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IMAGINATION TIME WITH PATRICK:

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
IMAGINATION TIME WITH PATRICK:       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PATRICK ADAMS
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - My new album of fun, silly, imaginative and empowering songs for kids, tackling topics such as hairless werewolves, fluffy dinosaurs, zombie ballerinas and much more!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Imagination Time with Patrick is an up-beat and peppy musical album, combining topics such as zombies and ballerinas to create an adventure that keeps kids guessing, "What's next?"

Made by children's musician and author Patrick Adams, this goofy collection of songs is designed to spark imagination in kids, and keep them active. It wonderfully showcases what you can do with a bit of creativity, and loads of fun. It takes kids on a journey from the Milky Way, to an underwater airplane, and wherever they can think of.

These songs are definitely a fun experience! I would not have thought songs like "Puppy Cat," "Football Bat" or "Fluffy Dinosaur" could exist. Despite the unusual titles they are actually very catchy songs, with most of them having a pop or techno beat to them. My favorite song is "Fluffy Dinosaur" -- the lyrics go into great detail explaining what it would be like to be a "Fluffasaurus Rex." They actually don't seem too scary. You can tell that Patrick had a very fun time making this album. He definitely has the heart of a child. The songs definitely seem whimsical and quirky, with most having a Dr. Seuss feel to them. They cover a wide range of topics that kids are interested in, from unicorns, to werewolves, and nearly everything in between. The sound quality is very good, and not muffled or blurred. It comes across quite clear and understandable despite the out of the box lyrics. The whole album is unusual from start to finish, and entertaining at the same time. Patrick talks, or sings, about being yourself. Through song, he lets his audience know that there is no one like you, and encourages you to go out and show the world what you can do.

The album's message is that things aren't always as they seem. Though a hairless werewolf or a zombie ballerina might seem scary at first, there is no doubt that these silly creatures' main goal is to have fun, and enjoy life. There is no bad language in this album, and nothing to be worried about (unless you are weary of an alien dance party!).

I give Imagination Time with Patrick 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Imagination Time with Patrick is available now with online retailers or streaming.

By Braedyn M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Imagination Time with Patrick is an album full of imagination. My five-year old self would have really enjoyed these songs. It is perfect for younger audiences who want to be silly and have fun. The lyrics discuss everything from hairless werewolves to fluffy dinosaurs.

Patrick Adams is a singer and creator of children's music. His latest album, Imagination Time with Patrick, empowers kids through creative oddities such as a puppy cat, a peanut butterfly, and zombie ballerinas. The songs are designed to make kids laugh and explore all areas of their imagination.

Imagination Time with Patrick has youthful songs that are full of unexpected lyrics. All of the music involves silly topics like the song "Purple Pepperoni Pizza." This is my favorite song, and it reminds me a lot of Sheb Wooley's "Purple People Eater." The words are catchy and easy to remember. I can totally see little kids being inspired to try to order purple food! There are also opportunities for the creation of cute dance moves to the tune of "Alien Dance Party" and "Zombie Ballerina." Some of this music would even be great for brain breaks in elementary classrooms as well as surprise performances in listeners' living rooms. There is some educational value in a few of the songs. For example, kids can learn about the eight planets in "Space Train" as well as the dwarf planet, Pluto. Songs like "Fluffy Dinosaur" and "Puppy Cat" are full of describing words that can help develop creative writing skills. The music does have some unappealing characteristics. The songs can be monotone and repetitive. It is more speaking than singing. The rhythms are very electronic and do not seem to have the same quality of mainstream music. They also are long, so it can be easy to tire of hearing the same lyrics. However, these things make the tunes catchy and easy for young minds to remember.

The album's message is to use your imagination. There are no creatures or ideas too small that can't be activated in young minds. It also encourages children to get off of technology and to unleash their fun power that is already inside of them .The music is kid-friendly and parents do not have to worry about any bad language or content.

I give Imagination Time with Patrick 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 5. The album is available now on Streaming and Online Retailers.

By Kinsley H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Runtime: 52 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: AUDIO


DESPICABLE ME 4

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DESPICABLE ME 4       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - In the first Despicable Me movie in seven years, Gru, the world's favorite supervillain-turned-Anti-Villain League-agent, returns for an exciting, bold new era of Minions mayhem in Illumination's Despicable Me 4. Gru, Lucy, Margo, Edith, and Agnes welcome a new member to the family, Gru Jr., who is intent on tormenting his dad. Gru faces a new nemesis in Maxime Le Mal and his femme fatale girlfriend Valentina and the family is forced to go on the run.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Get ready to raise your glasses and say, "Kanpai" (cheers) in celebration as the Gru family returns in Despicable Me 4! The familiar and lovable characters are back, bringing with them a hilarious and entertaining storyline that definitely had me laughing out loud.

The storyline follows Gru (Steve Carell) when he fails to capture his old nemesis, Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell) and his family is forced into the witness protection program. But, portraying the role of the average next-door neighbor is no easy task for Gru, his wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig), and their adopted daughters Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Madison Polan). The introduction of the want-to-be villain, Poppy (Joey King), sparks Gru's desire for mischievous adventures, setting the stage for comical chaos with the assistance of his minions.

This is a fun animated film filled with compassion and comedy. Created by Illumination Entertainment, the frantic visual disorder seized my attention and took me on a wild ride filled with glee. The fantastic voice acting makes all the characters likable. Joey King, with her lisp and evil laugh, makes Poppy so menacing and likable. The screenplay by Ken Daurio and Mike White feels familiar and fresh at the same time. Gru's loving relationship with his wife Lucy, baby boy, and adopted daughters Margo, Edith and Agnes remains heart-warming. The introduction of villains Maxime Le Ma, Valentina (Sofia Vergara), and Poppy keep Gru from living a dull life as an anti-villain. One of my favorite scenes is the attempted theft of the honey badger.

The film's message reminds us to stay true to ourselves and to remember that family is essential to our happiness. By embracing his true nature, Gru is able to release the pressures of being an anti-villain and pursue his dreams.

Despicable Me 4 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18 and adults. It opens in theaters on July 3, 2024.

By Calee N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The hilarious super-dad is back! Gru and his family return in the hilarious Despicable Me 4. This movie is action-packed, funny, and shows how important family truly is. It stars many well-known actors, including Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Will Ferrell, and Sof�a Vergara.

This comedic film starts with Gru (Steve Carell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) doing their best to raise Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), Agnes (Madison Polan), and the newest member of the family, Gru Jr. (Tara Strong) The family thinks their life has finally gone back to normal, until they find out that Gru's arch-nemeses Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell) and Valentina (Sof�a Vergara) escaped prison and are out for revenge against Gru, which means he and his family must go into hiding. While staying undercover, each family member encounters different people and different struggles. The Minions are as crazy and shenanigan-filled as ever, but also as caring and protective of the family, no matter the cost.

My favorite characters in this film are the Minions and Poppy Prescott (Joey King). The Minions have always been energetic and filled with slapstick comedy, and they have never failed to make me laugh. I love how the director, Chris Renaud, makes sure the Minions are still the same funny, chaotic characters as they have been since the beginning of the Despicable Me series. I love Poppy because of how passionate she is about becoming a super-villainess. She is also so clever and lovable, which adds to her character. Another part of this film I enjoyed was the creativity of the new villains, Maxime Le Mal and Valentina. The writers, Ken Daurio and Mike White, created two incredible characters with loads of personality, imagination, and evil. The music is especially enjoyable in the movie. For example, there is a song in the beginning of the film called "Double Life" by Pharrell Williams, which is so fun and upbeat. The energy from this song matches the energy of the movie.

The film's message is to never give up and persevere through every situation. Gru always has and always will care about his family. Whenever his family is in trouble, he will always be there to save them.

Despicable Me 4 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. It releases in theaters on July 3, 2024.

By Ari P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

What a fun film Despicable Me 4 is. I love this film! It was great entertainment from start to finish and made me laugh the entire time.

Gru and the minions return in this fourth installment, providing humor and entertainment at every turn. Gru is challenged by high school rival, Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell) and his female sidekick Valentina (Sofia Vergara) and they're forced to flee to a safe house. As the family takes on new identities, Gru takes the opportunity to bond with his son. More plots emerge as the family struggles with new identities and a neighbor, Poppy (Joey King), knows Gru's identity.

Very entertaining. I will go see it again with friends. The animation and the writing are paired perfectly. Every character has their own story line and each of their own individual journeys contributes to the plot. They are all connected, which makes the film that much more entertaining. One thing I love about Despicable Me 4 is ... the Minions. They're consistent as the main protagonists in the Gru family. They offer constant on-screen antics, and their silly behavior kept me laughing. Whether on a bus, in a vending machine, or in training as the Mega Minions, their attempt to help always creates drama and messes things up. I enjoyed the character of Poppy, who wears braces and has a lisp, which is hysterical. Maybe we will see her in future films. The background music and sound effects enhance the entire film. The sounds in the grocery store scene are great - with screams and pounding footsteps running through the aisles. At other times we hear the roaring of engines, lazar sounds from the Mega Minion, and tires screeching behind the opening music as they drive up into the California hills. This film is great in so many ways.

The film's messages are about bonding with your family, finding a happy place, being true to oneself and protecting your loved ones. Be aware that there are some naughty Minions. Some humor is a bit inappropriate for kids, yet this humor may keep parents engaged. My mom laughed at some of the "adult jokes" and had to explain them to me.

Despicable Me 4 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages to 5 to 18, plus adults. The film releases in theaters July 3, 2024. Go check it out.

Emma O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I enjoyed Despicable Me 4! It's full of slapstick comedy plus new and old characters. The animation is so high quality it's despicable.

In the sixth installment of the Despicable Me franchise, Gru (Steve Carell), Lucy (Kristen Wiig), and the girls welcome a new member to their family, Gru Jr. (Tara Strong), who is set on tormenting his dad. And now, because of a new villain named Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell) and his girlfriend (Sof�a Vergara), Gru's family is forced to go into hiding and adopt new identities. Will they take Maxime down or will their cover be blown? Watch to find out!

This movie is really cute, but there is just a lot going on at once. There are several different subplots and a lot of new characters that are crammed into this 94-minute movie, so some scenes feel a bit random and out of place. Nonetheless, this is a great family movie. Its humor is geared more towards younger audiences, but that being said, I and a lot of adults laughed throughout the entire movie. I adore all of the characters in the franchise dearly, but my favorite is Agnes, voiced by Madison Polan. She is so sweet and lovable and always wants to do the right thing. I also really love the performances from Steve Carell as Gru, Kristen Wiig as Lucy, Miranda Cosgrove as Margo, and Dana Gaier as Edith. Pierre Coffin, as always, is so impressive when voicing the minions (yes, all of them). Will Ferrell as Maxime and Sof�a Vergara as Valentina, Maxime's girlfriend, are hilarious and really fit their roles.

The film's messages, similar to the previous installments, focus on the importance of family and doing the right thing. Be forewarned that there are some risky behaviors portrayed in this movie that young children shouldn't try to replicate.

Despicable Me 4 gets 4 of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. People who enjoyed the previous Despicable Me movies will definitely want to see this one. It comes out in theaters on July 3, 2024.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Bringing back my favorite yellow-friends, Despicable Me 4 is hilarious, original, and chaotic in the best way. It hits the screen with all the energy expected from the first scene to the last.

Following the prison escape of his arch nemesis Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell), ex-villain Gru (Steve Carell) is forced to move into hiding with his wife, Lucy (Kristen Wiig), his three daughters, and his new baby son, Gru Jr. (Tara Strong) After assuming new identities the craziness never fails to follow Gru's family as they meet new neighbors, explore their new lives, and hide from Maxime and his fashionable girlfriend Valentina (Sof�a Vergara). And of course, the minions have their own adventures as well.

Despicable Me 4 flows so smoothly despite all the plot lines going throughout the film. Many subplots are developed and, by the end, they all tie together quite nicely. It's a perfect way to give viewers lots to enjoy without leaving them hanging. The only thing that doesn't have enough attention is the character of Maxime Le Mal -- part of his character is his obsession with cockroaches and he has a whole army of them, but apart from talking to them a bit as his evil army, they don't help execute his master plans. This made me wonder what they were intended for exactly. Besides this, every character is wonderful to watch and I particularly enjoyed Poppy. Voiced by Joey King, Poppy has been born into an uptight family in the town of Mayflower and dreams of becoming an evil villain. I love how she is introduced as kind of a mystery until her intentions are revealed. I enjoyed seeing how dedicated she is to achieve her dreams. The side plot of the minions is not paid a lot of attention to but that never stops the minions from stealing the spotlight. We find five minions with superpowers and the writers have some hilarious situations these minions get into which, of course, all tie back to saving their beloved master, Gru. My favorite part of this film is the last scene where Gru and Maxime have a karaoke competition and perform it at the local jail. In this scene there are nods to all the past movies including the Despicable Me and Minions films. I won't spoil it, but it's a great Easter egg that plays tribute to the previous films.

The film's theme is that nothing is more important than family. Gru struggles to bond with his son and he never stops trying because Gru Jr. is so important to him. Throughout the film Gru is always putting his family first and he never stops fighting for them.

Despicable Me 4 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters July 3, 2024.

By Kendall B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

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


DISNEY JR.'S ARIEL

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DISNEY JR.'S ARIEL       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DISNEY JUNIOR
Series: SERIES, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Set in the fantastical Caribbean-inspired underwater kingdom of Atlantica, the series follows Ariel as she embarks on fun-filled, action-packed mermaid adventures with her friends. Driven by a deep and unending curiosity about the world around her, Ariel discovers land treasures, like a big floppy hat, squeaky rubber ducky and whisk, that she collects and keeps safe in her crystal cavern. Sometimes, Ariel uses the treasures to help solve problems. With each discovery, Ariel is filled with joy, and her mermaid tail, which changes colors depending on her emotions, lights up and shimmers. Full of charm, big ideas and a powerful voice, "Disney Jr.'s Ariel" is coming into her own, learning how to discover and appreciate the world around her and use her voice to inspire others.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Jumping Jellyfish! Ariel is back for another under-the-sea adventure in Disney Jr.'s Ariel. It's full of friendship, aquatic fun, and music! It's perfect for kids to watch and enjoy with their family. Young fans of any version of The Little Mermaid will certainly love watching this series!

Disney Jr.'s Ariel is based on the classic story and film, The Little Mermaid, and takes you on a musical journey following a young Ariel (Mykal-Michelle Harris) and her friends Flounder (Gracen Newton), Lucia (Elizabeth Phoenix Caro) and Fernie (Cruz Flateau) as they experience various adventures in Atlantica. They use the power of friendship, music, and magic to help each other and their friends throughout the show.

The cast of this series is perfect. The actors really connect to the characters, including the way they look. Mykal-Michelle Harris, who voices Ariel, fits this character perfectly in both her personality and her singing voice. The character designs are amazing culturally as well from the hair, to the skin tones, to their dialect speech. I like that they kept the cultural status of Ariel, even making King Triton and Ursula Black characters. I found it interesting how they gave Ursula more human traits and added a special plot twist to her character, which I love. The music in this series is so fun, catchy, and upbeat! I believe that young people will love it; I honestly feel that it adds more to Ariel, considering her love of music and singing. The design of this show is so colorful and vibrant - it really captures the beauty and uniqueness of the ocean. Each episode is 23 minutes long, with two titles included, so audiences can be entertained for quite some time.

There's a new message in every episode of this series, addressing issues such as friendship, understanding each other, and patience. This series is educational plus it's an entertaining experience that gives parents a break.

I give Disney Jr.'s Ariel 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. Disney Jr.'s Ariel premieres on Disney Junior on June 27, 2024.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

After the hit 2023 remake of The Little Mermaid, audiences have been waiting to see more of Ariel and her unique adventures. Disney's newest animated series, Disney Jr.'s Ariel, gives us a fresh perspective of Ariel in her childhood. Even though this show is geared toward younger audiences, I definitely enjoyed the show's upbeat and entertaining style.

This series follows eight-year-old Ariel (Mykal-Michelle Harris) growing up in the underwater world of Atlantica. With her best friends Flounder (Gracen Newton), Lucia (Elizabeth Pheonics Caro) and Fernie (Cruz Flateau) she goes on fun and action-packed quests. Ariel's curiosity drives her adventures, inspiring her to collect pieces of treasure and solve problems in remarkable ways.

Disney Jr.'s Ariel is the perfect new show for families, especially those with younger children. The first thing that grabbed my attention when watching Ariel was its use of vibrant colors. The bright pinks, blues, and yellows are perfect for younger audiences, giving the characters energy, and keeping kids engaged in the show even if they can't quite understand the plot yet. A key moment of each episode is when Ariel's tail shimmers and changes colors when she gets an idea, or her emotions change. Not only do those colors provide energy to the show, but I predict the upbeat and catchy songs will help Ariel become a fan favorite. Mykal-Michelle Harris carries the lead role, Ariel, extremely well, showcasing her well-rounded talents as both an actress and singer. Ariel has a star-studded cast, with seasoned actors like Taye Diggs and Amber Riley joining this series as King Triton and Ursula. Each character, old and new, brings a new point of view to the story of the Little Mermaid, making this a thrilling family-friendly show.

There are many positive messages from Ariel, but a prominent one is: don't be afraid of adventure. Ariel is a very curious young girl, and sometimes she faces problems she doesn't know the answer to. However, she stays persistent and makes the best out of every situation, learning something new along the way.

I give Disney Jr.'s Ariel 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. You can find Ariel on Disney Junior on June 27, 2024 and on Disney+ on June 28, 2024. Make sure you check it out!

Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Age 16

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


SCHOOL OF MAGICAL ANIMALS 2

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SCHOOL OF MAGICAL ANIMALS 2       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
BLUE FOX ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATUREFILM, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - The students of the school of magical animals want to perform a musical for the school's anniversary. Will the rehearsals end in chaos or will the class pull together? And what's up with the strange holes on the school grounds? With the help of their magical animals, the children learn what really matters: teamwork. From Germany, base on bestselling children's book series by Margit Auert. Dubbed in English.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I absolutely love the movie School of Magical Animals 2! The sets are very detailed and are beautifully designed to fit the lighthearted style of the movie. The animals' hilarious antics kept me laughing throughout the film! Best of all, you don't need to have seen the first film, School of Magical Animals. You can enjoy and completely understand the film for what it is!

School of Magical Animals 2 follows a group of students and their talking pets preparing to celebrate their school's anniversary with a musical performance. They want to honor their school by recreating the story of its foundation. The only problem is, they cannot agree on how to do it! Ida (Emilia Maier) is appointed director, but when the school's most popular girl, Helene (Emilia Pieske), attempts to take control, the class is torn. Additionally, the school director, Mr. Siegmann (Justus von Dohn�nyi) has his own vision for the musical and insists that it is followed. With the advice and assistance of the magical animals, the students eventually realize they must join forces, each learning a valuable lesson along the way.

The sets immediately stood out to me, especially the individual characters' bedrooms. The room decorations reflect each of their personalities. My favorite room belongs to Anna-Lena (Lilith Johna). She is a shy but happy, welcoming girl with a wonderful singing voice and a talent for textiles. Her room is covered with beautiful fairy lights, warm pastel-colored cushions, and sewing equipment, because she is sewing the main character's dress for the musical. There is a wooden bunk bed with a ladder and there are plants and vines around the room, in adorable white or neutral pots. Her room looks like it belongs to a garden fairy, which describes Anna-Lena perfectly! Aside from the characters' rooms, the rest of the sets are also beautifully designed, such as the stage for the performance and the set for Ida's rooftop birthday party. Both maintain a light, happy color scheme to support the movie's cheerful tone. They are very detailed as well, with star-shaped cutouts and strobe lights for the stage and a whole snack booth with cafe-style tables set up by the trampolines for Ida's birthday party. The animals are essential to the plot and the character development. Each main character's animal represents either their internal thoughts or a lesson they need to learn. For example, Anna-Lena receives a chameleon named Caspar (Rick Kavanian), who pushes her to overcome her shyness and step out of her comfort zone, even encouraging her to take on the lead role in the musical. And Juri (Axel Stein), Jo's penguin, represents his conscience when he makes a mistake and guides him to the right decision by sharing advice, as well as his own hilarious stories from when he was in Antarctica.

The message of School of Magical Animals 2 is that teamwork makes the dream work! At the end of the film, the students realize that they are more powerful together than apart, and to make their musical the best it can be, they need to work together, share their ideas and listen to others' opinions. Be aware that this film was originally recorded in German and is dubbed in English, with subtitles provided.

School of Magical Animals 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. School of Magical Animals 2 releases in theaters on June 7, 2024.

By Ella S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

I like the film School of Magical Animals 2. It is entertaining with all the magical animals talking and having fun personalities. I also really like how the animals match their owners' personalities. The movie has a castle in a village for the school which makes the setting very interesting. The only drawback is that, at times, it is a little repetitive.

