The Ages 12-18 category has 3377 KIDS FIRST! endorsed titles

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I STILL BELIEVE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
I STILL BELIEVE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
LIONSGATE FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-14
Topic - Family
Description - The true-life story of Christian music star Jeremy Camp and his journey of love and loss that looks to prove there is always hope.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I Still Believe is a sincere and true love story, held down by clich�d dialogue and plot development. The subtle messages and radiant leads stick their landing without feeling preachy. Adults and kids will admire this faith-based tale, perhaps in a matinee and a box of tissues.

This story brings the true-life story of Christian music star Jeremy Camp (KJ Apa) and his remarkable journey with his wife Melissa (Britt Robertson). Their faith in God is tested when Melissa is diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Still, Jeremy believes there is always hope and a faith worth sharing through his music and memories.

The two leads share great chemistry allowing for a believable relationship. KJ Apa, as Jeremy Camp, steps into the shoes of the Christian music singer, through his original music and devotion towards his wife Melissa. Speaking of which, Britt Robertson, as Melissa, is the best performance nailing the emotional gravitas of the real-life counterpart's plight. She fares much better in emotional scenes, and while KJ has great screen presence, he could improve his emotional chops. Both characters absolutely deliver a heart-warming dynamic that makes the ending all the more tragic, but also reminiscing. Nathan Dean, as Jean-Luc, adds a love-triangle dynamic that feels more at home in a CW show than a dramatic real-life story. Still, his character is charismatic and relatable in his struggles. Gary Sinise, as Tom, is Jeremy's father, adding more heart to Jeremy's unwavering love and choices.

Directors Andrew and Jon Erwin return after directing the Christian film I Can Only Imagine. The Erwins have a good grasp on not being preachy and instead, focus on the human relationships that bind. However, this film's first half panders with one instance of egregious product placement, unbecoming of its more mature second half. It feels tonally inconsistent in spite of KJ and Britt's natural chemistry. There's a scene involving a broken jar of pickles where the film becomes thoughtfully complacent about its conflicts. This is where the film began to click, and it ends up being moving and lyrically heartwarming.

The message of this film is to always keep the faith and stay close to those you love. They make us for who we are, and unfortunately, tragic things can happen. It's best that we stay close and not waste any day with them.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 due to strong thematic material. The movie releases in theaters March 13, 2020, so check it out.

By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-14
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


STARGIRL

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
STARGIRL       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-14
Topic - Family
Description - A boy becomes intrigued by a mysterious and quirky student named Stargirl and spends his time trying to know more about her.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Stargirl is an amazing movie that encourages you to be yourself and not let anyone tell you who else to be. This movie could make a great impact on the world and it has such a powerful and positive message with the ability to inspire many people.

Stargirl is about a boy named Leo Borlock (Graham Verchere) and a girl, Stargirl (Grace VanderWaal) who, after many years of being homeschooled, decides to attend a regular school and the two of them begin a connection. When Stargirl shows up at the school, positive things start happening, like the football team winning games, which it hadn't for YEARS)! But, when Stargirl makes a choice that causes the school to lose the championship football game, everyone turns on her and it's up to Leo to save Stargirl and win back everyone's love for her.

One of my favorite parts is when Stargirl sings Happy Birthday to Leo at the beginning of the movie, because that's when he starts noticing that this girl is different and wonders what she knows about him. What a surprise to have a complete stranger serenade you on your birthday, in front of the whole school! I also love the moment when Stargirl runs out of her house as Leo is leaving and kisses him. She's like, "Oh no, what do I do now?" and runs back into her house. I think that's so cute and funny and I love that he gets so giggly and happy about it. It is so adorable.

The message of this film is simple enough - be true to yourself and never let anybody tell you who to be or what to do, because you'll be unhappy with yourself in the end.

I love Stargirl and give it 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 10 to 18. If you're in high school you'll be able to relate to at least one of the many likeable characters in this movie. And, Disney fans, as well as adults will LOVE this movie too. There's something for the whole family in this film. Make sure to have a box of tissues near by when you watch it. You just may need it for both the heartwarming and joyful moments. This movie is streaming on Disney+ beginning March 13, 2020.

By Lindalee Rose, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-14
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


BLOODSHOT

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BLOODSHOT       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
COLUMBIA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Ray Garrison, an elite soldier who was killed in battle, is brought back to life by an advanced technology that gives him the ability of super human strength and fast healing. With his new abilities, he goes after the man who killed his wife, or at least, who he believes killed his wife. He soon comes to learn that not everything he learns can be trusted. The true question his: Can he even trust himself?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments`
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Bloodshot because it has a unique storyline, awesome action and great stunt scenes. This film keep your attention throughout the entire movie.

Bloodshot is about a solider named Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) who gets killed in action and is brought back to life by an innovative scientist named Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce), who fixes wounded soldiers by augmenting what the soldier lost in battle. One soldier, named Jimmy Dalton (Sam Heughan), lost his legs in battle so Dr. Harting gave him robotic legs. Ray lost his life and Dr. Harting replaced all of his blood with nanites, which can rebuild any part of his injured body.

My favorite part is the elevator shaft fight scene when Ray, Jimmy and Tibbs (Alex Hernandez) are fighting on top of the elevator. The digital effects are awesome, like how the nanites heal Ray every time he gets hurt. The graphics are perfect. The costumes look like army gear with special devices attached. There is some foul language and violence. The cast fits each character, especially Vin Diesel who perfectly playa Ray Garrison.

The moral of this movie is that not everything is what it seems. You have to see the film in order to understand the moral.

I give Bloodshot 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Bloodshot comes out in theaters March 13, 2020. Go watch it.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


CRITICAL THINKING

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CRITICAL THINKING
CQCM - CARIBBEAN CHAPTER
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - CRITICAL THINKING is based on the story of the 1998 Miami Jackson Senior High School chess team that defied the odds and overcame incredible adversity to become the first urban high school to win the U.S. Chess National Championship. John Leguizamo stars as Mario Martinez, the determined high school teacher who's unwavering belief in his students set in motion the rise of the Miami Jackson chess team from the city streets of1998 Miami, to the spotlight as national champions.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Critical Thinking is a film with incredible, fleshed out characters in an emotional story which surprises you at every turn. It gets you to connect with the characters quickly and made me actually feel bad for them when things go wrong.

Critical Thinking tells the true story of the lives of members of the Miami Jackson High School chess team during the U.S. National Chess Championship. It goes into the motivations behind the members and their team supervisor, Mr. Martinez, as they struggle to get out of a system that doesn't value them via the chess tournament. It follows their journey from the start, raising money to get to the tournaments, and the events that occur during the tournaments, as well as all the problems throughout. The film also goes into specific details of the members' personal lives to show their daily struggles.

The characters are developed incredibly well, making you feel as if you know the characters. It makes even the most insignificant characters interesting. They are all real people who make real choices about their lives, for better or worse. I really enjoyed the way they show the players develop during the competitions. They play like real people and make mistakes like them too. There are very complicated relationships between the characters that help them develop their abilities and personalities.

The score is subtle and matches the film. There was never a point when I noticed that the score was practically good or bad, but it fits the themes and changes when necessary. My favorite scene is the final chess match. Marcel takes risks which make sense for his character. The other members of his team appear genuinely nervous, because they don't know who is going to win. They put Marcel under a lot of pressure, and it is unclear if he is going to break because of it. There is one point when an offer is made to him and it is unclear if he would be willing to abandon his team for personal gain.

The film delivers a message that people who come from different places can still accomplish incredible things. It also addresses the problems with the school systems' view on people of color.

I give Critical Thinking 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 13 to 18, because it covers some very mature topics. Critical Thinking will be released summer 2020.

Reviewed by Rohan F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


ADVENTURE BOYZ

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ADVENTURE BOYZ       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
HOWARD FORD
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - When speedway racing champ Mike Harris has his kids for the summer holidays, he is stunned they want to sit inside playing on their devices. Insisting they get out into the real world for adventure and exercise, little does he realize, he is about to set off a chain of events that will change their lives forever.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Adventure Boyz is an engaging film in which family ties are tested and strengthened. The beginning of the movie shows the toll that family separation takes and the father realizing where his children are headed if they continue on that road. It ends with the returning of a missing family member and becoming a family again.

Adventure Boyz encourages family activities as healthy ways to nourish family relationships between parents and children, denouncing the use of electronics as some kind of epidemic that turns people into zombies.

What I found appealing are the main characters, the views and scenery. Plus, there is adventure and fun involved. Although the film lacks in creativity, it flows well most of the time. There are some things that don't quite make sense such as like the father being allowed to compete again and winning. It offers a please feeling of familiarity with the characters and their environments. The movie exceeds in showing positive family and faith values.

Adventure Boyz offers a positive message about family and the importance of good parenting. It emphasizes trusting God and positive advice that a committed parent should give her children. It does have some unnecessary physical violent scenes, that you should be aware of.

I give this 3 out of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 13 to 18. This film is available now on DVD and digital.

Reviewed by Carolina S., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Adventure Boyz because it has a good, interesting story. This film is full of action and adventure. It is cool how the two boys, Sam and younger brother Jake (Rory Ford, Felix Ford) work together to solve a mystery. I like how the boys' dad is a speedway racer, because that is something I'm not ever around. I also like the mom, because she is very protective of her kids. You can tell she loves them very much.

The story starts off with a news reporter reporting that 50 diamonds has been stolen in the castle. This grabbed my attention right away. When the two brothers are biking, they find a hideout where the diamonds hidden. That is just the beginning of their big adventure. The boys get chased by two bad guys pretty much throughout the movie and have quite a few close calls. They have to fend for themselves because their mom is away and their dad winds up in jail. It's really up to them to set things straight.

I love one of the bad guys in the story--one of the antagonists. He has a great personality, because he is always getting distracted by things and it's funny when he gets off task. The other antagonist is the complete opposite; he is very focused and very serious about his job. My favorite part is when one of the bad guys is admiring flowers. It's ironic because, earlier on in the film, he tells his partner he never wanted to be a criminal, he wanted to be a gardener.

The message of the film is to trust yourself. Sam sometimes has moments when he doubts himself and then, he learns to be more confident and does the right thing. I know when I'm more confident, I tend to do better at something, like when I'm singing, dancing and acting. There is one scary part, the abduction scene, when someone is tied up and has duct tape over his mouth.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 14, but even older kids and some adults may like it. Adventure Boyz is available now on Blu-Ray/DVD and streaming services, so look for it.

Reviewed by Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 12.99
Media: Video and DVD


KOKOWANDA BAY BY RUTH AND EMILIA

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
KOKOWANDA BAY BY RUTH AND EMILIA
RUTH WEBER, ENRICO LOPEZ-YANEZ AND EMILIA LOPEZ-YANEX PRODUCTIONS
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - URR the alien returns to Emilia's backyard to get her help in saving beautiful Kokowanda Bay which has become polluted. The two work together and sing these catchy tunes as they learn about recycling, reusing, and reducing, to make the world a better place.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The mother and daughter team of Ruth and Emilia have a winner of a new album on their hands with Kokowanda Bay, a rock 'em sock 'em joyous explosion of fun and educational songs of friendship, caring, love and wondrous discovery and includes a cute alien visitor from another planet for good measure. The production value and super vocals are indeed other-worldly with great use of instruments. (Hey, isn't that an oboe!) Songs move the story merrily along. A fun time is guaranteed for all - on this or any planet!

Kokowanda Bay by Ruth & Emilia is finely produced, well paced and flows easily. The album speaks to its target age group with messages of love, acceptance and care for the Earth. The arrangements are totally appealing and the vocals are terrific. I absolutely recommend this with its very positive and educational messages. It encourages that we all, regardless of age, can do our bit to be proactive. This album does not talk down to its audience, but uplifts them to a brighter understanding. All done in a loving and creative way.

The production value is terrific. The vocals are lovely and the musicians are on their game. It has lots of positive messages about going green, recycling and the wonders of nature. This would make a terrific tool for schools with its participatory projects, especially regarding science and the environment. I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Reviewed by John Wood, KIDS FIRST! Music Specialist
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 12.99
Media: AUDIO


WENDY

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WENDY       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Lost on a mysterious island where aging and time have come unglued, Wendy must fight to save her family, her freedom, and the joyous spirit of youth from the deadly peril of growing up.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Wendy is the new re-imagined version of the Peter Pan story and a very thoughtful and meaningful film. It is beautifully shot, and it reminds us of the power of imagination. Wendy is a very introspective story that combines adventure with drama but is not a colorful vibrant tale--instead it is filled with some sadness and a little gloom.

Director Benh Zeitlin co-wrote this film with his sister Eliza, a story where a little girl, Wendy, assumes the role of a mother figure to her brothers. The story explores adulthood and the challenges of a new self-acquired freedom.

Trains pass everyday just next to Wendy's house and everything shakes. Her life seems very methodical; she helps her mom at the dinner business that operates in the lower level of her house. On the top level, she plays and uses her imagination reading books and daydreaming about adventures. One day, when she is little, a kid disappears on top of a train in front of her pretty blue eyes. Years later, she decides to disappear on a train, too, followed by her brothers, curious to see what happens at the end of the journey. She meets Peter Pan and arrives in a remote volcano island. She also meets the kid that disappeared years ago, but he hasn't aged. She discovers the secrets behind staying forever as a kid as she learns the importance of growing and enjoying every stage of life.

The film was shot on location, in places that represented a real challenge to the crew. Zeitlin is a passionate filmmaker who challenged himself filming in 16mm, a format that is artistic but represents more efforts, technically speaking. The format definitively adds texture and works perfectly for the story. The young actors are excellent; they totally conveyed a wide range of emotions.

Wendy is about lots of things; definitively a coming-of-age film where Wendy deals with the fact of growing up and assuming responsibilities and being afraid of that. But it is also about family, respect for nature and grown-ups and older people. And this is probably my only issue with this film - at times, it feels that it has too many moments of symbolism which makes it hard to follow the main purpose.

The message of the film is we should always remember the good things about being a child, keeping a free spirit and use our imagination. But aging brings wisdom and we can't change the course of life.

I give Wendy 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids age 10 to 18. Some images could be a little intense for young kids and this movie will not be very easy to understand for kids under 10. Wendy opens February 28, 2020.

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

This soulful fantasy drama drew me in from the very beginning and never let up. It is so visually stimulating, with a lot of different camera angles and incredible stunts. The location is both beautiful and exotic. It's the perfect setting.

Wendy is a very different adaptation of the classic Peter Pan story. It follows a young girl named Wendy and her adventure to a mysterious island with her brothers. Once on the island, they discover the wonders of nature, freedom and the surprising struggles of life. Wendy fights to keep her family together, while trying to stay young.

Benh Zeitlin co-wrote the screenplay with his sister, Eliza Zeitlin, and also directs the film. The awesome thing about this twosome is that they didn't just, one day, think of this idea for a movie, but had the idea their whole lives. Benh also co-composed much of the dynamic music for the movie along with Dan Romer. Wendy was filmed on location in the Caribbean, using 16mm film versus a reliance on green screens for background settings. It features real nature! This movie has a wonderful cast of nonprofessional kids, such as Yashua Mack, who plays a very believable Peter. Gage and Gavin Naquin, as Wendy's brothers Douglas and James, have a visible bond with each other as brothers as well as in real life. My favorite character is Wendy (Devin France), because she is so brave, very curious, and has a kind spirit.

The messages of this film are that it is ok to grow up, but never loose joy, hope, wonder and freedom and to confront, not escape, life's difficulties. This movie has some mild profanity, some gory images and some very risky adventures, but the last is on purpose because they wanted these kids to be free to do fun and dangerous things.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Adults will also like this movie. Wendy opens in theaters on February 28, 2020.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I like Wendy because it is a totally different and more realistic version of the Peter Pan story. I like how this movie follows Wendy's life story and point of view about life.

This film is about a little girl named Wendy who has a pair of twin brothers and they are raised by their single mother. Their mom owns a diner and she works very hard in order to take care of her three children. They live upstairs above the diner and, next to their house, is a train track where they can see the trains pass by very close to their bedroom window. When Wendy was about two or three years old, her neighbor, Thomas, who was about eight at the time, jumped on one of the trains and never came back. That memory hunts Wendy. Years pass by until one night, Wendy sees a train that's similar to the train Thomas jumped on and she decides to wake her brothers up and jump on the train. Once they are on the train, they meet Peter, a young boy who takes them to an island where a group of children and a group of very old people named "The Lost Boys" live.

Wendy is not the traditional Peter Pan classic tale or movie that we are used to seeing. This movie is unique because Wendy comes from a low income and hard working family. She is raised by her mother only. The kids are dirty, sweaty and untidy. They are very hyper, wild and adventurous. They use foul language and fist fight with each other. There is only one graphic scene with blood in it. There is no Tinkerbell and the creation of Captain Hook is very original. It is a great new take on this fairy tale story.

The moral of this movie is to always be young at heart and to use your imagination and creativity in life. Wendy physically grows old, but in her heart she is young. She believed in helping her brothers overcome their sadness and bad experiences on the island, in order for them to continue to be young.

I give Wendy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Children under 10 could watch this film under the supervision of an adult. Wendy was released in theatres February 28, 2020.

By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, age 11

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


FRIENDLY FACES & SAFE SPACES

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
FRIENDLY FACES & SAFE SPACES
LEAH GALLOWAY
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 10-15
Topic - Family
Description - Steven Botelho, a puppet maker hailing from Milton, Ontario, designs and creates puppets that represent a variety of different mental, physical, and learning disabilities to attempt to educate young children in the entertaining form of puppetry. Together with his fianc� Tony Babcock, Steven is attempting to change the world with his puppetry, and bring forth a new perspective of the reality of the different disabilities young children may come across as they grow up, and how they can work to look past them to see the person for who they are.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This documentary attempts to educate kids about different mental health issues in a way they can relate to. It offers a message of self-acceptance and does this by using puppets to display common, though often ignored, symptoms of ADHD, anxiety and other issues.

I found this film incredibly enlightening and personal. Shining a light on ADHD, for example, is extremely important. Using puppets to get children to learn is a unique method that I greatly admire. Also, the scenes showing the audience point of view are particularly enjoyable, so credits to the filmmaker for that. The production is very professionally made, although it has some audio issues at points.

I love that the documentary shares actual experiences by its creators. What stands out most is the script by Leah Galloway and Chris Bacon. I like that they address the ignorance around mental health and find ways to get students to participate during their presentation. The design for the puppets is very creative and colorful. Certainly, the puppets appeal to the target age of this documentary - elementary school kids. story The part about parents not relating to their child's mental health issues is very eye opening. My favorite part about this documentary are the puppets; they are similar to Sesame Street Muppets, which charmed me and I think most young children will enjoy them.

