characters are looking up at him. It seems to depict that his spirits are lifted after talking with them. The characters' costumes seem fitting for each scene. The set for the coffee shop is very detailed and decorated which stands out. The school cafeteria is also realistic. The music fits the mood of the film - the background music in the coffee shop works well and when he is at his desk it seems to reflect his emotions. The main character, Noah (Taylan Nightingale) has a major character breakthrough in his outlook towards life as the film progresses. In the beginning, he is very reserved and depressed and towards the end his character becomes more hopeful. The direction of the film works well; there are scenes with many actors, like in the school cafeteria, which could be confusing but they are well choreographed. My favorite part is when Noah is with Charlie (Ethan Nadeau). Charlie provides comic relief and lightens the mood in the film with his humor.

The film's message is that when you are feeling down and alone you can always turn to your friends. People go through difficult times, but with small changes there is hope for better times in the future.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Carlee S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 14 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


UNCLE JOE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
UNCLE JOE
AZZA BRUMMER
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Three kids get into mischief when left alone at their house as they break late Uncle Joe's urn. Attempting to buy a replacement, they build a lemonade stand but get caught by their dad before they can replace it.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed this short film. It's a fun silent film featuring young actors and an interesting plot.

This non narrative film by a talented high school student filmmaker tells a tale of three young kids who get into mischief when left alone at their house. They break the urn holding Uncle Joe's ashes and scurry about trying to fix or replace it. They set up a lemonade stand to raise money to replace it (and it appears the lemonade was not too tasty). Before they can replace it, Dad comes home and catches them unprepared.

As a high school student film, this holds together quite well and is well made. The camera work, the background music, and the acting are good and suitable for exhibition. It is entirely non narrative so there are no voices to critique; the actors all play believable roles. I particularly like the young girl, Becky Baskin, played by Vasilisa Ivanova. But both boys also give solid performances. The costumes are suitable to the story as is the location. The only thing I find unsuitable is the heavy eye make up on one boy and Becky - way too much eye liner -- it doesn't make sense they would be this made up for the action in this film.

The film's message is about being real. When you make a mistake, be prepared for the consequences.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I enjoyed this short film. It's a fun silent film featuring young actors and an interesting plot.

This non narrative film by a talented high school student filmmaker tells a tale of three young kids who get into mischief when left alone at their house. They break the urn holding Uncle Joe's ashes and scurry about trying to fix or replace it. They set up a lemonade stand to raise money to replace it (and it appears the lemonade was not too tasty). Before they can replace it, Dad comes home and catches them unprepared.

As a high school student film, this holds together quite well and is well made. The camera work, the background music, and the acting are good and suitable for exhibition. It is entirely non narrative so there are no voices to critique; the actors all play believable roles. I particularly like the young girl, Becky Baskin, played by Vasilisa Ivanova. But both boys also give solid performances. The costumes are suitable to the story as is the location. The only thing I find unsuitable is the heavy eye make up on one boy and Becky - way too much eye liner -- it doesn't make sense they would be this made up for the action in this film.

The film's message is about being real. When you make a mistake, be prepared for the consequences.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 3 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SAILING MOVIE, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SAILING MOVIE, THE
RYAN LUSKIN
Series: DOCUMENTARY FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - The powerful tale of a boys "Right of Passage," a family sails six thousand miles through sixteen countries, in search of six essential life skills we'll all need to thrive in this quickly changing world. Share their adventures and personal challenges as they survive on the sea, and interview elders from remote indigenous peoples, academics, gangsters, and diplomats. Much of the music for the original soundtrack was recorded at sea with people they met along the way.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Sailing Movie gives important lessons to the younger generation and shows how everyone can improve their life.

The Sailing Movie follows a family of four on a journey at sea. They travel through sixteen countries to learn six essential life skills to teach other people. Over their six thousand mile journey, they go through challenges that test them in many ways, making them stronger in the end.

This documentary covers a journey that many people dream of and few ever undertake - taking off on a sailboat with your children to explore the world and experience real life lessons. You can feel the closeness of the family members while watching the dad and son dive into the ocean together, the boy firmly gripping the dad's back as they dive deep. The film's narrator is the 17 year old son, who doesn't hold back about his observations of their journey - revealing the sometimes life threatening circumstances they endure as their 2 and a half year journey unfolds.. The dad, director and writer, Ryan Luskin, brings this family's story to life beautifully. He is involved in environmental education and it's inspiring that he wants to share messages with the world. I like that the family members learn valuable lessons over the course of the movie. I appreciate how their hardships are shown, so people can relate. Everything is not always easy. The majority of the film is shot on a boat and some of the camerawork is marginal, but the variety of shots and locations is absolutely extraordinary. The location we see most often is that of the boat, but we also see shots of the various locations they visit during their journey. The background music shifts dramatically throughout the film, some of it recorded spontaneously by local people they meet. It runs the gambit from joyful tunes to more suspenseful modalities. Zeb's mom sings at times which makes the audience feel like this family's living in paradise. They are a family that, by the end of the movie, have recognized the need to learn six essential life skills: respect, gratitude, self-control, adaptability, problem solving, and communication. They go through many challenges to find these lessons. My favorite part of the film are the beach scenes because it reminds me of summertime. Those really set the mood for the movie.