The storyline follows Ida and Benni who attend the Winterstein School where the students are practicing a musical to show their parents and they sometimes disagree and make each feel upset or left out - but they work it out. At the end when they put on the play something strange happens and they are shocked to find out.

Based on the successful German children's book series by Margit Auer, this film is a blend of CGI animation and live action. What makes it particularly fun is the talking animals, which include a talking fox, tortoise and magpie. Director Sven Unterwaldt beautifully brings this story to life. Ida, a kind and nice girl, is played by Emilia Maier, who portrays her perfectly. Her pet, Rabbat, is wonderfully voiced by Max Von der Groeben. I love watching the magical animals sing, rap, talk, and dance, and at times they advise their human friends. The animals help teach lessons in friendship, perseverance, and the importance of sharing feelings. Another fun fact about the animals is that they can transform into stuffed animals when needed, so they can hide from strangers. Throughout the movie, you see beautiful landscapes and European villages and castles.

The film's message is about teamwork. In the beginning, the children struggle to come together as a team, but when they start to work together they start to accomplish more.

I give School Of Magical Animals 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. It is available in theaters June 7, 2024.

By Clara T., KIDS FIRST! Film critic, age 11

School of Magical Animals 2 is an enchanting sequel that absolutely captivated me! This film continues the magical journey with even more excitement, heart, and humor. The combination of great acting, a fantastic soundtrack, and impressive CGI makes it a must-watch for fans of the first movie and newcomers alike.

In this sequel, the students of the School of Magical Animals are preparing a musical for the school's anniversary. However, things don't go as smoothly as planned. With strange holes appearing on the school grounds and the pressure of rehearsals mounting, the students must rely on their magical animal friends to navigate the chaos. Together, they discover the importance of teamwork and friendship in overcoming obstacles.

The lead characters in this film are brought to life by a talented cast. The dynamic between the students and their magical animal companions is both heartwarming and entertaining. The CGI used to create the animals is top-notch, making each magical creature feel real and full of personality. The sets and scenery are vibrant and perfectly complement the magical atmosphere of the story. The costumes are wonderfully designed, adding to the visual appeal of the film. One of my favorite parts of the movie is the cute and enjoyable love story between the two main characters. It's a delightful extension from the first movie and adds an extra layer of charm to the story. The musical numbers are catchy and well-executed, thanks to the great soundtrack. Every element of this film, from the direction to the special effects, contributes to its overall magical feel.

The message of School of Magical Animals 2 is that teamwork and friendship are essential in overcoming challenges. The film successfully conveys this message through its engaging storyline and relatable characters.

School of Magical Animals 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, and adults will enjoy it as well. You can catch this magical film in theaters on June 7, 2024.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 20

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


TOMORROW'S GAME

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TOMORROW'S GAME       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
STREETS AHEAD PRODUCTION
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Daniel de la Rosa travels back in time to 1957. To get home, he must find a way to restore his family's legacy and rewrite baseball history. A fun adventure for the whole family ensues, full of baseball and time travel, featuring Paul Rodriguez.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The appeal of Tomorrow's Game lies in its blend of time travel and baseball nostalgia, combined with a heartwarming story about family and self-discovery. The dynamic between Daniel and Sally provides engaging, relatable moments, while the historical setting adds charm. The plot twist of Daniel becoming the unexpected commentator is particularly satisfying.

In the time-traveling family adventure, Tomorrow's Game, young Daniel De La Rosa, uninterested in baseball despite his legendary uncle, is transported back to 1957 after a mishap with a mysterious recorder. With the help of a spirited girl named Sally and a young commentator named Jorge, Daniel embarks on a mission to return home, discovering a newfound passion for baseball and forging a surprising connection to his family's past.

This family-friendly film masterfully blends time travel and baseball nostalgia, creating a heartwarming and adventurous tale about self-discovery and family legacy. The story kicks off with young Daniel De La Rosa, initially disinterested in baseball despite his legendary uncle, being transported back to 1957. With the help of spirited Sally and young commentator Jorge, Daniel embarks on a mission to return to his own time, discovering a newfound passion for baseball along the way.

Children might enjoy this film for its adventurous time-travel plot and the relatable, likable characters. Daniel's journey from indifference to passion for baseball mirrors many kids' experiences of discovering new interests. The humorous and exciting moments, like Daniel's chaotic first encounter with Sally, keep the story engaging. Additionally, the nostalgic setting and the idea of influencing history provide a fun and imaginative escape for young viewers. The show's well-crafted writing and seamless structure create an engaging flow between past and present. Key moments, like Daniel's first encounter with Sally and his unexpected commentator role, are well-paced, driving his character development. The screenplay balances humor, drama, and adventure, with relatable characters that build empathy. The rich historical setting enhances the narrative, making the story immersive and emotionally resonant, drawing viewers into Daniel's journey. The material is accurate and suitable for its intended age group, using vocabulary and concepts appropriate for children. The dialogue is simple and relatable, avoiding complex jargon. For example, Daniel's explanation of his time travel and the playful banter with Sally, are clear and engaging. The historical references, like the 1957 setting, are presented in an accessible, educational manner.

The film boasts vibrant visuals, with clear, easily identifiable images. The live-action scenes are complemented by well-designed sets and authentic 1957 costumes, enhancing the historical feel. The acting is engaging, especially the dynamic performances by Daniel and Sally. The music is nostalgic, fitting the film's adventurous and heartwarming tone. The promotional image is appealing, capturing the film's family-friendly essence. The only shortcoming may be that the story's premise might feel overly familiar to those who prefer more original narratives. The film encourages critical thinking and problem-solving as Daniel navigates time travel and devises plans to return home. The film supports inquiry into history and sports, making it educational and appropriate for its intended age group, sparking interest in cultural and temporal exploration. The program conveys that discovering one's passion often requires stepping out of one's comfort zone. It highlights the importance of family, legacy, and perseverance.

The film's message is about how one might need to step outside of their comfort zone to discover their passion. It highlights the importance of family, legacy and perseverance. Through Daniel's journey, the film shows that understanding and appreciating history can lead to personal growth and unexpected connections. It teaches valuable lessons about perseverance, family, and embracing new experiences, making it both educational and suitable for its intended age group. It also emphasizes the value of teamwork and friendship in overcoming challenges, encouraging viewers to embrace new experiences and learn from the past.

I give Tomorrow's Game 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It is available now in theaters, VOD, AVOD, streaming and through online retailers.

By Gloria J., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Tomorrow's Game is not only a baseball movie but a time traveling adventure. I really enjoyed this film, and its inspiring message about equality. Everyone can learn something important from this story.

This movie is about Daniel De La Rosa (Alejandro De Anda) who takes an unexpected trip back to 1957 to see his uncle, Santiago De La Rosa (Carlo Mendez), become part of baseball history. The story begins in 2002 as Santiago De La Rosa (David Arturo Sanchez) is being inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame for his baseball career with the JetHawks. Daniel is unsure of himself during this time which leads to a heart-to-heart with Jorge Robles (Paul Rodriguez). This encounter quickly leads to a time traveling adventure that leads Daniel to help make big changes in the past.

Tomorrow's Game kept me engaged with its story line. The actors make the characters come alive and are true to the time period. The 2002 Jorge Robles made me chuckle. He has amazing comedic timing. I especially like when he makes sure Daniel knows about the number 207. The viewer has no doubt that this number is important. Another character that sticks out, but in a different way, is Sally McDavies (Miranda Meadows). Her acting is more theatrical than the other characters, and it seems to interrupt the flow of the dialogue. Despite this, she is still entertaining to watch, and she adds variety to the film. The props and set are amazing. It really feels like you have time-traveled into the fifties. The broadcast station, which is the time travel machine, made my jaw drop. It is so intriguing how it spins with flashing lights and clicking date changes. The special effects make Daniel's transition to 1957 seem realistic. The setting change is flawless.

The film's message is about fairness. In 1957 not all baseball players were treated equally, especially Puerto Rican players. These individuals did not get the same air time as their white teammates. Daniel, Sally, and young Jorge Robles (Jerry Hernandez) worked together to change this while restoring the De La Rosa family legacy in the process.

I give Tomorrow's Game 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. It is available in theaters, VOD, AVOD, streaming and through online retailers now.

By Kinsley H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Tomorrow's Game is a wild journey through time that combines the thrill of baseball with a heartwarming family adventure. The story's creativity and the strong performances by the cast make it an unforgettable movie experience.

In Tomorrow's Game, Daniel de la Rosa (Alejandro de Anda), travels back in time to 1957. To return to his present day, Daniel must find a way to restore his family's legacy and rewrite baseball history. This film is packed with excitement as Daniel navigates the challenges of a different era while discovering the importance of family and perseverance.

The film features a stellar cast with standout performances. The supporting cast enhances the film's charm -- including notable appearances by talented actors such as Miranda Meadows who plays Sally McDavies, Paul Rodriguez, who plays Jorge Robles and Carlo Menddez, who plays young Santiago de la Rosa. The period sets and costumes transport viewers back to the 1950s, adding an authentic feel to the time-travel adventure. The special effects used for the time travel scenes are impressive and add a magical touch to the story. The soundtrack perfectly complements the film, enhancing key moments and adding to the overall enjoyment. My favorite part of the movie is when Daniel finally understands the true value of his family's legacy. This pivotal moment is both touching and inspirational, showcasing the film's core message about believing in yourself and the importance of family.

Tomorrow's Game promotes positive social behavior and highlights the importance of treating others with respect. The film's message is clear: believe in yourself and cherish your family.

I give Tomorrow's Game 4 out of 5 stars and recommend this film for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. You can catch this delightful family adventure now in select theaters plus on VOD, streaming and at online retailers.

By Ashleigh Clyde, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 20

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


JOHNNY PUFF: SECRET MISSION

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JOHNNY PUFF: SECRET MISSION       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
INTERNATIONAL MEDIA NETWORK
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-8
Topic - Family
Description - Four Puffins, under the guidance of Johnny Puff (Johnny Depp), develop their superpowers and use them for good. When their home, Taigasville, comes under threat from the evil Otto von Walrus, Johnny Puff and co. embark on a secret mission. Releasing in theaters, VOD, AVOD, streaming and online retailers July 12, 2024.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Johnny Puff: Secret Mission is fantastic! The animation is top-notch, and it vividly chronicles the tale of four heroic Puffins using their extraordinary powers to defeat the villainous walrus, Otto von.

The story takes place in Tuss V., a tiny coastal town in the Arctic where four inseparable friends live among the Puffins. They're naughty and playful and always looking for new adventures. They find something even more valuable than any treasure - meteorite that gives them incredible powers.

This film is very imaginative and very organized, plus I'm impressed by the story development. It has a well-structured plot that beautifully showcases how the four Puffins use their superpowers for good and ultimately triumph over Otto the walrus. The quality of the animation is great - the film constantly switches scenes along with the storyline, and the production is smooth. The background music changes with the development of the plot. For example, when the Puffins are stripped of their food source by Otto, they go to Otto to get back their food, fall into Otto's trick, and are captured and taken to Otto's base camp. Throughout this scene the background music is tense and creates a tense atmosphere. The four Puffins include Tick, the littlest of the team, who is clumsy, naive and has a good heart. He is able to control nature. Pi is the giant of the group; he is moody and impulsive and never gets tired. He is unstoppably strong. Dak is the brains of the bunch; he examines everything very closely. Didi is the most self-absorbed of them all; her powers are being able to break the sound barrier and make time go slower. Johnny Puff (Johnny Depp) is a retired rock star who lives a peaceful life in harmony with nature and can transform into a sneaky ninja warrior. Otto von Walrus is famous for his craftiness and intelligence and his dirty tricks. At the end of the story, Otto's mother visits Otto and instructs him to go on the right track. Under the influence of his mother, Otto gradually gives up his prank plan and reunites with the animals in the town. My favorite scene is the opening scene where Tick, Pi, Dak and Didi are introduced; it beautifully portrays the distinct personality traits of each little auk. It's a captivating and engaging start that draws you into the story from the get go.

The film's message is about the four little Puffins that accidentally discover meteorites with superpowers during their expedition, and they each acquire superpowers and use them for good things, and their secret mission to save the arctic Johnny Pop mission.

I give Johnny Puff: Secret Mission 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8.

By Changyang L., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The animated adventure, Johnny Puff: Secret Mission is a colorful journey with Johnny Puff. I love how the characters' unique personalities and superpowers come together in a classic, yet thrilling plot. The narration adds a comedic touch that keeps you entertained throughout the movie.

In Johnny Puff: Secret Mission, the peaceful town of Taigasville is threatened by the evil Otto von Walrus. Johnny Puff (Johnny Depp) and his team of four super-powered Puffins--Tic, Tac, Didi, and Pie--embark on a secret mission to save their home. The storyline is straightforward and predictable but executed in a charming and engaging way.

The characters are one of the highlights of the film. Johnny Puff is the wise and brave leader, while each Puffin has distinct traits that match their superpowers. The animation style might remind viewers of the Ice Age franchise, giving it a nostalgic feel. Although the movie lacks dialogue other than the narrator, it compensates with vibrant visuals and expressive characters. The narrator's humor is a standout, adding a light-hearted and fun element to the film. One of my favorite parts is the dynamic between the Puffins and how their abilities complement each other during their mission. The special effects and animation bring their powers to life in a visually appealing way. The sets and locations are beautifully designed, creating an immersive environment that enhances the storytelling.

The movie's message is about teamwork, bravery, and using your unique talents for good. It's a positive theme that encourages viewers to value their individuality and work together to overcome challenges. The film promotes positive social behavior.

I give Johnny Puff: Secret Mission 3 out of 5 stars. It's perfect for ages 5 to 12. You can find this movie in theaters and on major streaming platforms and DVD beginning July 12, 2024. Get ready for a fun-filled journey with Johnny Puff and his heroic Puffins!

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 20

Johnny Puff: Secret Mission is an innovative and hilarious movie. It incorporates a lot of different theatrical elements to add to viewer enjoyment.

This film is about the super puffins, specifically Johnny Puff (Johnny Depp) who has to save Taigasville from all the evil shenanigans that Otto von Walrus keeps pulling. Every ten to 15 minutes he tries something new and the super puffins must stop him from destroying the arctic. It is based on the TV series, Puffins.

This film has many unique components -- most noticeable is that none of the characters speak. The only voice heard in the whole film is that of the narrator, Johnny Depp. The rest of the characters simply grunt and make other vocal noises, which allows the disagreements and plot to be up to the interpretation of the viewer. Another aspect of this film is its ever changing plot. Rather than just one big evil scheme throughout the film, Otto von Walrus constantly tries different things and continually gets defeated. It feels like a full TV season of ten to 15 minute episodes put into a fun, entertaining movie. The animation is very impressive; it uses an animation style that is not often used in movies which therefore makes the whole film much more interesting. The villain, Otto von Walrus, is more of a bully than a true evil villain, which makes the character relations even more unique.

The message of this film is to never give up and keep having fun because the world doesn't stop for you.

I give Johnny Puff: Secret Mission 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8, plus adults. It releases in theaters and streaming on July 12, 2024.

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

I thoroughly enjoyed Johnny Puff: Secret Mission for its imaginative storyline and dynamic characters. The film masterfully combines adventure and fantasy, and it is a captivating watch for audiences of all ages.

Johnny Puff: Secret Mission follows four Puffin friends, Tic, Pi, Dak and DD, who stumble upon a mysterious glowing meteor that grants them incredible powers. Alongside their retired rockstar friend, Johnny Puff (Johnny Depp), who can transform into a ninja through his music, they embark on an epic quest filled with challenges and discoveries.

The movie excels in character development and creativity, which are two aspects that particularly stand out to me. Tick's ability to control nature adds a beautiful, almost poetic element to their journey. Pi's super-strength provides both humor and heroism, while Dak's technological prowess offers clever solutions to the group's obstacles. DD's ability to break the sound barrier and manipulate time introduces thrilling, high speed sequences that keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Johnny Puff's transformation into a ninja through his music is a unique and entertaining twist that highlights the importance of following one's passion. The film's animation is vibrant and detailed, making the Puffin's world come alive in a way that is visually stunning and deeply engaging.

The film's message is about the power of friendship and teamwork.

I give Johnny Puff: Secret Mission 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 through 12. This film releases July 12, on VOD, AVOD, Streaming, Online Retailers, and in theatres. Be sure to check it out.

By Gavin S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


SPROUT

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SPROUT
CAROLINA BERMUDEZ
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Sprout is a light-hearted 3D animated short created for children. The story follows Sprout, a tiny robot, who quickly becomes overwhelmed by his list of garden tasks that he's unable to complete. After chaos ensues, misfit animals turned friends offer support and Sprout learns that it's ok to accept help from others. Together, Sprout and his new friends accomplish all of their tasks in the garden through teamwork.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What an adorable little animated short. I want a Sprout in my life!

This college student made film follows a juvenile robot, named Sprout, who is left a note by his parent about the garden chores he is to accomplish while the parent is at work. Thing go from controlled to chaos fairly quickly and the critters in the garden become helpers as they work to put things back in order once again.

If you have ever gardened, you can relate to this story, where things go amuck without even trying - as critters chomp on the tomatoes and the whole basket of tomatoes falls on Sprout's head. The animation is well done, very smooth and colorful. The background music perfectly backs up the action in the film without being obtrusive. I would enjoy sharing this with young people whether or not they have an interest in gardening.

The film's message is about asking for help in order to get your tasks done.

I give Sprout 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What an adorable little animated short. I want a Sprout in my life!

This college student made film follows a juvenile robot, named Sprout, who is left a note by his parent about the garden chores he is to accomplish while the parent is at work. Thing go from controlled to chaos fairly quickly and the critters in the garden become helpers as they work to put things back in order once again.

If you have ever gardened, you can relate to this story, where things go amuck without even trying - as critters chomp on the tomatoes and the whole basket of tomatoes falls on Sprout's head. The animation is well done, very smooth and colorful. The background music perfectly backs up the action in the film without being obtrusive. I would enjoy sharing this with young people whether or not they have an interest in gardening.

The film's message is about asking for help in order to get your tasks done.

I give Sprout 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


BOY A-NEE-GU FIGHT WITH MAGICAL BUGS!

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BOY A-NEE-GU FIGHT WITH MAGICAL BUGS!
HSUAN WANG
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - A-Nee-Gu stumbled upon what seemed to be an ordinary puppy, Donnie, but little did he know, it was actually an extraterrestrial scientist. Together, they uncovered a conspiracy from the alien headquarters. A-Nee-Gu decided to form a defense alliance to protect the safety of Earth and his loved ones! As a war fueled by imagination approaches, can A-Nee-Gu and Donnie rely on their imagination to protect their beloved family?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This film tells the story of A-Nee-Gu and his League of Super Guardians who defend the earth with imagination. A-Nee-Gu stumbles upon a seemingly ordinary puppy named Donnie, who, unbeknownst to him, is actually an alien scientist. Together, they uncover a conspiracy at alien headquarters. Aneegu decides to form a defense alliance to keep Earth and his loved ones safe.

This film is perfect for kids - it is powerful, creative, and depicts people's unrestrained imagination to create an interesting story. The film is animated and suitable for children. I like the development of the story line, which is composed episode by episode, with each story having a corresponding storyline, just like a short film. It has great characteristics and creativity. In this animation, the backgrounds arrangement are critical for the storyline; for example, when A-Nee-Gu uses imagination to create a dinosaur, the image of a dinosaur appears in the background. The background music is very much in tune with the actual theme, such as A-Nee-Gu's rabbit battle, which features techno electronic sounds, as well as the attack effects of fighting. A-Nee-gu is a very mischievous child in the beginning and he has a rich imagination, like all children. He meets a stray puppy, Donnie, and takes him home. A-Nee-Gu is thrilled when he finds out that Donnie came to Earth specifically to catch imagination worms, and asks Donnie to use them to grant his wish. Although A-Nee-Gu does not believe that the earth will be in danger if he fails to catch the imaginary worm in time, when he really learns that the earth will be destroyed, he enters his father's dream and asks him to trust him this time, expressing his love for him and his own feelings. My favorite part is the scene at the end when A-Nee-Gu learns that the Earth is going to be destroyed by Donnie's team and A-Nee-Guy enters his father's dream and asks him to help them fight together using his imagination. A-nee-gu sincerely expresses his thoughts to his father, even though his father thinks A-Nee-Gu is playing a joke on him, A-Nee-Guy reveals his love and insists on his father joining the fight. At last, his father appears and tells A-Nee-Gu that he will always be proud of him. The image of his dad always supporting him is so moving.

This film's message is about the wonder of imagination. It can be said that many things on Earth come from people's imagination, because only imagination can develop creativity.