The message of this documentary is to accept yourself and don't try to alter the unique things about you.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 12. Reviewed by Joshitha B, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This documentary attempts to educate kids about different mental health issues in a way they can relate to. It offers a message of self-acceptance and does this by using puppets to display common, though often ignored, symptoms of ADHD, anxiety and other issues.

I found this film incredibly enlightening and personal. Shining a light on ADHD, for example, is extremely important. Using puppets to get children to learn is a unique method that I greatly admire. Also, the scenes showing the audience point of view are particularly enjoyable, so credits to the filmmaker for that. The production is very professionally made, although it has some audio issues at points.

I love that the documentary shares actual experiences by its creators. What stands out most is the script by Leah Galloway and Chris Bacon. I like that they address the ignorance around mental health and find ways to get students to participate during their presentation. The design for the puppets is very creative and colorful. Certainly, the puppets appeal to the target age of this documentary - elementary school kids. story The part about parents not relating to their child's mental health issues is very eye opening. My favorite part about this documentary are the puppets; they are similar to Sesame Street Muppets, which charmed me and I think most young children will enjoy them.

The message of this documentary is to accept yourself and don't try to alter the unique things about you.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 12. Reviewed by Joshitha B, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SPAGHETTI MONSTER, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SPAGHETTI MONSTER, THE
KARI THOMAS
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Trespassing can be deadly.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - From a kids' point of view, this student production delivers a pretty solid storyline that holds together the story from start to finish. The camera work is pretty good, the audio is excellent, background music suitable and enhancing. My only concern is that it gets off to a bit of a slow start, but definitely picks up midway. It's a well told fantasy, with a bit of animation thrown in to enhance the background of the Spaghetti Monster. I recommend it to the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, especially for those featuring student productions. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - From a kids' point of view, this student production delivers a pretty solid storyline that holds together the story from start to finish. The camera work is pretty good, the audio is excellent, background music suitable and enhancing. My only concern is that it gets off to a bit of a slow start, but definitely picks up midway. It's a well told fantasy, with a bit of animation thrown in to enhance the background of the Spaghetti Monster. I recommend it to the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, especially for those featuring student productions. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
Runtime: 13 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ONCE IN A LIFETIME PASS, A

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ONCE IN A LIFETIME PASS, A
MATTHEW AGUSTIN
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - This is the real-life story of a boy and his grandfather, and their closeness with one another. The boy becomes curious as to why his grandfather goes out on a daily basis. He learns of his grandfather's lifetime pass and why that allowed him to ride public transportation on a daily basis. He decides to join his grandfather to discover his habits; however, he unknowingly embarks on a trip to a store far away from their home. Little does the boy know what fate has determined for them. The boy hopes that his grandfather's story will encourage other elders to strive to be active. His grandfather's story will inspire other public transportation agencies to administer lifetime passes to the elderly population.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - A Once in a Lifetime Pass is a charming documentary about a boy and his grandfather. It is lovingly made and very watchable. It made me smile and very teary at times. It deals with the loss of a grandparent, but is suitable for tweens and teens.

This is a real life story about public transit and the way that a senior uses it, plus his grandson. I found it very engaging and appealing. Although it has a sad ending, it is still a wonderful story.

I like that it shows a typical day in the grandfather's life, using his bus pass. The camera work is well done - simple and straightforward and the audio is clear most of the time, although opening and closing music are both way too loud, compared to the rest of the film. The filmmaker would do us all a favor if he evened out the audio. It is a bit difficult to understand the grandfather's dialogue at times, but was still easy to figure out what was going on. The background music is a bit annoying in that it is very repetitive and rather than enhance the film, I wanted it to just go away. It's not so annoying as to disqualify the film, though I wish the filmmaker had sought out something more appropriate to the story. Another drawback, in terms of production is at the ending, the young man talks about the lifetime pass, he is moving constantly and his audio is tainted by the wind. It seems there was no windscreen on the microphone.

I recommend this for a youth and family film festival. I also like that the family it follows is Korean. It is a good representation of that culture, and a loving relationship between the boy and his grandfather. It could be something that would motivate other public transit companies to adopt the free senior pass. The best part for me was seeing the bond between the grandfather and his grandson and how public transit made it possible for the grandfather to live his life more fully. It was engaging from beginning to end and it made an impression on me.

I give this 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 through 18. I would rate it higher if the audio levels were fixed. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A Once in a Lifetime Pass is a charming documentary about a boy and his grandfather. It is lovingly made and very watchable. It made me smile and very teary at times. It deals with the loss of a grandparent, but is suitable for tweens and teens.

This is a real life story about public transit and the way that a senior uses it, plus his grandson. I found it very engaging and appealing. Although it has a sad ending, it is still a wonderful story.

I like that it shows a typical day in the grandfather's life, using his bus pass. The camera work is well done - simple and straightforward and the audio is clear most of the time, although opening and closing music are both way too loud, compared to the rest of the film. The filmmaker would do us all a favor if he evened out the audio. It is a bit difficult to understand the grandfather's dialogue at times, but was still easy to figure out what was going on. The background music is a bit annoying in that it is very repetitive and rather than enhance the film, I wanted it to just go away. It's not so annoying as to disqualify the film, though I wish the filmmaker had sought out something more appropriate to the story. Another drawback, in terms of production is at the ending, the young man talks about the lifetime pass, he is moving constantly and his audio is tainted by the wind. It seems there was no windscreen on the microphone.

I recommend this for a youth and family film festival. I also like that the family it follows is Korean. It is a good representation of that culture, and a loving relationship between the boy and his grandfather. It could be something that would motivate other public transit companies to adopt the free senior pass. The best part for me was seeing the bond between the grandfather and his grandson and how public transit made it possible for the grandfather to live his life more fully. It was engaging from beginning to end and it made an impression on me.

I give this 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 through 18. I would rate it higher if the audio levels were fixed. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
Runtime: 15 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
PERFECTLY IMPERFECT
LORA BATCHELOR MIDDLE SCHOOL
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - This is a film about learning to have positive thoughts about ourselves and how self perception is so important to our mental health. Positive self perception is important to our perception of others and to having peace.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Excellent! This student film, by middle school students hit the nail right on the head about how we think about ourselves influences everything in our life - from our relationships to others, to health, to success in school or work. This is a great message and one everyone benefits from hearing every now and then. I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. In English. Live Action. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Excellent! This student film, by middle school students hit the nail right on the head about how we think about ourselves influences everything in our life - from our relationships to others, to health, to success in school or work. This is a great message and one everyone benefits from hearing every now and then. I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. In English. Live Action. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


DELIVERING SUNSHINE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
DELIVERING SUNSHINE
LORA BATCHELOR MIDDLE SCHOOL
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 10 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - This is a film about using our inner climate to help others and help bring about peace.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Beautiful short film by middle school students. Beginning with a quote from Maya Angelou, this film grabs your heart as we witness the selfless acts by a young boy collecting abandoned shoes and gifting a pair to an apparently homeless man. He doesn't make a big deal of it, collects, delivers and moves on. Love this. Inspiring film about helping others. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend if for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. In English. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Beautiful short film by middle school students. Beginning with a quote from Maya Angelou, this film grabs your heart as we witness the selfless acts by a young boy collecting abandoned shoes and gifting a pair to an apparently homeless man. He doesn't make a big deal of it, collects, delivers and moves on. Love this. Inspiring film about helping others. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend if for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. In English. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror
Runtime: 3 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


TRUTH OF BEAUTY, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TRUTH OF BEAUTY, THE
LORA BATCHELOR MIDDLE SCHOOL
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 10 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - This is a film about the diverse nature of beauty and learning to accept yourself.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Well done, excellent message. From middle school students, in English, this short film is well produced, with excellent narration and images. This would make a wonderful addition to a student film festival or one focused on truthful messages. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Well done, excellent message. From middle school students, in English, this short film is well produced, with excellent narration and images. This would make a wonderful addition to a student film festival or one focused on truthful messages. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror
Runtime: 4 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ONE AT A TIME

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ONE AT A TIME
LORA BATCHELOR MIDDLE SCHOOL
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 10 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - This is a film about how simple acts of random kindness can help change the world. Simple acts like picking up trash can help make a difference.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Beautiful and thoughtful short live action film by middle school students. The message, that no matter how small you are, you can make a difference rings true, particularly in current time when too often people are overwhelmed and don't think they can make a difference. Beautifully shot, good acting. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 7 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Beautiful and thoughtful short live action film by middle school students. The message, that no matter how small you are, you can make a difference rings true, particularly in current time when too often people are overwhelmed and don't think they can make a difference. Beautifully shot, good acting. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 7 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
Runtime: 4 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GAME WITHOUT ZERO

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GAME WITHOUT ZERO
DR. MAHZIAR SHIRAZI
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 9-18
Topic - Family
Description - A girl who is trying to get a wedding ring for her doll. From Iran with English Sub-titles.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a sweet story about a little girl wanting to get a ring for her doll so she can host a pretend wedding. The girl's patience is remarkable. The film is well shot and edited and there is no dialogue, the story is told entirely through images. Beautifully made and reflect the culture of Iran where it is from. Recommend for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S, KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a sweet story about a little girl wanting to get a ring for her doll so she can host a pretend wedding. The girl's patience is remarkable. The film is well shot and edited and there is no dialogue, the story is told entirely through images. Beautifully made and reflect the culture of Iran where it is from. Recommend for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S, KIDS FIRST! Juror
Runtime: 4 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 9-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


BREAD AND DIMENTIA

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BREAD AND DIMENTIA
KAVEH AZIZI
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - Freshteh, a nine-year-old girl who plays with her friends free of sadness. Meanwhile, she forgets the responsibility of taking care of Agha (the old man) and he lost! If Freshteh cannot find Agha, she and her parents must leave Agha's house. From Iran with English sub-titles.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Very touching story about a little girl and her family, whose job is to caretake for an elderly gentleman who is the "master" of the house. Beautifully shot, wonderful acting, especially on the part of the young girl. From Iran, the dialogue is Persian, with English subtitles. Recommended for ages 10 to 18, plus adults.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Very touching story about a little girl and her family, whose job is to caretake for an elderly gentleman who is the "master" of the house. Beautifully shot, wonderful acting, especially on the part of the young girl. From Iran, the dialogue is Persian, with English subtitles. Recommended for ages 10 to 18, plus adults.
Runtime: 15 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


LOST ON BARDUINO

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LOST ON BARDUINO
KARI THOMAS
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - They had to get lost in space...to find what really matters.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Nicely executed. This student production delivers a great story taking place in space through the use of great costumes and visual effects. The youth actors are quite good, the storyline is imaginative and the editing is excellent. This would make an excellent addition to a KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, especially one that features student productions. I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Nicely executed. This student production delivers a great story taking place in space through the use of great costumes and visual effects. The youth actors are quite good, the storyline is imaginative and the editing is excellent. This would make an excellent addition to a KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, especially one that features student productions. I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.

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


CAZANDO GAMUSINOS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CAZANDO GAMUSINOS
SILVIA MANES
Series: FOREIGN STUDENT SHORT, AGES 7-12
Topic - Family
Description - Humans possess a totem that gives them control of their imagination. When a gamusino steals Ruben's totem, his son Hugo goes on a quest and will confront the creature to restore his father's vitality.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Cazando Gamusinos is a fun short film that can be enjoyed by a wide range of ages. It is very family-friendly and enjoyable. From the animation to the music, Cazando Gamusinos proves itself to be a lovely film and I highly recommend it for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival.

This is a animated film about a world where people possess magical pendants, which contain a source of strength for that human. Each person has their own pendant, treasuring it. One day, a man's pendent is stolen, so, with desperation, he sends his son out to retrieve the locket.

The animation is spectacular - very smooth, and effort is clearly shown by the animators. Not to mention, this film is very quick, so you're sure to not be bored. The magical aspect of this short film is very appealing to younger audiences, which is always a plus.

The storyline is charming and very simple. In the sense, it is an overdone idea, therefore it's rather predictable. However, it is a well-done animation. The background details are given a strong emphasize with movement of the camera. I like that it portrays a parallel universe, with the difference being that of the magic. I love the quest the son takes to the cave. It is such a contrast to the domestic little home we see in the beginning. His home is his place of comfort, and the discomfort in the dark, spooky cave is very apparent by the way the son visibly shakes out of fear.

The music is whimsical, very reminiscent of games such as Wizard 101, for example. The melody truly paints a picture of the fantasy aspect of the world of Cazando Gamusinos. The style of animation is quite cartoonish, so none of the effects are made to appear realistic. The style is very straight-forward, with dark outlines and solid coloring.

The voice actress, Joan Climent, makes noises of distress without sounding actual words. With that said, it certainly helps take the film onto a more emotional route such as when the father is shown sadly resting on his chair, and his son sounds as if he is about to cry. Those things are very important for a short film like this. This film should play well on the big screen. The music is what makes this film interesting. It really enhances the story and helps move it along.

The message is - even when things are looking low, don't lose hope!

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to 13. Reviewed by Joshitha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Reviewer.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Cazando Gamusinos is a fun short film that can be enjoyed by a wide range of ages. It is very family-friendly and enjoyable. From the animation to the music, Cazando Gamusinos proves itself to be a lovely film and I highly recommend it for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival.

This is a animated film about a world where people possess magical pendants, which contain a source of strength for that human. Each person has their own pendant, treasuring it. One day, a man's pendent is stolen, so, with desperation, he sends his son out to retrieve the locket.

The animation is spectacular - very smooth, and effort is clearly shown by the animators. Not to mention, this film is very quick, so you're sure to not be bored. The magical aspect of this short film is very appealing to younger audiences, which is always a plus.

The storyline is charming and very simple. In the sense, it is an overdone idea, therefore it's rather predictable. However, it is a well-done animation. The background details are given a strong emphasize with movement of the camera. I like that it portrays a parallel universe, with the difference being that of the magic. I love the quest the son takes to the cave. It is such a contrast to the domestic little home we see in the beginning. His home is his place of comfort, and the discomfort in the dark, spooky cave is very apparent by the way the son visibly shakes out of fear.

The music is whimsical, very reminiscent of games such as Wizard 101, for example. The melody truly paints a picture of the fantasy aspect of the world of Cazando Gamusinos. The style of animation is quite cartoonish, so none of the effects are made to appear realistic. The style is very straight-forward, with dark outlines and solid coloring.

The voice actress, Joan Climent, makes noises of distress without sounding actual words. With that said, it certainly helps take the film onto a more emotional route such as when the father is shown sadly resting on his chair, and his son sounds as if he is about to cry. Those things are very important for a short film like this. This film should play well on the big screen. The music is what makes this film interesting. It really enhances the story and helps move it along.

The message is - even when things are looking low, don't lose hope!

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to 13. Reviewed by Joshitha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Reviewer.
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


DUO

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
DUO
DUO SHORT FILM
Series: STUDENT FILM, AGES 7-18
Topic - Family
Description - On his eleventh birthday, Graham receives the gift of his dreams: an Ally Duo virtual assistant set. However, when he tries to go against The Manual, he finds himself at odds with his parents and society as a whole.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Do you like films about the future? If so, Duo would be a great short film for you. Duo is a live action, student-produced, short film about a little boy named Graham and a little girl named Ana, who both get a Duo Orb set. They fear what might happen if they try to switch their orbs.

The Duo Orb set is Graham's birthday present and it come with two orbs, named Coral and Yellow. Coral keeps him entertained and Yellow keeps his life on track. When Graham tries to switch the Yellow orb for another Coral, he gets in BIG trouble. Graham's friend, Ana, already has a Duo Orb set, but she doesn't like Coral. So, Ana and Graham try to switch their orbs and they both fear what will happen next.

The background music is very pretty and sweet sounding. The film seems to be set about twenty years in the future. It is very beautifully shot, and the special effects are gorgeous! Graham is played by Mason Gillet, Ana, by Alyssa Marquez, and the orbs Andres Eduardo, Inez Gregory and Liz Rodgers.

The message of this film is that teamwork makes the dream work! I give this short film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend for ages 7 to 18, but adults would like it too. I recommend Duo for KIDS FIRST Film Festival, but warn you about one scene that might be scary for younger and more sensitive children.

Reviewed by Beatrice N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Do you like films about the future? If so, Duo would be a great short film for you. Duo is a live action, student-produced, short film about a little boy named Graham and a little girl named Ana, who both get a Duo Orb set. They fear what might happen if they try to switch their orbs.

The Duo Orb set is Graham's birthday present and it come with two orbs, named Coral and Yellow. Coral keeps him entertained and Yellow keeps his life on track. When Graham tries to switch the Yellow orb for another Coral, he gets in BIG trouble. Graham's friend, Ana, already has a Duo Orb set, but she doesn't like Coral. So, Ana and Graham try to switch their orbs and they both fear what will happen next.

The background music is very pretty and sweet sounding. The film seems to be set about twenty years in the future. It is very beautifully shot, and the special effects are gorgeous! Graham is played by Mason Gillet, Ana, by Alyssa Marquez, and the orbs Andres Eduardo, Inez Gregory and Liz Rodgers.

The message of this film is that teamwork makes the dream work! I give this short film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend for ages 7 to 18, but adults would like it too. I recommend Duo for KIDS FIRST Film Festival, but warn you about one scene that might be scary for younger and more sensitive children.

Reviewed by Beatrice N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


STATUE, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
STATUE, THE
NATALIE NEWMAN
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGE 8-14
Topic - Family
Description - Hassan has just moved to the US from Egypt and to make things harder, this 2nd grader is a shy little guy. His supportive mother does the best she can to encourage him on his first day of school while Makai, the rowdiest kid in class, is keenly interested in the new kid. Ms. Burgess, his vibrant yet commanding dance teacher, finds his shyness curious and casts Hassan in the annual 2nd grade play, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". Hassan is assigned a suitable part: the Giant Rumblebuffin who is turned into a statue by the White Witch. He stands as a frozen statue most of the time and only has one line. Sounds easy enough but he just can't get the line right. Even though Hassan is surrounded by supportive people, will he get it right on closing night when his parents come see the show?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a brilliant piece of filmmaking and perfect for KIDS FIRST! as it truly reflects values that we look for - love, patience, teamwork, and embracing differences. The child actors are delightful, especially the actors for Hassan and Makai. The adults are equally terrific, all truly believable in their roles. Excellent graphics and digital images, background music, camera work and editing. I highly recommend this for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival and give it 5 out of 5 stars, recommend it for ages 8 to 14, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a brilliant piece of filmmaking and perfect for KIDS FIRST! as it truly reflects values that we look for - love, patience, teamwork, and embracing differences. The child actors are delightful, especially the actors for Hassan and Makai. The adults are equally terrific, all truly believable in their roles. Excellent graphics and digital images, background music, camera work and editing. I highly recommend this for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival and give it 5 out of 5 stars, recommend it for ages 8 to 14, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
Runtime: 11 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-14
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


RAINBOW BRIDGE, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
RAINBOW BRIDGE, THE
ANGELA DAUN
Series: INDEPENDENT SHORT, AGES 6-12
Topic - Family
Description - A 6-year-old boy runs away in search of the infamous "Rainbow Bridge" after learning of the pet heaven when his beloved dog suddenly dies. Once he finds it, he doesn't want to leave. The mission given to him by the guardian of the bridge is the only reason he willingly returns back home to his panicked family.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This film is sure to tug at your heart strings! As a huge animal lover and an owner of many pets, I truly relate to this film, as I am sure almost any viewer will as well. It's so difficult to let go of your furred, feathered or scaled companions, but knowing that goodbye is not forever can surely be appreciated. Believing that our non-human companions have left this life and moved into a world of beauty, color, happiness and are full of life makes the pain of losing that friend so much better.

