The Ages 2-5 category has 3106 KIDS FIRST! endorsed titles

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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 -
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
ART WEISS
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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


HOW TO MAKE A FILM ABOUT MY SON, JACK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


LUKI AND THE LIGHTS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LUKI AND THE LIGHTS
TOBY COCHRAN
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic -
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 -
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 -
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


CANDY LADY, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CANDY LADY, THE
TAYLOR WALKER
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 2-8
Topic -
Description - After saving up enough money, a spunky, and ambitious Black girl named Kiki, is finally able to get her hands on her favorite treat - the Kool Cup. Unfortunately for her, the Candy Lady runs out. Desperate, Kiki must act boldly to finally get her hands on her favorite treat.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - With a simple story and crisp animation, the short and sweet film The Candy Lady is sure to win the hearts of young viewers.

A young girl Kiki has finally saved up enough money to be able to buy her favorite treat, the Kool Cup. But the Candy Lady runs out. Kiki must figure out how to get her hands on the sweet treat in a kind and effective way.

The story is simple and lends itself to a clean, animated short film. The emotions of the characters are highly relatable for young kids watching the film. The animation is a high point of this short piece. Jide Johnson's past work on Cartoon Network, the BBC and Sony Animation Pictures is evident as they craft a spellbinding story through visuals. Each frame is vibrant and clear, while also not seeming too cookie-cutterish. The backgrounds are vibrant in classic cartoon style and suit the storyline. In scenes where there's no dialogue, the music conveys the feelings of the characters and sets the pace of the film; my favorite parts of the musical score were when Kiki's worry, her happiness, and her mother's surprise were each expressed solely through rhythm. Sky Raylyn Warren plays Kiki -- she's the star of the film, despite it being named for Arnecia Ward's character, The Candy Lady. Warren commits to the role and her voiceovers fit her role as a young, spunky girl. Ward's minimal screen time doesn't mean she has any less of an impact; as the only other named character, she drives the action for much of the short film. The animator deserves all the praise in the world, as does Taylor Walker who directs and produced this piece. The execution is clean and flawless! I love the ending scene with Kiki and The Candy Lady -- I won't spoil it for you, but it's really charming and heartwarming.

The film's message is that kindness and patience both pay off!

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - With a simple story and crisp animation, the short and sweet film The Candy Lady is sure to win the hearts of young viewers.

A young girl Kiki has finally saved up enough money to be able to buy her favorite treat, the Kool Cup. But the Candy Lady runs out. Kiki must figure out how to get her hands on the sweet treat in a kind and effective way.

The story is simple and lends itself to a clean, animated short film. The emotions of the characters are highly relatable for young kids watching the film. The animation is a high point of this short piece. Jide Johnson's past work on Cartoon Network, the BBC and Sony Animation Pictures is evident as they craft a spellbinding story through visuals. Each frame is vibrant and clear, while also not seeming too cookie-cutterish. The backgrounds are vibrant in classic cartoon style and suit the storyline. In scenes where there's no dialogue, the music conveys the feelings of the characters and sets the pace of the film; my favorite parts of the musical score were when Kiki's worry, her happiness, and her mother's surprise were each expressed solely through rhythm. Sky Raylyn Warren plays Kiki -- she's the star of the film, despite it being named for Arnecia Ward's character, The Candy Lady. Warren commits to the role and her voiceovers fit her role as a young, spunky girl. Ward's minimal screen time doesn't mean she has any less of an impact; as the only other named character, she drives the action for much of the short film. The animator deserves all the praise in the world, as does Taylor Walker who directs and produced this piece. The execution is clean and flawless! I love the ending scene with Kiki and The Candy Lady -- I won't spoil it for you, but it's really charming and heartwarming.

The film's message is that kindness and patience both pay off!

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


BONNO EVERSONG AND THE 20 SIDES OF FATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SPLASH!

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SPLASH!
NATHAN RIGAUD
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 2-8
Topic -
Description - In the harsh but beautiful environment of the Arctic, a young Harp Seal pup must find his courage to overcome his fear of the water he was born to play in.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Splash! is truly a breath of fresh air - or ocean water perhaps. I love the animated characters and the loving relationship between the whale pup and its mom.

The storyline follows a young Harp seal living in the harsh but beautiful environment of the Arctic who is fearful of the water. As he watches the other seals play in the water, his mom gently nudges him toward the edge of the ice. But no, he scampers away in fear. Finally, he gathers enough courage to join the other seals and discovers the joys of swimming in the ocean.

This animated short is a joy to watch and quite suitable for younger viewers who can relate to the young pup's fearfulness perhaps. The animation is crisp, the movement of the characters flows easily and the colors are beautiful. The background music by Henry Cavalier perfectly suits the film's story. This would make a wonderful interstitial at any KIDS FIRST! film festival.

The film's message is about overcoming your fears and discovering the joys on the other side of them.

I give Splash! 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Splash! is truly a breath of fresh air - or ocean water perhaps. I love the animated characters and the loving relationship between the whale pup and its mom.

The storyline follows a young Harp seal living in the harsh but beautiful environment of the Arctic who is fearful of the water. As he watches the other seals play in the water, his mom gently nudges him toward the edge of the ice. But no, he scampers away in fear. Finally, he gathers enough courage to join the other seals and discovers the joys of swimming in the ocean.

This animated short is a joy to watch and quite suitable for younger viewers who can relate to the young pup's fearfulness perhaps. The animation is crisp, the movement of the characters flows easily and the colors are beautiful. The background music by Henry Cavalier perfectly suits the film's story. This would make a wonderful interstitial at any KIDS FIRST! film festival.

The film's message is about overcoming your fears and discovering the joys on the other side of them.

I give Splash! 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 4 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


5678 WITH A CHANCE OF A HURRICANE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
5678 WITH A CHANCE OF A HURRICANE
GUNTA LIEPINA-MILLER
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic -
Description - "5678 With A Chance Of A Hurricane" is a dance film, in which dancers explore Santa Ana train station when stranded there due to a hurricane.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I love the choreography and the use of this beautiful train station as the girls explore the facility through dance while stranded in this short film, 5678 With A Chance Of A Hurricane. I especially enjoyed the scenes utilizing the rotunda.

The film follows dancers exploring the exterior and interior of the Santa Ana train station when they are stranded there during a hurricane.

The production quality of this short film is exceptional and I really enjoyed the dancing and the location. Great choreography. I loved the dancing and the costumes. The 14 young dancers are quite proficient and truly a joy to watch. The cinematography under the direction of Director of Photography, Leandro Glory Damasco Jr., is very good. I especially enjoyed the views of the rotunda from the top while girls are dancing below and the reverse scenes looking up when the girls' movements are synchronized at the top levels of the rotunda. The costumes are outstanding and simple - each of the dancer's costume is unique yet they are all similar in look - loose pants, cropped sleeveless t's and sports bras - all within the same color family that blends well with the scenery so the focus is not on the costumes but on the dancers and the station. The white sneakers draw your attention to the movement of their feet. The Santa Ana train station is quite beautiful and the film utilizes it beautifully through the cinematography and choreography showcasing both the building's interior and exterior. The music by Reinis Ozolins is perfect and fits with the rain in the storyline. The only thing that is slightly off is that it seems the rain would have been more violent rather than the mild rain we see, since the story is supposed to be taking place during a hurricane. There is no dialogue in this short films and no specific characters or speakers - the dancers are expressive through their movements. Kudos to director, writer, producer and choreographer Gunta Liepina-Miller for an extraordinary film. My favorite scene is the dance the girls perform in the top sections of the rotunda which is filmed from below. It almost reminds me of a kaleidoscope.

The film's message is to explore life and its possibilities, even when the unexpected happens. The journey is as important as the destination.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. By Selene W., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love the choreography and the use of this beautiful train station as the girls explore the facility through dance while stranded in this short film, 5678 With A Chance Of A Hurricane. I especially enjoyed the scenes utilizing the rotunda.

The film follows dancers exploring the exterior and interior of the Santa Ana train station when they are stranded there during a hurricane.