I give Boy A-Nee-Gu Fight With Magical Bugs! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. By Changyang L., KIDS FIRST!i
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film tells the story of A-Nee-Gu and his League of Super Guardians who defend the earth with imagination. A-Nee-Gu stumbles upon a seemingly ordinary puppy named Donnie, who, unbeknownst to him, is actually an alien scientist. Together, they uncover a conspiracy at alien headquarters. Aneegu decides to form a defense alliance to keep Earth and his loved ones safe.

This film is perfect for kids - it is powerful, creative, and depicts people's unrestrained imagination to create an interesting story. The film is animated and suitable for children. I like the development of the story line, which is composed episode by episode, with each story having a corresponding storyline, just like a short film. It has great characteristics and creativity. In this animation, the backgrounds arrangement are critical for the storyline; for example, when A-Nee-Gu uses imagination to create a dinosaur, the image of a dinosaur appears in the background. The background music is very much in tune with the actual theme, such as A-Nee-Gu's rabbit battle, which features techno electronic sounds, as well as the attack effects of fighting. A-Nee-gu is a very mischievous child in the beginning and he has a rich imagination, like all children. He meets a stray puppy, Donnie, and takes him home. A-Nee-Gu is thrilled when he finds out that Donnie came to Earth specifically to catch imagination worms, and asks Donnie to use them to grant his wish. Although A-Nee-Gu does not believe that the earth will be in danger if he fails to catch the imaginary worm in time, when he really learns that the earth will be destroyed, he enters his father's dream and asks him to trust him this time, expressing his love for him and his own feelings. My favorite part is the scene at the end when A-Nee-Gu learns that the Earth is going to be destroyed by Donnie's team and A-Nee-Guy enters his father's dream and asks him to help them fight together using his imagination. A-nee-gu sincerely expresses his thoughts to his father, even though his father thinks A-Nee-Gu is playing a joke on him, A-Nee-Guy reveals his love and insists on his father joining the fight. At last, his father appears and tells A-Nee-Gu that he will always be proud of him. The image of his dad always supporting him is so moving.

This film's message is about the wonder of imagination. It can be said that many things on Earth come from people's imagination, because only imagination can develop creativity.

I give Boy A-Nee-Gu Fight With Magical Bugs! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. By Changyang L., KIDS FIRST!i
Runtime: 27 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


MUSHROOM MAGIC

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MUSHROOM MAGIC
MARIA MAC DALLAND
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 2-5
Topic - Family
Description - A couple of little mushroom fairies put on a magic show for Tiny Toot and her friends. They use their magic wands to shoot mycelium at the fallen fruit, turning it into fertile dirt to help new life grow. Tiny Toot also gets to try the magic wand and learns some mushroom magic.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I found Mushroom Magic completely enchanting with its cute character, especially Tiny Toot and Gato, and an interesting storyline.

Created by Danish filmmaker Maria Mac Dalland, Tiny Toot is an adorable 2D animated series featuring Tony Toot, her cat Gato, her family, Pixie and other friends. Pixie has an oranichopper and is able to shrink Tiny Toot and Gato so they can ride along with him and visit others and learn new things. In this episode they visit the Mushroom Fairies who put on a magic show for Tiny Toot and Gato where they shoot mycelium at a fallen fruit and turn it into fertile soil to help new plants grow. Tiny Toot gets to try out the magic wand herself.

The animation is top notch here with very detailed images and bright colors. The backgrounds are quite wonderful as Tony Toot explores the world around her, led by Pixie the Elf. There is very little dialogue, which is fine because the story is revealed visually for the most part. The background music is upbeat and fun. I was unfamiliar with the Tiny Toot series before so I did a little searching to find out more about it. Other episodes are available on various online sites, if you are curious.

The show's message is about exploring the world around us and learning new things about daily life on our planet.

I give Mushroom Magic 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 5, provided you have someone to read the subtitles for you since the dialogue is in Danish. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I found Mushroom Magic completely enchanting with its cute character, especially Tiny Toot and Gato, and an interesting storyline.

Created by Danish filmmaker Maria Mac Dalland, Tiny Toot is an adorable 2D animated series featuring Tony Toot, her cat Gato, her family, Pixie and other friends. Pixie has an oranichopper and is able to shrink Tiny Toot and Gato so they can ride along with him and visit others and learn new things. In this episode they visit the Mushroom Fairies who put on a magic show for Tiny Toot and Gato where they shoot mycelium at a fallen fruit and turn it into fertile soil to help new plants grow. Tiny Toot gets to try out the magic wand herself.

The animation is top notch here with very detailed images and bright colors. The backgrounds are quite wonderful as Tony Toot explores the world around her, led by Pixie the Elf. There is very little dialogue, which is fine because the story is revealed visually for the most part. The background music is upbeat and fun. I was unfamiliar with the Tiny Toot series before so I did a little searching to find out more about it. Other episodes are available on various online sites, if you are curious.

The show's message is about exploring the world around us and learning new things about daily life on our planet.

I give Mushroom Magic 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 5, provided you have someone to read the subtitles for you since the dialogue is in Danish. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 7 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-5
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


BIRDS (2024)

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BIRDS (2024)
JOAKIM HAUGE VOCKE
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 5 -12
Topic - Family
Description - The connection between six children and nature is explored through improvised dance and movement, showcasing the unique perspective of children as they interact with nature through play. Through the eyes of these young adventurers, we rediscover the world and how to cherish and comprehend our environment.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This film is truly unlike any other in its quiet exploration of the forest by a group of young children.

The connection between a group of children and nature is explored through dance, movement, and sound as the children interact with the forest around them. Join them as they join the chirps, rustles, and dances of the environment around them. This film followed a class of third graders who delved into a multidisciplinary art experiment to explore, understand, and articulate the essence of their local woodland. This non-narrative film invites you to explore a deeper relationship with the forest along with these children.

I found myself mesmerized watching this film in the quiet of my studio, studying the actions and reactions of these children as they respond to the bird sounds in the forest. The camera attempts to capture the essence of their experience and accomplishes that to some degree. My guess is that being there is an even more profound experience. I really enjoyed the pace of this film as it allows one to slowly absorb the children's interactions.

The film's message is about exploring the natural environment around us and to allow ourselves to let it penetrate our being.

I give Birds 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Samantha M., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film is truly unlike any other in its quiet exploration of the forest by a group of young children.

The connection between a group of children and nature is explored through dance, movement, and sound as the children interact with the forest around them. Join them as they join the chirps, rustles, and dances of the environment around them. This film followed a class of third graders who delved into a multidisciplinary art experiment to explore, understand, and articulate the essence of their local woodland. This non-narrative film invites you to explore a deeper relationship with the forest along with these children.

I found myself mesmerized watching this film in the quiet of my studio, studying the actions and reactions of these children as they respond to the bird sounds in the forest. The camera attempts to capture the essence of their experience and accomplishes that to some degree. My guess is that being there is an even more profound experience. I really enjoyed the pace of this film as it allows one to slowly absorb the children's interactions.

The film's message is about exploring the natural environment around us and to allow ourselves to let it penetrate our being.

I give Birds 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Samantha M., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 11 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


MUTE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MUTE
CONRAD PAUR
Series: ELEMENTARY STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A mysterious new student arrives at a typical elementary school and is unable to speak. Why? because in this universe words spoken aloud can be very powerful. Watch as Mute and her new friends start an amazing adventure.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I love the concept of this film and the idea that ideas can be conveyed without words. Imagine a world that actually did that.

The storyline follows a group of elementary school students that have a new student appear on the scene that doesn't speak. But, she seems to have some amazing powers and her "voice" can be hears when she makes arm gestures, which sort of throws everyone off, but intrigues them at the same time. Where is she from? Is she an alien? Does she have special powers? You have to watch to find out.

From an awkward start, it seems that the other kids quickly become accustomed to the new girl who talks without words and they can all understand her. Love that idea. Well made, from concept to execution, this film has a fascinating idea behind the story, great camera work, good audio, good editing. It's definitely a green light for KIDS FIRST!

The film's message is that there are more ways than one to communicate with others.

I give Mute 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Samantha S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love the concept of this film and the idea that ideas can be conveyed without words. Imagine a world that actually did that.

The storyline follows a group of elementary school students that have a new student appear on the scene that doesn't speak. But, she seems to have some amazing powers and her "voice" can be hears when she makes arm gestures, which sort of throws everyone off, but intrigues them at the same time. Where is she from? Is she an alien? Does she have special powers? You have to watch to find out.

From an awkward start, it seems that the other kids quickly become accustomed to the new girl who talks without words and they can all understand her. Love that idea. Well made, from concept to execution, this film has a fascinating idea behind the story, great camera work, good audio, good editing. It's definitely a green light for KIDS FIRST!

The film's message is that there are more ways than one to communicate with others.

I give Mute 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Samantha S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GARFIELD MOVIE, THE (2024)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GARFIELD MOVIE, THE (2024)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Garfield (voiced by Chris Pratt), the world-famous, Monday-hating, lasagna-loving indoor cat, is about to have a wild outdoor adventure! After an unexpected reunion with his long-lost father - scruffy street cat Vic (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) - Garfield and his canine friend Odie are forced from their perfectly pampered life into joining Vic in a hilarious, high-stakes heist.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Garfield Movie is a heartwarming story with a great pace and humor. It's cleverly put together with beautiful animation which makes it an engaging film.

The story follows the cat, Garfield (Chris Pratt), who has the dream life - a dog best friend, a nice house, and most importantly, access to an endless amount of food. Everything's going perfectly until he reunites with his long-lost father. The animals have a perilous journey ahead of them, having to deal with the conflict between the father-son duo.

I really like this movie because it's super funny but also has deep messages about relationships with important people in your life. Its main characters are Garfield, Vic (Samuel L. Jackson), Jon (Nicholas Hoult), Otto (Ving Rhames) and Jinx (Hannah Waddingham). The characters are unique and represent different emotions - Garfield represents anger, Jon represents anxiety, Vic represents regret, and Otto represents sadness and longing. It illustrates a positive message for the younger generation at the end of the movie. I really like the animation; it's unique and a cool mix of 2D and 3-D awareness of space. There isn't a dull moment in this film. It's constantly engaging, like when they're running from a nasty security guard or dodging ridiculously big cutting knives. I like the pacing; it's not too fast nor too slow. Plus, there are flashbacks to when Garfield was a young kitten, which gives the film a strong backstory. The background music helps set the mood. When it's raining and young Garfield is abandoned, the music is slow and depressing. However, when Odie and Garfield are playing, the music lightens up. My favorite part of the movie is when Vic gets Garfield on the train by launching him off of a tree branch. Garfield bounces off trees, animals, rocks, and more, and it's hilarious to watch.

The film's message is about forgiveness and family. Garfield's dad has a reason he left Garfield, which was actually to help him, rather than hurt him. Vic goes out searching for food and when he comes back, Garfield seems to be happy under Jon's care. Garfield and Vic forgive each other, and become close again.

I give The Garfield Movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. The Garfield Movie releases in theaters May 24, 2024.

By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

I love The Garfield Movie. It is fun, heartwarming and has a great villain. The animation is stunning and it has some heartfelt moments with an exceptional cast. The film definitely kept me entertained from beginning to end and I was laughing out loud.

Garfield (Chris Pratt), the world-famous, Monday-hating, lasagna-loving indoor cat, is about to have a wild outdoor adventure! After an unexpected reunion with his long-lost father, scruffy street cat Vic (Samuel L. Jackson), Garfield and his canine friend Odie are forced from their perfectly pampered life into joining Vic in a hilarious, high-stakes heist. There is nothing not to love about Garfield. He hates Mondays, loves lasagna, and is loyal to his best pals Jon and Odie.

I really love the animation in this film. It is extremely well done -- the way the fur moves and how it looks on all the animals throughout the entire film is stunning. When the fur moves during action sequences and when the heist plans are being made, they even switched the animation style which I thought was particularly cool. I really do not think they could have picked a better cast for this film. Chris Pratt is perfect in the role of Garfield. I love hearing Harvey Guillen as Odie, especially his different barks with different emotions expressed throughout the movie. Hannah Waddingham voices Jinx, a cat who is the villain. She plays a fantastic villain -- she is a little intense, but never too scary even for younger audiences. I like that the plot is made simple so kids can easily understand it and the storyline is so funny. This movie is rated PG; it is 1 hour and 41 minutes and it never drags. I was completely entertained by the entire movie. I left the theater wanting Italian food and a pet.

The film's message is about teamwork, family, and friendship. It shows how family will always be there for you, no matter what. The film shares the importance of doing what is right and being loyal to the people around you.

I give The Garfield Movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. The Garfield Movie opens in theaters May 24, 2024. Be sure to check it out!

Carter P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The Garfield Movie is an entertaining animated film about a lovable tabby cat and his adventures. I like funny movies and this one definitely falls into that category. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt! This film isn't all jokes though; there are many heartwarming moments as well.

This film starts out by making sure the audience knows just how much Garfield (Chris Pratt) loves Italian food. While eating his morning snack, he begins to tell the story of how he met his owner Jon (Nicholas Hoult) after his own father Vic (Samuel L Jackson) seemingly abandons him. Jon takes Garfield in, and from there he has quite the luxurious life; he gets to sit around all day eating and watching cat videos on TV with his buddies. Unsuspectingly, Garfield is taken from his normal routine and forced to adjust to a world he is not prepared for. On this new journey, Garfield meets lots of new people and learns many new life lessons. With the help of his new friends and his dad, Garfield learns to be independent. Garfield eventually makes his way home to a new normal that he helps create.

The Garfield Movie is an animated film that personifies everything from ordinary house pets to farm animals. The animation is very well done and the colors used are an iconic part of what makes Garfield, Garfield. The music used throughout this film really helps set the vibe at crucial moments, such as when Italian music plays at the local Italian restaurant and familiar "danger" music plays during action scenes. My favorite character is Garfield because he is hilarious, loves Italian food, and hates Mondays! The selection of voice actors for each character is also spot on. When Roland the dog (Brett Goldstein) fakes a British accent to make Jinx (Hannah Waddingham) more comfortable, then switches back to his New York accent at the end, the talent of this voice actor really shines through.

The film's message is that you should never judge others without knowing their full story. You may think that you know how something happened, but it's important to get all the information. This message is successfully delivered through the development of Garfield's relationship with his father. Note that this film does contain some violence; although delivered in a funny way, some parents may be uncomfortable with their kids watching such aggressive behavior.

I give The Garfield Movie 5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It is available exclusively in movie theaters beginning May 24, 2024. Be sure to check it out.

By Audrey L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 9

I have always loved all things Garfield, so I was expecting to love The Garfield Movie--and I do! The film remarkably captures the essence of Garfield, and I couldn't think of a better movie to bring Garfield back to the big screen where he belongs -- and with a talented star-studded cast.

The story follows Garfield (Chris Pratt) who has an unexpected reunion with his long-lost father Vic (Samuel L. Jackson) when Jinx (Hannah Waddingham) -- the movie's crazy vengeful antagonist -- kidnaps both Garfield and his fellow pet Odie (Harvey Guill�n). Jinx forces the two of them from their perfect (marred only by Mondays), pampered, luxurious lives into joining Vic in a high-stakes heist as revenge against Garfield's father. The plot is tied in with so much humor and so many plot twists overall making it a fun family comedy.

Chris Pratt's voice suits Garfield perfectly, and he brings the right attitude and edge to the character. Samuel L. Jackson wonderfully conveys emotion into his character, Vic (Garfield's father) so as a viewer, you really end up feeling for his character. And Hannah Waddingham is outstanding as Jinx, Garfield's antagonist. She voices Jinx as maniacal and flamboyant but she also brings heart and soul to Jinx, making viewers sympathize with Jinx's motivations. Hannah Waddingham also has two songs in this movie: An original called "I'm Back" which rolls over the end credits and a rendition of the French nursery rhyme "Alouette, Gentille Alouette", the latter of the two occurring in my favorite Jinx scene. The Garfield Movie is really funny. I especially like the parts with Jon (Nicholas Hoult) in them. I do feel like there is a huge effort to make Garfield more modern in this movie... there are lots of pop culture references. In some cases it's done very well, but the movie overdoes this. Garfield calls himself "G-money" and makes shark tank references. And The Garfield Movie has a huge fixation on mobile devices. The film loses out on a very important nostalgic aspect of the film by attempting to adjust Garfield to better match the present-day audience. Garfield is relatable to modern kids and loved by the modern audience not because he has a phone. As Garfield's creator, Jim Davis says, "Garfield is a human being in a cat suit". The film does flesh out his character and I really enjoy seeing it. Yes, his adventures are significantly wilder but that just makes them more fun to watch.

The message of The Garfield Movie revolves around the importance of family and connection. It explores themes of sacrifice, the unseen presence of love, how misunderstandings can change your whole worldview, and the deep (sometimes hidden) bonds that define family.

I give The Garfield Movie 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2-18, plus families as well as all fans of the lovable cat. Look out for The Garfield Movie, which opens in theaters May 24, 2024.

By Alma K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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


LOCKER PROBLEMS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LOCKER PROBLEMS
CONRAD PAUR
Series: ELEMENTARY STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Lockers for kids can lead to a lot of stress. However, this Locker leads to an intense adventure. Made by elementary school students.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I have to admit, I love student made films and this one by elementary students is quite charming. We can all relate to locker problems form our time at school and this takes those problems to another level.

The storyline follows a kid having issues with his locker as others come to his rescue or not. And, at one point he discovers that his lock is a portal to another place.

Well made. Good camera work; good audio; good storyline. My favorite part is when the red-headed kid finally gets his locker open and it opens up a portal to another universe where he meets his double. Then, that double follows him back. It's cute, it's original. It's a great student film by elementary age students.

The film's message is about how our lockers might lead us to a life adventure we hadn't even imagined.

I give Locker Problems 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I have to admit, I love student made films and this one by elementary students is quite charming. We can all relate to locker problems form our time at school and this takes those problems to another level.

The storyline follows a kid having issues with his locker as others come to his rescue or not. And, at one point he discovers that his lock is a portal to another place.

Well made. Good camera work; good audio; good storyline. My favorite part is when the red-headed kid finally gets his locker open and it opens up a portal to another universe where he meets his double. Then, that double follows him back. It's cute, it's original. It's a great student film by elementary age students.

The film's message is about how our lockers might lead us to a life adventure we hadn't even imagined.

I give Locker Problems 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SNAIL TALE, A

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SNAIL TALE, A
ASHLEY WONG
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - An ambitious snail makes an unlikely friendship with a 3-legged mastiff. A story of friendship, patience and moving at your own pace. Inspired by a real-life tripod Boerboel who moves at his own speed.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This short film showing how unlikely friendship is formed between a snail and a dog is heartfelt and charming.

The stories follows a snail moving at a snail's pace that runs into a three-legged dog, a Boerboel, that attracts its attention and the two of them form a relationship of sorts.

This short animated film is just adorable. I love everything about it especially the dog and the dog's face in particular - well, maybe its wagging tail as well. Seeing the snail climb up the dog's face and its reaction by a tail wag is just adorable. He takes the snail over to eat a little greenery and watches.

The film's message is that friendship can be formed by the most unlikely critters, even a dog and a snail.

I give A Snail Tale 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This short film showing how unlikely friendship is formed between a snail and a dog is heartfelt and charming.

The stories follows a snail moving at a snail's pace that runs into a three-legged dog, a Boerboel, that attracts its attention and the two of them form a relationship of sorts.

This short animated film is just adorable. I love everything about it especially the dog and the dog's face in particular - well, maybe its wagging tail as well. Seeing the snail climb up the dog's face and its reaction by a tail wag is just adorable. He takes the snail over to eat a little greenery and watches.

The film's message is that friendship can be formed by the most unlikely critters, even a dog and a snail.

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


GLITTER BABY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GLITTER BABY
KATHLEEN RENEE KRENITSKY
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 2-5
Topic - Family
Description - The lullaby for those needing to sleep, but wanting to dance. Glitter Baby evokes the magic of childhood and the wondrous nature of dreams. Join Glitter Baby as he drifts between waking and sleep, enchanting his audience with the melodic blend of song, dance, and inexhaustible glitter.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This animated short reminds me of a dream -- perhaps it's a baby's dream.

The film features an animated baby dancing joyfully to a sweet lullaby. It opens and closes with a shot of a real baby in its crib.

I love the lullaby here; sung by Nelly White, from Turkey, it's very sweet and compelling. I wanted to hear more of it! Nelly's voice is very soothing and clear. The animated baby's movements are so true to form, it's almost as if a real child is moving. The glitter might be a bit over the top, but hey, each to their own.

The film's message is simply about the fantasy of sleep and the innocence of childhood.

I give Glitter Baby 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This animated short reminds me of a dream -- perhaps it's a baby's dream.

The film features an animated baby dancing joyfully to a sweet lullaby. It opens and closes with a shot of a real baby in its crib.