The Rainbow Bridge, based on the themes of several works of familiar poetry, takes us on the journey of "Noah the dog" as he crosses over into another world following his death. His closest family companion, a young boy named Christian, sets out on a journey of his own to find his beloved pet.

Any animal lover will appreciate the story line. Believing that someday you will be reunited with a pet you once loved so much, brings such peace to a broken heart. This is what I love so much about this film; it refreshed my memory about the same story my mom once told me about the gates to the Rainbow Bridge. After viewing this film, it restored my hope that I will see my pet companions again. The story line is sad and heart-warming at the same time.

The cinematography and camera work in The Rainbow Bridge deserves two thumbs up. The outdoors scenes are flawless and perfectly chosen for the script. I really enjoyed the mountainside view of the wild flowers where Christian is reunited with Noah. The costumes are appropriate. I especially like the clothing worn by the "Guardian of the Bridge." I imagine that my mom would consider it a bit over-the-top, but I liked it.

I really enjoyed the sets chosen for the film. The home in the first scene is a typical middle-class household with everything you would expect to find in the home, including the family pet. This makes the story line believable. Both outdoor scenes are perfectly chosen. I particularly enjoyed the mountainside view into the other world or Rainbow Bridge. The filmmaker made great choices for the music and sound effects. Everything suits the scenes well.

One slight flaw in terms of believability is the scene where the family turns their backs on Noah and the brownies and within minutes, Noah is dead. Most dog owners are aware that chocolate can be deadly for dogs, but death does not occur that soon after the animal eats the chocolate. It would have been more believable had there been a scene showing the family taking Noah to the vet where soon after, he dies. I overlooked this since the film is so good in other ways.

Hands down, Christian is the star of the film. He is very talented and really conveys how his heart is broken by the death of his pet friend Noah. His emotions are sincere and we can feel it. I thought that Christian's Mother is a bit over dramatic and cute little Noah steals our hearts!

I recommend The Rainbow Bridge for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. It will be loved and appreciated by children and families. This is the perfect youth and family film. The story line is easy to connect to since so many family households has at least one pet companion which is loved so much. The message of The Rainbow Bridge is about friendship to the end and beyond. Those bonds that you have make with your non-human companions will always be with you and, most always, will encourage you to keep those bonds alive with other needy animals.

My very favorite part of The Rainbow Bridge comes at the end of the film when there is an explanation of how many homeless animals die each year due to the lack of homes. Angela Daun, director, writer and producer, puts a great touch on this film by encouraging people to adopt an animal from the shelter rather than support the puppy mill industry when purchasing your pet companions through breeders. Kudos to Angela Daun!!! I think Angela Daun has star power for her call to action in addressing the issue of pet overpopulation and how adopting a pet is so much better.

I give The Rainbow Bridge 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 6 to 18, plus adults. Bring your tissues, you will need them. Reviewed by Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film is sure to tug at your heart strings! As a huge animal lover and an owner of many pets, I truly relate to this film, as I am sure almost any viewer will as well. It's so difficult to let go of your furred, feathered or scaled companions, but knowing that goodbye is not forever can surely be appreciated. Believing that our non-human companions have left this life and moved into a world of beauty, color, happiness and are full of life makes the pain of losing that friend so much better.

The Rainbow Bridge, based on the themes of several works of familiar poetry, takes us on the journey of "Noah the dog" as he crosses over into another world following his death. His closest family companion, a young boy named Christian, sets out on a journey of his own to find his beloved pet.

Any animal lover will appreciate the story line. Believing that someday you will be reunited with a pet you once loved so much, brings such peace to a broken heart. This is what I love so much about this film; it refreshed my memory about the same story my mom once told me about the gates to the Rainbow Bridge. After viewing this film, it restored my hope that I will see my pet companions again. The story line is sad and heart-warming at the same time.

The cinematography and camera work in The Rainbow Bridge deserves two thumbs up. The outdoors scenes are flawless and perfectly chosen for the script. I really enjoyed the mountainside view of the wild flowers where Christian is reunited with Noah. The costumes are appropriate. I especially like the clothing worn by the "Guardian of the Bridge." I imagine that my mom would consider it a bit over-the-top, but I liked it.

I really enjoyed the sets chosen for the film. The home in the first scene is a typical middle-class household with everything you would expect to find in the home, including the family pet. This makes the story line believable. Both outdoor scenes are perfectly chosen. I particularly enjoyed the mountainside view into the other world or Rainbow Bridge. The filmmaker made great choices for the music and sound effects. Everything suits the scenes well.

One slight flaw in terms of believability is the scene where the family turns their backs on Noah and the brownies and within minutes, Noah is dead. Most dog owners are aware that chocolate can be deadly for dogs, but death does not occur that soon after the animal eats the chocolate. It would have been more believable had there been a scene showing the family taking Noah to the vet where soon after, he dies. I overlooked this since the film is so good in other ways.

Hands down, Christian is the star of the film. He is very talented and really conveys how his heart is broken by the death of his pet friend Noah. His emotions are sincere and we can feel it. I thought that Christian's Mother is a bit over dramatic and cute little Noah steals our hearts!

I recommend The Rainbow Bridge for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. It will be loved and appreciated by children and families. This is the perfect youth and family film. The story line is easy to connect to since so many family households has at least one pet companion which is loved so much. The message of The Rainbow Bridge is about friendship to the end and beyond. Those bonds that you have make with your non-human companions will always be with you and, most always, will encourage you to keep those bonds alive with other needy animals.

My very favorite part of The Rainbow Bridge comes at the end of the film when there is an explanation of how many homeless animals die each year due to the lack of homes. Angela Daun, director, writer and producer, puts a great touch on this film by encouraging people to adopt an animal from the shelter rather than support the puppy mill industry when purchasing your pet companions through breeders. Kudos to Angela Daun!!! I think Angela Daun has star power for her call to action in addressing the issue of pet overpopulation and how adopting a pet is so much better.

I give The Rainbow Bridge 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 6 to 18, plus adults. Bring your tissues, you will need them. Reviewed by Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Runtime: 13 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 6-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


JAIL LULLABY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
JAIL LULLABY
JORMA KAULANEN
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - One stormy night three convicts break out of their prison. As trouble ensues, their comradery is put to the ultimate test. A successful getaway will require finesse, lightning reflexes, and gums of steel.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Awe, this is definitely a labor of love by first time Finnish filmmaker Jorma Kaulanen, starring none other than his own baby (who plays his role quietly believably well). From reading the synopsis, I was completely unprepared for what actually transpires in the short film, and pleasantly so. What parent has never imagined the life their young one has after they walk out of the room? This plays out that concept quite well, with excellent subtitles directing us as to the inner thoughts of the small protagonist. There is some mild profanity, so be forewarned. Other than that, excellent production, fun concept, great acting, lovely background music and charming storyline. I recommend it for KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, award it 4 out of 5 stars, and suggest an audience age of 12 to 18, plus adults. (Need to take into consideration the bit of profanity).

Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Awe, this is definitely a labor of love by first time Finnish filmmaker Jorma Kaulanen, starring none other than his own baby (who plays his role quietly believably well). From reading the synopsis, I was completely unprepared for what actually transpires in the short film, and pleasantly so. What parent has never imagined the life their young one has after they walk out of the room? This plays out that concept quite well, with excellent subtitles directing us as to the inner thoughts of the small protagonist. There is some mild profanity, so be forewarned. Other than that, excellent production, fun concept, great acting, lovely background music and charming storyline. I recommend it for KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, award it 4 out of 5 stars, and suggest an audience age of 12 to 18, plus adults. (Need to take into consideration the bit of profanity).

Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
Runtime: 7 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


INVISIBLE INK

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
INVISIBLE INK
LOGAN MARBER
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - When Emma has her friend over for a sleepover, they play with an invisible ink pen. Through a magical spell, the girl they draw with the pen comes to life and haunts Emma's family. Emma is annoyed with her sister for being so dramatic and thinks she is lying about what she saw. After trying to figure out why her sister thinks a strange girl is appearing in their home, Emma receives a message that will open her mind and heart to new friendships.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I love this film because invisible ink is fun to play with! I think most kids would love to be able to draw something and have it come to life.

Invisible Ink is about two girls named Emma and Kylie, who draw a girl named Flame using the invisible ink and leave the room. All of sudden a girl that looks like the drawing appears and scares the family. The girls go back to look at the paper, but the page is now blank. The girls soon find out what happened to her.

The story line is really cool. Who doesn't like to play with invisible ink? Also the characters are excited throughout the film and that kept me excited. I love all the scenes where Flame mysteriously pops up, scares people and then disappears. I like how Emma made Flame look really colorful and, even though she is creepy, she still has neon colors. I also like how the girls have everyday clothes on. I like how creepy music is played whenever Flame appears. I also like how fun music is played when the friends are eating ice cream. The special effects are awesome. I liked that there are special effects such as flashing lights when Flame disappears and re-appears in other places. The director of the movie is Logan Marber, who is 8 years old and has made and played in three films including Invisible Ink as Emma. She has also directed and played in The Kid Quest. I admire her as a young filmmaker.

The message of the film is to not judge a book by its cover. Sometimes you have to give people a chance and get to know them and not worry about what they look like. They may end up being a good person after all. My favorite part is when the girl from the paper comes to life. My favorite character is Flame because of her neon colors and her outfit when she turns human. Flame also is really nice.

I recommend this for a KIDS FIRST! Film festival and give it 5 out of 5 stars. It is most suitable to ages 5 through 12.

Reviewed by Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love this film because invisible ink is fun to play with! I think most kids would love to be able to draw something and have it come to life.

Invisible Ink is about two girls named Emma and Kylie, who draw a girl named Flame using the invisible ink and leave the room. All of sudden a girl that looks like the drawing appears and scares the family. The girls go back to look at the paper, but the page is now blank. The girls soon find out what happened to her.

The story line is really cool. Who doesn't like to play with invisible ink? Also the characters are excited throughout the film and that kept me excited. I love all the scenes where Flame mysteriously pops up, scares people and then disappears. I like how Emma made Flame look really colorful and, even though she is creepy, she still has neon colors. I also like how the girls have everyday clothes on. I like how creepy music is played whenever Flame appears. I also like how fun music is played when the friends are eating ice cream. The special effects are awesome. I liked that there are special effects such as flashing lights when Flame disappears and re-appears in other places. The director of the movie is Logan Marber, who is 8 years old and has made and played in three films including Invisible Ink as Emma. She has also directed and played in The Kid Quest. I admire her as a young filmmaker.

The message of the film is to not judge a book by its cover. Sometimes you have to give people a chance and get to know them and not worry about what they look like. They may end up being a good person after all. My favorite part is when the girl from the paper comes to life. My favorite character is Flame because of her neon colors and her outfit when she turns human. Flame also is really nice.

I recommend this for a KIDS FIRST! Film festival and give it 5 out of 5 stars. It is most suitable to ages 5 through 12.

Reviewed by Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


CASTLE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CASTLE
RACHEL DOMAN
Series: SCREENPLAY, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Castle follows a young girl, Raegan, struggling with Asperger's Syndrome when she is taken in by her school chess club led by popular Kennedy. An unlikely friendship between the two girls and the game reveals an sanguine alliance between Raegan's unique mind and the game of chess and forces Kennedy to adapt, and thrive, in developing society beyond the basic social dynamics of school and develop a new human connection.

When a devastating meltdown puts their relationship to a heightened test, the bitter truth of reality sets in.

The theme of human connection is imagined through a castle rooted in a heroic fairytale from Raegan's past and evolves an inspiring journey from a childhood dream.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - At first, I wasn't quite sure if young Raegan had Asperger's because there are only a couple of subtle hints. I like that the script really portrays what it may be like to be a girl with Asperger's and how difficult it is to make friends. I like the characters and felt they represented teenagers quite well. It is insightful and may teach an understanding for those on the spectrum. I found the story unique and appropriate for ages 12 through 18. I also liked the descriptive writing style and give this 3.5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - At first, I wasn't quite sure if young Raegan had Asperger's because there are only a couple of subtle hints. I like that the script really portrays what it may be like to be a girl with Asperger's and how difficult it is to make friends. I like the characters and felt they represented teenagers quite well. It is insightful and may teach an understanding for those on the spectrum. I found the story unique and appropriate for ages 12 through 18. I also liked the descriptive writing style and give this 3.5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Juror

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


STRAWS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
STRAWS
LINDA BOOKER
Series: ENVIRONMENTAL SHORT, AGES 7-18
Topic - Family
Description - Used once and tossed, billions of plastic straws wind up in landfills and streets finding their way to oceans. A viral video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw in its nose has now sparked anti-straw campaigns globally. Actor/Director Tim Robbins narrates the history and story of straws and marine researchers, citizen activists and business owners discuss how it's possible to make a sea of change, one straw at a time.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I found this film very informative and was engaged from start to finish. The brief history of straws made a great beginning and set the scene as to why we have arrived at the need for a film of this nature. I also liked the way the film interviews different people to provide various perspectives and thus retains balance whilst still providing a powerful message. The wildlife featured was nice to see, although there is a slightly upsetting, but entirely valid scene of an injured turtle. From my perspective this scene really explains the unseen impact to the viewer. The film is inclusive of children's engagement and was especially good to see. I would challenge anybody who views this film not to question their use of a plastic straw next time they are offered one. I certainly did and this is based on clear information, which is why I recommend this film for ages 10 to 18, plus adults and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Richard L., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This educational documentary by Linda Booker opens with a short history about straws as a useful tool. However, it then takes us on a journey explaining how the non-recyclable material that straws are made from today is completely devastating to the environment. How could a tool, which is so useful, have such a negative impact on the environment? Straws opens our eyes to see how single use straws are harmful to the world around us. The take home message is huge! Straws gives us disturbing facts and examples which are easy to relate to and more importantly, it gives the younger generation a call to action to make change for a better tomorrow.

I like how Straws interviews several researchers and groups who all tell the same story -that single use plastics are destroying our environment. Each of these people gives alarming specifics, which are compelling. This documentary takes us right to the site and gives us a first hand account on how plastics are impacting our ecosystems. It made me want to hop on a plane and join their teams!

The camera work of the film is outstanding. The ocean and underwater scenes are amazing. The footage is clear, making the message truly stand out! The research teams and outreach groups are well represented and have excellent spokespersons. The sets and locations are perfectly chosen. I especially like the story and plight of the sea turtles in Costa Rica. I have been to Costa Rica and have participated in outreach programs there. For me, the Costa Rican scenery made me appreciate the film even more.

The information is so interesting that quite honestly; all I wanted and waited for was more facts to come. I found that each and every person who is interviewed and included truly stands out and there is no single person that is better then the rest. They are all excellent. The documentary doesn't need the "wow factor" of special effects, as the information in itself is enough to wow the audience. Its message deserves to be projected globally. I was aware of the dangers of these plastics, but I never knew the global scope of how much is being consumed and ending up in our oceans. The data presented in this film is alarming. I particularly love the scene showing the children working together to make bamboo straws. One of the boys says, "We need community action," which I believe to be so true.

The message of Straws is about the need for change; consumers need to change their behavior before our fragile ecosystems are impacted forever. I have been learning about single use plastics for years, because I am huge environmentalist.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. It belongs in every KIDS FIRST! Film Festival to inform people that in order to save our environment we need individuals, families and communities from all around the world. We can't make change unless we are aware of the negative impact that man has on nature. Reviewed by Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Runtime: 32 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


CONCERNED CITIZEN, A: CIVICS IN ACTION

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CONCERNED CITIZEN, A: CIVICS IN ACTION
BO BOUDART PRODUCTIONS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 6-18
Topic - Family
Description - Dr. Riki Ott, is a whistleblower who predicted the Exxon Valdez oil spill hours before it happened. A toxicologist, author, and activist, Riki organized the Gulf coast communities to recover from the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. She is also helping to spearhead the campaign with Ultimate Civics, one that will introduce a Constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood and to reform campaign finance and contributions. The film also follows how other citizens have also taken her example-to change and strengthen efforts at curbing oil pollution of America's lands, rivers, and coastal waters.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - No more oil spills! I like that phrase because it tells people not to have oil spills. It also makes sense in this short film, because the whole point is to get rid of oil spills. I like the film, because I like seeing someone changing the world and teaching kids how to do the same.

This film is about Dr. Riki Ott who is helping to avoid the biggest oil spills in the world. She and other people have protested for no more oil spills. Riki goes to different schools teaching kids about the oils spills and how to prevent them and help.

I like how the film shows some scenes from the air of a big oil spill. You can see everything and that is really interesting. The scenes with all the oil spilled in the ocean shows how bad oil spills are to the world and animals. Dr. Ott stands out in this film and is inspiring, because she helps clean up from the spills and helps people in need due to the spills. The graphics are perfect. I learned about how we can prevent oil spills and how to help people in need when a oil spill happens.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults.

It would be excellent for a for youth or family film festival, because it teaches people about the dangers of oil spills and how Dr. Ott and others help.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - No more oil spills! I like that phrase because it tells people not to have oil spills. It also makes sense in this short film, because the whole point is to get rid of oil spills. I like the film, because I like seeing someone changing the world and teaching kids how to do the same.

This film is about Dr. Riki Ott who is helping to avoid the biggest oil spills in the world. She and other people have protested for no more oil spills. Riki goes to different schools teaching kids about the oils spills and how to prevent them and help.

I like how the film shows some scenes from the air of a big oil spill. You can see everything and that is really interesting. The scenes with all the oil spilled in the ocean shows how bad oil spills are to the world and animals. Dr. Ott stands out in this film and is inspiring, because she helps clean up from the spills and helps people in need due to the spills. The graphics are perfect. I learned about how we can prevent oil spills and how to help people in need when a oil spill happens.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults.