The production quality of this short film is exceptional and I really enjoyed the dancing and the location. Great choreography. I loved the dancing and the costumes. The 14 young dancers are quite proficient and truly a joy to watch. The cinematography under the direction of Director of Photography, Leandro Glory Damasco Jr., is very good. I especially enjoyed the views of the rotunda from the top while girls are dancing below and the reverse scenes looking up when the girls' movements are synchronized at the top levels of the rotunda. The costumes are outstanding and simple - each of the dancer's costume is unique yet they are all similar in look - loose pants, cropped sleeveless t's and sports bras - all within the same color family that blends well with the scenery so the focus is not on the costumes but on the dancers and the station. The white sneakers draw your attention to the movement of their feet. The Santa Ana train station is quite beautiful and the film utilizes it beautifully through the cinematography and choreography showcasing both the building's interior and exterior. The music by Reinis Ozolins is perfect and fits with the rain in the storyline. The only thing that is slightly off is that it seems the rain would have been more violent rather than the mild rain we see, since the story is supposed to be taking place during a hurricane. There is no dialogue in this short films and no specific characters or speakers - the dancers are expressive through their movements. Kudos to director, writer, producer and choreographer Gunta Liepina-Miller for an extraordinary film. My favorite scene is the dance the girls perform in the top sections of the rotunda which is filmed from below. It almost reminds me of a kaleidoscope.

The film's message is to explore life and its possibilities, even when the unexpected happens. The journey is as important as the destination.

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


NEEDLZ & SKRATCH

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
NEEDLZ & SKRATCH
WILLIE HARPER
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 2-5
Topic -
Description - Calling all preschoolers - Class is in session at the Needlz and Skratch hip hop repair workshop! During each lesson, a musical instrument character interrupts the class, requesting a new repair. With a spin from TT45's magical records, preschoolers go on a journey understanding the history and function of different instruments. It's a race against the clock to return and repair the problem before the instruments performance starts!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Needlz & Skratch is an appealing short film. It's very colorful and fun, which is perfect for its younger audience. However, the voice over acting is a little bit weak and the script is very repetitive, but it definitely gets the point across.

Needlz and Skratch are puppet siblings who have a lot of fun solving problems within their workshop, which revolves around music and instruments. In this film, Needlz gets Skratch a surprise, but they can't seem to figure out how to open the box to see what's inside. They realize that they have to solve various problems and do different tasks in order to unlock and open the box, revealing Skratch's surprise.

The film is cute and the plot clever and fun and it's perfect for preschoolers who would find it funny and engaging. It's an interesting blend of animation, live action and puppets. The animation is very colorful and the use of color carries over to Needlz and Skratch's costumes as well as their workshop area where the various instruments introduce a wide spectrum of colors to the screen. In addition, the little details of the characters and backgrounds make the film all the more interesting and add depth to what's happening. While the backgrounds can be a little bit bland at times, they are always colorful and don't take away from the action and dialogue of the film.. There is a lot of featured music and some sound effects. The music is fun and exciting and pretty juvenile, which is perfect for its audience. It's also creatively incorporated into the story of the film, not just thrown in at random points. With the story revolving around music and instruments, it's cool to see these instruments come to life and the different scenarios that cause the characters or instruments to break out in song. Voiceover actor Melissa Lugo uses a very loud and nasally tone as Needlz. While this helps grab the audience's attention, it can get a bit annoying. Willie L. Harper also has an energetic voice over as Skratch, keeping the audience engaged. These characters don't have much growth over the course of the film. My favorite part of this film is the music. The featured music really stands out as the strongest aspect. It's engaging and fun, and grabbed my attention right away. The musical numbers where the instruments come to life are so fun, and are definitely my favorite part of this film.

This film's messages are about kindness, being friendly and kind, having fun, and using cooperation for teamwork skills.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 5. By Kyla C., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Needlz & Skratch is an appealing short film. It's very colorful and fun, which is perfect for its younger audience. However, the voice over acting is a little bit weak and the script is very repetitive, but it definitely gets the point across.

Needlz and Skratch are puppet siblings who have a lot of fun solving problems within their workshop, which revolves around music and instruments. In this film, Needlz gets Skratch a surprise, but they can't seem to figure out how to open the box to see what's inside. They realize that they have to solve various problems and do different tasks in order to unlock and open the box, revealing Skratch's surprise.

The film is cute and the plot clever and fun and it's perfect for preschoolers who would find it funny and engaging. It's an interesting blend of animation, live action and puppets. The animation is very colorful and the use of color carries over to Needlz and Skratch's costumes as well as their workshop area where the various instruments introduce a wide spectrum of colors to the screen. In addition, the little details of the characters and backgrounds make the film all the more interesting and add depth to what's happening. While the backgrounds can be a little bit bland at times, they are always colorful and don't take away from the action and dialogue of the film.. There is a lot of featured music and some sound effects. The music is fun and exciting and pretty juvenile, which is perfect for its audience. It's also creatively incorporated into the story of the film, not just thrown in at random points. With the story revolving around music and instruments, it's cool to see these instruments come to life and the different scenarios that cause the characters or instruments to break out in song. Voiceover actor Melissa Lugo uses a very loud and nasally tone as Needlz. While this helps grab the audience's attention, it can get a bit annoying. Willie L. Harper also has an energetic voice over as Skratch, keeping the audience engaged. These characters don't have much growth over the course of the film. My favorite part of this film is the music. The featured music really stands out as the strongest aspect. It's engaging and fun, and grabbed my attention right away. The musical numbers where the instruments come to life are so fun, and are definitely my favorite part of this film.

This film's messages are about kindness, being friendly and kind, having fun, and using cooperation for teamwork skills.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 5. By Kyla C., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 14 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-5
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ANKA AND DOMINIK - SPACE FRIENDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NICO & NICKEL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


TASTE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN, A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


KIDS IN WINTER

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
KIDS IN WINTER
MAING CAOCHONG
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 2-8
Topic -
Description - In the cold winter, the unexpected snowstorm is an inescapable challenge. Faced with the icy cave mouth, the rabbits need to make a concerted effort to return home. That is because the home is not only a place to live, but also a faith to support us to get through hard times. The merciless snowstorm is like an uninvited guest. Rabbits believe in the power of the goodwill of helping each other, and everyone is the child of the winter. They hope to make the home become everyone's safe shelter.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What a charming stop action short Kids In Winter is. I love the adorable bunnies and the other characters.

In the cold of winter, an unexpected snowstorm poses an inescapable challenge. Faced with the icy cave entrance, the rabbits need to make plan about how to make it through the winter. The Rabbits invite their neighbors to join them so everyone is safe from the cold weather. We see the benefits of collaborating with your neighbor the greater good of the community.

This stop action short film is quite simple and quite lovely - both in terms of its visual appeal and its story. The bunnies and bird appear to be made out of white felt fabric or something similar, which gives them a very soft look that makes you want to cuddle with them. Their movements are pretty smooth, which is not easy with stop motion The background is very simple - with the tree and the forest around them. When the entrance to their home is iced over they realize that winter has truly struck and they scurry to finalize their preparations, and invite their neighbors to join them. Shades of teamwork and community come across here - all done with movement and background music as there is no narrative.

The film's message is about being prepared and being kind.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8, plus adults. By Julie S, KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What a charming stop action short Kids In Winter is. I love the adorable bunnies and the other characters.

In the cold of winter, an unexpected snowstorm poses an inescapable challenge. Faced with the icy cave entrance, the rabbits need to make plan about how to make it through the winter. The Rabbits invite their neighbors to join them so everyone is safe from the cold weather. We see the benefits of collaborating with your neighbor the greater good of the community.

This stop action short film is quite simple and quite lovely - both in terms of its visual appeal and its story. The bunnies and bird appear to be made out of white felt fabric or something similar, which gives them a very soft look that makes you want to cuddle with them. Their movements are pretty smooth, which is not easy with stop motion The background is very simple - with the tree and the forest around them. When the entrance to their home is iced over they realize that winter has truly struck and they scurry to finalize their preparations, and invite their neighbors to join them. Shades of teamwork and community come across here - all done with movement and background music as there is no narrative.