The film's message is about the uncertainty of life and how to face fears. The film says we can't predict the fire but we can adapt to it. It advises people to temper their attitude because life can be difficult sometimes. It encourages us to face our fears.

I give The Sailing Movie 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Sydney S. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Sailing Movie gives important lessons to the younger generation and shows how everyone can improve their life.

The Sailing Movie follows a family of four on a journey at sea. They travel through sixteen countries to learn six essential life skills to teach other people. Over their six thousand mile journey, they go through challenges that test them in many ways, making them stronger in the end.

This documentary covers a journey that many people dream of and few ever undertake - taking off on a sailboat with your children to explore the world and experience real life lessons. You can feel the closeness of the family members while watching the dad and son dive into the ocean together, the boy firmly gripping the dad's back as they dive deep. The film's narrator is the 17 year old son, who doesn't hold back about his observations of their journey - revealing the sometimes life threatening circumstances they endure as their 2 and a half year journey unfolds.. The dad, director and writer, Ryan Luskin, brings this family's story to life beautifully. He is involved in environmental education and it's inspiring that he wants to share messages with the world. I like that the family members learn valuable lessons over the course of the movie. I appreciate how their hardships are shown, so people can relate. Everything is not always easy. The majority of the film is shot on a boat and some of the camerawork is marginal, but the variety of shots and locations is absolutely extraordinary. The location we see most often is that of the boat, but we also see shots of the various locations they visit during their journey. The background music shifts dramatically throughout the film, some of it recorded spontaneously by local people they meet. It runs the gambit from joyful tunes to more suspenseful modalities. Zeb's mom sings at times which makes the audience feel like this family's living in paradise. They are a family that, by the end of the movie, have recognized the need to learn six essential life skills: respect, gratitude, self-control, adaptability, problem solving, and communication. They go through many challenges to find these lessons. My favorite part of the film are the beach scenes because it reminds me of summertime. Those really set the mood for the movie.

The film's message is about the uncertainty of life and how to face fears. The film says we can't predict the fire but we can adapt to it. It advises people to temper their attitude because life can be difficult sometimes. It encourages us to face our fears.

I give The Sailing Movie 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Sydney S. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


NICO & NICKEL

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
NICO & NICKEL
SKY O'CONNELL
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5 TO 12
Topic - Family
Description - In an Iron Giant meets The Sandlot inspired world, a distracted child named Nico gets hit by a baseball and must venture into the woods alone to retrieve it. In this intimidating forest, Nico finds a strange robot named Nickel. Terrified, Nico runs away, but not everything is as it seems.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a charming short animated film by Sky O'Connell, a college student. Great visuals - interesting story line.

This short film follows a young boy, Nico, who is hit by a baseball while he's watching some other kids play. He is sent into the woods to retrieve the ball and gets more than he thought as he meets a giant robot there. Terrified, he begins to run away, stumbles and falls to the ground. The Iron Robot finds the ball and rolls it over to the kid and a new friendship seems to be in the works.

I am particularly impressed by the animation in this film. It is well made with flawless movement. The color palette is very subtle, just like the story. I love the facial expressions on Nico, especially his eyes. And, of course, the robot in the woods reminds me of one of my all time favorite films by Brad Bird, The Iron Giant. This robot is a much simpler version, but has good detailing. Note should be given to the composer because the background music is outstanding and, since most of the film is non-narrative, it plays a critical role in creating the right atmosphere for the story to take place. Nico's voice is perfect for his character. Nice work overall, particularly for a college student film, but it holds up among professional films as well.

The film's message is about developing friendships in the most unusual places.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a charming short animated film by Sky O'Connell, a college student. Great visuals - interesting story line.

This short film follows a young boy, Nico, who is hit by a baseball while he's watching some other kids play. He is sent into the woods to retrieve the ball and gets more than he thought as he meets a giant robot there. Terrified, he begins to run away, stumbles and falls to the ground. The Iron Robot finds the ball and rolls it over to the kid and a new friendship seems to be in the works.