It would be excellent for a for youth or family film festival, because it teaches people about the dangers of oil spills and how Dr. Ott and others help.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
Runtime: 41 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 6-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


TERRIBLE ADVENTURE, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TERRIBLE ADVENTURE, THE
KEL THOMPSON
Series: INDIE FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - When two affluent siblings, Jackson and Olivia, are faced with losing everything, they spring into action attempting to conquer a contest put on by billionaire Billy Branson. However, Iceman and Chilly, two corrupt "Ice Cream Men" conspire to win the contest and steal the million dollar prize.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I found The Terrible Adventure appealing because it is funny, fun and adventurous. I love how they travel throughout the state of Florida to find different clues to win the contest. It is also cool that the kids really want to save their home. I love that they work together throughout the movie.

The Terrible Adventure is about two kids that go on an adventure to win money that will help them keep their home. They must solve clues to win and have two villains trying to stop them.

I really like how the sister and brother work together to try to win the contest. The characters have to trust each other to try to accomplish their mission. At times the actors tend to overact, which is a weak point. But, doesn't knock it out of consideration.. The camera work is amazing! The cinematography is actually its best attribute. The camera crew captures great views of some adventurous scenes. They used a drone for some of the shots, which is really cool! One shot that impressed me is when the kids go hang gliding. I loved the costumes. They really tie to the story line. The kids used creative disguises so the villains wouldn't recognize them. This movie was filmed in Florida and I really enjoyed the sets and locations. I like how the videographer shows different locations, such as Key West and Boca Raton from the drones. The film doesn't include a lot of music except with the ice cream truck. The scene where the ice cream truck is blown up is effective and very believable.

Kel Thompson's direction is excellent. The main characters, Jackson Johnson and Olivia Johnson really stand out in this movie, because they are kids working hard to win and solve problems just like real kids in today's world. I think this would work great at a KIDS FIRST! Film Festival.

The message in The Terrible Adventure focuses on teamwork and the importance of perseverance. In the end, hard work always wins. You should know that it does show kids doing risk y things that other kids might imitate such as kids stealing things and running away. There isn't really any cursing, but one of the characters says, "sugar, honey, iced, tea, which is another way to say a curse word without saying it.

Yes, this film taught me something new. It talks about pollution and climate change and made me want to research and learn more about pollution and climate change. My favorite part of the film is when the two ice cream guys are dancing outside of the truck. Their dances are really funny and so are the words to the song they dance to.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. I recommend this film for a youth & family film festival because it a fun film that families would enjoy watching together. The Terrible Adventure does qualify as a special interest topic. It covers global issues such as climate change, pollution and world peace. Reviewed by Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


PARADISE HOTEL

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
PARADISE HOTEL
DANIEL REHDER NORMAND
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 9-15
Topic - Family
Description - A coming-of-age story about family, first love and restoring self-esteem. When Guillermo, a pre-adolescent introvert, arrives with his family at the wonderful HOTEL PARA�SO (Paradise Hotel) for summer vacations, he will not only have days full of activities and colourful entertainers, but he will also run into Andrea, a beautiful and curious girl from his school with whom he regularly fantasizes. Unfortunately for him, Nahel, the popular and heartthrob boy, who often bullies his classmates, is also staying in the hotel and seeks to make Andrea fall in love with him. With the help of unexpected allies and family members, Guillermo will have to confront his insecurities and participate in different hotel activities to win the weekend's real big prize: Andrea's heart.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Beautiful coming-of-age story by a Peruvian filmmaker who truly has a wonderful touch on storytelling and an excellent delivery on film. The key cast members are all outstanding, especially Kareem Pizarro, who plays Guillermo. But truly all the cast members are to be commended. We see that bullies can show up anywhere, even on your vacation and that nothing counts more than being who you are.

My favorite scene is when Guillermo plays his guitar and sings in the talent show. We see inside his soul and it's beautiful. The girl who he's had his eyes on from the get go sees it as well. I like that their love story is told in a pretty realistic way, and in a way that pre-teens and teens can easily relate to.

The location for this film is exceptional. For those of us who are not from Peru, it reminds us of family camp in the Adirondacks, or perhaps Maine or upper Michigan. It's typical down to the crazed social director and the unexpectedly charming lifeguard.

I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 9 to 15, plus adults. The dialogue is in Spanish with English sub-titles, which are pretty spot on most of the time. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Beautiful coming-of-age story by a Peruvian filmmaker who truly has a wonderful touch on storytelling and an excellent delivery on film. The key cast members are all outstanding, especially Kareem Pizarro, who plays Guillermo. But truly all the cast members are to be commended. We see that bullies can show up anywhere, even on your vacation and that nothing counts more than being who you are.

My favorite scene is when Guillermo plays his guitar and sings in the talent show. We see inside his soul and it's beautiful. The girl who he's had his eyes on from the get go sees it as well. I like that their love story is told in a pretty realistic way, and in a way that pre-teens and teens can easily relate to.

The location for this film is exceptional. For those of us who are not from Peru, it reminds us of family camp in the Adirondacks, or perhaps Maine or upper Michigan. It's typical down to the crazed social director and the unexpectedly charming lifeguard.

I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 9 to 15, plus adults. The dialogue is in Spanish with English sub-titles, which are pretty spot on most of the time. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
Runtime: 93 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 9-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


LITTLE THINGS, THE (LE PICCOLE COSE)

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LITTLE THINGS, THE (LE PICCOLE COSE)
PREMIERE FILM
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 13-18
Topic - Family
Description - Lucca, late at night, Giorgia, a 12-year-old girl, is waiting for her friend from school, Fulvio, to carry out a secret mission, irreparably sabotaging a car so that she does not start the next day. Everything seems to be perfectly planned, but a series of unexpected events turn a foolproof plan into a complete disaster.

A summer night in Tuscany. Giorgia, a twelve year old girl, is waiting for her clumsy friend Fulvio: Giorgia has a mission to secretly sabotage and damage a car so it won't start the day after. Everything seems to be perfectly planned, but all of a sudden things turn in to a complete disaster.

In Italian, English sub-titles.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Beautiful! Such a simple, yet clever little story with a delightful ending. Wonderful camera work, lovely acting, especially by the young girl and boy. But all the neighbors are really fun as well. I just love everything about this. Highly recommended for a KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Julia S.,
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Beautiful! Such a simple, yet clever little story with a delightful ending. Wonderful camera work, lovely acting, especially by the young girl and boy. But all the neighbors are really fun as well. I just love everything about this. Highly recommended for a KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Julia S.,
Runtime: 15 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 13-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


I AM GEORGE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
I AM GEORGE
BACACI SJENKI
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - George is a boy who is different from the others. While he enjoys expressing his individuality, he finds himself being forced to conform. His usual colorfulness is replaced with shades of black. Will he break free from the norm or will he remain an average citizen? What does it mean, anyway, to be different, and how is it expressed and experienced? Each individual has their own way of expression, and in this short film George will show you his. It's a film about diversity and an (un)willingness to conform, (in)tolerance and willingness to express one's identity and respect for others.

The film was created as part of the advanced workshop of the Frooom! film school in 2018. in Zagreb. The mentors Anja Pletikosa and Dalija Dozet initiated the students' creative thinking about diversity. It took five days from the idea to the realization of the film, which means that in this short time the team of children, in the presence of mentors, devised a story, scripted it, created a storyboard, and made all the components of pre-production, from the selection of locations, the division of roles and training of dialogue and acting. Filming and recording sound, with the supervision of mentors, was also made by the students themselves.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - You are not everybody else! This student-produced short film is from Croatia and it truly made me laugh. George is definitely cut from a different cloth. I also like that it has a good moral that teaches you to be yourself, to not try to fit in. My only complaint is that it's so short! I would have liked it longer. That and there is no dialogue, but you can understand it nevertheless. I like the message that it sends to the audience.

The film is about a kid name George who likes to be different than the others. He enjoys being original and dresses uniquely, but society doesn't approve of it.

The cinematography is well done, nothing spectacular but entirely watchable. The bathroom scene is a bit blurry and when it zooms out, is even more blurry. Definitely, George's costume suits him, as do the other cast members' costumes. The film takes place at school most of the time, but also outside, and at George's house. It is non-narrative so the music and sound effects are important in relaying they story.

The key influencer is George. He stands out because he delivers the message of the film, which it is to be original and to be yourself.

It would be fun to see this at a film festival. Kids need to see a film like this in order to feel better about themselves and remind them that they don't always have to follow what society thinks is the "norm."

The message is to be yourself, no matter how others see you. Let your inner light shine. My favorite part is when George gets his unique outfit back.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. I recommend this, because I agree that we need to learn at a young age to be ourselves and accept ourselves the way we are. We need to express who we are and not bottle it inside. Reviewed by Ethan X. P. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and KIDS FIRST! Adult Jurors.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a silly comedic film that I find very amusing! Lovro Hostic does a fantastic job at portraying the cheekiness of an odd little boy. The fact that this film is so short also adds a bonus, as the plot doesn't drag on. The music is able to follow the storyline well, with its happy, upbeat tunes.
Runtime: 3 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ONWARD

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
ONWARD       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Set in a suburban fantasy world, two teenage elf brothers embark on a quest to discover if there is still magic out there.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - As of now, this film is easily one of my favorite Pixar films. I adore the touching story and especially the world building. Overall, Onward is an amazing film.

Onward takes in a world much like our own, except it's populated with fantasy creatures. We follow two elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot as they discover magic still exists and thus go on a quest to revive their father for one day.

So, first the animation. I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory. Since it is Pixar, the animation is absolutely outstanding. But, I specifically want to discuss the world in which Onward takes place. There are so many creative and diverse character designs and representations of mythological creatures (which I appreciate as a mythology fan). The world building is probably some of the best I've ever seen. I have contemplated the idea of a suburban fantasy, so I'm really happy seeing that idea brought to life. There's a lot of really funny gags surrounding this idea, such as an historically accurate "Dungeons and Dragons" and unicorns becoming the equivalent of raccoons. You can tell the artists really enjoyed designing the settings.

However, the world is not the only enjoyable aspect of this film. The characters are especially fun. The two brothers, Ian and Barley, have amazing chemistry. This is probably thanks to their voices actors - Tom Holland playing Ian and Chris Pratt playing Barley. They already have a connection from the Marvel movies, so their relationship feels real. But Ian and Barley aren't the only great characters in this movie. I would say my personal favorite character is The Manticore, played by Octavia Spencer. The Manticore is probably the funniest character and I really like her friendship with the brothers' mom, Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus).

Speaking of which, Onward is really funny. There's a specific scene involving The Manticore that caused me to laugh probably the hardest I've ever laughed at a Pixar movie. There are also a lot of gags involving the fact that the world is populated with fantasy creatures.

And as expected from a Pixar film, it's pretty emotional. And, given the context of the plot, I feel this might be one of Pixar's most heart wrenching films. When you think about it, who wouldn't want to bring someone back, even for one day?

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. It comes out on March 6, 2020 so look for it.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Onward is a spectacular film! I especially enjoyed the very well written story line and the animation. This film had me laughing and crying, as well as sitting on the edge of my seat. The characters are funny and very well animated, and remind me of humans that I know and love.

Onward is about two elf brothers named Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt). Their dad passed away when the Barley was very young and Ian was about to be born. All the two brothers want is to see their dad again. After getting their dad's old wizard staff and a spell to bring him back for a day, they find it is a lot harder than it seems and they need to work together to solve the puzzle.

The characters in this film are voiced by some very well-known names. Tom Holland (Spiderman movies) voices Ian Lightfoot and Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World) plays Barley Lightfoot. Julia Louis-Dreyfus voices Laurel Lightfoot, Ian and Barley's mom. Manticore, the fierce creature who helps the brothers, is voiced by Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures).

Onward has everything that a fairy tale adventure film needs. The whole film is filled with magic and magical creatures like a fairy tale films has, but it also contains just the right amount of action to make it qualify as an adventure film as well. Onward's story line is fantastic! Every single detail is spot-on. My only problem with this film is that the pace starts a little slowly, but it picks up as the story develops. Other than that, I love this movie!

My favorite character in this movie is Barley, Ian's big brother. He is my favorite because most of his lines are very funny and he had me laughing every time he opened his mouth. I admire him because the other creatures think Barley is weird, but he is confident in who he wants to be and he is always himself.

The message of this film is that sometimes the very thing that you are looking for is right in front of you. I give Onward 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. Onward opens in theaters March 6, 2020, so be sure to look for it! Now I will take my family to see this movie. By Eva W, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

This animated fantasy film, directed and co-written by Dan Scanlon, is heart-warming and magical! Onward is a hilarious movie with terrific animation and special effects. Jeff and Mychael Dana's musical compositions are spectacular and really drive the flow of the movie.

Onward is about two teenage elves that receive a magical staff left to them by their father when he passed away. Their father was a magical wizard and created a way for them to use a magic spell to bring him back for 24 hours. Unfortunately, when they try to use it, the staff malfunctions and only half of their father returns. So, the brothers go on an adventurous journey to find the phoenix gem, so they can bring back the other half of their father. The catch is they only have 24 hours to do it, while solving the mystery using weird clues and some magic to get to see their dad again.

The protagonists are Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland) and Barkley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt). The chemistry between the brothers is amazing, which is probably because Tom and Chris have worked with each other before. All the characters are well-developed. My favorite character is The Manticore (Octavia Spencer), because she is extremely funny. I love how she becomes the fearless warrior she was before the world stopped believing in magic. My favorite scene is when Ian uses the magic staff to make a gas can bigger and accidentally shrinks Barkley. Barkley jumps up and down, because he thought the magic worked, and then realizes it only worked on him. It is pretty funny. I also think it is clever how the unicorns play the role of raccoons and dragons act as pets. The special effects in this movie are spot on. I love the scene where Ian tries to bring his father back and everything flies around the room. Other scenes where Ian uses the magic staff are pretty cool too.

Even though the special effects are great, they are not what make this movie magical. The message of the film does. Many of the characters in this film have stopped believing in their own magic. In order for them to move onward, they need to believe in themselves, each other and the magic they each have. Adults may want to be cautious with children that have lost loved ones, as it might be disturbing to them.

Onward is an adventurous, family-friendly movie. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. Adults will enjoy this too. Move onward to see this film in theaters opening in theaters March 6, 2020. Reviewed by Tiana Sirmans, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Onward is fun, exiting, adventurous, and an emotional roller coaster. Pixar delivers another wonderful film that is very appealing to new generations and easy to relate, despite characters from another world.

Onward is a computer animated, urban fantasy film directed by Dan Scanlon, who also co-wrote the script with Jason Headley and Keith Bunin. The story follows brothers Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt), two teenage elf's who embark on an extraordinary quest. Their goal is to try and see if there is magic left in the world, in order to spend one last day with their father, who died when they were younger. This is a story about bonding between father and son, and between two brothers.

Tom Holland, as Ian, the younger of the two brothers delivers a very subtle, but engaging interpretation that makes the audience immediately connect with his loner behavior. Chris Pratt, as Barley, the eldest brother, is vibrant, optimistic and his personality is almost opposite to his younger brother. Octavia Spencer plays Manticore, a fearless creature who can fly and sends people on quests). I absolutely love Octavia's performance and Manticore is my favorite character. I've always loved Octavia as an actress, so I was really exited that she voices this character. Another great voice is Laurel, the brother's mother, by super fun and charismatic Julia Louise-Dreyfus.

The animation in this movie is very detailed and sometimes photo realistic. Pixar has developed digital animation over the years to a fine art, and truly this film displays that. You can see so many details in the characters' facial expressions. If you look very closely you can see that the elves all have freckles! There is also a lot of emotion in this movie and the animation displays it so well.

I'm pretty sure everyone who watches this movie will cry at one point. I sure did. One of the fascinating aspects of Onward is how these fantasy creatures interact with each other and go through a journey of redemption and self discovery.

Onward is entertaining all the way, but some jokes don't work out and, at some point, it's a little hard to feel fully invested in one of the characters that appears only from his waist to his feet.

The message of this film is - believe. The magic in the film is a metaphor for our own ability of make things happen and letting out the light within ourselves.

I give Onward 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 13. Make sure to check out Onward in theaters on March 6, 2020. By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Onward is Disney/Pixar's new action-packed animated movie with lots of magical laughs! There's hilarious physical humor, exciting chases and fights, but it's also a very moving film. You really feel the main characters' sense of loss at not growing up with their father.

Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt) are teenage elf brothers who live in a suburban mushroom house in a land that was formerly full of magic. They use a spell to bring their dad back to life, but only get his bottom half! They have 24 hours to complete a quest to finish the spell and see him one more time. All they need to finish the spell is the Phoenix gem, but finding it proves a lot more complicated than they first think. While they are working to bring him back, they have to bring their dad's legs and feet along with them for the ride.

The animators have created a beautiful imaginative world with lots of clever details that will make you want to watch again and again. The voice acting is top notch, with Tom Holland and Chris Pratt showing a range of emotions and humor as Ian and Barley. Octavia Spencer as Manticore brings her character to life with frantic energy. The introduction of her character is hilarious! She's a former magical adventurer turned family restaurant owner. I really like the part when Barley shrinks down to a tiny size due to Ian messing up a spell. I also like when Ian turns their boat into a cheese puff so they can eat their own transportation! I love Officer Colt and his catchphrase where he asks everyone if they are "working hard or hardly working."

There are a lot of positive messages in this film about family and loyalty. Another message is that you can go searching for things you've never had in life, but you might find they were right with you all along. Parents of younger kids might want to watch out for some of the risky actions the brothers take, like when Ian walks off a cliff, trusting in his magic to keep him safe.

I give this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 5 to 17, and adults will like it too. You can see Onward in theaters everywhere starting March 6, 2020. By Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

I love Onward! It is a whimsical story filled with colorful and eccentric characters. Pixar nailed the animation, and the cast of voices is pure perfection.

Onward takes place in a magical world, that isn't quite so magical anymore. Brothers Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt) are complete opposites in every way. Brave Barley is never is afraid to take a risk, especially when it involves magic. Ian, on the other hand, is quirky, and lacks confidence. Their mom, Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), is an important character as she is the glue keeping their family together.

The movie is inspired by the director, Dan Scanlon's own childhood. I love the setting of this movie. It takes place in a modern town, where everyone lives in mushroom-shaped houses. Unicorns, once a majestic creature, are now more like raccoons than anything else. Adorable mini dragons are kept as pets. The voice-over actors are wonderful. Mel Rodriguez, who voices Officer Bronco, has the funniest laugh. Octavia Spencer, who voices The Manticore, acts as wild as a Manticore should. Tom Holland (Ian) perfectly portrays an awkward kid. My favorite character is Barley, because he is a classic rock loving boy.

The messages of this movie are that family is the most important thing and sometimes what you're looking for has been with you the whole time. This film does have some magical scenes that kids should not imitate. It also reminds us to always pay your parking tickets.