The film's message is about being prepared and being kind.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8, plus adults. By Julie S, KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 3 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


LITTLE SEA TURTLE, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LITTLE SEA TURTLE, THE
RICH K
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-8
Topic -
Description - A newly hatched baby sea turtle loses his way, but the mysterious "Echo of a Gecko" calls Little Yamori to do his best to help the hatchling make his way home
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Little Sea Turtle is an awesome film with a touching story and compelling characters.

The storyline follows a little turtle who is learning how to live his life on his own, but is he prepared to handle the hardest situations? A problem appears and the lost turtle has to count on an unexpected friend to save him.

I like how the film shows and teaches us how a family needs to behave- a family needs love, and support in the worst situations. As we watch the film, we see that they really define what a family is. This is an animation film and the animation is outstanding. The characters' movements are very well defined, and everything is very well designed. For example, the illustrations of the little turtles walking and how the sea is created all show off the skill of the animators. This film is non narrative; the only sounds are of the ocean or sometimes background music. For example, when the turtles are experiencing difficult moments there's a thriller melody playing in the background. In the beginning, we see a tiny turtle, which is insecure and can't resolve its problems and as the story develops, the turtle is able to help himself and others, being a fearless one. My favorite part is when all the turtle family members come together to save the family.

The film's message is a reminder that you are never alone and you should always accept the help of good people.

I give The Little Sea Turtle 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. By Anna Clara B., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Little Sea Turtle is an awesome film with a touching story and compelling characters.

The storyline follows a little turtle who is learning how to live his life on his own, but is he prepared to handle the hardest situations? A problem appears and the lost turtle has to count on an unexpected friend to save him.

I like how the film shows and teaches us how a family needs to behave- a family needs love, and support in the worst situations. As we watch the film, we see that they really define what a family is. This is an animation film and the animation is outstanding. The characters' movements are very well defined, and everything is very well designed. For example, the illustrations of the little turtles walking and how the sea is created all show off the skill of the animators. This film is non narrative; the only sounds are of the ocean or sometimes background music. For example, when the turtles are experiencing difficult moments there's a thriller melody playing in the background. In the beginning, we see a tiny turtle, which is insecure and can't resolve its problems and as the story develops, the turtle is able to help himself and others, being a fearless one. My favorite part is when all the turtle family members come together to save the family.

The film's message is a reminder that you are never alone and you should always accept the help of good people.

I give The Little Sea Turtle 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. By Anna Clara B., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 15 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


BUTTERFLY TALE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BUTTERFLY TALE
PINK PARROT MEDIA
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic -
Description - Butterfly Tale is an animated feature film for the whole family set along the diverse, picturesque, and ever-changing backdrop of the great Monarch butterfly migration. A heartwarming tale of a gutsy and loveable yet inept, one-winged butterfly, named Patrick who stows away in a milkweed trailer in order to be part of the journey of a lifetime. With his best friend, a goofy caterpillar named Marty, and Jennifer, a butterfly who is afraid of heights, Patrick will become an unlikely hero. But first he must face his fear, embrace his uniqueness and triumph over adversity while battling changing weather patterns, humans and three evil birds bent on revenge. It is a tale of adventure, self-realization and heroism told with humor whose message is that our differences are less important than the bonds we share, and it is in adversity that our true character shines through.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Incredible animation and delightful story. Wonderful songs. This is definitely my favorite film of the week!

This animated feature film is set along the diverse, picturesque, and ever-changing backdrop of the great Monarch butterfly migration. We follow a lovable, but inept one-winged butterfly, named Patrick, who stows away in a milkweed trailer in order to be part of the journey. Joined by his best friend, a caterpillar named Marty, and Jennifer, Patrick becomes an unlikely hero but first has to overcome his own challenges.

Beautiful animation! I love the butterfly characters. They are exquisitely detailed with cleverly defined personalities. Directed by Sophie Roy, who has delivered over 70 hours of series television, three 3D feature films, websites and two VR projects as a line producer. Produced by Marie-Claude Beauchamp for CarpeDiem and Ulysses' Emely Christians. Award-winning and Grammy-nominated Canadian pop singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes' original song "Something Big" is featured on the soundtrack. The voice talent includes Tatania Maslany as Jennifer (She-Hulk, Trollhunters, Rise of the Titans, Bite Size Halloween) and Mena Massoud as Patrick (Aladdin, Aladdin 2, The Royal Treatment).

I love the costumes of the butterfly people; they integrate typical clothing details on a butterfly body. The closeups of their faces are unsurpassed and the voice talent is equally matched. At times this film reminds me of Avatar or Ferngully. It is right up there. My favorite scene is the victory dancing scene at the end with great music and joyful dancing.

The film's message is about how our differences are less important than the bonds we share.

I give Butterfly Tale 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Julia S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Incredible animation and delightful story. Wonderful songs. This is definitely my favorite film of the week!

This animated feature film is set along the diverse, picturesque, and ever-changing backdrop of the great Monarch butterfly migration. We follow a lovable, but inept one-winged butterfly, named Patrick, who stows away in a milkweed trailer in order to be part of the journey. Joined by his best friend, a caterpillar named Marty, and Jennifer, Patrick becomes an unlikely hero but first has to overcome his own challenges.

Beautiful animation! I love the butterfly characters. They are exquisitely detailed with cleverly defined personalities. Directed by Sophie Roy, who has delivered over 70 hours of series television, three 3D feature films, websites and two VR projects as a line producer. Produced by Marie-Claude Beauchamp for CarpeDiem and Ulysses' Emely Christians. Award-winning and Grammy-nominated Canadian pop singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes' original song "Something Big" is featured on the soundtrack. The voice talent includes Tatania Maslany as Jennifer (She-Hulk, Trollhunters, Rise of the Titans, Bite Size Halloween) and Mena Massoud as Patrick (Aladdin, Aladdin 2, The Royal Treatment).

I love the costumes of the butterfly people; they integrate typical clothing details on a butterfly body. The closeups of their faces are unsurpassed and the voice talent is equally matched. At times this film reminds me of Avatar or Ferngully. It is right up there. My favorite scene is the victory dancing scene at the end with great music and joyful dancing.

The film's message is about how our differences are less important than the bonds we share.

I give Butterfly Tale 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Julia S., KIDS FIRST!

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


ISLAND, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ISLAND, THE
MAHMUT TAS
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic -
Description - Ada is a little girl living in a dry village where it has not rained for a long time. Ada's family is considering leaving the village if the thirst continues. Ada is very upset about this and wants to tell us about her village with her camera. She goes to a lake that used to be full of water and visits the island named after her. But she sees that the lake is completely dry, the soil is cracked and there is no water left in it.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The impact of having a four-year-old narrate this film sort of knocked me over.

Ada is a little girl living in a village where it has not rained for a long time. Ada's family is considering leaving the village if lack of water continues to be a problem. Ada is very upset about this and tells us about her village. She visiting a lake that used to be full of water and goes to the island named after her. But she sees that the lake is completely dry, the soil is cracked and there is no water left in it.

This is a very sad story, a sad film, and one that is going on all too often in today's world as the impact of climate change affects us all. Ada and her family, her community, are not alone. Watching her walk across the parched earth, where a lake used to be, is heart wrenching. One asks where all this is leading to.

The film's message is an environment one about the absence of water across the globe.

I give The Island 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The impact of having a four-year-old narrate this film sort of knocked me over.

Ada is a little girl living in a village where it has not rained for a long time. Ada's family is considering leaving the village if lack of water continues to be a problem. Ada is very upset about this and tells us about her village. She visiting a lake that used to be full of water and goes to the island named after her. But she sees that the lake is completely dry, the soil is cracked and there is no water left in it.

This is a very sad story, a sad film, and one that is going on all too often in today's world as the impact of climate change affects us all. Ada and her family, her community, are not alone. Watching her walk across the parched earth, where a lake used to be, is heart wrenching. One asks where all this is leading to.

The film's message is an environment one about the absence of water across the globe.