I love the lullaby here; sung by Nelly White, from Turkey, it's very sweet and compelling. I wanted to hear more of it! Nelly's voice is very soothing and clear. The animated baby's movements are so true to form, it's almost as if a real child is moving. The glitter might be a bit over the top, but hey, each to their own.

The film's message is simply about the fantasy of sleep and the innocence of childhood.

I give Glitter Baby 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 2 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-5
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SWEET STRUGGLE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SWEET STRUGGLE
ADRIANA KOSTETSKA
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Get ready to embark on an emotional journey with 'Sweet Struggle,' a powerful and inspiring short film directed by Adriana Kostetska. Follow the story of Matthew, an 9-year-old boy living with Type 1 diabetes, A mother struggles to cope with her son's diabetes. With the help of a psychologist and her husband, she learns to let go and focus on what's important. As he navigates life's challenges with unwavering courage and the support of his loved ones. This heartwarming tale will touch your heart and remind you of the incredible strength found in the sweetest moments of life. Join us on this unforgettable cinematic adventure.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a very touching and informative short film about a disease that is all too common and many people know very little about -- type 1 diabetes.

Beautifully shot - great camera work, audio recording and editing. Excellent acting, particularly on behalf of the mother and young boy. I like how realistic this film is, almost like a documentary. KIDS FIRST! doesn't normally show films that are medical in nature, but this goes way beyond that - it really addresses the emotional impact of living with the disease - from both the mom and the boy's point of view. My favorite scene is the ending when mom and son are running together. It shows that you can lead a normal life when you are dealing with diabetes and that is such a positive message to share.

The film's message is about the impact of a disease such as type 1 diabetes and how, with love and support, a person can lead a normal life.

I give Sweet Struggle 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 through 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a very touching and informative short film about a disease that is all too common and many people know very little about -- type 1 diabetes.

Beautifully shot - great camera work, audio recording and editing. Excellent acting, particularly on behalf of the mother and young boy. I like how realistic this film is, almost like a documentary. KIDS FIRST! doesn't normally show films that are medical in nature, but this goes way beyond that - it really addresses the emotional impact of living with the disease - from both the mom and the boy's point of view. My favorite scene is the ending when mom and son are running together. It shows that you can lead a normal life when you are dealing with diabetes and that is such a positive message to share.

The film's message is about the impact of a disease such as type 1 diabetes and how, with love and support, a person can lead a normal life.

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


LIGHTS, CAMERA, MAESTRO!

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LIGHTS, CAMERA, MAESTRO!
CONRAD PAUR
Series: ELEMENTARY STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A small film crew begins to film a story, but filming unlocks a passage that sends them to a hungry being. Made by elementary school students.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This student made thriller is intriguing in many ways.

The story follows a young film crew that is beginning to film a story, when they inadvertently unlock a passage that sends them to another dimension.

Well shot - good camera work, audio recording and editing. I'm slightly confused about exactly what happened but intrigued enough to feel that this definitely warrants discussion.

The film's message is about reality - from one dimension to another.

I give Lights Camera, Maestro 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Jackie M.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This student made thriller is intriguing in many ways.

The story follows a young film crew that is beginning to film a story, when they inadvertently unlock a passage that sends them to another dimension.

Well shot - good camera work, audio recording and editing. I'm slightly confused about exactly what happened but intrigued enough to feel that this definitely warrants discussion.

The film's message is about reality - from one dimension to another.

I give Lights Camera, Maestro 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Jackie M.
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


CREEK DWELLER IN THE BAYOU, THE (2024)

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CREEK DWELLER IN THE BAYOU, THE (2024)
MELISSA CAUDLE
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-8
Topic - Family
Description - Seven children discover a magical creature in this short fantasy following the young siblines escaping to the local creek on a hot summer day.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed The Creek Dweller In The Bayou because it is full of fantasies. This short animated film captures heartwarming childlike moments. The creek dweller is like a wizard who does magic to fulfill the children's desires.

The storyline follows seven siblings on a hot, humid summer day who go down to play in the creek to cool off and encounter a charming little animal known as The Creek Dweller. This magical creature has the remarkable ability to transform into anything it desires. With its whimsical antics, The Creek Dweller brings joy and excitement to the children.

This story is perfect for young children. The 2D animation is rich and colorful. The characters are simply drawn, without a lot of definition and their lips don't move in sync with their dialogue, but that doesn't detract from the story. The voiceovers of the seven siblings and The Creek Dweller are done by three people and, to their credit, it works quite well with the exception of the voice of The Creek Dweller, who sounds way too much like the children. The film uses first-person point-of-view shots to give the viewer the feeling of experiencing adventures alongside the characters and feeling every bit of the magic that fills their dreams. The background zydeco music reinforces the location of this story which takes place in a bayou in Louisiana. Throughout the film, attention to contextual detail enhances the storytelling experience. The Creek Dweller's transformations are carefully crafted, immersing the viewer into his world and his fantastical adventures. The Creek Dweller is the most interesting character as a magical creature who can turn into a unicorn or an insect, and his appearance brings the children a wonderful afternoon that they hadn't expected. I love The Creek Dweller's transformations; they brought back memories of childhood cartoons. Every time the wizard casts a spell, I feel excitement and anticipation, eagerly awaiting the outcome of the transformation.

The film's message is about enjoying a fantasy when it appears in your life. Note that there might be concern that the children go down to the creek without their grandmother's permission, but the older brother seems old enough to take charge.

I give The Creek Dweller In The Bayou 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. By Zuoqing R., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I enjoyed The Creek Dweller In The Bayou because it is full of fantasies. This short animated film captures heartwarming childlike moments. The creek dweller is like a wizard who does magic to fulfill the children's desires.

The storyline follows seven siblings on a hot, humid summer day who go down to play in the creek to cool off and encounter a charming little animal known as The Creek Dweller. This magical creature has the remarkable ability to transform into anything it desires. With its whimsical antics, The Creek Dweller brings joy and excitement to the children.

This story is perfect for young children. The 2D animation is rich and colorful. The characters are simply drawn, without a lot of definition and their lips don't move in sync with their dialogue, but that doesn't detract from the story. The voiceovers of the seven siblings and The Creek Dweller are done by three people and, to their credit, it works quite well with the exception of the voice of The Creek Dweller, who sounds way too much like the children. The film uses first-person point-of-view shots to give the viewer the feeling of experiencing adventures alongside the characters and feeling every bit of the magic that fills their dreams. The background zydeco music reinforces the location of this story which takes place in a bayou in Louisiana. Throughout the film, attention to contextual detail enhances the storytelling experience. The Creek Dweller's transformations are carefully crafted, immersing the viewer into his world and his fantastical adventures. The Creek Dweller is the most interesting character as a magical creature who can turn into a unicorn or an insect, and his appearance brings the children a wonderful afternoon that they hadn't expected. I love The Creek Dweller's transformations; they brought back memories of childhood cartoons. Every time the wizard casts a spell, I feel excitement and anticipation, eagerly awaiting the outcome of the transformation.

The film's message is about enjoying a fantasy when it appears in your life. Note that there might be concern that the children go down to the creek without their grandmother's permission, but the older brother seems old enough to take charge.

I give The Creek Dweller In The Bayou 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. By Zuoqing R., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 15 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ELIZABETHAN THEATRE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ELIZABETHAN THEATRE
CHRYSOULA NIKOLOPOULOU
Series: ELEMENTARY STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - This student creation entitled "Elizabethan Theatre" narrates the basic historical and social elements of the Elizabethan era, regarding the development of the theater of the same name in England. The time period it focuses on starts from 1562 until 1642, when the English Parliament banned all plays and sealed all theatrical stages for the following 18 years. This Documentary Short Film was created with the Stop Motion Animation technique by the students of E1 of the 6th Intercultural Primary School of Eleftherio - Kordelio in Thessaloniki.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The student film, Elizabethan Theatre offers a unique blend of creativity and authenticity. I really enjoyed the stop-motion animation technique -- the animated images in the film are very vivid and realistic as they explain the historical and social elements of the Elizabethan era. I also like how the film is presented; it is very organized.

The documentary tells about the basic historical and social elements of the Elizabethan era and about the development of the English theater from the theatrical entertainment initiated by Queen Elizabeth to the emergence of the first permanent theatre roof in London. It covers the time period of 1562 to 1642, when Parliament banned all plays and sealed all theaters for the next 18 years due to the traditional conservative ideas of London officials, who believed that theater actors were vagabonds, and the theater attracted only criminals. One of the reasons was the spread of the bubonic plague, which led to the rule that large gatherings were forbidden.

My favorite part is the section that introduces the theater, detailing its construction and interior. The theater was circular and wooden as well as open, and the interior had no lights, so all the performances were scheduled during the day when there was natural lighting available. The stop motion animation gives a vivid explanation of each structure during the show, for example: "pit and gallery" each served different purposes. The interesting angle this film is that it is made using stop-motion animation, which is a very time-consuming way of filming which requires filming it frame by frame. The sets and locations are suitable for the story and the time it takes place in. They are pretty complicated, including the interior of the theater, the background which shows the structure of each part of the theater, such as the gallery and the entire gallery of the Grand Theatre - it explains that the Gallery is set on the second floor of the theatre, suitable for those who were wealthy and could often spend as little as two pence to see a play in the gallery on the second floor. The narration is provided by multiple speakers, all children, and their presentation is pretty consistent. The film is directed by Chrysoula Nikolopoulou. Twenty students who were in grade 5 (age 10) worked on the film.

One of my favorite parts of the film is the introduction to the inner workings of the theater. It shows how the theater was made up of several different parts; the "pit" was a large standing pit where people stood to watch the plays. The "gallery" was where the rich could see the plays on the second floor. On the top floor of the theater, there was a small attic where different colored flags were placed to represent the audience's desire to see a play. These plot setups helped me get a good idea of the inner workings of the theater.

The film's message is to inform the audience about the Elizabethan era and the development of English plays; to examine the structure of the theater's interior and the impact it had on the audiences. The film ends with the closure of the Elizabethan Theater for eighteen years due to the blight of the bubonic plague, which marked the end of the Elizabethan era.

I give Elizabethan Theater 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. By Changyang L., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The student film, Elizabethan Theatre offers a unique blend of creativity and authenticity. I really enjoyed the stop-motion animation technique -- the animated images in the film are very vivid and realistic as they explain the historical and social elements of the Elizabethan era. I also like how the film is presented; it is very organized.

The documentary tells about the basic historical and social elements of the Elizabethan era and about the development of the English theater from the theatrical entertainment initiated by Queen Elizabeth to the emergence of the first permanent theatre roof in London. It covers the time period of 1562 to 1642, when Parliament banned all plays and sealed all theaters for the next 18 years due to the traditional conservative ideas of London officials, who believed that theater actors were vagabonds, and the theater attracted only criminals. One of the reasons was the spread of the bubonic plague, which led to the rule that large gatherings were forbidden.

My favorite part is the section that introduces the theater, detailing its construction and interior. The theater was circular and wooden as well as open, and the interior had no lights, so all the performances were scheduled during the day when there was natural lighting available. The stop motion animation gives a vivid explanation of each structure during the show, for example: "pit and gallery" each served different purposes. The interesting angle this film is that it is made using stop-motion animation, which is a very time-consuming way of filming which requires filming it frame by frame. The sets and locations are suitable for the story and the time it takes place in. They are pretty complicated, including the interior of the theater, the background which shows the structure of each part of the theater, such as the gallery and the entire gallery of the Grand Theatre - it explains that the Gallery is set on the second floor of the theatre, suitable for those who were wealthy and could often spend as little as two pence to see a play in the gallery on the second floor. The narration is provided by multiple speakers, all children, and their presentation is pretty consistent. The film is directed by Chrysoula Nikolopoulou. Twenty students who were in grade 5 (age 10) worked on the film.

One of my favorite parts of the film is the introduction to the inner workings of the theater. It shows how the theater was made up of several different parts; the "pit" was a large standing pit where people stood to watch the plays. The "gallery" was where the rich could see the plays on the second floor. On the top floor of the theater, there was a small attic where different colored flags were placed to represent the audience's desire to see a play. These plot setups helped me get a good idea of the inner workings of the theater.

The film's message is to inform the audience about the Elizabethan era and the development of English plays; to examine the structure of the theater's interior and the impact it had on the audiences. The film ends with the closure of the Elizabethan Theater for eighteen years due to the blight of the bubonic plague, which marked the end of the Elizabethan era.

I give Elizabethan Theater 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. By Changyang L., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 7 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ERASERVERSE, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ERASERVERSE, THE
CONRAD PAUR
Series: ELEMENTARY STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Caleb, a 4th grade student accepts the ultimate student dare, to spend the night in the school. This choice leads to one amazing Sci-Fi adventure. This film was directed, lit and shot by 8 to 11-year-olds.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Fun student production, from concept to execution. Well done.

The storyline follows a young student who accepts a dare to spent the night in the school, thinking it's no big deal. However, while there, things turn weird and leads to one amazing adventure.

Well done. Good camera work; good audio; good acting, especially from Madden and Oliver. Fun story line. My favorite part is the ending when Oliver's told that they've been gone for a month and he responds, well, that's nothing since Dallas has been gone for a hundred years.

The film's message is to never underestimate what happens at your school after hours.

I give The EraserVerse 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Fun student production, from concept to execution. Well done.

The storyline follows a young student who accepts a dare to spent the night in the school, thinking it's no big deal. However, while there, things turn weird and leads to one amazing adventure.

Well done. Good camera work; good audio; good acting, especially from Madden and Oliver. Fun story line. My favorite part is the ending when Oliver's told that they've been gone for a month and he responds, well, that's nothing since Dallas has been gone for a hundred years.

The film's message is to never underestimate what happens at your school after hours.

I give The EraserVerse 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


FORGOTTEN GENERATION, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
FORGOTTEN GENERATION, THE
DRAHOMIR STREIT
Series: ELEMENTARY STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - The documentary film "The Forgotten Generation" was created last school year and captures through the eyes of nine-year-old children three school years that were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The main creators of the successful documentary were a group of nineteen children under the guidance of lecturer Drahom�r Streita.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The documentary, The Forgotten Generation, is very emotional and full of memories.

This student produced film tells the story of the three school years that nine-year-olds suffered from the effects of the Covid-19, when the children spent most of their time at home in online classes, without friends or teachers to talk to, and how their studies were affected. It is clear that the pandemic deprived the children of their time. It is from Czech Republic with dialogue in Czech, and English subtitles.

This movie is about what Covid has done to their lives from a child's point of view. The story is told from the perspective of nine-year-olds, who were just getting acquainted with school life and preparing to start a whole new school life when Covid-19 swept across the globe, causing all children to have to attend online classes, losing contact with their peers as well as their teachers, and how Covid was followed by another large outbreak in a short period of time which left kids having to revert back to online classes again. The plot development is good - it brings back memories of that time during the pandemic, so I could empathize with these kids. For example, one of them talks about how all of their classmates were quarantined so he had no friends to be in contact with, which was very lonely. This movie doesn't have very attractive camera work; it's very plain, without any fancy shooting techniques, but it reflects what the children really think. When the story is about the children's school life, it is accompanied by a piano in the background which is very happy, matching the carefree life of the children in the school. However, when the children are affected by Covid-19 and are unable to enter the school, the background music features a low fiddle that matches the depressing atmosphere. My favorite scene is one where the children return to school after Covid lifts. It reminds me of when I was in school and under the control of the pandemic, and I often felt very lonely without the company of my peers. That's why it's so heartwarming to see the children's happy faces when they return to school.

The film's message is about how these young children lost their school life due to Covid-19, and how the long hours of isolation made the children feel lonely because not only do they have to worry about getting Covid, but they also had to wear thick masks and couldn't gather with their friends.

I give The Forgotten Generation 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. This movie may resonate with kids who lost their own school life because of Covid. By ChangYang L., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The documentary, The Forgotten Generation, is very emotional and full of memories.

This student produced film tells the story of the three school years that nine-year-olds suffered from the effects of the Covid-19, when the children spent most of their time at home in online classes, without friends or teachers to talk to, and how their studies were affected. It is clear that the pandemic deprived the children of their time. It is from Czech Republic with dialogue in Czech, and English subtitles.

This movie is about what Covid has done to their lives from a child's point of view. The story is told from the perspective of nine-year-olds, who were just getting acquainted with school life and preparing to start a whole new school life when Covid-19 swept across the globe, causing all children to have to attend online classes, losing contact with their peers as well as their teachers, and how Covid was followed by another large outbreak in a short period of time which left kids having to revert back to online classes again. The plot development is good - it brings back memories of that time during the pandemic, so I could empathize with these kids. For example, one of them talks about how all of their classmates were quarantined so he had no friends to be in contact with, which was very lonely. This movie doesn't have very attractive camera work; it's very plain, without any fancy shooting techniques, but it reflects what the children really think. When the story is about the children's school life, it is accompanied by a piano in the background which is very happy, matching the carefree life of the children in the school. However, when the children are affected by Covid-19 and are unable to enter the school, the background music features a low fiddle that matches the depressing atmosphere. My favorite scene is one where the children return to school after Covid lifts. It reminds me of when I was in school and under the control of the pandemic, and I often felt very lonely without the company of my peers. That's why it's so heartwarming to see the children's happy faces when they return to school.

The film's message is about how these young children lost their school life due to Covid-19, and how the long hours of isolation made the children feel lonely because not only do they have to worry about getting Covid, but they also had to wear thick masks and couldn't gather with their friends.

I give The Forgotten Generation 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. This movie may resonate with kids who lost their own school life because of Covid. By ChangYang L., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 12 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


STELLAR PARENTING

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
STELLAR PARENTING
GABRIELA GAONA
Series: HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT FILM, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A young girl experiences an extraterrestrial encounter, and finds that the danger my be closer than she originally thought
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - In the captivating sci-fi adventure, Stellar Parenting, young Stella's claims of seeing aliens are dismissed by her parents, who send her to counseling. The counselor is startled to learn it's not the first time Stella has made such a claim. Stella describes the aliens' distinct purple spots, only to notice similar markings on her teacher. As she becomes convinced her counselor is also an alien, her parents find it absurd, leaving Stella terrified as the extraterrestrial threat is closer than she ever imagined.

Stellar Parenting is an exciting blend of mystery, suspense, and a hint of spookiness that follows Stella, a young girl who believes she has seen aliens, and nobody, not even her parents, believes her. As she tries to prove what she saw, the story delves into themes of trust and self-belief, encouraging readers to think critically and trust their instincts. The visuals, whether in pictures or movie scenes, bring the aliens and the adventure to life, immersing readers in Stella's thrilling journey. It's a captivating and relatable tale perfect for young readers around 12-years-old who enjoy mysteries and adventures, reminding them that sometimes the most important things are the ones we can't see at first, and it's okay to trust ourselves, even when others doubt us. If you're into aliens, mysteries, and thrilling adventures, Stellar Parenting is a must-watch!

As an adult, I find this story appealing because it skillfully blends sci-fi and psychological thriller elements. Stella's detailed alien descriptions and the discovery of purple spots on her teacher and counselor create a gripping sense of paranoia and suspense. The disbelief from her parents and the twist of the counselor possibly being an alien add depth, making it a compelling and thought-provoking narrative that keeps readers guessing.

A child would likely enjoy this story because it features a young protagonist they can relate to and places her in an extraordinary situation. The elements of mystery and adventure, such as Stella's discovery of the aliens and her attempts to convince her parents, are exciting and engaging. Additionally, the suspense of uncovering who the real aliens are can captivate a child's imagination, making them eager to find out what happens next. The blend of everyday life with sci-fi elements provides a thrilling and relatable experience, keeping them hooked throughout the story.

The writing is compelling, blending suspense, sci-fi, and psychological drama. A clear structure follows Stella from her initial alien encounter to discovering her counselor's secret. Vivid descriptions and natural dialogue make the characters relatable. The screenplay builds tension, drawing viewers in and creating empathy for Stella. The material is accurate and age-appropriate, using simple, accessible vocabulary. Descriptions like the aliens' purple spots and Stella's fear are vivid yet easy to understand. Themes of skepticism and bravery are relatable, reflecting common childhood experiences, making the story engaging and suitable for its intended audience. The story prompts viewers to question and probe the unknown, fostering curiosity and critical thinking skills. For instance, as Stella confronts her parents' skepticism and uncovers clues about the aliens; viewers are encouraged to analyze the evidence and consider various perspectives. This inquiry process supports problem-solving and empowers young audiences to navigate complex situations, making the material both engaging and beneficial for its intended audience.

The program's message revolves around the importance of trust, belief, and the courage to stand by one's convictions, even when faced with skepticism. It underscores the idea that sometimes the greatest threats can be closer than we realize and emphasizes the importance of listening to and validating the experiences of others, especially children.