I give Onward 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. People with siblings will especially like it as will adults. Onward opens in theaters March 6, 2020. By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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


CALL OF THE WILD, THE (2020)

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CALL OF THE WILD, THE (2020)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - A sled dog struggles for survival in the wilds of the Yukon.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Call of the Wild is an amazing film based on a book with the same name by Jack London that follows the story of a massive, clumsy dog named Buck, who gets taken away from his master, is forced into slavery and struggles trying to discover his true destiny.

When the movie begins, Buck is taken away from his home and must adapt to his new environment in the wilderness. I really like the way the movie shows him changing to fit in. They use a giant, black, shadow of a wolf with glowing, yellow eyes. Every time Buck needs to make an important decision, the wolf is there leading him to the best path.

The animation and CGI in this movie are great; all the dogs look incredibly realistic. There is a dog fight between Buck and another dog that is very intense and the dogs act just like normal dogs act when fighting each other. The cinematography, with the visual effects, is really outstanding. Each different landscape has thousands of small details that showcase the amazing power of mother nature, which is exactly what the movie wants to show to us.

My favorite character is Buck the dog; he is playful, kind, funny and all-around relatable character. Buck is the main character in the movie, even though he doesn't talk. My favorite scene is when John Thornton, Buck's final owner, is trying to drink his bottle of whiskey and Buck keeps knocking his glass out of his hand. Eventually, Buck steals the bottle and buries it in the yard. This scene was hilarious and it made me think that Buck was saying, "no drinking."

There are two different messages that this movie offers. One is, "you don't need to hurt people to be a leader; be kind and you will get your best team." The second is, "Mother Nature is powerful, don't try to take too much from it, only take what you need so the world can stay as beautiful as it is today."

I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to18 because some jokes most kids won't understand. This film comes out in theaters February 21, 2020. Look for it.

Reviewed by Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

My feelings about this movie are quite mixed. On one side, the use of CGI helps to portray the strong emotions of the dogs. On the other hand, there are many scenes containing brutal animal abuse that many audiences will find disturbing and unsettling. The storyline, however, is incredibly well-structured and detailed.

The Call of the Wild is about Buck, a fearless, strong dog who has been through so much in his life. After being shut out on the porch of his California home, Buck's name is called and he finds himself in the hands of a dog seller, who locks him inside of a box for transport. A while later, he is recruited as a puller for a dogsled that delivers mail in Alaska. After a journey full of twists and turns, Buck discovers a whole new world with someone he loves and trusts by his side.

Some of the lead characters include John Thornton (Harrison Ford) Perrault (Omar Sy) and of course, Buck. What really stands out is the CGI that is essential in expressing the emotions of the animals. It is really effective in this aspect of the story. The dogs look almost human! With such emotion in their eyes, and their actions, there is barely anything that humans can't relate to. (Except for the furriness!) My favorite part of this movie is in fact the CGI. The difference it makes in it is emotionally impactful and helps the audience feel attachment to the characters, and love for them too. It improves the quality and aesthetic which makes the viewing experience vivid.

This movie strongly conveys a message of how perseverance is enlightening and can make anyone a stronger, more intelligent person who can take on more difficult challenges than ever before. It is definitely successful in signifying this empowering lesson through symbolism and emotion, and definitely reminds me to push through the problems that I run into in life. There is something that the audience should look out for. There is some extremely aggressive behavior that is inflicted upon animals, and between other characters. Several weapons are used, such as a whip, a bat, and guns. Minimal amounts of blood are shown. There really isn't any bad language, however.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can find The Call of the Wild in theaters on February 21st, 2020.

Reviewed by Ruby A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The Call of the Wild is an action-packed suspenseful movie that takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. The film follows many CGI created animals that seem very inconsistent and too expressive to be real animals. Throughout the film, there are laugh-out-loud jokes to lighten the mood from its intense plot and dialogue. The film has amazing landscapes showing the Yukon terrain and prospector theme.

The Call of the Wild follows a dog named Buck as he gets kidnapped and joins a sled dog team. At first, Buck doesn't seem to fit in anywhere, but throughout the film, he grows to be a more confident dog and learns to face challenges head-on. One day, Buck meets a man named John Thornton (Harrison Ford) who sees the abusive condition Buck is in and decides to save him. For the rest of the movie, John and Buck's friendship grows and you get a glimpse of the sweetest duo ever.

For The Call of the Wild, the CG images are critical. Even though the CGI is inconsistent, I give major props to all the visual artists for their work. A movie like this is heavily reliant on CGI and, frankly would not be possible without it. Harrison Ford once again proves that no matter whether it's Star Wars or Indiana Jones, his acting is spot on and he never disappoints. The photography is extremely crisp and makes you really feel the wilderness environment.

The Call of the Wild is rated PG and advertised as a family-friendly movie, but I disagree with this rating because throughout the entire film, the dogs face multiple levels of abuse that will make you put your hands over your eyes. The overall tone of the movie is sad and dark. It is a real tear-jerker and just makes you want to help these poor dogs. However the movie does teach viewers the importance of loyalty and companionship.

The Call of the Wild portrays multiple levels of animal abuse and cruelty, so I recommend it for ages 13 to 18 and give it 2.5 out of 5 stars due to graphics, but well-portrayed relationship between a man and a dog. The Call of the Wild opens in theater February 21, 2020.

Reviewed by Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 13

The Call of the Wild has such wonderful sets, cinematography and CGI. Although the film is pleasing to watch, the plotline itself is predictable and redundant. There are so many films out there about a man's best friend and there was nothing in The Call of the Wild that sets it apart from them.

Based on the novel by Jack London, the storyline follows a dog named Buck who is stolen from his home on a ranch. He is sold to become a sled dog to deliver mail. Buck has many encounters with a man named John Thornton who eventually becomes Buck's owner. They become very close and John takes him on a trip to the other side of the mountain in honor of his late son, because it is a trip that he would have loved. Unfortunately, another man named Hal, whose judgment is clouded by greed, believes that John is taking this trip because he knows where the gold is. Hal follows him with ill intentions. Because of this whole journey Buck, in the end, finds where he belongs.

Harrison Ford, who plays John Thornton, embodies his role and shows the audience the bond that Thornton develops with Buck. It's almost as if he sees Buck as his own son. The dog that plays Buck is named Buckley. He was a stray dog in Kansas and director Chris Sanders and his wife adopted him because he was the same breed as the dog in the novel. Buckley went from being on the streets to starring in a movie where he gives an amazing performance.

The story is set in Alaska where the scenery is quite beautiful. They capture the majesty of the frozen mountains and even the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. The CGI for the dogs is photorealistic. It is super cute how they show the dogs' emotions by their facial expressions.

My favorite parts of this film are the various shots of the scenery. It really looks so beautiful in both the daytime and nighttime shots. I loved seeing it and it makes me want to visit those places.

The message of this film is about realizing that life is a journey and will be full of challenges, but through these challenges you will find your place. If Buck wasn't kidnapped from his home on the ranch he never would have truly been happy. Without the challenges that he faced, he would have never gotten his freedom in the wild. Everything happened for a reason, from being tortured to meeting John Thornton.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. Even adults might enjoy this film. The Call of the Wild comes out in theaters on February 21, 2020, so check it out!

Reviewed by Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


EMMA.

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
EMMA.       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
FOCUS FEATURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - Jane Austen's beloved comedy about finding your equal and earning your happy ending, is reimagined in this. Handsome, clever, and rich, Emma Woodhouse is a restless queen bee without rivals in her sleepy little town. In this glittering satire of social class and the pain of growing up, Emma must adventure through misguided matches and romantic missteps to find the love that has been there all along.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Emma is a cheerful adaptation of Jane Austen's beloved novel. Readers of Jane Austen can rejoice as her characters come to screen. Others might not find this to be their cup of tea.

In this adaptation the "handsome, clever and rich" matchmaker Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor Joy) pursues adventuring through matches and romanticism to find love.

Anya Taylor Joy, as Emma, gives the best performance. Anya has grown from a being newcomer, and this demanding performance proves that, allowing for eloquent speaking and characterization. Her conversations with other characters are straight out of the classic Victorian tale; keeping in mind, she is American. Her love interests are Johnny Flynn as Mr. Knightley, a dashingly critical friend, and Callum Turner as Frank Churchill, a rich gentleman. I also enjoyed Mia Goth as Harriet, as she helps Emma find her match.

Director Autumn de Wilde is artistic, but the pacing could be tighter. This is a slow movie as several scenes are long, drawn-out conversations. I feel this aspect is best achieved in books, though some movies can capture the audience's attention like that. This movie really must be your forte for it to be enjoyable. The character's parlance is always olden English, and there is a loss of stakes. The score by Isobel Waller-Bridge is authentically Georgian capturing the grounded roots of genteel women living in England.

The message of this film is to not rush love, as Emma and Harriet let time prove its worth after hasty pursuits. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, due to brief nudity, even though younger kids might not be interested in watching this. The movie releases in theaters on February 21, 2020, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


RAINSHADOW

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
RAINSHADOW
KARI BARBER
Series: STUDENT DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - Rainshadow, a high school for at-risk students, is threatened with being taken over by the state for low test scores, but the school's art teacher and principal have one last shot to save the school that has saved so many kids.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Films like this really make you aware of the different conflicts and issues in the world. Rainshadow tells the story of a charter high school for at-risk students and its struggles to stay open. The students from the school talk about why they can't deal with public school, which is very sad. Some have attention issues, while others were bullied almost to the point of no return.

The story itself is wonderful. It will definitely pull at your heartstrings, due to the large numbers of people who cry in the film. It is also a true story.

Some of the scenes are not well lit, but they certainly come across as realistically representing the classroom and kids in them. The editing is well done. It is filmed in Nevada, so outside we see snowy scenes. The background music is well executed. I enjoyed the piano music in particular. It's a documentary so everyone onscreen plays themselves. It made me wish that I was rich, so I could donate a lot of money to Rainshadow and other similar schools and organizations. My favorite part is when it shows the students painting. It's so relaxing to watch someone paint.

The message of the film is that sometimes, you have to fight for what's right. You should be aware that there are a few mentions of suicide. The authenticity of this film is truly heart-warming and inspiring. You see how this school changes the lives of these students and you want to see the school continue operating and see the kids become successful in their own right.

I give this documentary 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, as well as adults. Younger children may have a hard time understanding it, but it's family friendly for the most part. This would fit well into any film festival that is playing documentaries and art films. Reviewed by Kayenta C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Films like this really make you aware of the different conflicts and issues in the world. Rainshadow tells the story of a charter high school for at-risk students and its struggles to stay open. The students from the school talk about why they can't deal with public school, which is very sad. Some have attention issues, while others were bullied almost to the point of no return.

The story itself is wonderful. It will definitely pull at your heartstrings, due to the large numbers of people who cry in the film. It is also a true story.

Some of the scenes are not well lit, but they certainly come across as realistically representing the classroom and kids in them. The editing is well done. It is filmed in Nevada, so outside we see snowy scenes. The background music is well executed. I enjoyed the piano music in particular. It's a documentary so everyone onscreen plays themselves. It made me wish that I was rich, so I could donate a lot of money to Rainshadow and other similar schools and organizations. My favorite part is when it shows the students painting. It's so relaxing to watch someone paint.

The message of the film is that sometimes, you have to fight for what's right. You should be aware that there are a few mentions of suicide. The authenticity of this film is truly heart-warming and inspiring. You see how this school changes the lives of these students and you want to see the school continue operating and see the kids become successful in their own right.

I give this documentary 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, as well as adults. Younger children may have a hard time understanding it, but it's family friendly for the most part. This would fit well into any film festival that is playing documentaries and art films. Reviewed by Kayenta C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
Runtime: 37 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


CLEMENTINE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CLEMENTINE
KARI THOMAS
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - She robbed a bank, but stole their hearts.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Clementine is a student film that takes place in the wild west and tells the story of a girl who robs a bank and steals your heart. Its tone gives you the sense of a group of kids playing together. I enjoyed the childish innocence of the film.

The storyline of this film is pretty simple and has a lot of heart. The camera work, costumes and sets are nothing special but are entirely appropriate for the storyline and the situation. The characters are well acted. The student cast are ages 5 to 18, so you see young people obviously made up and costumed to look like adults, but that's part of the fun. Occasionally the actors stumble a bit with their lines, but so what?! I want to remind film programmers that this is a student made film and, as such, is a great example of what can be done by a group of young children in a short period of time. Just don't expect a professional production please.

I like the general childish vibe and tone of the film. It's engaging and certainly holds its own against other student films. I love the idea of the film camp where this was created. Seems like a great experience for kids to learn the fundamentals of filmmaking, from script-writing to shooting, acting and editing.

I give this 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. One distinct audience is other student filmmakers, who will appreciate the efforts by these young people. Reviewed by Calista B. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and KIDS FIRST! Adult juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Clementine is a student film that takes place in the wild west and tells the story of a girl who robs a bank and steals your heart. Its tone gives you the sense of a group of kids playing together. I enjoyed the childish innocence of the film.

The storyline of this film is pretty simple and has a lot of heart. The camera work, costumes and sets are nothing special but are entirely appropriate for the storyline and the situation. The characters are well acted. The student cast are ages 5 to 18, so you see young people obviously made up and costumed to look like adults, but that's part of the fun. Occasionally the actors stumble a bit with their lines, but so what?! I want to remind film programmers that this is a student made film and, as such, is a great example of what can be done by a group of young children in a short period of time. Just don't expect a professional production please.

I like the general childish vibe and tone of the film. It's engaging and certainly holds its own against other student films. I love the idea of the film camp where this was created. Seems like a great experience for kids to learn the fundamentals of filmmaking, from script-writing to shooting, acting and editing.

I give this 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. One distinct audience is other student filmmakers, who will appreciate the efforts by these young people. Reviewed by Calista B. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and KIDS FIRST! Adult juror.
Runtime: 11 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


MCGUFFIN, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MCGUFFIN, THE
KARI THOMAS
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 6-18
Topic - Family
Description - The world's most powerful superheroes go in search for the ultimate prize.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I like this student created film because it reflects the creativity of kids, which I think is cool. I also like how the film is made by students during 5 weeks at summer camp. That's cool. Plus, it has funny dialogue, pretty good special effects, an interesting plot, and the music, costumes and makeup are all really well executed.

It begins in Professor Dog Ear's castle with him telling his crew, Strong Girl, Flightless Bird, Rolling Stone and The Accountant, that he needs to find the McGuffin. To get to the McGuffin, they face three obstacles - a dinosaur who only speaks in metaphors, a door that only the pure of heart can go through, and the guards of the McGuffin - Flip and Flop.

The story is really well written, with well drafted characters and a really funny ending ( which I wont say!) The work is quite good with cool camera angles throughout. One shot I particularly like is when they are behind the McGuffin box. That really impressed me. The costumes are a joy to look at. They are well made and cool to look at from the audience point of view. It is shot at a beautiful location. The outdoor sets are really pretty and the indoor sets are really well put together. I enjoyed the background music too. The special effects are okay, but you can totally tell they are digital. But they are still effective. The film was created by kids, with all child actors. My favorite character is Strong Girl because she is so brave and smart. My favorite scene is the one with the red door that only someone with a pure heart can walk through. The special effects are really cool in that scene as well.

The message of the film is teamwork makes the dream work and don't let anything stop you from reaching your goals.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults and recommend it for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. It would be particularly suited for a festival showcasing student films.

Reviewed by Beatrice N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this student created film because it reflects the creativity of kids, which I think is cool. I also like how the film is made by students during 5 weeks at summer camp. That's cool. Plus, it has funny dialogue, pretty good special effects, an interesting plot, and the music, costumes and makeup are all really well executed.

It begins in Professor Dog Ear's castle with him telling his crew, Strong Girl, Flightless Bird, Rolling Stone and The Accountant, that he needs to find the McGuffin. To get to the McGuffin, they face three obstacles - a dinosaur who only speaks in metaphors, a door that only the pure of heart can go through, and the guards of the McGuffin - Flip and Flop.

The story is really well written, with well drafted characters and a really funny ending ( which I wont say!) The work is quite good with cool camera angles throughout. One shot I particularly like is when they are behind the McGuffin box. That really impressed me. The costumes are a joy to look at. They are well made and cool to look at from the audience point of view. It is shot at a beautiful location. The outdoor sets are really pretty and the indoor sets are really well put together. I enjoyed the background music too. The special effects are okay, but you can totally tell they are digital. But they are still effective. The film was created by kids, with all child actors. My favorite character is Strong Girl because she is so brave and smart. My favorite scene is the one with the red door that only someone with a pure heart can walk through. The special effects are really cool in that scene as well.

The message of the film is teamwork makes the dream work and don't let anything stop you from reaching your goals.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults and recommend it for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. It would be particularly suited for a festival showcasing student films.

Reviewed by Beatrice N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Runtime: 14 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 6-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GOPHER DREAMING

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GOPHER DREAMING
KARI THOMAS
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 6-12
Topic - Family
Description - Gophers and farmers don't get along. Unless...
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I LOVE the Gopher family! This film has so much humor along with educating the audience about farms. The sponsor ad is hysterical as well. This is just a fun, family-friendly film. By students!

The student produced film is about the relationship of Farmer Ellen and a family of gophers who want to live on the farm. The humor is great. I love all the various jokes throughout the entire film and the interaction between all the characters in the various scenes.

The camera work is well done. I especially like the camera shots of the gophers, shot from below with their faces showing the sky in the background. There are lots of good facial expressions. The gopher costumes are fabulous. Farmer Ellen's is good, but David Flim Flam's costume is absolutely hysterical, with all his "chest hair." The costumes definitely make this film! The background music is good and upbeat; it keeps things moving. The Gopher family song about Ellen finding love is really fun and funny! Do stay for the credits, because they're quite fun too.

All the performances are quite good, but there are two breakout performances that stand out. Tess Painchaud as Margaret Cheeker and Greyson LeClair as David FlimFlam (not in the credits on filmfreeway). Mother Gopher's singing, line delivery and facial expressions are all terrific. Greyson LeClair's performance hits it out of the park in part because of his costume, but also his tongue-in-cheek attitude.

The message of this film is about learning about others.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. Keep in mind that it is a student produced film, so don't weigh it against professional productions. But, if your festival is showcasing student films, you should definitely consider this one.

Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I LOVE the Gopher family! This film has so much humor along with educating the audience about farms. The sponsor ad is hysterical as well. This is just a fun, family-friendly film. By students!

The student produced film is about the relationship of Farmer Ellen and a family of gophers who want to live on the farm. The humor is great. I love all the various jokes throughout the entire film and the interaction between all the characters in the various scenes.