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


NOT SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
NOT SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY
SLOAN B. GREGORY
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic -
Description - Not So Happy Birthday (Director's Cut) is the story of a little girl, Ruby, on her 7th birthday. The day starts out perfectly, but quickly begins to go downhill with a series of unfortunate events. Finally, Ruby has had enough! It takes kind words from Ruby's sister and some quick thinking parents to put Ruby and her party back on the right track.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I love Not So Happy Birthday; it's a fun film with a great message! Everyone can relate to Ruby's various disappointments and I love how she handles situations. Her birthday celebration commences with the encouragement of friends and family.

Created by 9-year-old Sloan Gregory, Not So Happy Birthday is about the disappointments experienced on Ruby's (Celine Chalifoux) seventh birthday. The day starts out perfectly, but quickly goes downhill with a series of unfortunate events. Ruby is reminded about what is really important to celebrate.

I really like how Ruby handles initial disappointments. After she feels her party and day is ruined, Libby (Sloan B Gregory) helps her with some insightful and meaningful sentiments and the rest of the party returns back to the celebration her day started with. I love the close-up shots of her guests as her disappointment unfolds. The background music has a great beat and contributes to the celebratory feeling throughout the film. Ruby shows excitement and disappointment as her character progresses throughout her birthday celebration. She interacts well with all of the cast and enjoys her private moment with Libby. Writer, director and visionary Sloan B Gregory brings this story to life exquisitely. My favorite scene is the meaningful and inspirational dialogue between Ruby and Libby after Ruby's disappointment escalates.

The film's message is that it is okay to experience disappointment but important to remember what is truly important; in this case spending time with family and friends.

I give Not So Happy Birthday 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Selene W., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love Not So Happy Birthday; it's a fun film with a great message! Everyone can relate to Ruby's various disappointments and I love how she handles situations. Her birthday celebration commences with the encouragement of friends and family.

Created by 9-year-old Sloan Gregory, Not So Happy Birthday is about the disappointments experienced on Ruby's (Celine Chalifoux) seventh birthday. The day starts out perfectly, but quickly goes downhill with a series of unfortunate events. Ruby is reminded about what is really important to celebrate.

I really like how Ruby handles initial disappointments. After she feels her party and day is ruined, Libby (Sloan B Gregory) helps her with some insightful and meaningful sentiments and the rest of the party returns back to the celebration her day started with. I love the close-up shots of her guests as her disappointment unfolds. The background music has a great beat and contributes to the celebratory feeling throughout the film. Ruby shows excitement and disappointment as her character progresses throughout her birthday celebration. She interacts well with all of the cast and enjoys her private moment with Libby. Writer, director and visionary Sloan B Gregory brings this story to life exquisitely. My favorite scene is the meaningful and inspirational dialogue between Ruby and Libby after Ruby's disappointment escalates.

The film's message is that it is okay to experience disappointment but important to remember what is truly important; in this case spending time with family and friends.

I give Not So Happy Birthday 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Selene W., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 7 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


100 SUBS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
100 SUBS
EKA SHUKLA
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-10
Topic -
Description - Ayaan brings his Grandfather's dream of being an actor come true and Grandfather gets a 100 fans (100 subscribers)!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I love this short film by an elementary school student about his grandfather. Heartwarming.

The storyline follows Ayaan, who learns of his Grandfather's dream of being an actor when he was younger; makes a YouTube channel featuring him and gets 100 fans for him.

Sweet and unassuming, this shows such a great relationship between the boy and his grandfather. Well made with clear camera work, audio recording, editing and background music. It's really a delightful short.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love this short film by an elementary school student about his grandfather. Heartwarming.

The storyline follows Ayaan, who learns of his Grandfather's dream of being an actor when he was younger; makes a YouTube channel featuring him and gets 100 fans for him.

Sweet and unassuming, this shows such a great relationship between the boy and his grandfather. Well made with clear camera work, audio recording, editing and background music. It's really a delightful short.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!

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


RAY OF SUN

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
RAY OF SUN
TIFFANI DAVIS
Series: SCREENPLAY, AGES 5-12
Topic -
Description - Olivia remembers everything. The 2nd grade genius remembers when she was three. That's when her parents would spend all day with her. All she wants is to reconnect with her parents again. Olivia builds a robot to teleport her back in time. But a malfunction changes their lives and takes the family through an unexpected journey.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Ray of Sun is an engaging story of a young genius caught between her intellectual prowess and her childish heart. It's a growing-up short film and as such needs to be succinct in its message and powerful in its emotional delivery.

We know that Olivia is gifted and that Olivia knows she's gifted. Because we're familiar with the genre, we don't need to see or hear about her social awkwardness too many times. Her snarkiness seems a little beyond her age and she doesn't need to tell us that she doesn't have any friends. We get that. It's Olivia's obsession with time travel as a way of re-capturing the past that makes us root for her not feel sorry for her. It's also what makes this story different from other genius-kid stories. It is that wonderfully creative mind that we want to see in action - hence my comment about adding scenes where we see her working on Dippy and developing more of a relationship with her.

The hospital crisis should be less about how bright Olivia is and more about how her inner child is trying to cope using her prodigious brain. This is the place where Olivia suddenly realizes that she doesn't know as much as she thinks she does - and - more importantly, a place in the story where she's not thinking about herself anymore. She's worried for her father. It's easy to let a character run out of control and run off their mouth. It's fun to write, but the dialog must serve the story and not serve as a showcase for any one character, especially if they're the protagonist and especially if the writer wants the audience to like that character. This is where we learn to 'kill our darlings' - in other words, cut out pieces of dialog or action that don't move the story forward even though we may personally think they're brilliant.

The dialog about patients' families and diastolic pressure is cute, as is the piece about celery seeds; telling the doctor to address her as Dr. Olivia, is a bit much in a crisis situation. It's disrespectful and doesn't endear her to us. And the line "I've already hurt you enough, Daddy" is puzzling, seems nonsequitous. When did she hurt him?

When dad comes home in a completely different condition, it's clear that everything's changed and that her fantasy can never happen. It's then that Olivia grows up a little more. The ending is very emotional and slightly overwritten but is probably exactly what happened. Ray of Sun is a good story that needs a little tightening with an eye toward what the camera sees and some judicious editing to keep the dialog on track telling the story about growing up.

I give Ray of Sun 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Juror #12.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Ray of Sun is an engaging story of a young genius caught between her intellectual prowess and her childish heart. It's a growing-up short film and as such needs to be succinct in its message and powerful in its emotional delivery.

We know that Olivia is gifted and that Olivia knows she's gifted. Because we're familiar with the genre, we don't need to see or hear about her social awkwardness too many times. Her snarkiness seems a little beyond her age and she doesn't need to tell us that she doesn't have any friends. We get that. It's Olivia's obsession with time travel as a way of re-capturing the past that makes us root for her not feel sorry for her. It's also what makes this story different from other genius-kid stories. It is that wonderfully creative mind that we want to see in action - hence my comment about adding scenes where we see her working on Dippy and developing more of a relationship with her.

The hospital crisis should be less about how bright Olivia is and more about how her inner child is trying to cope using her prodigious brain. This is the place where Olivia suddenly realizes that she doesn't know as much as she thinks she does - and - more importantly, a place in the story where she's not thinking about herself anymore. She's worried for her father. It's easy to let a character run out of control and run off their mouth. It's fun to write, but the dialog must serve the story and not serve as a showcase for any one character, especially if they're the protagonist and especially if the writer wants the audience to like that character. This is where we learn to 'kill our darlings' - in other words, cut out pieces of dialog or action that don't move the story forward even though we may personally think they're brilliant.

The dialog about patients' families and diastolic pressure is cute, as is the piece about celery seeds; telling the doctor to address her as Dr. Olivia, is a bit much in a crisis situation. It's disrespectful and doesn't endear her to us. And the line "I've already hurt you enough, Daddy" is puzzling, seems nonsequitous. When did she hurt him?

When dad comes home in a completely different condition, it's clear that everything's changed and that her fantasy can never happen. It's then that Olivia grows up a little more. The ending is very emotional and slightly overwritten but is probably exactly what happened. Ray of Sun is a good story that needs a little tightening with an eye toward what the camera sees and some judicious editing to keep the dialog on track telling the story about growing up.