I give Stellar Parenting 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Gloria J., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - In the captivating sci-fi adventure, Stellar Parenting, young Stella's claims of seeing aliens are dismissed by her parents, who send her to counseling. The counselor is startled to learn it's not the first time Stella has made such a claim. Stella describes the aliens' distinct purple spots, only to notice similar markings on her teacher. As she becomes convinced her counselor is also an alien, her parents find it absurd, leaving Stella terrified as the extraterrestrial threat is closer than she ever imagined.

Stellar Parenting is an exciting blend of mystery, suspense, and a hint of spookiness that follows Stella, a young girl who believes she has seen aliens, and nobody, not even her parents, believes her. As she tries to prove what she saw, the story delves into themes of trust and self-belief, encouraging readers to think critically and trust their instincts. The visuals, whether in pictures or movie scenes, bring the aliens and the adventure to life, immersing readers in Stella's thrilling journey. It's a captivating and relatable tale perfect for young readers around 12-years-old who enjoy mysteries and adventures, reminding them that sometimes the most important things are the ones we can't see at first, and it's okay to trust ourselves, even when others doubt us. If you're into aliens, mysteries, and thrilling adventures, Stellar Parenting is a must-watch!

As an adult, I find this story appealing because it skillfully blends sci-fi and psychological thriller elements. Stella's detailed alien descriptions and the discovery of purple spots on her teacher and counselor create a gripping sense of paranoia and suspense. The disbelief from her parents and the twist of the counselor possibly being an alien add depth, making it a compelling and thought-provoking narrative that keeps readers guessing.

A child would likely enjoy this story because it features a young protagonist they can relate to and places her in an extraordinary situation. The elements of mystery and adventure, such as Stella's discovery of the aliens and her attempts to convince her parents, are exciting and engaging. Additionally, the suspense of uncovering who the real aliens are can captivate a child's imagination, making them eager to find out what happens next. The blend of everyday life with sci-fi elements provides a thrilling and relatable experience, keeping them hooked throughout the story.

The writing is compelling, blending suspense, sci-fi, and psychological drama. A clear structure follows Stella from her initial alien encounter to discovering her counselor's secret. Vivid descriptions and natural dialogue make the characters relatable. The screenplay builds tension, drawing viewers in and creating empathy for Stella. The material is accurate and age-appropriate, using simple, accessible vocabulary. Descriptions like the aliens' purple spots and Stella's fear are vivid yet easy to understand. Themes of skepticism and bravery are relatable, reflecting common childhood experiences, making the story engaging and suitable for its intended audience. The story prompts viewers to question and probe the unknown, fostering curiosity and critical thinking skills. For instance, as Stella confronts her parents' skepticism and uncovers clues about the aliens; viewers are encouraged to analyze the evidence and consider various perspectives. This inquiry process supports problem-solving and empowers young audiences to navigate complex situations, making the material both engaging and beneficial for its intended audience.

The program's message revolves around the importance of trust, belief, and the courage to stand by one's convictions, even when faced with skepticism. It underscores the idea that sometimes the greatest threats can be closer than we realize and emphasizes the importance of listening to and validating the experiences of others, especially children.

I give Stellar Parenting 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Gloria J., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 4 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ARIEL

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ARIEL
C.A. MACFINN
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - In the world of the Ottoman Sultans, a poor child from Jerusalem makes an unimaginable desert journey to Cairo and back to save his mother and siblings from a rapacious aristocrat. He has nine days...
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The animated short film, Ariel, sets off a string of emotions which certainly kept me engaged. It is extremely relatable - the family struggles reflect what many families are faced with today. With its many teachings, its cultural expression, and fantastic animation, this film is a true masterpiece.

The storyline is about a poor Jewish Boy, Ari, and his family who are from Jerusalem. They are living among diverse cultures during the Ottoman Empire. Following the death of his father, Ari's family faces financial hardship. Their luck changes when they learn that an inheritance was left to their family and needs to be retrieved from the city of Cairo. As the oldest son, Ari volunteers to make the dangerous trip to Cairo to collect the inheritance but he faces a variety of challenges both before and during his travels. Decisions have to be made by Ari and he is guided by his deep-rooted faith, which is key to his survival.

This is a great family film. Ariel is an artistic masterpiece with valuable teachings. I truly enjoyed that the story takes place during an historical time and the background choices are perfect for the plot. I found Ari's journey to be engaging and appreciate that he never waivers from his religious beliefs. The symbolism throughout the film is powerful, especially with the lion, making the film easy to connect to. The film is creative, full of adventure, and extremely enjoyable. The animation is on the simplistic side but the camera angles and close-ups capture the characters perfectly. The animation is effective and allows the viewer to connect to the story. The characters' mouths don't completely sync up with their speaking lines but the images are incredibly artistic and very pleasing. The attire worn by the characters are characteristic of what people wore during the Ottoman Empire. For both men and woman, the clothing is loose fitting and headgear is worn. The backgrounds suit the story very well; they allow the viewer to get a sense of the environment during the time period and give a sense of the diversity that existed among the Ottoman Sultans. Some homes are ornate and well-furnished; while others are quite simple with few items. The village scenes depict a variety of people from different cultures. The background music and sound effects reflect the culture and fit perfectly with the time period. The Middle Eastern music is distinctive with an Arabic sound fused with jazz. Many string instruments are heard. The music is upbeat and cheerful which suits the adventure within the film.

I credit the director, C.A. MacFinn for his success in handling the execution of this film so well. The timing of the actions, well-designed characters, and culturally artistic backdrops add to the film's visual effects and bring the story to life. The voice-over talent performs quite well. The voice of the protagonist, Ari (Daniel Sean Smith) is age appropriate and portrays the teen boy perfectly with a voice full of a variety of emotions and adapting to the mood of each scene. Ari's mother, Yasmina (Clare Kohavi)'s voice sounds just like a mom's - at times stern when trying to prove her point and loud and expressive when showing excitement. My favorite part of the film is when Ari decides that his faith is stronger than getting to Cairo with the fast caravan and stays behind to honor Shabbat. This scene is full of drama and sadness as Ari chooses to stay behind; it leaves the viewer wondering if he will succumb to the harsh conditions of the desert. Something truly magical happens in the day that follows his departure from the group. Ari soon learns that he's not alone and his strong faith has saved him.

The film's message is about being true to your beliefs. Ari faced several struggles while undertaking his journey. When asked to falter from his religious beliefs, even if it meant giving up on his mission, Ari stands firm and choses to travel to Cairo on his own terms. As a result, he is taken care of by the "Holy One," which was brought to him by the "Lion of God." This message highlights how God works in magical ways for the good of his children.

I give Ariel 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Dominic D. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The animated short film, Ariel, sets off a string of emotions which certainly kept me engaged. It is extremely relatable - the family struggles reflect what many families are faced with today. With its many teachings, its cultural expression, and fantastic animation, this film is a true masterpiece.

The storyline is about a poor Jewish Boy, Ari, and his family who are from Jerusalem. They are living among diverse cultures during the Ottoman Empire. Following the death of his father, Ari's family faces financial hardship. Their luck changes when they learn that an inheritance was left to their family and needs to be retrieved from the city of Cairo. As the oldest son, Ari volunteers to make the dangerous trip to Cairo to collect the inheritance but he faces a variety of challenges both before and during his travels. Decisions have to be made by Ari and he is guided by his deep-rooted faith, which is key to his survival.

This is a great family film. Ariel is an artistic masterpiece with valuable teachings. I truly enjoyed that the story takes place during an historical time and the background choices are perfect for the plot. I found Ari's journey to be engaging and appreciate that he never waivers from his religious beliefs. The symbolism throughout the film is powerful, especially with the lion, making the film easy to connect to. The film is creative, full of adventure, and extremely enjoyable. The animation is on the simplistic side but the camera angles and close-ups capture the characters perfectly. The animation is effective and allows the viewer to connect to the story. The characters' mouths don't completely sync up with their speaking lines but the images are incredibly artistic and very pleasing. The attire worn by the characters are characteristic of what people wore during the Ottoman Empire. For both men and woman, the clothing is loose fitting and headgear is worn. The backgrounds suit the story very well; they allow the viewer to get a sense of the environment during the time period and give a sense of the diversity that existed among the Ottoman Sultans. Some homes are ornate and well-furnished; while others are quite simple with few items. The village scenes depict a variety of people from different cultures. The background music and sound effects reflect the culture and fit perfectly with the time period. The Middle Eastern music is distinctive with an Arabic sound fused with jazz. Many string instruments are heard. The music is upbeat and cheerful which suits the adventure within the film.

I credit the director, C.A. MacFinn for his success in handling the execution of this film so well. The timing of the actions, well-designed characters, and culturally artistic backdrops add to the film's visual effects and bring the story to life. The voice-over talent performs quite well. The voice of the protagonist, Ari (Daniel Sean Smith) is age appropriate and portrays the teen boy perfectly with a voice full of a variety of emotions and adapting to the mood of each scene. Ari's mother, Yasmina (Clare Kohavi)'s voice sounds just like a mom's - at times stern when trying to prove her point and loud and expressive when showing excitement. My favorite part of the film is when Ari decides that his faith is stronger than getting to Cairo with the fast caravan and stays behind to honor Shabbat. This scene is full of drama and sadness as Ari chooses to stay behind; it leaves the viewer wondering if he will succumb to the harsh conditions of the desert. Something truly magical happens in the day that follows his departure from the group. Ari soon learns that he's not alone and his strong faith has saved him.

The film's message is about being true to your beliefs. Ari faced several struggles while undertaking his journey. When asked to falter from his religious beliefs, even if it meant giving up on his mission, Ari stands firm and choses to travel to Cairo on his own terms. As a result, he is taken care of by the "Holy One," which was brought to him by the "Lion of God." This message highlights how God works in magical ways for the good of his children.

I give Ariel 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Dominic D. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 22 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


MR. MOORE'S GIFT

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MR. MOORE'S GIFT
ADAM SENIOR
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - It's almost Christmas in modern day New York and Maggie wants to hear her favourite poem, Twas a Night Before Christmas. But how did this poem come to be written? And who was Clement Clark Moore? As Maggie settles down to sleep there's magic in the air to night...
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really enjoyed the Christmas film Mr. Moore's Gift. It brought back a piece of childhood magic that comes from imagination. The performance, lighting and musical score made me feel like I had been granted VIP access to Santa's factory -- Elf's Honor!

This film is based on the backstory of Clement Clark Moore, author of the poem The Night Before Christmas and part of the story is delivered in iambic pentameter verse, like original poem itself. This is a short film set during Christmastime that tells the story of Mr. Clement Clarke Moore (Scott Bolger) and how he came to write a poem about Santa for his children. A young girl named Maggie (Skye Sconiers) is transported to the past through her dream, where she watches Mr. Moore write his poem and donate a turkey to the man later revealed to be Santa (Thomas Moynahan).

The poem is told beautifully with engaging storytelling and magical effects. The cinematography is beautiful and adds to the holiday warmth of the film. The camera blurs the background at times to show falling snow and moves in a way that makes the viewer feel as if they are on the sleigh. The setting, in Maggie's room, immediately establishes her bubbly, childlike personality. There are lots of smiling animals and the color scheme is very bright with lots of warm colors, such as pink and orange. Her room is very cozy, adding to the festive holiday effect. The sound effects are what really bring the film together. After all, you can't have a Christmas movie without jingle bells. The music is festive and never gets too dramatic, adding to the film's lightheartedness.

Scott Bolger puts on a captivating performance as Mr. Moore. He has a big responsibility as the title character of the film and definitely delivers. Watching the film, I felt as if I was really watching the writing process unfold - I could see his face light up when he came up with an idea, or put on an intense expression when he was in deep thought. Skye Sconiers' performance as Maggie is also worth mentioning - she is anything but shy with her expressions. The amazement on her face is clear, and she obviously is enjoying herself when she meets Santa. My favorite part is the character of Maggie's mother (Afua Busia). Her acting style sets a warm and welcoming tone for the entire film, and she tells the poem in a way that draws the viewer in, almost as if you are hearing a bedtime story. Adults will enjoy the prose and the youngest children will enjoy the Christmas music and hearing about Santa and his reindeer.

The film's message is that you can get so much more out of a story if you truly experience it, rather than just read the words. Imagine yourself in the character's place and you will find yourself temporarily transported into their world. Let yourself fall into a book where everyone has something valuable to teach you.

I give Mr. Moore's gift 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Ella S. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really enjoyed the Christmas film Mr. Moore's Gift. It brought back a piece of childhood magic that comes from imagination. The performance, lighting and musical score made me feel like I had been granted VIP access to Santa's factory -- Elf's Honor!

This film is based on the backstory of Clement Clark Moore, author of the poem The Night Before Christmas and part of the story is delivered in iambic pentameter verse, like original poem itself. This is a short film set during Christmastime that tells the story of Mr. Clement Clarke Moore (Scott Bolger) and how he came to write a poem about Santa for his children. A young girl named Maggie (Skye Sconiers) is transported to the past through her dream, where she watches Mr. Moore write his poem and donate a turkey to the man later revealed to be Santa (Thomas Moynahan).

The poem is told beautifully with engaging storytelling and magical effects. The cinematography is beautiful and adds to the holiday warmth of the film. The camera blurs the background at times to show falling snow and moves in a way that makes the viewer feel as if they are on the sleigh. The setting, in Maggie's room, immediately establishes her bubbly, childlike personality. There are lots of smiling animals and the color scheme is very bright with lots of warm colors, such as pink and orange. Her room is very cozy, adding to the festive holiday effect. The sound effects are what really bring the film together. After all, you can't have a Christmas movie without jingle bells. The music is festive and never gets too dramatic, adding to the film's lightheartedness.

Scott Bolger puts on a captivating performance as Mr. Moore. He has a big responsibility as the title character of the film and definitely delivers. Watching the film, I felt as if I was really watching the writing process unfold - I could see his face light up when he came up with an idea, or put on an intense expression when he was in deep thought. Skye Sconiers' performance as Maggie is also worth mentioning - she is anything but shy with her expressions. The amazement on her face is clear, and she obviously is enjoying herself when she meets Santa. My favorite part is the character of Maggie's mother (Afua Busia). Her acting style sets a warm and welcoming tone for the entire film, and she tells the poem in a way that draws the viewer in, almost as if you are hearing a bedtime story. Adults will enjoy the prose and the youngest children will enjoy the Christmas music and hearing about Santa and his reindeer.

The film's message is that you can get so much more out of a story if you truly experience it, rather than just read the words. Imagine yourself in the character's place and you will find yourself temporarily transported into their world. Let yourself fall into a book where everyone has something valuable to teach you.

I give Mr. Moore's gift 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Ella S. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 15 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ECLIPSE: THE MUSICAL

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ECLIPSE: THE MUSICAL
CENTER OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Inspired by the once-in-a-generation Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024, the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio partnered with a diverse team of dynamic artists to produce a musical short film, Eclipse: The Musical. This creative exploration of the unique science phenomenon features original music from Grammy-award winning artists, Alphabet Rockers, exciting live-action choreography, and imaginative animation. The film tells the story of two teen characters that help their peers and teachers rethink the way a science story can be told. After all, you don't have to be a scientist to be curious.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Eclipse: The Musical is an appealing film featuring original music by GRAMMY-winning artists Alphabet Rockers, dynamic live-action choreography, and imaginative animation. These elements create an engaging and visually stimulating experience that makes the science of a solar eclipse accessible and enjoyable. The narrative, centered on teenagers encouraging curiosity and a new perspective on science, promotes a universal love for learning and challenges traditional views that science is only for scientists. It also makes it easy to explain to kids about an eclipse in a way that's easy for them to understand. This progressive collaboration between scientists and artists showcases a commitment to inclusive and engaging science education.

To celebrate the total solar eclipse, COSI in Columbus, Ohio created this artistic project combining original music with live-action dance and creative animation. The story centers around two teens who challenge their classmates and teachers to see science in a fresh light, demonstrating that anyone can possess scientific curiosity.

Eclipse: The Musical is a dazzling whirlwind of science and entertainment, perfect for igniting a love of learning in young minds. With catchy tunes and vibrant animation, the film explores the wonder of a solar eclipse. But it's not just about astronomy! Relatable teen characters inspire empathy and critical thinking, encouraging them to question and explore scientific concepts in a fun and engaging way. The clear direction ensures a smooth and energetic experience, while modern sets and costumes add to the film's visual appeal. Beyond the science lesson, the film subtly sparks interest in diverse cultures and environments, leaving viewers curious to delve deeper. It's a cleverly crafted program, perfectly suited for young audiences. By fostering inquiry, investigation, and critical thinking skills, it becomes an invaluable educational resource. With its infectious enthusiasm and inspiring message, this is a must-watch for anyone curious about the wonders of the universe, young or old.

Grammy-winning Alphabet Rockers make the science lesson a blast with their music. Cool animation brings the solar eclipse to life, making it easy and fun to grasp. The relatable teen characters and the age-friendly story will grab young viewers' attention, while the energetic live-action dance keeps things exciting. This mix of music, animation, relatable characters, and cool storytelling makes learning about science fun for kids. The film is made for kids, with words and ideas that are easy to understand! The story stars teens you can relate to, who show their friends how cool science can be. With clear words, a fun story, new vocabulary like syzygy and all sorts of eclipse facts, it keeps you wanting to learn more about science the whole way through!

The film's message revolves around the power of curiosity and the universality of scientific exploration. Through the journey of teen characters, the film encourages viewers to embrace their innate curiosity and challenge preconceived notions about who can engage with science. Ultimately, it promotes the idea that learning and discovery are ongoing processes, inviting audiences of all ages to embrace curiosity and approach scientific phenomena with open minds and enthusiasm.

I give Eclipse: The Musical 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 through 12. By Gloria J., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Eclipse: The Musical is an appealing film featuring original music by GRAMMY-winning artists Alphabet Rockers, dynamic live-action choreography, and imaginative animation. These elements create an engaging and visually stimulating experience that makes the science of a solar eclipse accessible and enjoyable. The narrative, centered on teenagers encouraging curiosity and a new perspective on science, promotes a universal love for learning and challenges traditional views that science is only for scientists. It also makes it easy to explain to kids about an eclipse in a way that's easy for them to understand. This progressive collaboration between scientists and artists showcases a commitment to inclusive and engaging science education.

To celebrate the total solar eclipse, COSI in Columbus, Ohio created this artistic project combining original music with live-action dance and creative animation. The story centers around two teens who challenge their classmates and teachers to see science in a fresh light, demonstrating that anyone can possess scientific curiosity.

Eclipse: The Musical is a dazzling whirlwind of science and entertainment, perfect for igniting a love of learning in young minds. With catchy tunes and vibrant animation, the film explores the wonder of a solar eclipse. But it's not just about astronomy! Relatable teen characters inspire empathy and critical thinking, encouraging them to question and explore scientific concepts in a fun and engaging way. The clear direction ensures a smooth and energetic experience, while modern sets and costumes add to the film's visual appeal. Beyond the science lesson, the film subtly sparks interest in diverse cultures and environments, leaving viewers curious to delve deeper. It's a cleverly crafted program, perfectly suited for young audiences. By fostering inquiry, investigation, and critical thinking skills, it becomes an invaluable educational resource. With its infectious enthusiasm and inspiring message, this is a must-watch for anyone curious about the wonders of the universe, young or old.

Grammy-winning Alphabet Rockers make the science lesson a blast with their music. Cool animation brings the solar eclipse to life, making it easy and fun to grasp. The relatable teen characters and the age-friendly story will grab young viewers' attention, while the energetic live-action dance keeps things exciting. This mix of music, animation, relatable characters, and cool storytelling makes learning about science fun for kids. The film is made for kids, with words and ideas that are easy to understand! The story stars teens you can relate to, who show their friends how cool science can be. With clear words, a fun story, new vocabulary like syzygy and all sorts of eclipse facts, it keeps you wanting to learn more about science the whole way through!

The film's message revolves around the power of curiosity and the universality of scientific exploration. Through the journey of teen characters, the film encourages viewers to embrace their innate curiosity and challenge preconceived notions about who can engage with science. Ultimately, it promotes the idea that learning and discovery are ongoing processes, inviting audiences of all ages to embrace curiosity and approach scientific phenomena with open minds and enthusiasm.

I give Eclipse: The Musical 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 through 12. By Gloria J., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 20 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


WELCOME SESAME (UKRAINE): INVISIBLE SHIELD

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
WELCOME SESAME (UKRAINE): INVISIBLE SHIELD
ESTEE BARDANASHVILI C/O SESAME WORKSHOP
Series: INDIE SHORT AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Ten-year-old Denys from Kyiv loves to dance and attends group lessons several times a week, where he practices with his teacher and other children. In the winter of 2022, Denys started to learn the Ukrainian dance - Hopak, which has become a way of expressing his pride in Ukrainian heritage.