The camera work is well done. I especially like the camera shots of the gophers, shot from below with their faces showing the sky in the background. There are lots of good facial expressions. The gopher costumes are fabulous. Farmer Ellen's is good, but David Flim Flam's costume is absolutely hysterical, with all his "chest hair." The costumes definitely make this film! The background music is good and upbeat; it keeps things moving. The Gopher family song about Ellen finding love is really fun and funny! Do stay for the credits, because they're quite fun too.

All the performances are quite good, but there are two breakout performances that stand out. Tess Painchaud as Margaret Cheeker and Greyson LeClair as David FlimFlam (not in the credits on filmfreeway). Mother Gopher's singing, line delivery and facial expressions are all terrific. Greyson LeClair's performance hits it out of the park in part because of his costume, but also his tongue-in-cheek attitude.

The message of this film is about learning about others.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. Keep in mind that it is a student produced film, so don't weigh it against professional productions. But, if your festival is showcasing student films, you should definitely consider this one.

Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
Runtime: 13 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 6-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


RITA

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
RITA
WILL NORDSTROM
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - An introverted teenager named Erwin meets Rita, a free spirited actress. Just as their quirky relationship starts to bring him out of his shell, Erwin realizes that Rita is not the person she appears to be.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This live action student film somehow captures the awkwardness of high school and boy/girl relationships.

Rita is about two people trying to get to know one another in the only way they know how and, it's sometimes not wholly truthful. Rita introduces herself under a pseudonym to Erwin, who is a shy boy.

I like the ambiance of the film. The sets are very realistic and the two teen performers certainly have a way of showing the awkwardness of teens. The background music enhances the scenes in an almost nostalgic way. The music at the beginning and end of the film feels like it's from an older time. It is well shot although the audio is a bit weak at times. A lot is invested into the camera work and it pays off. The cinematography is most impressive. It's definitely the best part of this film. There are some scenes I particularly liked such as the one with Erwin talking to himself in front of the mirror, practicing what he will say to Rita. The panning around the house is also very well executed. So is the scene at the beach.

The story is a bit slow paced but sort of has an authenticity to portraying the awkwardness of their relationship. In the beginning, it is difficult to tell where the film is going and the ending has a rather Groundhog Day sense to it. As a student production, I feel quality of the film makes it worth watching and the story certainly initiate some discussion.

The message is that sometimes you must create a new persona in order to get along with others.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 13 to 15. Reviewed by Joshitha B. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! reviewers
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This live action student film somehow captures the awkwardness of high school and boy/girl relationships.

Rita is about two people trying to get to know one another in the only way they know how and, it's sometimes not wholly truthful. Rita introduces herself under a pseudonym to Erwin, who is a shy boy.

I like the ambiance of the film. The sets are very realistic and the two teen performers certainly have a way of showing the awkwardness of teens. The background music enhances the scenes in an almost nostalgic way. The music at the beginning and end of the film feels like it's from an older time. It is well shot although the audio is a bit weak at times. A lot is invested into the camera work and it pays off. The cinematography is most impressive. It's definitely the best part of this film. There are some scenes I particularly liked such as the one with Erwin talking to himself in front of the mirror, practicing what he will say to Rita. The panning around the house is also very well executed. So is the scene at the beach.

The story is a bit slow paced but sort of has an authenticity to portraying the awkwardness of their relationship. In the beginning, it is difficult to tell where the film is going and the ending has a rather Groundhog Day sense to it. As a student production, I feel quality of the film makes it worth watching and the story certainly initiate some discussion.

The message is that sometimes you must create a new persona in order to get along with others.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 13 to 15. Reviewed by Joshitha B. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! reviewers
Runtime: 15 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SCRAMBLED

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SCRAMBLED
LAUREN ROTHMAN
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 14-18
Topic - Family
Description - When she discovers a way to contact her long-lost biological mother, Sarah must decide if she's willing to risk destroying the mother-daughter relationship that she already has.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What an interesting story and very relevant to today, when finding out about your ancestors - whether current of distant - is more accessible than ever. Having read the filmmaker's statement, I realize there is much more to this story than the film itself reveals. In some ways it feels that she didn't quite take it far enough to tell more of the story. But regardless, this is well scripted, acted, shot and edited. I see this as something that would definitely appeal to a niche audience but also to a general audience. It provokes the question about searching for your biological parent, without damaging the relationship with the parent/s that raised you. I recommend this for a KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, give it 4 out of 5 stars and suggest the audience as 12 to 18, plus adults.

Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What an interesting story and very relevant to today, when finding out about your ancestors - whether current of distant - is more accessible than ever. Having read the filmmaker's statement, I realize there is much more to this story than the film itself reveals. In some ways it feels that she didn't quite take it far enough to tell more of the story. But regardless, this is well scripted, acted, shot and edited. I see this as something that would definitely appeal to a niche audience but also to a general audience. It provokes the question about searching for your biological parent, without damaging the relationship with the parent/s that raised you. I recommend this for a KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, give it 4 out of 5 stars and suggest the audience as 12 to 18, plus adults.

Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 14-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GRANDMAS SECRET

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GRANDMAS SECRET
LYDIA BRUNA
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Lisa is at her granny's like she is every Friday. But today everything is different - Granny is behaving weird and does the strangest things! Lisa hears her parents discussing what could be wrong with granny and as they mention an old people home, she starts really worrying. She decides to sneak after granny together with her best friend Tom, to find out what's going on. But Tom starts behaving weirdly to - maybe he caught what granny has?

A short story about how falling in love sweeps you off your feet.

From Germany
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really like the story line of this film, although it takes a while to grab really your attention. It is live action with dialogue in German and English sub-titles. The acting and sets are truly first rate.

The film is about two friends, a boy named Tom (Timo Stawski) and a girl named Lisa (Runa Scholz), who visit Lisa's grandma's house every Friday. After Lisa's grandma starts acting weird, they decide to follow her to discover her secret. I like this film because it has a cute storyline and neat camera work. The characters are likable and relatable. Plus, the setting is beautiful with colorful flowers and birds chirping in the background. I love how the director of photography, Daniel Leibold, gets creative with his camera angles--going up close and then showing far away shots.

The storyline is sweet in a bunch of ways. I like how much the characters care for one another. They always are doing little things to put a smile on someone's face. The beginning of the story is a bit slow, but it develops a little faster as the film goes on, almost like the train gaining speed in the film.

I was impressed with how the director of photography, Daniel Leibold, goes from shooting a real train to the model train. It makes for a cool transition. I also like the close up shots of the various flowers mixed with different angles of the characters and moving train. I would have liked more shots of what it looks like while riding the train.

The costumes seem fit the story line, although nothing really stands out, except for the scarf Grandma Klara (Carmen Molinar) wears. The overalls she wears with the white blouse makes me think of the character Donna Sheridan in the film Mamma Mia! The sets are gorgeous. They made me feel like I'm on vacation with all the vibrant colors and sounds of the train traveling through the tunnel. I like the sounds of the birds chirping and the train traveling. At some parts the music drives the action, but at other times it doesn't do much for the script. Luckily the actors' performances are quite good.

One of my favorite scenes is when the real train goes through a tunnel and comes through the other side as a model train.

Timo Stawski, as Tom, shows his emotions well throughout the film. He's a bit of a romantic and his expressions show how he is feeling at any given time. Runa Scholz, as Lisa, is less expressive, although she does successfully show how much she loves her grandmother. Carmen Molinar, as Klara, makes the audience keep guessing what is wrong with her.

The message of the film is to ask questions. Making assumptions can lead to more problems. I liked when Herbert kisses Grandma Klara and when she tries to stop Tom from kissing Lisa on the cheek, and how Lisa is grossed out by her grandma kissing Herbert. I enjoyed seeing what the inside of a train looks like. I'd like to ride in one now.

This film doesn't have any American star power, but the director, Lydia Bruna is the writer of a popular German kids television show called Schloss Einstein. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 9. Reviewed by Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really like the story line of this film, although it takes a while to grab really your attention. It is live action with dialogue in German and English sub-titles. The acting and sets are truly first rate.

The film is about two friends, a boy named Tom (Timo Stawski) and a girl named Lisa (Runa Scholz), who visit Lisa's grandma's house every Friday. After Lisa's grandma starts acting weird, they decide to follow her to discover her secret. I like this film because it has a cute storyline and neat camera work. The characters are likable and relatable. Plus, the setting is beautiful with colorful flowers and birds chirping in the background. I love how the director of photography, Daniel Leibold, gets creative with his camera angles--going up close and then showing far away shots.

The storyline is sweet in a bunch of ways. I like how much the characters care for one another. They always are doing little things to put a smile on someone's face. The beginning of the story is a bit slow, but it develops a little faster as the film goes on, almost like the train gaining speed in the film.

I was impressed with how the director of photography, Daniel Leibold, goes from shooting a real train to the model train. It makes for a cool transition. I also like the close up shots of the various flowers mixed with different angles of the characters and moving train. I would have liked more shots of what it looks like while riding the train.

The costumes seem fit the story line, although nothing really stands out, except for the scarf Grandma Klara (Carmen Molinar) wears. The overalls she wears with the white blouse makes me think of the character Donna Sheridan in the film Mamma Mia! The sets are gorgeous. They made me feel like I'm on vacation with all the vibrant colors and sounds of the train traveling through the tunnel. I like the sounds of the birds chirping and the train traveling. At some parts the music drives the action, but at other times it doesn't do much for the script. Luckily the actors' performances are quite good.

One of my favorite scenes is when the real train goes through a tunnel and comes through the other side as a model train.

Timo Stawski, as Tom, shows his emotions well throughout the film. He's a bit of a romantic and his expressions show how he is feeling at any given time. Runa Scholz, as Lisa, is less expressive, although she does successfully show how much she loves her grandmother. Carmen Molinar, as Klara, makes the audience keep guessing what is wrong with her.

The message of the film is to ask questions. Making assumptions can lead to more problems. I liked when Herbert kisses Grandma Klara and when she tries to stop Tom from kissing Lisa on the cheek, and how Lisa is grossed out by her grandma kissing Herbert. I enjoyed seeing what the inside of a train looks like. I'd like to ride in one now.

This film doesn't have any American star power, but the director, Lydia Bruna is the writer of a popular German kids television show called Schloss Einstein. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 9. Reviewed by Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.
Runtime: 15 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


100% GIRL

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
100% GIRL
CHEN LIANGYU
Series: FOREIGN ANIMATED SHORT, AGES 5-16
Topic - Family
Description - The difference between men and women creates the most difficult battlefield in the world. A girl and a boy try to do a little magic to fight for peaceful and sweet life. From Taiwan
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - 100% Girl tells the story of a woman trying to be the best wife. The dialogue is in Chinese with English sub-titles. It is a student production by a junior high school student from Taiwan who is a first time filmmaker

I like the hand-drawn animation and soundtrack. Interesting that this entire film was made using a mobile phone. This film is really a short anecdote in which the 100% girl finds the 100% boy, both discovering that "a happy life requires mutual consideration and care."

I found this short piece to be cheerful and insightful. The line drawings make simple, yet effective animation. The background music is cute and upbeat. At the end, we see photographs of two actual people and it makes one wonder if they are who the story is about.

I give this 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for a youth and family film festival, also a student film festival since the filmmaker is a student from Taiwan. An audience of 5 to 16 would appreciate this, perhaps adults also.

Reviewed by Calista B. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - 100% Girl tells the story of a woman trying to be the best wife. The dialogue is in Chinese with English sub-titles. It is a student production by a junior high school student from Taiwan who is a first time filmmaker

I like the hand-drawn animation and soundtrack. Interesting that this entire film was made using a mobile phone. This film is really a short anecdote in which the 100% girl finds the 100% boy, both discovering that "a happy life requires mutual consideration and care."

I found this short piece to be cheerful and insightful. The line drawings make simple, yet effective animation. The background music is cute and upbeat. At the end, we see photographs of two actual people and it makes one wonder if they are who the story is about.

I give this 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for a youth and family film festival, also a student film festival since the filmmaker is a student from Taiwan. An audience of 5 to 16 would appreciate this, perhaps adults also.

Reviewed by Calista B. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
Runtime: 3 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-16
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


BOOK OF KNOTS, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BOOK OF KNOTS, THE
ROBERT SMITH
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A young boy scout gets his Knots badge and draws his family back together.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a charming short film with a sweet message about bringing family back together.

The storyline is about a boy who is trying to get his Boy Scout knots badge. We first see him tent-camping in his backyard, talking to his stuffed animal. I love that he talks to his stuffed "dog" and takes him to school with him as well.

The camera work is well done, especially the shots outdoors at night, which are not easy. Good audio and the young boy who plays the protagonist is absolutely adorable. Anyone who has ever tried to pass the Boy Scots "know badge" will particularly relate to this. It's a bit crazy and forms a cute underlying plot in this short film. The music is very upbeat and cute. One of my favorite scenes is when he gets back at the school bus bully by tying knots that trip him up when he's leaving the busy. Everyone, from the busy driver to the other kids get a big kick out of that. This kids truly is keen on his knot-tying skills and takes them to a whole new level, making the audience wonder what he is actually up to. He is very determined and self-confident. When he ties string all over his house to do his chores and it backfires, it only makes you smile big time.

There message of this film is to never give up, practice your skills because you never know when they'll come in handy.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for age 4 to 10. It's pretty sweet and would easily fit into any family-friendly film festival. And Boy Scouts would get an extra kick out of it.

Reviewed by Kayenta C. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and KIDS FIRST! Adult juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a charming short film with a sweet message about bringing family back together.

The storyline is about a boy who is trying to get his Boy Scout knots badge. We first see him tent-camping in his backyard, talking to his stuffed animal. I love that he talks to his stuffed "dog" and takes him to school with him as well.

The camera work is well done, especially the shots outdoors at night, which are not easy. Good audio and the young boy who plays the protagonist is absolutely adorable. Anyone who has ever tried to pass the Boy Scots "know badge" will particularly relate to this. It's a bit crazy and forms a cute underlying plot in this short film. The music is very upbeat and cute. One of my favorite scenes is when he gets back at the school bus bully by tying knots that trip him up when he's leaving the busy. Everyone, from the busy driver to the other kids get a big kick out of that. This kids truly is keen on his knot-tying skills and takes them to a whole new level, making the audience wonder what he is actually up to. He is very determined and self-confident. When he ties string all over his house to do his chores and it backfires, it only makes you smile big time.

There message of this film is to never give up, practice your skills because you never know when they'll come in handy.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for age 4 to 10. It's pretty sweet and would easily fit into any family-friendly film festival. And Boy Scouts would get an extra kick out of it.

Reviewed by Kayenta C. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and KIDS FIRST! Adult juror
Runtime: 12 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - After discovering a small, blue, fast hedgehog, a small-town police officer must help it defeat an evil genius who wants to do experiments on it.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this movie because is based on one of my favorite game characters. Sonic The Hedgehog is a live-action film--except for Sonic who is a CGI character (Ben Schwartz)--based on the global blockbuster video game franchise from Sega.

The story of Sonic the Hedgehog follows Sonic, a small blue hedgehog who has super-speed powers. When Sonic was younger, his owl guardian gave him a bag of rings to help him escape to different planets in case anyone discovers and kidnaps him because of his powers. One night, after he comes to Earth, he is playing baseball by himself and he gets upset because he realizes he is very lonely. Sonic runs in circles as fast as he can because he is upset. He is so fast that blue energy comes out of his body causing the whole town to black out.

This power outage causes big problems for Sonic who is pursued by a crazy military man named Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey) or Dr. Eggman, as Sonic calls him. Fortunately for Sonic, the town's sheriff (James Marsden) catches him and helps protect him from Dr. Robotnik.

The graphics in the movie are excellent, and, with the new Sonic design, it looks like Sonic is real. The new design works better than the Sonic design Paramount Pictures had before redoing this movie. The special effects are impressive too, such as Sonic's blue lightning which also looks real. Ben Schwartz did and very funny voiceover for the Sonic character. He is really full of energy.

The moral of this movie is that you are never alone in the world. There will always be someone for you to be your friend, to talk to and to be by your side when you need it. When Sonic is feeling alone, Sheriff Tom, or The Doughnut Lord, as Sonic calls him, takes Sonic to protect him and help him get to the Mushroom planet where Sonic needs to go.

Sonic the Hedgehog is filled with a lot of action and fun. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. If I could, I would give this movie 100 out of 100 stars. I recommend it for ages 5 to 18 plus older adults. Sonic the Hedgehog comes out in theaters on February 14, 2020.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Sonic the Hedgehog fails to evoke the propulsive rush of its source material. There's so much possibility in translating this character and the mythology he brings with him from the video game to the big screen. Unfortunately, this film gets bogged down in familiar family film antics.

An adaptation of the popular game franchise of the same name, Sonic the Hedgehog follows Sonic (Ben Schwartz), a carefree, lightning-quick blue hedgehog who hides out, in fear of what those with villainous intent would do with his super-speed. Trouble comes calling in the form of a genius named Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey), who is brought in to deal with the growing threat of a rogue, ultra-powerful hedgehog. Sonic convinces a small-town police officer (James Marsden), who dreams of working in the big city, to help him retrieve a few of his golden rings to help Sonic flee this world and move on to a new one.

Jim Carrey delivers a next-level performance as Dr. Ivo Robotnik, and he's easily Sonic's most valuable asset. Robotnik is another entry in the pantheon of zany, almost manic characters Carrey plays so beautifully. Carrey hasn't been this in control of his comedic strengths in a long while and its great to see him back in his element. His performance is on an entirely different wavelength than the rest of the film and, yet, it feels like he knows exactly what this movie should be. Kooky, frenetic and even more cartoonish than the film's CGI lead, Jim Carrey gives Sonic the Hedgehog a boost of energy it desperately needs. Ben Schwartz works well as the blue speedster at the center of the film. There's an innocence and playfulness to Sonic that Schwartz radiates nicely in his vocal performance.

I don't understand the screenwriter's choice to coop Sonic up in a car for much of the film's runtime. A character that is known for his speed finally arrives on the big screen, and they chose to confine him to a car with James Marsden. At the point at which the road trip begins, it feels as though you see every moment on the journey ahead coming far before you're supposed to. When Sonic and his pal arrive at their destination, they reach a visually exciting climax, but no payoff can make up for the bland route that is taken to get there. These games are not the most modern and this adaptation does its best to rectify that with countless references to current trends and popular culture to middling results. Even so, Sonic the Hedgehog struggles to keep its finger on the pulse of the culture.