I give Ray of Sun 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Juror #12.

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


ORION AND THE DARK

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ORION AND THE DARK       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5 - 12
Topic - Family
Description - A boy with an active imagination faces his fears on an unforgettable journey through the night with his new friend: a giant, smiling creature named Dark.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The film Orion and the Dark is a family friendly film that includes various types of emotions such as sad, happy, afraid and more. I love the animation and the contrast between the light and dark.

The storyline follows a boy named Orion (Jacob Temblay). Orion is terrified of the dark until one night an entity named Dark comes to his house to show him there is no reason to be afraid. He takes Orion with him to show him his job. In the process, Dark takes Orion to see the other night entities. Everytime he goes to see all the night entities' jobs he ends up messing them up. Orion explains to the other night entities how Light is amazing and Dark is bad. Dark overhears him and thinks nobody likes him. All the other night entities quit because they want to see how the Light is. Dark has to do his job all by himself now. Dark doesn't want to do his job alone so he goes into the light and disappears. Orion gets all the night entities back together to save Dark. To do that dream goes in his imagination and finds Dark there. In the end Orion likes the dark and appreciates them now because without dark it was too light.

My favorite part of this film is when Dark takes Orion to see his job. I think it is so cool to see Dark and Orion fly through the sky. I also enjoy watching the night entities doing their job. I especially love Dream's job. It is amazing how Dream goes into people's imagination and makes their dreams out of something that has happened in their life. It is very surprising when the audience realizes that Orion and the Dark is a story that future Orion is telling his daughter, explaining how he gets over his fear of the dark.

The film's message is to face your fears because if you don't you will miss out on life. At the end, Orion faces his fear! He just does it and he feels better. He feels like he can accomplish and do anything now.

I give Orion And The Dark 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. This film starts streaming on Netflix February 2, 2024.

By Avalynn G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

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


CANDY CANE LANE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CANDY CANE LANE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
AMAZON PRIME
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Eddie Murphy stars in this holiday comedy adventure about a man on a mission to win his neighborhood's annual Christmas home decoration contest. After Chris (Eddie Murphy) inadvertently makes a deal with a mischievous elf named Pepper (Jillian Bell) to better his chances of winning, she casts a magic spell that brings the 12 Days of Christmas to life and wreaks havoc on the whole town. At the risk of ruining the holidays for his family, Chris, his wife Carol (Tracee Ellis Ross), and their three children must race against the clock to break Pepper's spell, battle deviously magical characters and save Christmas for everyone.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Eddie Murphy nails it in this holiday film that is definitely destined to become an evergreen Christmas go to. I really didn't know too much about it before watching it and was surprised at the inclusion of the CGI generated miniature people, which adds another layer of zaniness to it.

The story follows the annual holiday seasonal competition in El Segundo, CA, known as Candy Cane Lane where neighbors fiercely compete for best decorated house. This year's competition is amped up with the promise of a $100K prize wife (Tracee Ellis Ross), daughter Joy (), son Nick (Thaddeus J. Mixon and younger daughter Holly (Madison Thomas) aren't quite on board until they learn the severity of the situation.

Madison Thomas definitely steals the show as her dad's sidekick, following him into the popup mysterious and somewhat ominous Christmas shop called Kringle's hidden away under a freeway overpass. Another show stopper is Pepper (Jillian Bell), the shop owner whose ethics are questionable from the get go. Then, there are the magical little village people - Pip (Nick Offerman), Cordelia (Robin Thede), Gary (Christ Redd) and a group of seemingly innocent carolers who burst into song with the slightest provocation. The twisted tale of how Pepper has connived capturing these little people unravels as the plot develops. My favorite part is the 12 Days of Christmas "tree" that Chris falls for and brings home only to learn that each of the elements becomes real - and real enough to be real problems. All of a sudden seven swans are swimming in the Carver's pool. Geese are laying eggs while air borne and dropping them on innocent bystanders, like Carver's wife! Pipers are piping and dancing in the street; drummers are drumming and making pests of themselves. All this madcap craziness comes to a head as Chris hustles to complete his tasks of gathering the golden rings before the magic hour, only to discover minutes before that the number of rings he thought he needed to procure, was vastly underestimated, since the song repeats them with each round and it's 40, not 5 that he needs to collect or become one of the little village people that Pepper bosses around. However the family rallies, Santa shows up, and ultimately, the good guys win and the bad guys are punished.

The film's message really comes down to the importance of family. As Chris tells his family, "everything I do I do for you." And they come to understand that is really true.

I give Candy Cane Lane 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, or those who are kids at heart. It is available now on Prime Video so, check it out. I promise you'll get some good laughs out of it.

Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Candy Cane Lane is the perfect Christmas Movie to watch with your family and friends in 2023. Candy Cane Lane is filled with adventures, magic and laughter. It definitely brings the Christmas spirits to life!

The story follows a family from El Segundo, California who live on a street called Candy Cane Lane, where every year there is a contest for the best house lit up for Christmas. During this year's contest the competition between all the neighbors is way more intense than in previous years. To win this competition families must have the best and brightest lighting, the biggest Santas, the most colorful elves, the loudest music and the most incredible angels on their front yard. The dad, Chris Carver (Eddie Murphy) finds out about this huge contest on TV and goes crazy. He tries everything to win first place, even making a deal with a lunatic elf, Pepper (Jillian Bell), without even realizing that what he is doing would create a big problem for his family and the whole town.

The film is hilarious, has a twist on classic songs, and a family we can all relate to. Mom, Carol Carver (Tracee Ellis Ross), is a super hard-working woman who is trying to get a promotion at work during the busiest time of the year. The oldest daughter, Joy Carver (Genneya Walton), has a dream to go to college and be part of the track team. The middle son, Nick Carver (Thaddeus J. Mixxon), is not a big math student, but has a passion for music and the youngest daughter, Holly Carver (Madison Thomas), loves Christmas as much as her dad. One of my favorite scenes is when Chris and Holly Carver are looking for Christmas decorations and find a store in the middle of nowhere. The special effects in that store are super fun and magical. Another great scene is when the contest starts at Candy Cane Lane and Santa shows up in his sleigh, points his finger at every house on the street, and viewers erupt with excitement as each house brings a Christmas theme to life. You must watch and see the seasonal magic happening at Carver's house. I know you will just love it as much as I did.

The film's message is that family comes first and they will always be there for you. It doesn't matter what challenges you are facing, when you have your family by your side, you will always figure out a way to find solutions.

I give Candy Cane Lane 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It is available on Prime Video beginning December 1, 2023.

By Keila V., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie Candy Cane Lane, directed by Reginald Hudlin. The witty humor and stunning set design make this one of my new favorite holiday movies.

This adventurous comedy follows Christmas lover Chris Carver (Eddie Murphy) and his family as they compete in the annual neighborhood house decorating Christmas contest. However this year the stakes are higher; the winner of the contest will receive a $100,000 cash prize. After unintentionally making a deal with mischievous elf Pepper (Jillian Bell), she casts a spell that brings the 12 Days of Christmas to life. To prevent disaster before Christmas, Chris and his family must break Pepper's spell before it's too late.

The humor in Candy Cane Lane is one of its biggest highlights. Eddie Murphy's comedic timing and quick-witted performance make for some laugh-out-loud moments. He also brings charm, joy, and relatability to his character through his distinctive comedic style, making him one of my personal favorite characters. Chris Carver is the type of dad every kid would love to spend time with during the holidays. The set design in this film is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Set designer Adam Mull absolutely captures the wonder of the Christmas Spirit in every set design. My favorite scene is when Chris and his daughter Holly (Madison Thomas) first meet Pepper at her Christmas Shop. As soon as they both walk through the door the scene explodes with Christmas magic; each Christmas tree is decorated with beautiful unique ornaments and the environment made me feel like I was right there in the scene. Adam Mull transformed this movie into an onscreen winter wonderland; in every scene you can see how much time and effort went into this film's creation.

The film's message is that, through thick and thin, families should stick together and use teamwork when tackling a problem. This message is important for families to hear year round but especially during the holidays; a time where many families come together and spend quality time with one another.