As Denys practices different elements of the dance, he also learns about its history and the story of the Cossacks. Hopak is a dance that shows their strength and courage, which Denys compares to having an invisible shield, some kind of a 'super defense'. After classes, Denys likes to go to the park by the Dnipro River, where he collects his thoughts and rehearses his dance alone in nature, preparing for his performance on the big stage some day.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really enjoyed this film and the message it offers about the strength of this Ukrainian boy.

This short documentary follows a young boy, Denys, who is learning the Ukrainian dance, Hopak, and what talks about what it means to him.

The film projects the idea of how Denys resonates with this traditional dance in both a physical and ideological way as it projects the strength of the Ukrainian people. I love the scenes of him taking class and being guided by his teacher followed by him dancing on his own alongside the river. It shows a real commitment to him to not just learning the dance but becoming the dance, letting it fully integrate into his life.

The film's message is about how traditions influence our youth in so many ways and help preserve their country's culture.

I give Welcome Sesame (Ukraine): Invisible Shield 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really enjoyed this film and the message it offers about the strength of this Ukrainian boy.

This short documentary follows a young boy, Denys, who is learning the Ukrainian dance, Hopak, and what talks about what it means to him.

The film projects the idea of how Denys resonates with this traditional dance in both a physical and ideological way as it projects the strength of the Ukrainian people. I love the scenes of him taking class and being guided by his teacher followed by him dancing on his own alongside the river. It shows a real commitment to him to not just learning the dance but becoming the dance, letting it fully integrate into his life.

The film's message is about how traditions influence our youth in so many ways and help preserve their country's culture.

I give Welcome Sesame (Ukraine): Invisible Shield 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 2 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


DYSLEXIA & ME

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
DYSLEXIA & ME
DALE FORDER
Series: ELEMENTARY STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Explores the topic and difficulties of dyslexia through the character, Lily. She is often a misunderstood, isolated and frustrated character. Initially unaware she has dyslexia, she questions why her friends find reading and writing so easy. She questions her own intelligence, self-worth and ability in all she does. However, with the help of her teachers and friends, she not only learns about her condition, but also the best ways to help her manage it and unleash her full potential. Devised and developed with a group of students, our film blends a fictional narrative with documentary sequences; ensuring that the children featured also learn about the subject matter they are creating. Created by a group of elementary school students.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I thoroughly enjoyed Dyslexia & Me due to its insightful and effective portrayal of dyslexia. The film aptly describes the condition, shedding light on the challenges that those with dyslexia experience in a clear manner. Its approach is particularly suitable for children, as is easily understandable and relatable for young people. By simplifying complex concepts and utilizing engaging storytelling, the film succeeds in creating an educational and empathetic experience for viewers. Most impressive is that this film is made by a group of elementary school students in the United Kingdom. Kudos to them!

This film provides a comprehensive exploration of dyslexia within the familiar setting of a classroom. By breaking down the complexities of dyslexia the film bridges the gap between the educational context and children's understanding of the condition. It delves into the struggles faced by individuals with dyslexia, highlighting the challenges they encounter in academic settings. Moreover, the film goes beyond portraying the difficulties associated with dyslexia by showcasing how the unique perspectives and strengths of people with dyslexia can be harnessed to overcome obstacles and achieve success.

This film is directly geared towards kids. All the young actors/actresses are kids with the exception of one male adult teacher. I commend the film for providing valuable insight on understanding dyslexia and how to support those who have dyslexia. The film conveys practical strategies and understanding that can empower people to offer meaningful assistance and encouragement to those who are dyslexic. Its enlightening portrayal not only raises awareness but offers tangible guidance on how to provide meaningful support, fostering a more inclusive and empathetic environment. The camerawork is serviceable, but certainly not particularly inspiring. Although it does capture many flashback moments and voice overs which play a big role in highlighting the young girl's emotions and the constant thought of dyslexia replaying in her mind. The classroom setting shows that dyslexia is something that affects kids in school as well as in their personal lives at home. The background music plays a crucial role in enhancing the impact of the peak moments. The careful selection and timing of the music effectively builds up tension, eliciting emotions and heightening the viewing experience. The speaker, Lily, undergoes significant character development, primarily driven by her initial insecurity and isolation due to her struggles with dyslexia. At the beginning of the film, Lily feels insecure and closed off, lacking support and understanding from her peers. As the film progresses, we witness a transformative journey for Lily. Through various experiences and interactions, she begins to find a sense of inclusion and acceptance among her peers. This newfound support allows Lily to gradually open up about her dyslexia and seek assistance without fear or shame. By the end of the film, Lily's character has evolved, demonstrating increased confidence, a stronger sense of self, and a feeling of being understood by her peers. Her character development serves as a powerful testament to the importance of support and inclusivity in overcoming the challenges associated with dyslexia. As a person who was unfamiliar with dyslexia and did not know anyone with dyslexia, I found this film fresh and informative in how it describes the struggles of living with dyslexia and learning how to support someone who may struggle with this. The production quality of the film does not appear to be HD, so I recommend screening on smaller screens rather than in a cinema.

The film's message is about how important and powerful it is to speak up about kids who struggle in their day to day lives with dyslexia. It is a topic not heavily discussed, especially with the younger generation. This film recognizes that it is a topic that should be understood.

I give Dyslexia & Me 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Nathalia J., and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I thoroughly enjoyed Dyslexia & Me due to its insightful and effective portrayal of dyslexia. The film aptly describes the condition, shedding light on the challenges that those with dyslexia experience in a clear manner. Its approach is particularly suitable for children, as is easily understandable and relatable for young people. By simplifying complex concepts and utilizing engaging storytelling, the film succeeds in creating an educational and empathetic experience for viewers. Most impressive is that this film is made by a group of elementary school students in the United Kingdom. Kudos to them!

This film provides a comprehensive exploration of dyslexia within the familiar setting of a classroom. By breaking down the complexities of dyslexia the film bridges the gap between the educational context and children's understanding of the condition. It delves into the struggles faced by individuals with dyslexia, highlighting the challenges they encounter in academic settings. Moreover, the film goes beyond portraying the difficulties associated with dyslexia by showcasing how the unique perspectives and strengths of people with dyslexia can be harnessed to overcome obstacles and achieve success.

This film is directly geared towards kids. All the young actors/actresses are kids with the exception of one male adult teacher. I commend the film for providing valuable insight on understanding dyslexia and how to support those who have dyslexia. The film conveys practical strategies and understanding that can empower people to offer meaningful assistance and encouragement to those who are dyslexic. Its enlightening portrayal not only raises awareness but offers tangible guidance on how to provide meaningful support, fostering a more inclusive and empathetic environment. The camerawork is serviceable, but certainly not particularly inspiring. Although it does capture many flashback moments and voice overs which play a big role in highlighting the young girl's emotions and the constant thought of dyslexia replaying in her mind. The classroom setting shows that dyslexia is something that affects kids in school as well as in their personal lives at home. The background music plays a crucial role in enhancing the impact of the peak moments. The careful selection and timing of the music effectively builds up tension, eliciting emotions and heightening the viewing experience. The speaker, Lily, undergoes significant character development, primarily driven by her initial insecurity and isolation due to her struggles with dyslexia. At the beginning of the film, Lily feels insecure and closed off, lacking support and understanding from her peers. As the film progresses, we witness a transformative journey for Lily. Through various experiences and interactions, she begins to find a sense of inclusion and acceptance among her peers. This newfound support allows Lily to gradually open up about her dyslexia and seek assistance without fear or shame. By the end of the film, Lily's character has evolved, demonstrating increased confidence, a stronger sense of self, and a feeling of being understood by her peers. Her character development serves as a powerful testament to the importance of support and inclusivity in overcoming the challenges associated with dyslexia. As a person who was unfamiliar with dyslexia and did not know anyone with dyslexia, I found this film fresh and informative in how it describes the struggles of living with dyslexia and learning how to support someone who may struggle with this. The production quality of the film does not appear to be HD, so I recommend screening on smaller screens rather than in a cinema.

The film's message is about how important and powerful it is to speak up about kids who struggle in their day to day lives with dyslexia. It is a topic not heavily discussed, especially with the younger generation. This film recognizes that it is a topic that should be understood.

I give Dyslexia & Me 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Nathalia J., and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 14 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ROSE FROM THE ASHES, A

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ROSE FROM THE ASHES, A
QUINN FRIEDMAN
Series: HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A young girl makes an extraordinary discovery, and a great friend, when she finds a way to communicate with a kid across the world.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What a beautiful and thoughtful film by a high school student who shows great insight into the situation in Ukraine with this film.

The storyline follows a young girl in the US who discovers that she can communicate with a child in Ukraine by exchanging messages in the most unusual way. She is enthralled with the idea and pursues it until one day she gets a message that her friend's town has been attached. End of communication.

Beautifully executed - from concept to acting to production work. Great camera work; great background music. There is no dialogue. Great editing. This film truly brought me to tears at the end.

The film's message is about our connection with people worldwide.

I give A Rose from the Ashes 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What a beautiful and thoughtful film by a high school student who shows great insight into the situation in Ukraine with this film.

The storyline follows a young girl in the US who discovers that she can communicate with a child in Ukraine by exchanging messages in the most unusual way. She is enthralled with the idea and pursues it until one day she gets a message that her friend's town has been attached. End of communication.

Beautifully executed - from concept to acting to production work. Great camera work; great background music. There is no dialogue. Great editing. This film truly brought me to tears at the end.

The film's message is about our connection with people worldwide.

I give A Rose from the Ashes 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


FUGITIVE FOX AND BARD BEAR

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
FUGITIVE FOX AND BARD BEAR
ALLY BRENOWITZ
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Fugitive Fox has made a habit out of being a thief, but one day she steals something irreplaceable from the wrong animal.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I'm impressed by this student made short for its animation style and plot twist.

The storyline follows Fugitive Fox who is known for being a thief. One day she steals something irreplaceable from the wrong animal - Bard Bear - who will not stop before recovering his goods.

First of all, the characters are very interesting, especially Fugitive Fox, who is the most developed. I love the facial expressions on Fugitive Fox. But, Bard Bear stands out also; the only issue with it is that there's not a lot of definition in his drawing. The animation is pretty smooth and definitely brightly colored. When Fox steals the bag sitting on Bear's piano bench, you know that trouble will follow. But, we don't know what's in the bag until the end, and that's an interesting plot twist - as it is something more precious than gold!

The film's message is about the importance of our treasures and how some things are more important than money.

I give Fugitive Fox and Bard Bear 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I'm impressed by this student made short for its animation style and plot twist.

The storyline follows Fugitive Fox who is known for being a thief. One day she steals something irreplaceable from the wrong animal - Bard Bear - who will not stop before recovering his goods.

First of all, the characters are very interesting, especially Fugitive Fox, who is the most developed. I love the facial expressions on Fugitive Fox. But, Bard Bear stands out also; the only issue with it is that there's not a lot of definition in his drawing. The animation is pretty smooth and definitely brightly colored. When Fox steals the bag sitting on Bear's piano bench, you know that trouble will follow. But, we don't know what's in the bag until the end, and that's an interesting plot twist - as it is something more precious than gold!

The film's message is about the importance of our treasures and how some things are more important than money.

I give Fugitive Fox and Bard Bear 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!

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


CARRY ME AWAY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CARRY ME AWAY
MELANIE ROSA
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A dead star wonders why their dandelion friend hides away; for the first time in a long time, Dandy leaves her home to help a rock do the same.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This student animated short has a distinct charm to it and one that is suitable for younger children.

The story follows a character, Dandy, and her friend Sol (the sun) who befriends a rock that has eyes and a mouth and takes the rock to places it always wanted to see.

The animation is well constructed. The story evokes thoughtfulness and caring for others, even a rock. The shortcoming for me is the narrator whose voice is a bit muffled at times. However, it doesn't detract from the overall impact of the film.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8, plus adults. By Julie S, KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This student animated short has a distinct charm to it and one that is suitable for younger children.

The story follows a character, Dandy, and her friend Sol (the sun) who befriends a rock that has eyes and a mouth and takes the rock to places it always wanted to see.

The animation is well constructed. The story evokes thoughtfulness and caring for others, even a rock. The shortcoming for me is the narrator whose voice is a bit muffled at times. However, it doesn't detract from the overall impact of the film.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8, plus adults. By Julie S, KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 2 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GOOSEBERRY: SAM'S SANDWICH

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GOOSEBERRY: SAM'S SANDWICH
LUKE BECHTEL
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-8
Topic - Family
Description - One summer afternoon in Gooseberry Grove, best friends Pecan Pelican and Sam Fish are getting ready to enjoy a picnic when Pecan packs Sam a sandwich that isn't quite to his liking. On their quest to fix Sam's sandwich, the two learn about science, daydream about a mail-otter, sing some songs, and - most importantly - learn some important lessons about friendship.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is such a cute film! It is educational, funny, and the relationship between the puppet characters is amazing.

Two friends, Pecan Pelican (Adam Sienkiewicz) and Sam Fish (Michael Donald) plan to go on a picnic. They are going to bring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Sam leaves the room for a minute and Pecan tries to help him by sticking his sandwich pieces together. Sam doesn't like the peanut butter and jelly together so he and Pecan cancel the picnic and try to get his sandwich pieces apart. They get the sandwich pieces apart and then Sam realizes he really wants the pieces together, and they end up going on the picnic after all.

I like the film because it teaches mixtures and solutions and is funny by adding a couple jokes. There are a couple shots that really enhance the film like the one where Sam is leaving the room - it is a close up shot at an angle that shows Sam leave and walk out the room. I absolutely love the costumes. They suit the time period so well. My favorite costume is Dave The Deli Man - it fits his character so well and is kind of funny. The location fits the story pretty well. It is a blue color in the background for the sky and they stand at a brick table to make their sandwiches. The background music works well, especially in the beginning, when there is suspenseful background music playing that introduces the characters and story. Special effects are used whenever the professor brings out the two liquids. There is also a sound effect of bubbles that is the sound of the liquids in the beakers. Kudos to Jackie Smook who is both the set designer and the puppet designer. My favorite part is when the professor (Luke Bechtel) returns at the end with the sandwich separation solution to solve the conflict. He pours the solution onto the sandwich and the audience watches from an aerial view. The sandwich magically goes back to its original state - two pieces of bread, one with peanut butter on it and one with jelly. Then Sam Fish changes his mind after all and smashes his sandwich back together again. In the end, Sam realizes that he should accept the sandwich his friend made him because he made it with love.

The film's message is that you may not get exactly what you want but if it is made by someone special who loves you, you should accept it just as it is.

I give Gooseberry: Sam's Sandwich 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. By Avalynn G., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is such a cute film! It is educational, funny, and the relationship between the puppet characters is amazing.

Two friends, Pecan Pelican (Adam Sienkiewicz) and Sam Fish (Michael Donald) plan to go on a picnic. They are going to bring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Sam leaves the room for a minute and Pecan tries to help him by sticking his sandwich pieces together. Sam doesn't like the peanut butter and jelly together so he and Pecan cancel the picnic and try to get his sandwich pieces apart. They get the sandwich pieces apart and then Sam realizes he really wants the pieces together, and they end up going on the picnic after all.

I like the film because it teaches mixtures and solutions and is funny by adding a couple jokes. There are a couple shots that really enhance the film like the one where Sam is leaving the room - it is a close up shot at an angle that shows Sam leave and walk out the room. I absolutely love the costumes. They suit the time period so well. My favorite costume is Dave The Deli Man - it fits his character so well and is kind of funny. The location fits the story pretty well. It is a blue color in the background for the sky and they stand at a brick table to make their sandwiches. The background music works well, especially in the beginning, when there is suspenseful background music playing that introduces the characters and story. Special effects are used whenever the professor brings out the two liquids. There is also a sound effect of bubbles that is the sound of the liquids in the beakers. Kudos to Jackie Smook who is both the set designer and the puppet designer. My favorite part is when the professor (Luke Bechtel) returns at the end with the sandwich separation solution to solve the conflict. He pours the solution onto the sandwich and the audience watches from an aerial view. The sandwich magically goes back to its original state - two pieces of bread, one with peanut butter on it and one with jelly. Then Sam Fish changes his mind after all and smashes his sandwich back together again. In the end, Sam realizes that he should accept the sandwich his friend made him because he made it with love.

The film's message is that you may not get exactly what you want but if it is made by someone special who loves you, you should accept it just as it is.

I give Gooseberry: Sam's Sandwich 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. By Avalynn G., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 11 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


LYRICS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LYRICS
HSUAN WANG
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Daddy Lo has a rock 'n' roll soul, having written lyrics for Wu Bai and The Party when he was young. Perhaps it's in the genes, as his youngest son, A-nee-gu, also possesses a passionate love for music. Upon returning to school, A-nee-gu decides to vigorously revamp the Chatting Club, embarking on the path of music! Despite encountering various challenges along the way, he never gives up on music, for it's something he cherishes deeply!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Fun and inspiring. We all need a hero to stimulate our ambitions and, in this case, A-nee-gu's hero is his dad.

A young boy discovers that his dad has a rock 'n' roll soul and wrote lyrics for Wu Bai and The Party when he was young. The boy now discovers his own passion for music and gathers together his colleagues to develop their own band. They are pretty terrible at first, but they persevere.

Fun story and very relatable. I love the animation - very upbeat and fun. Good storyline, well executed.

The film's message is about discovering yourself, and maybe being inspired by a parent.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Fun and inspiring. We all need a hero to stimulate our ambitions and, in this case, A-nee-gu's hero is his dad.

A young boy discovers that his dad has a rock 'n' roll soul and wrote lyrics for Wu Bai and The Party when he was young. The boy now discovers his own passion for music and gathers together his colleagues to develop their own band. They are pretty terrible at first, but they persevere.

Fun story and very relatable. I love the animation - very upbeat and fun. Good storyline, well executed.

The film's message is about discovering yourself, and maybe being inspired by a parent.

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


SUJIN THE WONDER SEED

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SUJIN THE WONDER SEED
JESSIE RABIDEAU
Series: INDIE SHORT, 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Sujin the Wonder Seed is swept away in the winds of fate, into the helping hand of Lucy, the Princess of Sun Land. The two take off for good ground, but when the darkness begins to surround, Lucy must overcome her fear, and finds that hope is ever near. By the end (or is it the beginning?) of their journey, both are transformed completely.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is an interesting fantasy of a girl who discovers a seed that changes her life.

The story is about a seed that is swept away and lands in the hand of Lucy, the Princess of Sun Land. The two take off on an adventure, but when night descends, Lucy's fears take over. By the end of their journey (and a long sleep) the seed turns into a gigantic tree.

Well produced with good camera work, good audio and intriguing storyline. I love the narrator's voice - it's very soothing. My favorite part is the ending when we discover who the narrator is and where the story comes from.

The film's message is about trust and transformation.

I give Sujin the Wonder Seed 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. By Samantha G., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is an interesting fantasy of a girl who discovers a seed that changes her life.

The story is about a seed that is swept away and lands in the hand of Lucy, the Princess of Sun Land. The two take off on an adventure, but when night descends, Lucy's fears take over. By the end of their journey (and a long sleep) the seed turns into a gigantic tree.

Well produced with good camera work, good audio and intriguing storyline. I love the narrator's voice - it's very soothing. My favorite part is the ending when we discover who the narrator is and where the story comes from.

The film's message is about trust and transformation.

I give Sujin the Wonder Seed 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. By Samantha G., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


RABBITS UNDER THE SHED 2

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
RABBITS UNDER THE SHED 2
MIA STEGNER
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - After getting bullied for being a weirdo on the school playground, Natalie turns to the rabbits under her shed for help processing her difficult feelings. Together with the bunnies and Harvey the Hawk, Natalie learns valuable lessons about embracing difference and celebrating what makes each of us unique.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Adorable animated short film using "rabbit therapy" to help a young girl deal with her bullying situation.

The storyline follows young Natalie who gets bullied at school for being weirs and she turns to the wise rabbits under her shed for advice. The rabbits along with Harvey the Hawk help Natalie explore ways to look at her situation in this animated musical. They remind her that everyone is unique and "being weird" isn't such a bad thing.

I love how Natalie is depicted quite realistically as a young girl growing up as she talks back to her mom and stresses out over the bullies at school. The animation is quite wonderful - simply drawn and clear. The voices are great, especially the singing voices.

The film's message is about celebrating everyone's differences.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Adorable animated short film using "rabbit therapy" to help a young girl deal with her bullying situation.

The storyline follows young Natalie who gets bullied at school for being weirs and she turns to the wise rabbits under her shed for advice. The rabbits along with Harvey the Hawk help Natalie explore ways to look at her situation in this animated musical. They remind her that everyone is unique and "being weird" isn't such a bad thing.