I give this film 2 out of 5 stars and an age recommendation of 4 to 12 for some peril and crude humor. Sonic the Hedgehog is not the disaster many expected, nor the surprise sensation nobody saw coming; it's just fine, and I was hoping for more than that from this film. Fans of this character will relish getting to see him on the big screen, but I'm not sure I can confidently recommend this to those who are not die-hard Sonic fans. Sonic the Hedgehog releases in theaters February 14, 2020

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

I've never played Sonic the video game and was never a really big fan of the character but I really like this movie. It is very well done and great for the whole family. I like the animation and I love the acting. The story is very human and has very little to do with video games. It is about friendship and friends that become a family.

Sonic the Hedgehog is about a blue hedgehog that ends up on earth and he's trying not to be discovered. He lost a ring that helps him transport to places. When humans find Sonic, he has to run away (something he does well because he moves at super sonic speeds). Sonic feels lonely and wants a friend. When he meets Tom, a police officer (James Marsden), they develop a great "bromance," but they have to face Mr. Robotnik who is obsessed with everything fast and wants to experiment with Sonic. In their journey, both learn they don't have to run away from their problems.

I love all the characters! Dr. Robotnik is so funny and pleasing to watch. He is played by Jim Carrey, who is one of my new favorite actors. His performance is amazing and he is definitely a fascinating villain. He is graceful, entertaining and full of life. I also love the character Sonic; even though it is an animated character he really looks realistic. I could really see all the details in Sonic and I felt like he was pretty much a stuffed animal, opposed to a virtual digital character. Sonic is played by Ben Schwartz, an amazing voice actor who gives the character a great personality.

It's so amazing to see a character that was made about 30 years ago continuing to fill children's hearts with joy. I think Sonic is 100% absolutely adorable and all the characters are so fun to watch. There are a lot of action scenes and wonderful colors in the film as well. The music adds so much energy; it is catchy and upbeat. Finally, I like all the jokes and they definitely made me laugh. To add to that, I love how Sonic gives everyone their own special nickname. That gives the movie its own special touch and I guess I'll nick name this film "Blue Speedy Furry with Heart."

I give Sonic the Hedgehog five out of five stars and recommended it for ages 4 to 13. The message of this film is that friends in our lives bring us the most joy and they are the family we chose. Another message is that humans will always be more important than technology. Dr. Robotnik keeps trying to make technology a greater power than humans, but Sonic and everyone prove that our simple life and connections are what really matter. Sonic the Hedgehog opens February 14, 2020. Look for it!

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I really love this movie! Sonic the Hedgehog's team has created a movie based on the SEGA video game of the same name. There are amazing special effects from the beginning to the end. I love how it includes parts from the SEGA game, such as Sonic running in vertical loops and his spin attacks. I felt as if I was watching a live version of the actual game!

Sonic the Hedgehog is about a blue, fast and funny hedgehog named Sonic (Ben Schwartz) who has to escape his home in another world and ends up on Earth. He accidentally causes a power outage and has to hide out in Green Hill, Montana. The government tries to hunt him down and hires Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to capture him. Sonic meets a cop named Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) or Donut Lord, as Sonic calls him, and Tom agrees to help Sonic, find his rings and defeat Dr. Ivo Robotnik, who wants to use Sonic's power to take over the world.

The lead characters are Sonic, Tom Wachowski and Dr. Ivo Robotnik. It is very clever that the movie takes place in Green Hill, Montana, since the first level of the actual SEGA game is called Green Hill Zone. My favorite character is Sonic because he is funny. I love how he is made to have lives, just like he does in the SEGA game. One of my favorite scenes is when Dr. Ivo Robotnik has a virtual reality screen behind him and it shows a dinosaur running after him. Jim Carrey uses his flexibility to lower his head to make it look like the dinosaur bit it off. The movie is filled with special effects, such as explosions and lightning when Sonic runs. Sonic's CGI perfectly match his character in the video game. This is something the producer went back to correct before releasing the film. The music ties into what happens for each part of the movie; however, I was a little disappointed that the song Super Sonic used in the trailer is not in the movie.

The main message of Sonic the Hedgehog is that you should consider home wherever people that care the most about you are. There isn't much to be forewarned about besides Dr. Ivo Robotnik uses some minor foul language.

I rate Sonic the Hedgehog 5 out of 5 rings and recommend it for kids ages 6 to 18. Adults, especially gamers, will also love this movie. Since it's based on the Sonic the Hedgehog video game by SEGA, it may remind them of their own childhood. It's a great action-packed, family movie. Catch Sonic the Hedgehog in theaters starting February 14, 2020. Be sure to stay for the credits.

Reviewed by Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

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


HOPE RANCH

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HOPE RANCH       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
VISION FILMS
Series: VOD, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A young girl and her mother are in danger of losing their ranch after the death of her military father. With a little help from their majestic white horse, they hatch a plan to save the ranch and learn to never lose hope.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I personally enjoyed Hope Ranch. This inspirational family drama kept me engaged, yet I wished that the storyline was a little more complex. I also wished the father (Jon Schneider) had a little more screen time. We don't quite get invested in him before he is gone.

The storyline is about a mother and daughter who go through a strong testing of their faith when the father goes off for a final duty in battle and does not return. The mother has to deal with the possible foreclosure of their ranch property and her daughter's faith is temporarily shattered after her dad is killed in battle.

The production quality of this film is outstanding. The picture resolution and sound are clear, the cinematography is beautiful. The subtle color scheme works well for a mid-western ranch in a mountainous region.

The message of "keeping the faith" is very straightforward and appropriate for its target audience. There are no deeper or entangled themes that might confuse the viewer. The subject of potentially losing one's home and losing a loved one in war is very relatable to many people and a very realistic storyline.

I give Hope Ranch 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 14, plus adults. Hope Ranch is available on VOD March 3 and DVD March 10, 2020.

Reviewed by Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really enjoyed Hope Ranch. It has a wonderful storyline and involves horses, which I love.

Hope Ranch is about a girl and her mother trying to save their ranch after her father dies at war. It's well structured and easy to follow and also deep at the same time.

It is live action with lots of beautiful landscapes. The camera explores lots of interesting angles. The protagonist, Grace (Grace Van Dien) loves her home, her family and her horse, Faith. But, she loses her faith after her father dies, which makes her horse's name ironic. The costumes are suitable to the story. The sets are either at the farm or the church. The music is very dark and emotional, enhancing the feeling that something is about to happen.

The message of this film is that even in the worst, darkest time of your life, if you have hope and faith, everything will turn out all right in the end. The only negative behavior is that Grace yells at her mother a few too many times.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Hope Ranch comes out on VOD March 3 and DVD March 10, 2020. Look for it. Reviewed by Kayenta C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Although the message of this film is quite uplifting and can help any person, it is directed at a Christian audience with its faith-based focus. I found the plot a bit slow in developing and the topic of the arguments between the characters pretty repetitive.

The storyline entails a mother Rebecca (Marisa Brown), a father Mike (John Schneider), and their teenage daughter Grace (Grace Van Dien), who move to a large, countryside ranch. Everything goes downhill when Grace's father is deployed in the military and passes away in battle. After this, she and her mom struggle to pay the mortgage and must do anything to save the farm, including hold on to hope, have faith and believe that not all is lost. Grace is a very emotionally driven character. She cares so much about the ranch and will do anything she can to make sure that she and her mom can keep it and continue to live a full life together.

What really stands out most to me in Hope Ranch is the music. The tempo and instruments in every scene tie everything together in an emotionally expressive way. The music helps the viewers to connect deeply with the storyline and the situations that the characters are experiencing. This film definitely promotes the admired social behavior of helping others in need and sticking together in times of difficulty, which is an effective choice, as it helps other people in desperate situations.

The message of this movie is that you should never give up or lose hope, and that if you persevere through tough times, it will only make you stronger than ever before. It is definitely successful in portraying its message.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find Hope Ranch on VOD on March 3, 2020 and on DVD March 10, 2020.

Reviewed by Ruby A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Hope Ranch is an inspiring tale of loss and the power to overcome the obstacles life throws your way. Though the scriptwriting is a little clich�, the cinematography makes up for it. Hope Ranch impresses with its high quality production. The cast lacks a bit, apart from Marisa Brown.

Hope Ranch is about a girl, Grace (Grace Van Dien), struggling with the passing of her father and, in turn, acts out against her mother. Grace's mother, Rebecca (Marisa Brown), is trying to pay off their debt so they can keep their family farm, all while getting her daughter under control. As tension rises, both mother and daughter begin to lose hope - including hope for Grace's horse, Faith, to not be sold off to pay their rising debt.

This film starts off slowly and picks up pace slightly. When it comes to the storyline, despite Grace Van Dien's expertise, it's a challenge to make Grace's character come to life. The dialogue between Chris and Grace is, at times, embarrassing to watch, due to some awkward lines. These two are positioned to be the film's power couple, but they are also meant to be best friends. Many scenes between Chris and Grace are uncomfortable to the viewer. Although the screenplay doesn't excel at the romance in the film, it successfully delivers other messages quite well, especially when Rebecca is slowly breaking down from the pressure of holding the farm and her family together. The portrayal of feeling genuine pain is truly astonishing. I give Marisa Brown credit for holding this film together, particularly in this scene.

The message of this film is to never give up hope. No matter what is going on in your life, you will find a way through it. Whether it is with God or with your friends, that time will surely come to pass.

I give this film 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 13. You can find this motivational film on VOD March 3 and DVD March 10, 2020.

Reviewed by Joshitha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9
Runtime: 85 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.95
Media: VIDEO


TO THE BEAT! BACK 2 SCHOOL

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TO THE BEAT! BACK 2 SCHOOL       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
VISION FILMS
Series: VOD, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Sisterhood is tested, rivalries heat up and new bonds are formed when students go back to their performing arts school to compete for an all-expense paid summer scholarship program to a prestigious Conservatory of Fine Arts.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - To The Beat! Back 2 School is very entertaining and witty. Most typical teens will enjoy this film because they can easily relate to the story, as it presents situations that most high school student may face in real life.

The film is a high-school comedy with typical ingredients such as the nerdy students, the pretty student, the funny student and a common target. Its appeal because of its catchy plot, a variety of attractive and talented performers from varied racial backgrounds, and their (mostly) well-chosen wardrobe and background music.

The beginning of the film has some flow problems, but it quickly recovers about fifteen minutes into the film. Keep in mind that this is a sequel to To The Beat!, which I recommend watching first to know who is who and avoid confusion. In watching this, I found knowing the characters a little challenging. After I realized who is who, I could focus on the plot. The characters, settings, most costumes, soundtrack, plot, and selected talented cast makes this film appealing for any teenager. I enjoyed some of the jokes and funny behavior from some of the characters.

As to conflicts, it gets complicated because both the main and supporting characters have some form of internal conflict he or she is facing and must solve in order to grow. I like seeing a film making these internal conflicts part of the plot and trying to wrap up everything at the end of the film. The film drew me in by addressing these conflicts and showing how the characters come to terms with overcoming their obstacles. I also found alluring the use of clean humor and well-timed sarcasm.

I enjoyed most visuals, although some scenes are so dark it is difficult to see what's going on, like the ones in the dance practice room. The acting is pretty basic and could benefit from a bit more work from the secondary characters. The big plus for me is the inclusion of kids from multiple racial backgrounds, without making that a big deal. I also appreciate that the film does not go into any gender-related issues. The film is definitely entertaining, plus it touches on family and friendship values.

The message of this film is to about finding yourself. You should be aware that there is some inappropriate language, scenes where hatred is displayed and some inappropriate clothing.

I give To The Beat! Back 2 School 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18 plus adults. The message of this film is available Digital and DVD May 10, 2020 so don't miss it.. Be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Carolina S. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewers
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - To The Beat! Back 2 School is a hilarious and entertaining new feature film! This film is so fun and there is never a dull moment. If you are looking for an engaging drama-packed movie, this is the one for you.

Tensions at Valley Performing Arts grow high when the twins, Mackie and Mia, return from spring break. The students are put to the test when offered the opportunity to audition for one of three scholarships to the Triad Conservatory of Fine Arts in New York City. Between the huge scholarship, Mia's new boyfriend and Mackie's newfound friend in her longtime rival, Avery, things are bound to heat up.

There are a bunch of incredible aspects to this film. One of my personal favorites is the writing. Susan Bernhardt and Jillian Clare crafted an incredible story that has plenty of plot twists and turns to make it engaging to watch. The actors are extremely believable in their roles at Valley Performing Arts. Sydney Bourne, who plays Cassidy, is insanely talented. I love when actors and actresses that play villains can make me genuinely dislike their character enough to stir emotion within me, and Sydney Bourne was able to do just that. One small problem I found with To The Beat! Back 2 School is that since I hadn't watched the first movie, the first few minutes were a little bit confusing, due to my lack of background knowledge. I really enjoyed how the soundtrack for the movie keeps the scenes lively and energetic. Another thing I thought kept the movie lively was the stellar choreography. Every dance scene is visually appealing and kept my eyes glued to the screen.

To The Beat! Back 2 School shows us that people can change and we should not to judge a book by its cover. Making instantaneous assumptions about a person doesn't tell you much about them. In order to understand a person, you should get to know them first. Another valuable message is taught is about respecting other people for who they are, as a person and not based off of their talent.

I give To The Beat! Back 2 School 4 out of 5 stars and highly recommend for kids ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Make sure to check out this film March 10th, 2020 on VOD and DVD. Trust me, you won't want to miss it!

Reviewed by Brad M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18
Runtime: 92 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.95
Media: VIDEO


FINDING GRACE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FINDING GRACE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
VISION FILMS
Series: VOD, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A troubled teenage girl is forced to provide community service in a retirement home. As she develops a friendship with one of the residents and becomes closer to her father, she discovers the power of family, hope and faith.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Finding Grace is a heart-warming film that presents the need of God in our lives through common, real-life situations. This film demonstrates the best way to handle even the most difficult moments in our lives through the sometimes direct, sometimes indirect connection to God. It shows that, even in the darkest moments, anyone can experience hope through God.

Finding Grace follows a struggling family facing new challenges when they are already are dealing with so many things. It has many appealing elements including the cast, the settings and the storyline. I loved the beautiful settings near the sea and I love that the cast includes elderly actors as extras, which something is not something found in films these days.

This film would appeal to the whole family or even a teenager who might be experiencing similar feelings as the protagonist. For example, the anger of not having the power to change or control of your own life, just as Alaska expresses in the film. The film flows well and, even though you are unfamiliar with the characters at first, it is easy to follow their internal conflicts as a broken family and as individuals. Things evolve and come to a happy resolution after inner changes and personal growth takes place, through a connection with God. The storyline uses real-life situations, from early youth, through mid-life, that any person might experience in their lifetime. Even though the cast is prominently Caucasian, there is good inclusion of other ethnic groups. I appreciate that the film gives a natural flow of life-like situations and presents a positive resolution.

The message of the film is how important it is to involve God in our lives as our guide and counselor. You should know that some scenes are not quite suited for young audiences, but can be well explained if the viewer is accompanied by an adult. Though it is not an explicit scene, there is one where Mrs. Foster is about to attempt suicide and gets caught by Alaska. The negative part of this scene is that there is no resolution at that moment for the suicide attempt, other than switching the dialogue over Alaska's experience with suicide.

I recommend Finding Grace for ages 16 to 18, plus adults. I do suggest that the whole family make this part of a great family night. I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Carolina S. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewers.
Runtime: 107 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.95
Media: VIDEO
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TURNING, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TURNING, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A young governess is hired by a man who has become responsible for his young nephew and niece after their parents' deaths. A modern take on Henry James' novella "The Turn of the Screw."
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I'll admit, this film ended up being a lot more interesting than I originally expected. It actually managed to scare me a little and I got surprisingly invested. However the last act of the movie makes this experience very confusing and overall middle of the road.

The plot follows a woman named Kate who's hired to work as a nanny for two orphans named Flora and Miles. However, the longer she stays at their home, a giant mansion, the darker things get. Soon she begins seeing and hearing creepy things.

The plot is simple, however it managed to suck me in. That is because the movie sets up a lot of interesting mysteries about the true nature of the job and the kids. Yet, none of these mysteries are really resolved and that is disappointing. Plus, towards the end, the story gets even more unclear. In fact, the final moments of the film end up contradicting things that are set up earlier. While I like parts of the ending in concept, the inconsistencies in the story make it really hard to pin down whether the ending is good or not.

So, how about this film's horror? While it is mostly comprised of jumpscares; they are somewhat effective. One in particular genuinely scared me. This film definitely tries to insinuate a feeling of dread and does that quite well. It's not really that scary, but I appreciate the effort.

While I didn't really get attached to any of the characters, the acting in this film is honestly pretty good. Unsurprisingly, Mackenzie Davis as Kate and Finn Wolfhard as Miles are great. However I especially like Brooklynn Prince as Flora. She hasn't been in that much previously, but I believe she has a promising career ahead.

One thing I really like about this movie is the setting. I'm a sucker for historical aesthetics, so it makes sense that I would really enjoy Miles and Flora's mansion. The mansion is really beautiful ,yet creepy. We also see several locations outside that I would love to visit, specifically the forest area and the coy fish pond.

I would give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. This film comes out in theaters on January 24, 2020.

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

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


PLAYING WITH FIRE DVD

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PLAYING WITH FIRE DVD       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - When straight-laced fire superintendent Jake Carson and his elite team of firefighters come to the rescue of three siblings, they quickly realize that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet -- babysitting. As their lives, jobs and depot get turned upside down, the three men soon learn that children -- much like fires -- are wild and unpredictable.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This laugh-out-loud comedy stars John Cena as forest firefighter Jake Carson, who has his hands full leading a bumbling, but surprisingly adept team including John Leguizamo at his manic best and Keegan-Michael Key wearing every emotion on his sleeve. Things get unruly after the firefighting team rescue a teenager (Brianna Hildebrand) and her younger siblings from a wildfire and must watch over them for a weekend until their parents arrive. The plot allows square-jawed Cena plenty of opportunity to strike exaggerated stubborn poses while trying to keep in check both his wacky team and the mischievous siblings, who have to be rescued a second time after they run away in an all-terrain vehicle and wind up trapped on the edge of a cliff. The smart script balances one-liners and occasional silliness against the moments of peril, which feels surprisingly intense, thanks to excellent special effects. The fast-paced action and jokes keep the plot moving, often in unexpected ways. Eventually the kids warm to Jake who starts to loosen up, rekindling a romance with animal scientist Dr. Amy Hicks (Judy Greer). The unusual mix of comedy and danger lends a refreshing sweetness to scenes such as Jake fumbling to tell the two younger children bedtime stories. Playing With Fire is available on Digital starting January 21, 2020 and will release on Blu-ray and DVD on February 4, 2020. DVD extras include bloopers, deleted and extended scenes, "Storytime" with John Cena, and the cast reading humorous emails from the director during the shoot. Recommended for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. I give this 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Mike F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this movie because it is very entertaining and super funny. Playing with Fire is a 96 minutes filled with shenanigans. John Cena makes the audience laugh and it is weird to see him with a head full of hair.