I give Candy Cane Lane 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. Candy Cane Lane premieres on Amazon Prime Video December 1, 2023. Make sure to check it out!

By Tia O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

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


CANTERVILLE GHOST, THE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CANTERVILLE GHOST, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SHOUT! STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Join us on an Oscar Wilde adventure where... being scary is not what it used to be! As the nineteenth gives way to the twentieth century and scientific invention brings forth new ways of traversing and seeing the world, a modern American family moves into their recently purchased, country home, Canterville Chase, in England, only to find it is haunted by a ghost. Sir Simon de Canterville has been haunting the grounds of Canterville Chase successfully for over three hundred years, but he meets his match when he tries to scare out the new arrivals.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I found The Canterville Ghost incredibly appealing due to the lessons ingrained in the movie. I enjoyed that the daughter ultimately has a change of heart and falls in love with a member of the royal family in England who she initially wanted nothing to do with.

The Canterville Ghost is about an innovative American family of five moving to England into a manor which has been deemed haunted by all those who previously lived there. The oldest and only daughter of the three kids encounters the Canterville ghost first, but since she does not want to be there she hatches a plan to have the ghost (who she ultimately befriends) scare her family so they move back home. Since the family's dad is a scientist, he is not afraid of the ghost; neither is his wife; and the kids enjoy playing with the ghost and pranking him as well. Ultimately, the daughter helps the ghost achieve everlasting rest and falls in love with one of the royal members of England.

Overall, this is a great film. I enjoyed the part where the boys are not afraid of the ghost and, in an effort to have fun, play with the ghost's head and use it as a football when trying to care for him. I enjoyed how Virginia was willing to go into the locked garden to help the ghost leave the mortal world and rest with his love (who has died). I love that the film has an interesting storyline -- something to always look forward to and delightful plot twists. For example, the maid whose family had lived in Canterville castle for generations believed the ghost had murdered his wife. It is later found out he was sabotaged by a member of the royal family generations ago who wanted to take over his castle. It is funny when the maid says she is not to speak of the story about the ghost's wife and then immediately spills the story as if they had begged to hear it. I believe a child would enjoy this film because it is humorous, the animation and graphics are well put together, and it is a story about ghosts, friendship, forgiveness, and love.

The movie flows very well. The film definitely draws the viewer in and one cannot help but be empathetic of the characters feelings and emotions. In the first part, there is a scene showing the person who lived there before Virginia's family who is scared of the ghost and is driven insane. In the next scene when the family moves in, the maid explains how everyone who has previously lived there was driven insane and continuously yells. This makes the viewer want to continue watching the movie to see how the ghost will torment the American family that has moved in. The screenplay and characters develop very well. The dad starts off, and remains, a logical scientist who does not fear ghosts. The boys are playful and fun and continue to blame each other for their shenanigans. Virginia goes from being homesick to falling in love with Henry, a member of the royal family.

The visual quality is amazing. The scenes are colorful, contrasting and interesting. It is very interesting to see one of the last scenes where Virginia is in the locked garden where it is incredibly bright and colorful (replicating where Sir Simon's wife had died) and, at the same time, the camera gives a Henry's point of view on the other side of the gate. Some of the concepts are suited for older kids - tweens and teens - such as the idea that people lived using candles before electricity. Virginia's dad hosts a banquet celebrating his invention of light bulbs which may catch younger viewers by surprise. When he shows the banquet attendees that he will be bringing light bulbs to England it makes the viewer question how long we have had such technological advancements. U.S. kids are not familiar with why the higher classes in England are referred to as Sir or Duke. This film definitely invites the viewer to question and problem solve. It makes the viewer question how royal families in England live, specifically when Henry goes to see Virginia before the banquet and says he will protect her from English high society. When Sir Simon explains the story of his love's death, the viewer learns to not believe everything they hear. The two boys are goofy --the ghost ends up displaying kind qualities by saving Henry whom he initially wanted to harm. The parents are loving and kind, and Virginia and Henry meet by chance, become good friends and eventually fall in love.

The film's messages are to never be fearful, to not judge others by what you hear about them, and to learn to give opportunities to new things as one may end up loving it.

I give The Canterville 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It releases in theaters October 20, 2023 and digitally October 5 on all major channels.

By Steve A., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The new animated film, The Canterville Ghost by British director Robert Chandler honors the author's geniality with a beautiful film that is not just entertaining and fun to watch but also captivates with the characters adventures and dilemmas.

The humorous short story The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde has been adapted into different forms like films, radio, TV episodes and even an Opera since its release in 1887. True to the original book, the story follows a modern American family that moves to their recently purchased country home, Canterville Chase in England. The Otis family consists of Dad (David Harewood), Mom (Meera Syal), two twin wild sons (Jakey Schiff, Bennett Miller) and Virginia (Emily Carey), a rebellious and determined teenager. Soon they discover the old mansion is inhabited by a ghost who has been wandering its corridors and rooms for over 300 years - Sir Simon de Canterville. The subsequent encounters are unexpected as the past repeats itself.

Although the animation doesn't offer innovations, this film is absolutely charming, and is very well done. The concept of haunted houses is typically a crowd pleaser. Most audiences can't deny the pleasure they feel by being scared, especially when they are in a safe place like a movie theater. The Canterville Ghost captures this thrill in its production design and the narrative storytelling offered by co-directors Kim Burden and Robert Chandler. The vibrant colors and color palette really caught my attention. I love how the animation is filled with details in costume design. One of the aspects I most enjoyed is the camera work, from the oscillating shots that make you feel like a POV of Sir Simon, to some camera placements that feel like somebody's watching from a hidden place. The characters are funny and I love Virginia's journey from not wanting to be in the house to her intrepid relationship with Sir Simon. Stephen Fry delivers the perfect emotion voicing Sir Simon de Canterville. He not only has the perfect gravitas for the most iconic character in the film, he has previously interpreted Oscar Wilde. Emily Carey portrays her role as defiant, brave and determined - with Virginia in total command.

The film's message is to value people of all persuasion and to make the most of your lifetime. The Canterville Ghost has the perfect tone for young audiences and will delight grownups with its amusing narration.

I give The Canterville Ghost 5 out of five stars and recommended it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. The film opens in theaters nationwide on October 20, 2023 - right on time for Halloween celebrations.

By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

I really like the animated film, The Canterville Ghost. It definitely got me into the Halloween spirit. It's an enjoyable watch, sprinkled with mysteries and comedy, plus a compelling plot and likable characters.

The Otis family just moved into a new home that's notorious for housing the ghost Sir Simon de Canterville. He has successfully haunted every resident up until now. Will the family be the exception?

The main characters are Sir Simon de Canterville (Stephen Fry), Virginia Otis (Emily Carey), the Duke of Cheshire (Freddie Highmore), Lucretia Otis (Meera Syal), Hiram Otis (David Harewood, Louis Otis (Jake Schiff), Kent Otis (Bennett Miller) and Mrs. Umney (Imelda Staunton). The characters are all so loving and respectable toward each other, which makes the story very enjoyable. Their genuine interactions show that the family cares so much for each other. Each of the characters has unique personality traits. I especially like Virginia, who is both strong-willed and kind hearted. Her anger reflects her passion, and I admire her ambitious mindset. I also appreciate that the writers adapted those personality traits into a female teen, which gives inspiration for young girls. Virginia is forced to move away from all her friends, so she needs time adjusting to her new life. It's a lot to handle, but it adds to her character development. Also, the twin brothers, Louis and Kent, are two peas in a pod, but get into a lot of trouble. It's amusing to watch their shenanigans, like when they toss around a ghost's head as if it's a football. This film is based on the novella by Oscar Wilde. The movie brings this beloved story to life and makes it entertaining for the younger generation. I applaud the producers and directors, Robert Chandler and Kim Burdon, for adapting the story into an enjoyable watch. The animation is incredible and extremely realistic. The quality is great, as well. When the house is on fire, the flames look real. Speaking of the house, this setting is magical and reminds me of a haunted house at night. My favorite part of the film is when all of the members of the Royal Society start flying around in a circle on the ceiling. The Canterville Ghost makes them fly, which made me laugh because all of them are completely afraid. The guest's costumes are elegant and royal, from puffy dresses to fancy suits.