I love how Natalie is depicted quite realistically as a young girl growing up as she talks back to her mom and stresses out over the bullies at school. The animation is quite wonderful - simply drawn and clear. The voices are great, especially the singing voices.

The film's message is about celebrating everyone's differences.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. I want a rabbit therapist! By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 22 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


CELESTE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CELESTE
FERNANDO MACEDO
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 5-8
Topic - Family
Description - In this captivating tale, we journey with CELESTE, a girl endowed with the unique gift of viewing life through a lens of joy and optimism. Initially confined within a tower, CELESTE ingeniously shifts the perspective of the DRAGON, its keeper, revealing their shared bondage. This revelation prompts the DRAGON to accompany CELESTE on a thrilling adventure across the realm, inspiring various creatures along their path as they endeavor to return to CELESTE's abode in time for her mother's birthday celebration, honoring her mother's belief that "No one should be alone on their birthday."
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I like the film Celeste because of its message, characters, vivid colors and the plot of the story. The characters have emotions and the bright colors of the setting make the movie more fun and exciting.

Celeste (Pamella Rodrigues), the main character, wants to get home in time for her Mama's birthday, but she is stuck in a tower with a dragon (Alfredo Rollo) guarding her. Celeste convinces the dragon to go on an adventure out in the real world, but little does she know, the dragon has a sickness and to cure this sickness, there are two very important ingredients she needs. Will she find the ingredients and get home in time for her Mama's birthday? The film is from Brazil with dialogue in Portuguese with English subtitles.

I like how Celeste always tries to make things right when something is going wrong with someone else and how she cares about everyone. There is also never a moment where I took my eyes off the screen. This isn't the best animation, but I did like the bold and bright colors and the backgrounds. The scenes almost always show a wide shot of all the characters interacting with each other. For example, in one scene, when Celeste is trying to convince the Dragon to go on the adventure it is just the both of them not one or the other. There aren't any shots that really impressed me except when Celeste shows up at her first stop where she is going to help one of the other characters. The animated characters always wear the same thing in the whole film but the costumes suit the storyline well. The backgrounds in this movie are very pretty - on the Dragon and Celeste's adventure there are many types of weather and each of the backgrounds has different colors and settings. The only music of note is when Celeste is helping her first friend and is having a hard time fitting in, so Celeste helps her by letting her find her voice and telling her that everyone is different and has different types of appearances. There are only a few visual effects but they aren't very believable. For example, when one of the characters blows a candle out there is smoke coming from it, but the smoke doesn't look very realistic. I really enjoyed Pamella Rodrigues' voice acting of Celeste; she has the perfect voice for Celeste. Alfredo Rollo's voice of the Dragon is also exceptional. The characters grow throughout the story showing the great synergy between each other. The director, Fernando Macedo is to be commended for his work in telling the story of Celeste. My favorite character is Celeste; she is a little girl with a huge heart, a love of family and wants to help anyone she sees.

The film's message is to always look at life from another perspective and look at the beautiful side of things, other than just complaining and feeling upset about something. It promotes a great message and doesn't have one dull moment.

I give Celeste 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. By Keila V., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like the film Celeste because of its message, characters, vivid colors and the plot of the story. The characters have emotions and the bright colors of the setting make the movie more fun and exciting.

Celeste (Pamella Rodrigues), the main character, wants to get home in time for her Mama's birthday, but she is stuck in a tower with a dragon (Alfredo Rollo) guarding her. Celeste convinces the dragon to go on an adventure out in the real world, but little does she know, the dragon has a sickness and to cure this sickness, there are two very important ingredients she needs. Will she find the ingredients and get home in time for her Mama's birthday? The film is from Brazil with dialogue in Portuguese with English subtitles.

I like how Celeste always tries to make things right when something is going wrong with someone else and how she cares about everyone. There is also never a moment where I took my eyes off the screen. This isn't the best animation, but I did like the bold and bright colors and the backgrounds. The scenes almost always show a wide shot of all the characters interacting with each other. For example, in one scene, when Celeste is trying to convince the Dragon to go on the adventure it is just the both of them not one or the other. There aren't any shots that really impressed me except when Celeste shows up at her first stop where she is going to help one of the other characters. The animated characters always wear the same thing in the whole film but the costumes suit the storyline well. The backgrounds in this movie are very pretty - on the Dragon and Celeste's adventure there are many types of weather and each of the backgrounds has different colors and settings. The only music of note is when Celeste is helping her first friend and is having a hard time fitting in, so Celeste helps her by letting her find her voice and telling her that everyone is different and has different types of appearances. There are only a few visual effects but they aren't very believable. For example, when one of the characters blows a candle out there is smoke coming from it, but the smoke doesn't look very realistic. I really enjoyed Pamella Rodrigues' voice acting of Celeste; she has the perfect voice for Celeste. Alfredo Rollo's voice of the Dragon is also exceptional. The characters grow throughout the story showing the great synergy between each other. The director, Fernando Macedo is to be commended for his work in telling the story of Celeste. My favorite character is Celeste; she is a little girl with a huge heart, a love of family and wants to help anyone she sees.

The film's message is to always look at life from another perspective and look at the beautiful side of things, other than just complaining and feeling upset about something. It promotes a great message and doesn't have one dull moment.

I give Celeste 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. By Keila V., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 29 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


LOVEBUGS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LOVEBUGS
AARON J. DAVIS
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - New Lovebugs are lost after a storm and trying to find their way home. An upset birds heart is broken and tricks his friend into capturing all the love in the world. From India, dialogue in English
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Lovebugs delivers a poignant message about the transformative power of love and unity and its appeal lies in its deeper themes. The fantastical element of lovebug-human connection adds a dimension to the universal concept of love's power. This is shown when the bug lands on the human hand and says that it shows the human will be in love soon. The generational conflict between tradition and innovation within the lovebugs mirrors real-life struggles, while complex characters and plot twists, such as the heartbroken bird, create emotional depth. These elements elevate the story beyond a children's tale, offering layers that resonate with adults.

The storyline is about love when six youth lovebugs vanish, forcing the king to search. The queen warned that their connection to human love weakens with each passing day. As they journey back, the young bugs learn of their role in human love and overcome tradition's hold. Facing a vengeful bird, they secure their future, uniting tradition and innovation to ensure love's timeless power.

In the enchanting world of lovebugs, viewers are whisked away on a heartwarming adventure where talking lovebugs embark on a quest that explores themes of connection and empathy. Nestled within a fantastical setting, the story's rich narrative ignites viewers' curiosity, prompting them to question, explore, and problem-solve alongside the lovebugs. Through vibrant visuals and relatable characters, the importance of relationships, teamwork, and resilience shines through. This not only fosters critical thinking skills but also cultivates empathy in young audiences. The narrative deepens as the lovebugs navigate the challenges of generational conflicts and the tug-of-war between tradition and innovation. This encourages viewers to reflect on societal dynamics and the importance of adaptation. The story invites viewers to embrace change while cherishing their core values with its captivating storyline and universal themes, Lovebugs inspires imagination and fosters a deeper understanding of the world around us.

Packed with adventure and lovable characters, the lovebug story is perfect for young audiences. The young bugs face exciting challenges together, demonstrating the importance of friendship and teamwork. Their mission to keep human love alive adds purpose and emotional depth to the film, while playful elements like lovebug games and songs keep things light and engaging. This mix of adventure, endearing characters, and meaningful themes creates a story young readers will love. This is a captivating adventure that follows a clear arc, with the missing lovebugs sparking an urgent quest. Events unfold naturally, interwoven with engaging subplots such as generational clashes and a vengeful bird. The magical world comes alive with whimsical details and lively dialogue. Young and old bugs alike show growth and resilience, making them relatable characters. With its compelling plot and well-developed characters, the story keeps you hooked, and invested in their journey and their success.

With simple words and familiar ideas like lovebugs, kings, and queens, the film is perfect for young audiences. The language is easy to understand, making it a breeze to follow. Themes like friendship, teamwork, and adventure are exciting for kids, keeping them hooked. The fantastical setting with playful elements like lovebug games adds a fun twist, and the clear conflict between tradition and modern methods feels relevant. This mix of magic, relatable themes, and an exciting world makes the story a great fit for children.

This film has dazzling visuals that capture the magic. Charming performances and skillful directing balance wonder with emotion. Costumes and sets, bursting with detail, also transport viewers. The background music elevates the story, adding emotional depth. The storyline fosters inquiry and critical thinking in children by presenting a fantastical world where talking lovebugs navigate complex themes of connection and empathy especially when they look out for each other. Throughout the film, viewers are prompted to question and explore the boundaries of imagination, while also considering the importance of relationships and teamwork. The story's exploration of generational conflicts and tradition versus innovation encourages problem-solving and perspective-taking, promoting a deeper understanding of societal dynamics. Additionally, the lovebugs' interactions with humans prompt reflection on empathy and acceptance. Overall, the narrative offers rich material for inquiry and investigation, supporting the development of critical thinking skills in its intended audience.

The film teaches us all about love, empathy, and how sticking together makes everything better. Watching the young lovebugs, we learn that friendships, both with other lovebugs and even with humans, are key to happiness. They show us the power of working as a team, being strong when things get tough, and seeing things from other perspectives. The story also reminds us that change is okay, but traditions are important too. We should learn to adapt to new things while holding onto what matters.

I give Lovebugs 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 12. By Gloria G., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 54 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


MR. MOORE'S GIFT

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MR. MOORE'S GIFT
ADAM SENIOR
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - It's almost Christmas in modern day New York and Maggie wants to hear her favourite poem, Twas a Night Before Christmas. But how did this poem come to be written? And who was Clement Clark Moore? As Maggie settles down to sleep there's magic in the air tonight.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really enjoyed the Christmas film Mr. Moore's Gift. It brought back a piece of childhood magic that comes from imagination. The performance, lighting and musical score made me feel like I had been granted VIP access to Santa's factory -- Elf's Honor!

This film is based on the backstory of Clement Clark Moore, author of the poem The Night Before Christmas and part of the story is delivered in iambic pentameter verse, like original poem itself. This is a short film set during Christmastime that tells the story of Mr. Clement Clarke Moore (Scott Bolger) and how he came to write a poem about Santa for his children. A young girl named Maggie (Skye Sconiers) is transported to the past through her dream, where she watches Mr. Moore write his poem and donate a turkey to the man later revealed to be Santa (Thomas Moynahan).

The poem is told beautifully with engaging storytelling and magical effects. The cinematography is beautiful and adds to the holiday warmth of the film. The camera blurs the background at times to show falling snow and moves in a way that makes the viewer feel as if they are on the sleigh. The setting, in Maggie's room, immediately establishes her bubbly, childlike personality. There are lots of smiling animals and the color scheme is very bright with lots of warm colors, such as pink and orange. Her room is very cozy, adding to the festive holiday effect. The sound effects are what really bring the film together. After all, you can't have a Christmas movie without jingle bells. The music is festive and never gets too dramatic, adding to the film's lightheartedness.

Scott Bolger puts on a captivating performance as Mr. Moore. He has a big responsibility as the title character of the film and definitely delivers. Watching the film, I felt as if I was really watching the writing process unfold - I could see his face light up when he came up with an idea, or put on an intense expression when he was in deep thought. Skye Sconiers' performance as Maggie is also worth mentioning - she is anything but shy with her expressions. The amazement on her face is clear, and she obviously is enjoying herself when she meets Santa. My favorite part is the character of Maggie's mother (Afua Busia). Her acting style sets a warm and welcoming tone for the entire film, and she tells the poem in a way that draws the viewer in, almost as if you are hearing a bedtime story. Adults will enjoy the prose and the youngest children will enjoy the Christmas music and hearing about Santa and his reindeer.

The film's message is that you can get so much more out of a story if you truly experience it, rather than just read the words. Imagine yourself in the character's place and you will find yourself temporarily transported into their world. Let yourself fall into a book where everyone has something valuable to teach you.

I give Mr. Moore's gift 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Ella S. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really enjoyed the Christmas film Mr. Moore's Gift. It brought back a piece of childhood magic that comes from imagination. The performance, lighting and musical score made me feel like I had been granted VIP access to Santa's factory -- Elf's Honor!

This film is based on the backstory of Clement Clark Moore, author of the poem The Night Before Christmas and part of the story is delivered in iambic pentameter verse, like original poem itself. This is a short film set during Christmastime that tells the story of Mr. Clement Clarke Moore (Scott Bolger) and how he came to write a poem about Santa for his children. A young girl named Maggie (Skye Sconiers) is transported to the past through her dream, where she watches Mr. Moore write his poem and donate a turkey to the man later revealed to be Santa (Thomas Moynahan).

The poem is told beautifully with engaging storytelling and magical effects. The cinematography is beautiful and adds to the holiday warmth of the film. The camera blurs the background at times to show falling snow and moves in a way that makes the viewer feel as if they are on the sleigh. The setting, in Maggie's room, immediately establishes her bubbly, childlike personality. There are lots of smiling animals and the color scheme is very bright with lots of warm colors, such as pink and orange. Her room is very cozy, adding to the festive holiday effect. The sound effects are what really bring the film together. After all, you can't have a Christmas movie without jingle bells. The music is festive and never gets too dramatic, adding to the film's lightheartedness.

Scott Bolger puts on a captivating performance as Mr. Moore. He has a big responsibility as the title character of the film and definitely delivers. Watching the film, I felt as if I was really watching the writing process unfold - I could see his face light up when he came up with an idea, or put on an intense expression when he was in deep thought. Skye Sconiers' performance as Maggie is also worth mentioning - she is anything but shy with her expressions. The amazement on her face is clear, and she obviously is enjoying herself when she meets Santa. My favorite part is the character of Maggie's mother (Afua Busia). Her acting style sets a warm and welcoming tone for the entire film, and she tells the poem in a way that draws the viewer in, almost as if you are hearing a bedtime story. Adults will enjoy the prose and the youngest children will enjoy the Christmas music and hearing about Santa and his reindeer.

The film's message is that you can get so much more out of a story if you truly experience it, rather than just read the words. Imagine yourself in the character's place and you will find yourself temporarily transported into their world. Let yourself fall into a book where everyone has something valuable to teach you.

I give Mr. Moore's gift 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Ella S. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 15 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


JUNGA THE DANCING YETI IN YETI, SET, GO!

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
JUNGA THE DANCING YETI IN YETI, SET, GO!
STEPHEN TAKO
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-8
Topic - Family
Description - This is the third installment of the award-winning series of films based on the character Junga the Dancing Yeti. When Junga, Groth, Heidi and friends play football on the mountain, they learn important lessons about fair play, forgiveness, making friends, dealing with bullying and more. As the locals prepare for the annual MFL (Mountain Football League) game, the bullying from other players becomes too much to handle for the children. Joining an international cast of voiceover actors, are FIVE former NFL players who lend their voices for this inspirational film - Brian Sipe, Dave Desrochers, Lee Colee, Marques Ogden, Brett Faryniarz, Gregory "Jr" Tolver.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I'm not usually a fan of pan and scan animation, but this short film is book based and the illustrations are really terrific, as is the storyline. The narration is very clear, which I love. And the inclusion of actual NFL plays as part of the voice acting team is terrific. Then, there's the inclusion of music which is an added plus.

The storyline follows Junga, Groth, Heidi and their friends playing football on the mountain where they learn more than football. Fair play, forgiveness, making friends, and dealing with bullies. Joining the cast of voiceover actors, are former NFL players --Brian Sipe, Dave DesRochers, Marques Ogden, Gregory "JR" Tolver and Brett Faryniarz.

Fun short film that offers an interesting way to teach kids pro-social messages while pursuing one of our favorite pastimes, football! Wonderful images - so much that I overlooked the lack of full range animation. Fun songs are interspersed throughout the film. Very child friendly.

The film's message is about being kind, playing fair and making friends.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I'm not usually a fan of pan and scan animation, but this short film is book based and the illustrations are really terrific, as is the storyline. The narration is very clear, which I love. And the inclusion of actual NFL plays as part of the voice acting team is terrific. Then, there's the inclusion of music which is an added plus.

The storyline follows Junga, Groth, Heidi and their friends playing football on the mountain where they learn more than football. Fair play, forgiveness, making friends, and dealing with bullies. Joining the cast of voiceover actors, are former NFL players --Brian Sipe, Dave DesRochers, Marques Ogden, Gregory "JR" Tolver and Brett Faryniarz.

Fun short film that offers an interesting way to teach kids pro-social messages while pursuing one of our favorite pastimes, football! Wonderful images - so much that I overlooked the lack of full range animation. Fun songs are interspersed throughout the film. Very child friendly.

The film's message is about being kind, playing fair and making friends.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 24 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


CHRISTMAS TALE, A

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CHRISTMAS TALE, A
NATALIE A. EVANS
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A young child wishes for all the toys in the world, but soon realizes what's truly important in life. From United Kingdom.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - A Christmas Tale is absolutely incredible! It shows the true meaning of Christmas in a cute way. It also shows how nice it is to spend Christmas with others.

In this stop motion film, a young boy (Rosie Francis) wishes he could have all the toys in the world for Christmas. His wish is soon granted but he realizes that what is most important and all he needs - is family.

I like that the story is very easy to follow and is very simple. This film is perfect for younger kids because they can easily understand the plot. The camera angles are great. One of my favorite shots is when the young boy is looking in all of the windows and the camera is inside, which makes the viewer curious about what the is actually seeing. The costumes are suitable; since this film takes place during the cold winter season, the characters are all bundled up. For example, when the young boy goes out for oil, he wears a jacket, a scarf, and a hat. The backgrounds are perfect for the story, showing both indoor and outdoor scenes. The background music and sound effects are definitely well executed. For the sound effects, one example are the chimes when the young boy is staring at the toy store, which makes it obvious that there is some sort of magic happening in the toy store. The visual effects are believable -- when the young boy's dream comes true, the flash of light makes it seem that something has changed in the boy's reality. The young boy has some character development. At the beginning, the boy only wants toys for Christmas and doesn't realize that he needs his mom as well. Throughout the film, the boy realizes that he doesn't need a whole bunch of toys, he only needs his mom. I commend the director, Natalie A. Evans, for her excellent work creating this stop motion film; it reminded me how detailed and involved it is to make stop motion animation. My favorite part is the ending when the boy opens the door to the elderly man in, revealing to the audience that the boy has invited him for Christmas so that he is not alone. This shows how the boy understands that Christmas is not a time where you should be alone. The film had some pixilation at the beginning, but for the rest of the time it was fine.

The film's message is that Christmas isn't about the gifts you receive, the best gift of all is family.

I give A Christmas Tale 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Ari P. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A Christmas Tale is absolutely incredible! It shows the true meaning of Christmas in a cute way. It also shows how nice it is to spend Christmas with others.

In this stop motion film, a young boy (Rosie Francis) wishes he could have all the toys in the world for Christmas. His wish is soon granted but he realizes that what is most important and all he needs - is family.

I like that the story is very easy to follow and is very simple. This film is perfect for younger kids because they can easily understand the plot. The camera angles are great. One of my favorite shots is when the young boy is looking in all of the windows and the camera is inside, which makes the viewer curious about what the is actually seeing. The costumes are suitable; since this film takes place during the cold winter season, the characters are all bundled up. For example, when the young boy goes out for oil, he wears a jacket, a scarf, and a hat. The backgrounds are perfect for the story, showing both indoor and outdoor scenes. The background music and sound effects are definitely well executed. For the sound effects, one example are the chimes when the young boy is staring at the toy store, which makes it obvious that there is some sort of magic happening in the toy store. The visual effects are believable -- when the young boy's dream comes true, the flash of light makes it seem that something has changed in the boy's reality. The young boy has some character development. At the beginning, the boy only wants toys for Christmas and doesn't realize that he needs his mom as well. Throughout the film, the boy realizes that he doesn't need a whole bunch of toys, he only needs his mom. I commend the director, Natalie A. Evans, for her excellent work creating this stop motion film; it reminded me how detailed and involved it is to make stop motion animation. My favorite part is the ending when the boy opens the door to the elderly man in, revealing to the audience that the boy has invited him for Christmas so that he is not alone. This shows how the boy understands that Christmas is not a time where you should be alone. The film had some pixilation at the beginning, but for the rest of the time it was fine.

The film's message is that Christmas isn't about the gifts you receive, the best gift of all is family.

I give A Christmas Tale 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Ari P. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 7 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SOCCER FOOTBALL MOVIE, THE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SOCCER FOOTBALL MOVIE, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SPLASH STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - An "evil doctor" ("Weird Al" Yankovic) wants to steal the world's best soccer players' talents, skills, and abilities. He targets Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Megan Rapinoe (both playing themselves) and turns them into horrifying "mutant" monster versions of themselves. But with the help of some children soccer players, "Weird Al" will have to overcome their team of heroes that relies on hard work and practice instead of a magic serum.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see young comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Soccer Football Movie is a delightful blend of humor, heart, and thrilling action sequences. From start to finish, the film captivated me with its engaging storyline and charming characters. It's a joyride that kept me hooked throughout.