I am particularly impressed by the animation in this film. It is well made with flawless movement. The color palette is very subtle, just like the story. I love the facial expressions on Nico, especially his eyes. And, of course, the robot in the woods reminds me of one of my all time favorite films by Brad Bird, The Iron Giant. This robot is a much simpler version, but has good detailing. Note should be given to the composer because the background music is outstanding and, since most of the film is non-narrative, it plays a critical role in creating the right atmosphere for the story to take place. Nico's voice is perfect for his character. Nice work overall, particularly for a college student film, but it holds up among professional films as well.

The film's message is about developing friendships in the most unusual places.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 3 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


TASTE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN, A

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TASTE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN, A
CELESTE SEMPERE
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Oliver (13 years old) interviewed family and locals in Greece and Turkey about food and culture.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - A Taste of the Mediterranean taught me a lot about Greek culture and food. It is really an eye opener about these two cultures and, although it doesn't explore them in depth, definitely made me want to know more..

Filmmaker, thirteen-year-old Oliver interviews family and locals in Greece and Turkey about food and culture. The film's format is documentary style.

This is a fun and informative documentary which focuses primarily on Greek culture and food. It features interviews by local people who express their love of their country and their food. I love the comment by Ion Simonides that "Greek culture and food are inseparable." He compares the concept of food in Greece to the "farm to table" movement in the US. Elder Yanni Simidea shares his wisdom while talking with young Lennon Sempere as they watch food being prepared. The camera work is very well done - clear and well lit. The audio is also captured quite well. Kudos to the young filmmaker for all of that. The locations are stunningly gorgeous and made me want to return to Greece as soon as possible. We visit Naxos, a beautiful Greek island in the Aegean and then move on to Istanbul Turkey where Ali, a Turkish tour guide shares his love for his country. Turkish food rivals the Greek food in its freshness and, perhaps the thing that makes it stand out it is the large array of spices that are used. The film is richly enhanced by traditional Greek folk music in the background, which made me feel as if I was right there along with Olivier. This film does not go in depth into the food and culture of either of these countries, but it definitely makes a statement that sparked my interest enough to want to go visit myself, or at least explore Greek and Turkish cuisine in my own community.

The film really serves as an excellent introduction to Greek and Turkish food and culture.

I give A Taste of the Mediterranean 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Avalon N. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A Taste of the Mediterranean taught me a lot about Greek culture and food. It is really an eye opener about these two cultures and, although it doesn't explore them in depth, definitely made me want to know more..

Filmmaker, thirteen-year-old Oliver interviews family and locals in Greece and Turkey about food and culture. The film's format is documentary style.

This is a fun and informative documentary which focuses primarily on Greek culture and food. It features interviews by local people who express their love of their country and their food. I love the comment by Ion Simonides that "Greek culture and food are inseparable." He compares the concept of food in Greece to the "farm to table" movement in the US. Elder Yanni Simidea shares his wisdom while talking with young Lennon Sempere as they watch food being prepared. The camera work is very well done - clear and well lit. The audio is also captured quite well. Kudos to the young filmmaker for all of that. The locations are stunningly gorgeous and made me want to return to Greece as soon as possible. We visit Naxos, a beautiful Greek island in the Aegean and then move on to Istanbul Turkey where Ali, a Turkish tour guide shares his love for his country. Turkish food rivals the Greek food in its freshness and, perhaps the thing that makes it stand out it is the large array of spices that are used. The film is richly enhanced by traditional Greek folk music in the background, which made me feel as if I was right there along with Olivier. This film does not go in depth into the food and culture of either of these countries, but it definitely makes a statement that sparked my interest enough to want to go visit myself, or at least explore Greek and Turkish cuisine in my own community.

The film really serves as an excellent introduction to Greek and Turkish food and culture.

I give A Taste of the Mediterranean 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Avalon N. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SELMA

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SELMA
HARRISON J. THOMAS
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Arriving at Selma Primary intent on a fresh start, old patterns re-emerge as William attempts to escape his troubled past. Selma is written, directed, edited, scored and starring 11 year-old Rizz Thomas.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


BOLD

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BOLD
ALLA KOVGAN
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - A surreal night shift of a female prison guard turns into a juggling fiesta, celebrating diversity and solidarity of women.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Wow! Very surreal and compelling.

This short film showcases an entire group of female inmates at a prison who are all juggling colorful balls. It's an opportunity for individual expression and they are definitely into it.

Great camera work and editing. Interesting choice of locations - a women's prison. This non narrative short drives home a sharp message about individuality in this film as we watch the different styles of juggling by the different women featured here. By the end, even the guard is juggling with them and they are juggling from a variety of positions - standing up or laying down, as a group or on their own.