The message of this film is that love is all you need. Sir Simon de Canterville states, "Love is the greatest adventure of them all." It's also about letting go, forgiveness, friendship, and family.

I give The Canterville Ghost 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. The Canterville Ghost releases in theaters October 20, 2023 and digitally October 5, 2023

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

The Canterville Ghost is a hilarious and entertaining movie. It has lots of twists and turns and definitely showcases some very funny plot points throughout the film.

The storyline follows an American family who moves into a manor called Canterville Chase in England. However it turns out their manor has been haunted for 300 years and there's a ghost named Sir Simon de Canterville attempting to scare them out. None of the family is scared by the ghost though and he must continue to find ways to try to freak them out. The ghost also tries to break his curse of being stuck haunting the manor for all eternity and this family might just be his way out.

The Canterville Ghost is animated and the style is absolutely incredible. It has the perfect amount of realism mixed with an animation style that creates the perfect combination that makes the film even more interesting. The plot and characters' relations are absolutely hilarious and stunning. All the characters have such diverse and interesting connections to each other such as Sir Simon de Canterville (Stephen Fry) who is the ghost haunting the manor. The diversity resembles the diversity in our own society and communities. It's almost like they are real people. The characters themselves are also very relatable. Such as this one character named Virginia Otis (Emily Carey) who does not want to move and does everything she can to try to get out of it. Despite ghost movies being a relatively common concept, this one takes a whole new turn that definitely spices up the story. Such as the one at the very beginning where you find that the family is a lot harder to scare than the ghost thought. It is also not such a scary movie which makes it more suitable for younger kids. The beginning is a little hard to understand as it takes off without a lot of context. It does make more sense once the story develops.

The message of this film is that you have to stop and smell the roses and not be too impulsive or you might get really hurt.

I give The Canterville Ghost 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 plus adults. It will be released in theaters on October 20, 2023 and digitally October 5 on all major channele.

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

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


TEDDY'S CHRISTMAS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TEDDY'S CHRISTMAS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
1 SOUL PRODUCTION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - While visiting a Christmas market in her Norwegian town, eight-year-old Mariann discovers an unbelievable secret: on the top shelf of the lottery booth, a teddy bear has just moved his head and started sniffing. Feeling an instant connection with the living toy, Mariann can't think of any better wish for Christmas and tries to win him. However, Teddy (voiced by Zachary Levi) has different plans, dreaming of a wealthy owner who can teach him everything the world has to offer. But when Teddy is taken away to a woodshed, his new best friend, the hedgehog Bolla, helps him realize what really counts in life.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like the film Teddy's Christmas because Teddy's character (Zachary Levi) makes me laugh and so does the hedgehog, Bolla (Lene Kongsvik Johansen), when they are stuck together in the basement learning to cuddle. I like how the film looks like it is from an older era. As soon as you see the snow and decor you know it is Christmas. It is very seasonal.

The storyline is about a teddy bear that can talk. Marianne goes to town for an almond and ends up playing a carnival game where she sees Teddy move so she attempts to win, and does! Teddy moves the wheel because he wants to go with someone who has more money than her. She goes home to get another coin to play again but before she comes back another man wins Teddy. She goes and tries to find the man but fails.

I love Teddy's character and I also enjoyed Marianne (Marte Klerck-Nilssen) and her brother's close knit relationship. You can tell they love each other. The storyline has unexpected events and is adventurous. Marianne definitely has a big imagination and I wish I had a big imagination like hers. My favorite part is when Teddy and the hedgehog are in the basement and then the hedgehog starts doing a song and dance. It is a great musical moment. She does multiple dances and waves her arms around senselessly while attempting to get Teddy to cuddle. I love how when she dances it sounds like she makes up her own language. I also enjoy when her grandpa comes to the room in a Santa Claus costume and pretends as though he is the real Santa Claus. He delivers presents and afterwards Marianne approaches him and asks if it was him. He says, "yes, but don't tell anyone." She must be extremely smart to have figured that out! The film was made in Norway and it is interesting to see all their different traditions and meals. At first, I was distracted because the words they speak don't match the movement of the actors' mouths, but then I realized that is because the actors are speaking in a different language. I got used to it pretty quickly.

The film's message is to appreciate who you are and what you have. Teddy wants to be someone he isn't and go places he can't and he isn't happy until he realizes he is in a great place already. He is meant to be cuddled and now he has a whole family to cuddle with.

I give Teddy's Christmas 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8, plus adults. This film releases in theaters December 1, 2023.

By Avalynn G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

I like the film Teddy's Christmas. The acting is absolutely superb; the plot is adorable and filled with Christmas spirit. I loved all the different settings and was particularly interested in the smooth character development of Teddy.

The story follows 8-year-old Mariann (Marte Klerck).While visiting a Christmas market in her Norwegian town; she spots a talking teddy bear at a carnival game booth. However, when someone else wins it, she takes off on a mission to find it but ends up causing a lot of damage instead.

This is a really good film that I really enjoyed. The acting of Marte Klerk as Mariann is amazing --he really portrays the character well, which greatly influences the entirety of the film. She has such a noticeable spark throughout the film. I also really enjoy the character, Mom (Mariann Hole) in the film. She really brings this character to life, particularly in the scene where Teddy learns what a hug is. That is so adorable because his first hug was with a hedgehog who thinks she is un-huggable. The ending is filled with so much kindness and Christmas spirit it inspired me in many ways. My favorite aspect of the whole film is Teddy (John F. Brungot.) John's voice acting is a perfect match for this role, which is a somewhat sarcastic yet loving character. At the beginning of the film all Teddy wants is a rich owner who can take him places. In fact he originally doesn't like Marianne simply because she is a child and doesn't have money, but at the end you can see how much he has matured since the beginning. It touched my heart to see how far he came in his emotional journey. Additionally the settings such as the snowy Christmas market are very realistic and beautiful, especially the Christmas Market game stand. It is super colorful and an adorable little tent.

The firm's message is to always be honest and know that sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the greater good. Parents should be aware that Marianne's behavior is rather suggestive at times.

I give Teddy's Christmas 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. You can watch it in theaters beginning December 1, 2023.

By Sofia T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Teddy's Christmas, directed by Andrea Eckerbom, is a heartwarming animated gem celebrating the magic of Christmas. The enchanting story of eight-year-old Mariann and her connection with the sentient Teddy is a delightful blend of nostalgia and whimsy. Zachary Levi's captivating voice work and seamless animation make this Norwegian tale a festive treat for all ages.

In Teddy's Christmas, the enchanting story unfolds in a Norwegian town during the festive season. Eight-year-old Mariann (Marte Klerck-Nilssen) discovers a magical secret at a Christmas market - a teddy bear named Teddy comes to life! Determined to make him her own, Mariann faces unexpected challenges as Teddy dreams of a worldly adventure. Alongside his newfound friend, Bolla (Lene Kongsvik Johansen), the hedgehog, the film takes us on a heartwarming journey exploring the true meaning of friendship and the joy of the holiday season.

This heartwarming tale is a must-see for anyone who embraces the holiday spirit and shares the season's joy with loved ones. Bringing Teddy's Christmas to life is a talented cast led by Marte Klerck-Nilssen as the charming eight-year-old Mariann. The chemistry between Klerck-Nilssen and the animated character Teddy, voiced by the charismatic Zachary Levi, is a standout feature that adds a layer of enchantment to the film. The seamless animation compliments the festive and immersive sets of the Norwegian town's Christmas market. The costuming attention to detail and overall visual design create a cozy and magical atmosphere. One of my favorite aspects is Zachary Levi's voice work for Teddy, infusing the character with personality and charm. The whimsical music further enhances the enchanting experience, making it a memorable and heartwarming holiday film.

At its heart, Teddy's Christmas carries a poignant message about the true meaning of friendship, love, and the joy of giving during the holiday season. The film successfully emphasizes the importance of cherishing moments with loved ones and valuing the simple joys of life.