This movie is about four smoke jumpers played by John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, Tyler Mane and John Leguizamo, who save three kids from a cabin on fire. The three children are siblings and two of them, Will and Zoe, are under the age of 10. Their older sister Brynn (Brianna Hildebrand, X-Men) is taking care of them. The smoke jumpers bring the kids to their depot until their parents can come to get them. The kids constantly mess with all the equipment at the fire depot, which distracts the smoke jumpers from doing their jobs.

The storyline includes comedy and sometimes sad moments. The visuals are perfect. The fire scenes looks real. The child actors are great at portraying their characters. My favorite scene is when Will is feeding peanut butter to the smoke jumpers' dog and he accidentally spreads it on the firefighter truck. Will drops the industrial soap and takes the fire fighter hose to clean the mess and the truck makes lots of foam.

The moral of this film is that family fulfills your life, in addition to working hard to accomplish your professional goals. Jake's (John Cena) priority is his career. He works hard to achieve and accomplish his title in the firefighter department and forgets to have fun or remember that there are people around him that love him.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to 18 and adults can enjoy it too! Playing with Fire comes out in theaters on November 8, 2019. On Digital January 21, 2020; Blu-ray� Combo Pack Arrives February 4, 2020

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, are 11

Playing With Fire is one of the greatest family movies I have ever seen! It is a family-friendly, feel-good movie with an important message - family is the most important thing to help you keep going. There is a lot of comedy in this movie that makes the audience laugh out loud.

The story line is both adventurous and exciting. There is lots of action, but it is not violent. The characters are super funny and the acting is phenomenal! If I had to recommend any film to watch with friends and family, it would be this one. Some parts are sad, but there is also plenty of action and comedy to keep the audience engaged.

Playing With Fire is about four smoke jumpers, which is an elite team of fire fighters. Jack and his friends are specially trained to jump into dangerous wildfires, so they can rescue people and fight fires. Their lives are perfect, until they find three kids trapped in a fire and this special group of men is forced to hang onto them until they can find their parents. Until then, they have to fight fires and take care of the kids. What could go wrong?

The cast in this film is amazing! The casting director, Rich Delia, not only picked some big names to be in this film, but also found some talented new-comers. The whole cast portrays their characters really well and they are hilarious too! Superintendent Jack Carson, head of the smoke jumpers, is played by John Cena, a well-known actor and WWE wrestler. Keegan- Michel Key, a famous comedian, plays Lieutenant Mark, a friend of the Superintendent and another smoke jumper. Jack's soft-hearted friend, Rodrigo, is played by John Leguizamo. Brianna Hildebrand plays Brynn, the oldest of the three kids. This film also has a dog named Masher, that is Jack's fierce firehouse dog. Masher is very well trained and his interaction with the kids is hilarious. Andy Fickman directs the film.

I give Playing With Fire 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, as well as adults. Playing with Fire comes out in theaters on November 8, 2019.

Reviewed by Eva W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Playing with Fire is a funny and a fantastic Nickelodeon movie. It has so many funny moments and cool stunts. There is also some scenes that are very emotional. It is very fun and up beat. It is an enjoyable movie for the whole family to watch.

The storyline is about fire superintendent Jake Carson and his elite team of firefighters coming to the rescue of three siblings and realizing that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet--babysitting. The three siblings, Brynn (Brianna Hildebrand), Will (Chrisian Convery), and Zoe (Finley Rose Slater) cause trouble all over the fire depot and are uncontrollable, much like fires. There are lots of hilarious moments that everyone will laugh at, and sad moments where you might cry.

The cast of Playing with Fire, especially John Cena, Keegan Micheal Key, John Leguizamo, and Brianna Hildebrand, elevates the film and makes it amazing. They all put there own little twist on there character and it is really cool how they performed all of their stunts. The cinematography and special effects is fantastic as well. The director, Andy Fickman, did an outstanding job directing everything and everyone. The screenwriter, Dan Ewen, also wrote a funny and a great script.

The message of this movie is that family and friends are important. When someone needs some help, they try to help them like a family. The firefighters have to treat the siblings like they're their kids and teach them what and what not to do. All of them have to stay together for a little while and start to grow on each other.

I would recommend this movie for ages 6 to 12 (adults might like it too). Younger audiences would find it more fun and exciting than teenagers would. I give this movie a 4 out of 5 star rating. Playing with Fire comes out in theaters on November 8, 2019, so go watch it.

Reviewed by Leandro R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Playing with Fire is a super-duper good movie. I like it because it shows the difference between only caring for yourself and caring for others. I also love how it shows all the crazy things that kids can get into at a fire station, when left alone. Originally, I didn't understand the title, Playing with Fire, because, even though the firefighters rescue people from fires, they don't "play with fires" at all in the movie. When I thought about the phrase "playing with fire" and what it means, it made more sense.

Playing with Fire is about a team of specially trained firefighters, called smokejumpers led by Superintendent Jake "Supe" Carson (John Cena), who saves three kids from a burning log cabin using a helicopter. Since he and his crew are unable to safely deliver the kids to their parents due to stormy weather, they take the kids back to the fire station until their parents return. In addition to taking care of the kids, Jake is also trying to get a promotion. He tries to find time to apply for this promotion while the kids are "playing with fire" or getting into all types of trouble at the fire station.

The protagonist is Superintendent Jake "Supe" Carson. The movie takes place at the smokejumpers' base in Redding, CA. My favorite part is when the young boy Will (Christian Convery) accidentally spills cleaning powder in the room where Jake's truck is stored and he tries cleaning it up with water from a hose. The room is filled with all these bubbles and he is flying around the room with the water hose. One weird part is when "Supe" first drops from the helicopter to save the kids; he doesn't have on the typical safety equipment that firefighters wear to help them breathe. He and the kids have an entire conversation in the middle of a burning log cabin and everyone is breathing fine in the smoke-filled room.

The message in the movie is that everyone has a soft side and it's okay to show it. It's okay to let your guard down and let people into your world. You never know what you could be missing out on in life if you don't. Some things adults should look out for are characters accidentally drinking lighter fluid and scenes where John Cena is shown shirtless or in the shower.

Playing with Fire is fired up with plenty of fun and laughs so I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Adults may not enjoy the film as much, especially since most of the funniest scenes are in the trailer. Playing with Fire comes out on Digital January 21, 2020 and DVD/Blu-Ray February 4, 2020. Look for it. It's a fun family movie.

Reviewed by Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


ELLA BELLA BINGO

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ELLA BELLA BINGO       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
ABS-CBN FILM PRODUCTIONS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Ella Bella and Henry are best friends, but she becomes jealous when Henry wants to play with the cool new kid. When Henry runs away, Ella Bella and a new kid go on a bicycle adventure to find Henry and learn the magic of friendship.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really enjoyed the animation and the storyline of Ella Bella Bingo. I particularly like that Henry's father is constantly there for Henry, notably when Henry runs away to the clubhouse and they decide to go to the amusement park. I found the ice cream parlor salesman describing Henry using ice cream very interesting and niche-y.

The storyline is about Ella and her best friend Henry who have a fight and then both try to make friends with the new kid in town and everyone discovers true friendship along the way.

I believe kids will easily relate to this storyline, because it involves friendships and has age-appropriate vocabulary throughout. They will relate to the concept of magic and the visuals will draw them in along with the sharp and colorful animation. The entire story flows at an even pace from beginning to end and is sensible throughout. The structure and style reminds me of many DreamWorks productions in terms of the introduction to characters and situations, conflict resolution and the kid-friendly humor. I was absorbed in the story the entire time and felt empathy with both Ella and Henry.

I like that the father is aware when Henry has a fallout with his best friend. This film teaches kids about looking out for the needs of others. For example, Ella and Henry realize and empathize that the new kid in town who has no friends. Kids may pick-up on the fact that the new kid brags about all his expensive gadgets, to compensate for his parents not being there for him. At the end, we see his parents trying to do the right thing, when they praise him for his circus performance. The overall message of the film is really about true friendship.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 12. Ella Bella Bingo comes out on VOD march 24, 2020. Check it out.

Reviewed by Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Ella Bella Bingo is a fun movie about the joy and pain of friendship. Ella learns that friendships can change and new friends add new dynamics. I enjoyed the adventure of Ella Bella and Henry learning how to bring a neighborhood together through their explorations.

Ella Bella loves magicians and the circus and, when she finds out that her best friend Henry has never been to one, she decides to create a neighborhood circus so Henry can experience the magic for himself. Ella and Henry have a great time in the preparations and recruiting neighbors to help with the circus until a new boy, Johnny, moves into the neighborhood. Henry is torn between spending time with Bella and the cool new boy. Henry runs away when Ella and Johnny fight over him and the neighbors get involved in finding him.

The animation of this film is truly beautiful and filled with rich colors. All the voiceover actors are to be commended on their performances. I absolutely love all the animals in this movie; they add a great deal of humor to the storyline. The chickens are so funny throughout the film that they really steal the show.

The message of this film is that friendship and loyalty matter. Friendship is more important than having things or possessions, as Ella Bella learns about the special magic that is friendship. The movie also highlights the strength of community when the neighborhood comes together to produce the circus.

I rate this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 10. It is available on VOD and DVD March 24, 2020.

Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: FeatureFilm


QUEZON'S GAME

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
QUEZON'S GAME       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
ABS-CBN FILM PRODUCTIONS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Based on a true story of Holocaust heroism during World War II in the Philippines by Filipino President Manuel L. Quezon--who rescued as many persecuted Jews as Oskar Schindler at a time when most countries were turning their backs--the release of Quezon's Game also marks the landmark 75th anniversary on Jan. 27 of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Nazi's most-notorious concentration camp. Once forgotten to history, the incredible tale of what just one man can accomplish when defeat isn't an option ... a miraculous feat of human triumph. Starring Raymond Bagatsing, Rachel Alejandro, Billy Ray Gallion, David Bianco, and James Paolelli and Kate Alejandrino. Directed by Matthew Rosen.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I was complete unaware of this story before watching this film. It provides homage to the heroic efforts of Manual Quezon and his advisors to rescue Jews trapped in German and Austrian ghettos.

Inspired by a true story, this docudrama directed by Matthew Rosen offers the viewer a recounting of how, just before WWII, the President of the Philippines, Manuel L. Quezon (Raymond Bagatsing), rescued more than 1200 Jews from Germany, in spite of the anti-Semitic forces in his own country and world-wide. It begins with disturbing newsreel footage showing Jews incinerated by the Nazis. These were dangerous times and, had not Quezon acted in the way he did, these refugees would not have survived. High Commissioner to the Philippines Paul McNutt (James Paoleli) and Jewish American businessman Alex Frieder (Billy Ray Gallion), along with young officer and future U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower (David Bianco) bring the plight of the German Jews to the President's attention and then attempt to get visas for more than 10,000 of them trapped in Nazi Germany.

The sets and locations artfully reflect scenes from 1938 Philippines, as do the costumes, manners and music. I love seeing the horse-drawn carriages, the men in their Panama hats, the women in white, and the tinted film - all of which appropriately show the time period. Raymond Bagatsing, who plays President Quezon, is shown as a young man hiding his life-threatening illness, tuberculosis, from those around him. His feelings of despair about the German Jews provoke him to put his own health aside in order to do what he can to rescue them. Aurora (Rachel Alejandro), his wife shows strength in protecting her husband, while knowing he is hiding something from her (his illness).

The rise of anti-Semitism pushes the President to take action, as we see newsreels of Jews being turned away as they arrive in Cuba and the Alex Frieder being turned away at the German club with the Nazi sign clearly in view inside the front door. David Bianco portrays a youthful Dwight Eisenhower who will become the U.S. President after the war. When the refugees arrive, looking emaciated and exhauster, they are greeted by the president, his family and advisors. Thanks to Quezon's efforts over 1200 Jewish refugees were saved. The closing credits include interviews with some of the refugees who were children at the time of their rescue. Their testimonials reinforce the selfless act of Quezon, to help their families when everyone else was turning them away.

The message of this film is about selflessness and honor; about doing the right thing, even when the world around you is not. I give Quezon's Game 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult juror.

Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film is incredible. It really is a great expression of Manuel Quezon's heroism in the time of World War II. The characters are so physically and emotionally involved with the events that take place. Since this is a huge part of the true story, it really helps the audience discover the brutal reality of this situation and how the Holocaust affected so many innocent people. These unparalleled features in this film make it an educational and moving experience.

Quezon's Game is about the president of The Philippines (his term ran from 1935 to 1944) and an important telegram that is passed on to an American ambassador by several officials. The telegram, sent from Austria by a Chinese ambassador, says that there are Jewish refugees who need a place to go. Quezon comes across this and is determined to take action after being urged by his wife and an ambassador, Alex, who he works with.

The lead characters are Manuel Quezon (Raymond Bagatsing), Aurora Quezon (Rachel Alejandro) and Alex Frieder (Billy Ray Gallion). The characters and the events of the story are based on true events, which is crucial, and the cast portrays them remarkably well. For example, Bagatsing and Gallion express such vivid emotions and opinions and Alejandro shows a tough and strong attitude in a bad situation. They really shine throughout the entire film. My favorite part is when Manuel, his allies and political advisors reach their goal of being able to transport the refugees from Europe to the Philippines. The victory is very emotional for everyone and Manuel, along with those working with him, are happy to welcome the people to the Philippines, their new home.

The message of this film is that if you fight for what you believe in, work hard and are determined, you will eventually reach your goal. The film, sets and emotionally-moving reality go hand in hand and make Quezon's Game one of the most memorable, true story-based movies I have ever seen. This movie definitely calls me to action with its powerful message.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, as well as adults. You can find Quezon's Game in theaters beginning January 24, 2020.

Reviewed by Ruby L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Quezon's Game, directed by Matthew Rosen, is an incredible and triumphant depiction of true life events that is a delight to watch play out onscreen. The film captures the beauty of the Philippines showing amazing landscapes and bright colors. The filmmakers show a persistent, noble, and accurate version of Quezon through the actor Raymond Bagatsing who dramatically captures the spirit of the iconic leader. In Quezon's Game, the acting is wonderful, the production is gorgeous, and the plot is intriguing and riveting. This is a very well made film.

Quezon's Game details the true story about the journey that Manuel Quezon, President of the Philippines, takes in order to help Alex Frieder bring Jewish refugees into the country in order to flee the impending doom of the Holocaust. Meanwhile, Quezon's health is deteriorating and his marriage suffers trials and tribulations. The film depicts a young President Eisenhower and diplomat Paul McNutt helping Frieder and Quezon. The actions taken by Quezon and his team, along with encouragement and help from his wife and his daughter, are moral, tenacious, and beyond heroic.

Quezon's Game is an extraordinary story, one that brought my mother and I to tears multiple times throughout watching it. I don't necessarily cry that often during movies, but Quezon's Game is so powerful and poignant, I couldn't help but shed more than a few tears. I am incredibly impressed with the high production value and gorgeous setting. It must have been such a joy to film on such a magnificent set. The acting is also high caliber as all the actors go above and beyond to embody their characters. The writing and the plot are intense and I was highly interested throughout the entire film. It is fast-paced, stimulating and easy to follow. It is emotional and astonishing. In addition to being a fantastic film, Quezon's Game promotes righteous morals and exceptionally positive messages. Quezon always perseveres through his challenges and does what's right. He puts the needs of others before himself and truly does heroic work. He never gives up and fights for the cause.

Quezon's Game is an incredible and inspiring film, one that I will remember for a long time. The acting is phenomenal, the setting is wonderful, the production values are high, and the plot is intriguing. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 due to some difficult themes and jarring images. Quezon's Game opens in theatres January 24, 2020. Be sure to see it!

Reviewed by Ella L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Quezon's Game is a beautiful movie that is based on true events. This movie has great music and acting, lots of drama and emotion. There are also some scenes that made me cry. This movie taught me a lot about what happened behind the scenes during World War II. My only complaint with this movie is that when they speak Filipino, there are Spanish words included. I'm not sure if that is accurate or if it is a mistake, but being Latino, it caught my attention.

The storyline follows Philippine President Manuel Quezon, in 1938, trying to save as many Jewish refugees as he can from Hitler and the Nazis before the Holocaust. President Quezon is fighting a personal relapse of tuberculosis at the same time. There are other historical figures of note such as future U.S. President Dwayne Eisenhower. This story is not very well known. It is certainly the first time I hears about it. Quezon's Game teaches about an aspect of history you might never learn in school.

The acting in Quezon's Game is fantastic. Raymond Bagatsing, who plays President Quezon, gives a heart stopping performance that captures every essence of the actual person. There is so much emotion and effort put into his performance. It is cool how much Raymond Bagatsing looks a little bit like the real Manuel Quezon. This movie has gorgeous scenery that makes you feel like this was actually filmed in the 1930s.

The message of this movie is to keep trying, no matter what problems come your way. It shows how Quezon goes through so much trouble and problems, yet doesn't give up on bringing the Jewish refugees to the Philippines. You should know that there is some mild profanity and it deals with difficult themes.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, as well as adults. This movie hits theaters January 24, 2020 so go watch, you won't regret it.

Reviewed by Leandro R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12.

This heroic, memorable, and passionate independent film embraces the heroism of Manuel Quezon during World War II. This bewildering and educational docudrama leads you back to 1939 to 1945 to experience the unimaginable reality of how the holocaust affected many. This film, directed by Matthew Rosen, shows the beauty of the Filipinos in rescuing Jews from Nazi Germany. In Quezon's Game, the actors created a realistic story, that urged me, as a viewer, to learn more.

Quezon's Game leads with the perspective of Filipino President Manuel Quezon and Aurora Quezon, his wife. In the film, the Filipino President is faced with a tough decision. A Chinese ambassador comes to Manuel seeking help for the Jewish refugees who need a place to go. Released January 24, 2020, this film marks the landmark 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. After being urged by his wife, Quezon finally comes to a decision.

The lead characters in this film are Manuel Quezon (Raymond Bagatsing), Aurora Quezon (Rachel Alejandro) and Alex Frieder (Billy Ray Gallion). The characters are based on actual characters and the actors portray them very believably. Their emotion and connection with each other makes it all seem plausible and real. My favorite part is President Quezon, his allies and family members accomplish their goal of rescuing the refugees and seeing them arrive in the Philippines. The victory is absolutely meaningful and emotional. Each character expresses bravery and strength.

This film has a little bit of profanity but there is no other inappropriate activity that kids might imitate. I love the scenery of the Philippines and the 1930s tropical vibe with beautiful scenery, colorful trees and beautiful tall, tower-like homes.

I give this film 4 � out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 15. It is available at select theaters January 24, 2020. Look for it.

Reviewed by Nathalia Marie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

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



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