The film's message is about finding your identity, even when you are in prison.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Wow! Very surreal and compelling.

This short film showcases an entire group of female inmates at a prison who are all juggling colorful balls. It's an opportunity for individual expression and they are definitely into it.

Great camera work and editing. Interesting choice of locations - a women's prison. This non narrative short drives home a sharp message about individuality in this film as we watch the different styles of juggling by the different women featured here. By the end, even the guard is juggling with them and they are juggling from a variety of positions - standing up or laying down, as a group or on their own.

The film's message is about finding your identity, even when you are in prison.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 3 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


CHOIR OF HONOR: COMMEMORATING PEARL HARBOR

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CHOIR OF HONOR: COMMEMORATING PEARL HARBOR
MASTRO FILMS
Series: INDIE DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Forty-four teenagers of the newest generation work day and night, giving up their summers, to honor the last remaining Pearl Harbor survivors of the Greatest Generation. Along the way, they learn the harrowing WW2 tale first hand from decorated Navy veteran, 100 year old Jack Holder. Traversing a blistering schedule learning an intense new song and dance routine, plus the daily rigors of high school, follow these performing arts students as they take on a journey from the Las Vegas valley to Pearl Harbor and the heights of Oahu's Diamondhead. Their physical triumph, overcoming the tropical cyclone of the year, is nothing compared to their transformation of heart and mind; find out why when you fall in love with "Choir of Honor: Commemorating Pearl Harbor".
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - A remarkable documentary about a remarkable event. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A remarkable documentary about a remarkable event. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 80 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


THE REITERATIVE REALITY OF ROSEMARY ROBINSON

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
THE REITERATIVE REALITY OF ROSEMARY ROBINSON
DSA VIDEO CINEMA ARTS
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Meet Rosemary. Rosemary is a girl who follows the same exact routine every single day, however she is forced out of this routine by unfortunate circumstances. What will become of her life? In this homage to Wes Anderson, Rosemary is forced to grapple with her new reality and finally discover what might come from some change.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Very well done. I love that it's an ode to Wes Anderson.

The repetitiveness of Rosemary's routine has been going on way too long. At last, she is forced to change it when the neighborhood coffee shop closes permanently. What she discovers is the spice of variety.

The film's message is that a lack of change in your world might not be the best thing.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Very well done. I love that it's an ode to Wes Anderson.

The repetitiveness of Rosemary's routine has been going on way too long. At last, she is forced to change it when the neighborhood coffee shop closes permanently. What she discovers is the spice of variety.

The film's message is that a lack of change in your world might not be the best thing.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


DELAY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
DELAY
DSA VIDEO CINEMA ARTS
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - In a surreal loop of time and perception, a man's simple date spirals into unsettling chaos as he repeatedly relives a fateful evening, encountering eerie glitches in reality, forcing him to confront the consequences of his choices and their enigmatic connection to 2 small gifts.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - A very odd film, but I like it.

A man's date spirals out of controls as he relives the events of the evening, questioning what actually happened.

Well shot. Good camera work; good audio; odd story, but stimulates conversation.

The film's message is about reality - what's real and what is not.

I give Delay 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A very odd film, but I like it.

A man's date spirals out of controls as he relives the events of the evening, questioning what actually happened.

Well shot. Good camera work; good audio; odd story, but stimulates conversation.

The film's message is about reality - what's real and what is not.

I give Delay 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GRILLZ OF GREED - ADDICTED TO THE CART

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GRILLZ OF GREED - ADDICTED TO THE CART
DSA VIDEO CINEMA ARTS
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - An average service worker succumbs to the social pressure of capitalism and breaks the bank chasing his materialistic desires.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Grillz of Greed: Addicted to the Cart definitely made me laugh, if only because I do know people (one in particular) who are additives to online shopping.

The story follows an average service worker who succumbs to the social pressure of capitalism and breaks the bank chasing his materialistic desires.

Well produced, good audio; good bios. Good storyline and plot development. The lead character is entirely believable and, although no words are used, none are needed.

The film's message is about greed -- how much stuff do we need?

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Julies S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Grillz of Greed: Addicted to the Cart definitely made me laugh, if only because I do know people (one in particular) who are additives to online shopping.

The story follows an average service worker who succumbs to the social pressure of capitalism and breaks the bank chasing his materialistic desires.

Well produced, good audio; good bios. Good storyline and plot development. The lead character is entirely believable and, although no words are used, none are needed.

The film's message is about greed -- how much stuff do we need?

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Julies S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 4 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO



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