In this animated adventure, a group of plucky kids, known as the Creature Catchers, embarks on an exciting journey to witness their soccer heroes, Zlatan and Megan Rapinoe (voiced by themselves) in action. However, their plans take an unexpected turn when they discover that the players have been mutated by a strange slimy slug concocted by the eccentric Weird Al (voiced by Weird Al Yankovic). Now the creature catchers must team up with superstars to thwart a monstrous creature created by the nefarious slime.

This movie is a true gem! The clever humor, stellar voice acting, and stunning animation make it a joyride from start to finish. The jokes had me laughing out loud, and the voice acting by the remarkable cast brings the characters to life in a way that is both entertaining and endearing. The animation is top notch, with vibrant visuals that capture the excitement of the soccer matches, and the chaos of the creature's rampage. Moreover, the underlying message of unity and camaraderie adds depth to the storyline, making it a film that resonates long after the credits roll. Watching the creature catchers and the soccer stars come together to overcome obstacles and defeat the common enemy is not only thrilling, but also uplifting. The Soccer Football Movie is a winner for both soccer fans and animation lovers.

The film's message is that teamwork makes the dreamwork, and that with support anything can get done.

I give The Soccer Football Movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 through 12; this film is available on most streaming platforms now, be sure to check it out.

By Gavin S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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


ARTHUR THE KING

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ARTHUR THE KING       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
LIONSGATE FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Over the course of ten days and 435 miles, an unbreakable bond is forged between pro adventure racer Michael Light (Mark Wahlberg) and a scrappy street dog companion dubbed Arthur. Based on an incredible true story, Arthur The King follows Light, desperate for one last chance to win, as he convinces a sponsor to back him and a team of athletes (Simu Liu, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Ali Suliman) for the Adventure Racing World Championship in the Dominican Republic. As the team is pushed to their outer limits of endurance in the race, Arthur redefines what victory, loyalty and friendship truly mean.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Arthur The King is a captivating emotional journey that tugs at your heartstrings, leaving you teary-eyed yet filled with a sense of joy. This film is a delightful blend of suspense, humor, and adventure, making it a must-watch for audiences of all ages.

Based on the true story of Mikeal Lindnord (Mark Wahlberg), the movie takes us on a thrilling ride as Mikeal and his group set out to win a race that will go down in history. However, their journey takes an unexpected turn when they encounter Arthur (Ukai), a lovable dog who becomes an integral part of their team.

What makes Arthur The King truly special is its ability to resonate with both dog lovers and non-dog lovers alike. The film's visuals are breathtakingly natural, capturing the beauty of the outdoors with stunning cinematography and seamless editing. It's evident that the crew poured their hearts into bringing this true story to life, and their dedication shines through in every frame. Mark Wahlberg's portrayal of Mikeal Lindnord is nothing short of remarkable. He exudes leadership and compassion, especially towards Arthur, which instantly endears him to the audience. Ukai's performance as Arthur adds depth and charm to the film, elevating it to new heights. One of the film's greatest strengths is its pacing. Despite its quick pace, Arthur The King never feels rushed. Instead, it effectively conveys the message of the film - that a dog truly is man's best friend - in a short amount of time, leaving a lasting impact on the audience.

The message is "dog is man's best friend" and it serves as a reminder of the special connection between humans and dogs.

I give Arthur The King 4 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults (and dog lovers.) This film is a heartwarming tale that will leave you laughing, crying, and ultimately feeling uplifted. Don't miss your chance to experience this emotional thrill ride when it hits theaters on March 15, 2024.

By David E., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Arthur the King is a great family film and a good movie with a strong main character and a heartwarming story. However, even with all these great aspects, the greatest part of this film is the dog.

The story focuses on Mikael Linord (Mark Wahlberg) is a renowned adventure racer who has a lot of medals but has never won the championship. He tries to get back into the sport that he loves, but along comes a furry friend to help him overcome his fears and possibly win the championship. The team adopts the dog and the adventure begins.

Arthur the King does everything right. To start off the protagonist, Mikael goes through a simple but great character journey, starting off the film as someone who refuses to listen to other people's point of view but grows as a person learning to consider others ideas by the end. Mikael isn't the only thing that makes this film good-- it's also a heartwarming story about family. If you're looking for a good film you can see with your family this is the one--you'll be happy watching this film. You may feel a little sad but mostly you'll be rooting for the characters to succeed. And Arthur the dog will win you over. The filmmakers make sure you love Arthur and hope that it never gets hurt and that it succeeds. That leads to us getting invested in this dog, and in Mikael's story, which creates strong emotional moments.

The theme of Arthur the King is that sometimes you have one goal and yet achieving that goal isn't necessarily the most important thing in your life. The theme is portrayed by Mikael as learns that his goal isn't what's most important to him--it's what he has that he takes for granted.

I give Arthur the King 3.5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. This film releases in theaters March 15, 2024.

By Rayce S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

By Rayce S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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

Buy Here (from LIONSGATE FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT)


PARK SLOPE PANICS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
PARK SLOPE PANICS
JACK HERMILLER
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 2-8
Topic - Family
Description - We start out in Park Slope, a humble neighborhood, in which a man starts his day by taking his dog to Harmony Playground. The man carelessly lets the dog roam free. The dog notices a small rabbit and chases it through classic settings in Park Slope with the man hot on his heels, causing chaos along the way. The man's misfortune soon leads to a calming afternoon at Nitehawk Cinema.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I loved watching Park Slope Panics! This short film is a cute and well-crafted stop motion LEGO animated film. It made me laugh and was really cool to watch.

Park Slope Panics follows a dog owner who takes his dog to the park. The dog sees a rabbit and runs off wreaking havoc around the park, ruining a picnic, and causing another dog to get loose. The film is short and it's certainly a good watch.

It's cute and, because it's so short and stop-motion at that, there's not a whole lot of leeway to fully develop a story. This one is interesting and, given the time constraints, delivers. I'm a big fan of stop motion films and this is well put together. The movement of the dog running through the streets and even some of the swift movements and face changes of the LEGOS hit home. I love the use of sound effects in the film, from objects and movements in the town, to the dog barking. The sounds are realistic; you can tell they were self-produced which makes it cool, especially since it shows the commitment of the filmmaker to create unique sounds. There isn't much voice acting, just exclamatory sounds from the characters, the dog barking, and some small speaking lines. The creator, Jack, is the writer, director, editor, animator and star. His work speaks for itself - it's terrific. As someone who loves watching those kinds of films, I was impressed at the high quality of the stop motion work, and look forward to seeing more from Jack. My favorite part is just the stop motion LEGOS. This film doesn't have much of a message - it just follows a dog chasing a rabbit around a park. Perhaps the message is to keep an eye on your pets at a park because bad things can happen.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8, plus adults. By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I loved watching Park Slope Panics! This short film is a cute and well-crafted stop motion LEGO animated film. It made me laugh and was really cool to watch.

Park Slope Panics follows a dog owner who takes his dog to the park. The dog sees a rabbit and runs off wreaking havoc around the park, ruining a picnic, and causing another dog to get loose. The film is short and it's certainly a good watch.

It's cute and, because it's so short and stop-motion at that, there's not a whole lot of leeway to fully develop a story. This one is interesting and, given the time constraints, delivers. I'm a big fan of stop motion films and this is well put together. The movement of the dog running through the streets and even some of the swift movements and face changes of the LEGOS hit home. I love the use of sound effects in the film, from objects and movements in the town, to the dog barking. The sounds are realistic; you can tell they were self-produced which makes it cool, especially since it shows the commitment of the filmmaker to create unique sounds. There isn't much voice acting, just exclamatory sounds from the characters, the dog barking, and some small speaking lines. The creator, Jack, is the writer, director, editor, animator and star. His work speaks for itself - it's terrific. As someone who loves watching those kinds of films, I was impressed at the high quality of the stop motion work, and look forward to seeing more from Jack. My favorite part is just the stop motion LEGOS. This film doesn't have much of a message - it just follows a dog chasing a rabbit around a park. Perhaps the message is to keep an eye on your pets at a park because bad things can happen.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8, plus adults. By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 4 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


CARDBOARD MAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


GHOULASH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


DANCING SQUID

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CAN HYDROPONIC FARMING HELP REDUCE THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE?

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CAN HYDROPONIC FARMING HELP REDUCE THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE?
GREEN OUR PLANET
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-8
Topic - Family
Description - "Can Hydroponic Farming Help Reduce the Effects of Climate Change?" is an entertaining and educational short film. Rachel and her remarkable robot companion, Rex, witness the dire consequences of climate change through news reports of devastating natural disasters. When Rex encounters an alien emissary, he embarks on a journey to a ruined world where pollution and climate change led to the collapse of an entire civilization. Returning to Earth the three main causes of global warming are reveal--electricity production, transportation, and wasteful agriculture--and stress the importance of transitioning to clean energy sources, electric transport, and hydroponic farming. Rex takes on the mission of educating robots and humans alike about combating climate change. The film ends with a global commitment to address the crisis and a poignant celebration of Rex's role in this vital endeavor, reminding us of the urgency to protect our planet from climate catastrophe.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Can Hydroponic Farming Help Reduce the Effects of Climate Change?

This film is certainly impactful in outlining climate change, its causes, and offers some amazing solutions on how to fix the world in which we live. The animated characters easily captivate and educate viewers making this a perfect film for elementary classrooms.

Can Hydroponic Farming Help Reduce the Effects of Climate Change? Is an animated short film which presents viewers with the problem of climate change and reasons for which it is occurring. Worried for their future on Earth, Rachel and her robot friend Rex ponder ways to improve the world that they live in. Rex's alien encounter and the journey that they take allows the robot to get a first hand perspective on the need for immediate change on Earth.

The title of this film is somewhat misleading as I expected to learn more about the technique of hydroponics as a solution to global warming. The story line is excellent, however most of the film focuses on climate change, rather than on hydroponics. I enjoyed the way in which the information is presented and the animation is perfect for early learners. The animation is engaging, making it fun for young viewers. The characters are effective in bringing focus and detail to the problems our generation is facing and easily allows kids to understand the bigger picture. Camera angles on the characters are eye level which are great allowing viewers to more easily connect with them.

The animated characters are brightly dressed and have an intriguing look to them. All characters appear sci-fi which are perfect for the story line. The animators mixed it up a bit by adding a variety of life forms as characters; humans, robots and aliens. Backgrounds include Earth, other planets, and outer space all of which are creative and very interesting. The other planets and outer space backgrounds are imaginative which helps to hold our interest. Those backgrounds depict a very depleted world plagued with overcrowding, pollution, and deforestation and send a powerful message to viewers. The choice of music for both the intro and outro doesn't seem to fit the film. Something more sci-fi or techno may have fit the film better. Other music throughout was appropriate, especially when giving scientific meanings of concepts being explained. Animated characters show good emotion allowing connection to viewers. Rachel is full of fear for the unknown and delivers her concerns appropriately given the circumstances. The alien in an attempt to give a call to action to make change for Earthlings, speaks in a monotone and direct manner which gives great importance to his words. Star power goes to Rex the robot, as he delivers great knowledge to viewers in such a fun and expressive way. It is obvious that director Kevin Leadingham has a true passion for entertaining, educating, and making positive change. This is an impactful short film that I hope finds its way into elementary classrooms everywhere. This film delivers such important education in a fun way and the film's message of making positive change is critical for future generations. Although I absolutely love the film's message, the animation, and the problems addressing climate change, I question whether the production values are high enough to screen it on the big screen. Its use might be restricted to online or classroom type viewing. Also, the title is misleading. The film's focus is more on the impact of climate change rather than on the solution of hydroponics. My favorite part of the film is its message which addresses the need for change. Humans are depleting valuable resources on Earth and if we are to make positive change for future generations, change is critical. Several solutions with proven positive results are possible but change starts with each of us.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Can Hydroponic Farming Help Reduce the Effects of Climate Change?

This film is certainly impactful in outlining climate change, its causes, and offers some amazing solutions on how to fix the world in which we live. The animated characters easily captivate and educate viewers making this a perfect film for elementary classrooms.

Can Hydroponic Farming Help Reduce the Effects of Climate Change? Is an animated short film which presents viewers with the problem of climate change and reasons for which it is occurring. Worried for their future on Earth, Rachel and her robot friend Rex ponder ways to improve the world that they live in. Rex's alien encounter and the journey that they take allows the robot to get a first hand perspective on the need for immediate change on Earth.

The title of this film is somewhat misleading as I expected to learn more about the technique of hydroponics as a solution to global warming. The story line is excellent, however most of the film focuses on climate change, rather than on hydroponics. I enjoyed the way in which the information is presented and the animation is perfect for early learners. The animation is engaging, making it fun for young viewers. The characters are effective in bringing focus and detail to the problems our generation is facing and easily allows kids to understand the bigger picture. Camera angles on the characters are eye level which are great allowing viewers to more easily connect with them.

The animated characters are brightly dressed and have an intriguing look to them. All characters appear sci-fi which are perfect for the story line. The animators mixed it up a bit by adding a variety of life forms as characters; humans, robots and aliens. Backgrounds include Earth, other planets, and outer space all of which are creative and very interesting. The other planets and outer space backgrounds are imaginative which helps to hold our interest. Those backgrounds depict a very depleted world plagued with overcrowding, pollution, and deforestation and send a powerful message to viewers. The choice of music for both the intro and outro doesn't seem to fit the film. Something more sci-fi or techno may have fit the film better. Other music throughout was appropriate, especially when giving scientific meanings of concepts being explained. Animated characters show good emotion allowing connection to viewers. Rachel is full of fear for the unknown and delivers her concerns appropriately given the circumstances. The alien in an attempt to give a call to action to make change for Earthlings, speaks in a monotone and direct manner which gives great importance to his words. Star power goes to Rex the robot, as he delivers great knowledge to viewers in such a fun and expressive way. It is obvious that director Kevin Leadingham has a true passion for entertaining, educating, and making positive change. This is an impactful short film that I hope finds its way into elementary classrooms everywhere. This film delivers such important education in a fun way and the film's message of making positive change is critical for future generations. Although I absolutely love the film's message, the animation, and the problems addressing climate change, I question whether the production values are high enough to screen it on the big screen. Its use might be restricted to online or classroom type viewing. Also, the title is misleading. The film's focus is more on the impact of climate change rather than on the solution of hydroponics. My favorite part of the film is its message which addresses the need for change. Humans are depleting valuable resources on Earth and if we are to make positive change for future generations, change is critical. Several solutions with proven positive results are possible but change starts with each of us.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 11 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


I SQUISHED GRANDPA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


LUKI AND THE LIGHTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


ROY GEE & BIV

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ROY GEE & BIV
PETER JURADO
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 2-8
Topic - Family
Description - You just found the lost VHS copy of Roy, Gee & Biv! An educational live-action puppet show that focuses on teaching kids of all ages about different forms of art through examples and by interviewing artists. In this short adventure, our three stars learn about painting.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I like the film Roy Gee & Biv - it's a great educational film, has superb voice acting, and on-point puppetry. There are a few kinks that need to be worked out, but other than that, it is very enjoyable.

Three friends, Roy (Kyle Collesano), Gee (Peter Jurado) and Biv (Leah Voysey), start off the show by getting today's activity delivered: paints! They learn how to mix paints, paint on a canvas, and meet three new friends who are professional artists.

The plot is very adorable; it is so cute to see the puppets struggle with their portraits, and in the end they look lovely. The storyline is similar to Elmo's World but they add the twist of having multiple puppets. The camera work is a bit shaky at times - there are often white streaks across the screen, and the quality is very pixelated. Not only does the video need work but the audio is second rate. It is muffled at times and I have to strain my ears to hear. The puppets are adorable and their appearances fit their names. I like how colorful the artist's outfits are. The set was mediocre, with just a black curtain and a black table; however the artist studios' are beautiful and I love seeing their artwork displayed. The voice acting for Biv is stellar. Leah Vysey completely portrays the posh and bossy puppet and is, without a doubt, my favorite character! The screenplay is impeccable. The most outstanding part of the film is when Maria Lomboni (one of the artists) starts talking about how you should never give up and that all art is beautiful because everybody's style is different, so there is no 'wrong' way in art.

The film's message is about exploring new hobbies and having fun while doing it.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. By Sofia T.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - like the film Roy Gee & Biv - it's a great educational film, has superb voice acting, and on-point puppetry. There are a few kinks that need to be worked out, but other than that, it is very enjoyable.

Three friends, Roy (Kyle Collesano), Gee (Peter Jurado) and Biv (Leah Voysey), start off the show by getting today's activity delivered: paints! They learn how to mix paints, paint on a canvas, and meet three new friends who are professional artists.

The plot is very adorable; it is so cute to see the puppets struggle with their portraits, and in the end they look lovely. The storyline is similar to Elmo's World but they add the twist of having multiple puppets. The camera work is a bit shaky at times - there are often white streaks across the screen, and the quality is very pixelated. Not only does the video need work but the audio is second rate. It is muffled at times and I have to strain my ears to hear. The puppets are adorable and their appearances fit their names. I like how colorful the artist's outfits are. The set was mediocre, with just a black curtain and a black table; however the artist studios' are beautiful and I love seeing their artwork displayed. The voice acting for Biv is stellar. Leah Vysey completely portrays the posh and bossy puppet and is, without a doubt, my favorite character! The screenplay is impeccable. The most outstanding part of the film is when Maria Lomboni (one of the artists) starts talking about how you should never give up and that all art is beautiful because everybody's style is different, so there is no 'wrong' way in art.

The film's message is about exploring new hobbies and having fun while doing it.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. By Sofia T.
Runtime: 10 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


OUR LAND

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
OUR LAND
RACHEL DOOLIN
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 2-8
Topic - Family
Description - "Our Land" was created in partnership with the children attending Ulla Beag preschool, located in the rural setting of Ogonnelloe, County Clare in the West of Ireland. Ulla Beag is an early childhood education setting renowned for its commitment to inclusivity and environmental awareness, prioritizing equal educational opportunities for all students. They adopt a child-centered learning approach and foster a creative learning environment. The school's educational approach revolves around Play-Based learning, as articulated in the Aistear curriculum. Aistear is the early childhood curriculum framework for all children from birth to six in Ireland. The principles of Aistear emphasize the importance of children's interests in shaping day-to-day educational plans. Extensive research supports the idea that play-based learning is the most effective method for children to acquire knowledge and skills.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed Our Land; it reminded me of an outdoor class I had as a preschooler. I remember experiencing the wonderment, curiosity and pleasure just as these children are doing!. This is a pleasant film filled with innocence and joy.

The film explores an outdoor area that children use to explore and play. The audience listens to the children as they explain how they interact with nature and express their joy while doing so.

Denise Sheridan (preschool owner) and Rachel Doolin (film director) have created an outstanding collaboration that shows the importance of unstructured play in a natural setting. There isn't really a plot, or linear storyline. It is more of a descriptive piece about an area where children play. The camera shows many areas of the play place and includes interesting closeups of things such as flowers and bees. The set is paramount to the storyline. I enjoyed the introduction and outro music. In the intro and outro there is a scene with mini fairy boots and a welcome sign - at the beginning I wondered if the film would be about fairies and "their land," however, that is not the case. The subjects in the film are children and they accurately describe the space in the film and how they feel about being there. They feel happy, curious and joyful. I enjoyed listening to the children talking about where bugs live, singing about the different kinds of dirt and expressing their joy for the log walk.

The film's message is about the importance of unstructured play in a natural setting that supports children's curiosity and learning.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. By Avalynn G., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I enjoyed Our Land; it reminded me of an outdoor class I had as a preschooler. I remember experiencing the wonderment, curiosity and pleasure just as these children are doing!. This is a pleasant film filled with innocence and joy.

The film explores an outdoor area that children use to explore and play. The audience listens to the children as they explain how they interact with nature and express their joy while doing so.

Denise Sheridan (preschool owner) and Rachel Doolin (film director) have created an outstanding collaboration that shows the importance of unstructured play in a natural setting. There isn't really a plot, or linear storyline. It is more of a descriptive piece about an area where children play. The camera shows many areas of the play place and includes interesting closeups of things such as flowers and bees. The set is paramount to the storyline. I enjoyed the introduction and outro music. In the intro and outro there is a scene with mini fairy boots and a welcome sign - at the beginning I wondered if the film would be about fairies and "their land," however, that is not the case. The subjects in the film are children and they accurately describe the space in the film and how they feel about being there. They feel happy, curious and joyful. I enjoyed listening to the children talking about where bugs live, singing about the different kinds of dirt and expressing their joy for the log walk.

The film's message is about the importance of unstructured play in a natural setting that supports children's curiosity and learning.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. By Avalynn G., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO



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