I give Teddy's Christmas 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. You can catch the magic of Teddy's Christmas releases in theaters starting on December 1, 2023.

by Hanadie K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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


WISH (2023)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WISH (2023)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY ANIMATED STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Walt Disney Animation Studios' Wish is an all-new musical-comedy welcoming audiences to the magical kingdom of Rosas, where Asha, a sharp-witted idealist, makes a wish so powerful that it is answered by a cosmic force--a little ball of boundless energy called Star. Together, Asha and Star confront a most formidable foe--the ruler of Rosas, King Magnifico--to save her community and prove that when the will of one courageous human connects with the magic of the stars, wondrous things can happen.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Wish is a beautiful film that contains a very valuable life lesson; not only is the movie inspiring, it is also hilarious. It's perfect to watch with friends and family!

The story follows a girl named Asha (Ariana DeBose) who longs to fulfill her wish. Then something strange happens and Asha's wishing star comes to life, Asha calls the wishing star, "Star"! King Magnifico (Chris Pine), a powerful sorcerer who looks like he is doing everything for the kingdom, but in reality, he is doing everything for himself. One of my favorite characters is Valentino (Alan Tudyk), the hilarious goat that cheers up everyone even when they're in a tough situation.

The animation is great although it is not as quite as good as many other animated films we see today. On the other hand, the special effects are incredible and match the story perfectly. My favorite scene is when Asha is talking to her friends about the wishing star coming to her and helping her with her wish. Asha puts Star and Valentino in the chicken pen and tells them to be quiet. When Asha shows Star to everyone, we are treated to chicken dance that Valentino is leading. What makes this scene so funny is the contrast between the serious topic and one that isn't serious at all! Another stunning scene takes place on top of King Magnifico's castle. Asha is in pain from the power King Magnifico has struck her and everyone in the kingdom, with. The citizens of Rosas are looking up at Asha. They too have been struck by King Magnifico's bad magic, but they still sing with their hearts content to fight for their kingdom. You need to watch and see what happens next, I believe that you will love it just as much as I did!

The film's film is to always keep dreaming about your wishes -- you will find a way to get there and someday they will come true. What matters most is that the wish is really your heart's desire. Another message is to keep fighting for your dream because, if it is really what you want, it will come true.

I give Wish 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters on November 22, 2023.

By Keila V., KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, Age 12

Wish stands as the latest jewel in the Disney crown, a captivating addition to the beloved collection that has defined the magic of animated storytelling for generations. The film, reminiscent of prime Disney, artfully weaves a tale filled with enchanting moments, exceptional acting, and an irresistible vibrancy that pays homage to the studio's golden era.

At the heart of Wish lies the compelling story of Asha, portrayed with grace and charm by Ariana DeBose. A soon-to-be 18-year-old, Asha embarks on a journey discovering the transformative power of wishing upon a star. Her wish, far from ordinary, becomes a courageous plea to thwart the plans of the imposing King Magnifico, portrayed with regal charisma by Chris Pine. The narrative unfolds with a perfect blend of whimsy and depth, capturing the hearts of audiences from start to finish.

The palpable enthusiasm surrounding the film is undeniable. Wish not only delivers a cinematic experience that is compelling and entertaining, but manages to empower its audience at the same time. The film's brevity sets a new benchmark for Disney, departing from sprawling narratives and standing as a testament to the creative prowess of the filmmakers. In terms of technical brilliance, Wish excels in its innovative approach. The combination of 3D characters and 2D backgrounds creates an animated masterpiece, showcasing the film's commitment to pushing artistic boundaries. Chris Pine's portrayal of King Magnifico is outstanding, portraying the character as a misunderstood villain, shedding light on Pine's underrated acting skills. Ariana DeBose, with her remarkable voice and expressive acting, brings depth and authenticity to her character, adding to the film's overall allure. The pacing of the film is a noteworthy element, keeping the audience engaged throughout the film.

The film's message, "some dreams come true," resonates perfectly with the quintessential Disney spirit. It encapsulates the magic of dreams and the belief that, no matter the circumstances, some wishes do come true.

I give Wish 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters on November 22, 2023.

By David E., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Set in the beautiful kingdom of Rosas, I found Wish to be an enchanting and fascinating movie with amazing singing and really funny characters!

Asha (Ariana DeBose) lives in Rosas where a sorcerer king named Magnifico (Chris Pine), and a queen named Amaya (Angelique Cabral) rule. Asha also has a cute sidekick, a goat named Valentino (Alan Tudyk). Magnifico has a special power which is the ability to grant wishes. Young Asha makes a wish so powerful that it's answered by a cosmic force, a ball of boundless energy called Star. With Star's help, Asha is able to save her kingdom from the evil king and prove that magic things can happen.

Rosas is a beautifully animated town where people always have fun. However, the setting sometimes looks rather flat, uncharacteristic of the lively Disney animation I am l so used to. Sometimes the secondary characters look like they are all wearing the same clothes and they don't have much impact to the story. Ariana DeBose's singing is so spectacular; you can hear the power and the emotion in her voice. Chris Pine is a great voice actor for Magnifico because you can hear the difference between when Magnifico is the good king vs when he plays the "Evil sorcerer." Alan Tudyk is really funny and is perfect for the role of Valentino! The little Star is super cute and lively, making me laugh out loud! Wish was especially made for the 100th anniversary of Disney Studios and meets KIDSFIRST! criteria. I loved the interesting story and the many great songs. Disney is also launching a new Wish Together campaign with their decade's long partnership with Make-a-Wish Foundation with the release of this movie.

The film reminds us to never give up following our passion because when we do, we lose the light inside ourselves and we forget what we are living for. When somebody pushes us down, that is the time that we have to do our best to stand up to them because we have the light and power within each of us. We also are reminded that we are always stronger when we stand together. When Asha is defeated by Magnifico, she starts singing a powerful song which moves everyone to sing with her and they defeat Magnifico together.

give Wish 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters now.

By Avani M., KIDSFIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Wish, the latest animated film from Disney, is somewhat mediocre. From an animation standpoint, this movie is visually stunning with adorable animals and striking settings. However, it is a bit lacking in its story.

Asha (Ariana DeBose) is a peppy, optimistic, and caring 17-year-old girl living in the magical kingdom of Rosas. She is interviewing for an apprenticeship with the powerful, magical, and beloved King Magnifico (Chris Pine), who grants people wishes, when she notices he isn't what he seems to be. When she relies on a star to grant the wish that King Magnifico wouldn't, the star comes down from the sky and helps her cause a revolution to save her kingdom from King Magnifico.

This movie celebrates 100 years of Disney and the idea of wishing upon a star. It has many references to the studio's previous movies--some subtle, some obvious-- and they are sometimes funny. A couple references I caught are to Peter Pan, Cinderella and Mary Poppins. And though it was nice to see an original 'princess-y' movie from Disney after some of the remakes from other studios, Wish relies a bit too much on Disney's older movies instead of creating something entirely new and unique. The animation is beautiful in this movie. It is distinctive compared to other recently-animated Disney movies and has a kind of hand-drawn feel while staying pretty true to Disney's signature style for 3D animation. The animals are so, so cute. They look like 3D versions of animal characters straight out of Bambi, and I really enjoyed it whenever they came on screen. I also love the star in this movie. I think it was the right choice to make it silent because it adds to the magic and mysteriousness of the star. Its design and face are simple and that's what makes it so endearing. In spite of my appreciation for the animation, the story and songs are unmemorable. The story is pretty simple and understandable for children, and I can see why kids might like it, though it likely may not be as entertaining for teens and adults or be as popular on social media platforms as some movie soundtrack songs were recently. The cast and characters are very diverse. Asha is the second Disney female lead character of African descent, with the first being Tiana. Asha's friend group, based on the Seven Dwarfs from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is very diverse, with people from many different origins and ethnicities, including Dahlia, who has a walking disability and is voiced by Jennifer Kumiyama, who is in a wheelchair herself. Be sure to stay all the way to the end for a sweet post-credit scene.

The messages of Wish are that your dreams are special and make up a big part of you, and that you should work hard to make your dreams come true.

I give Wish 3 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Wish is in theaters as of November 22, 2023.

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

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


LEO

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LEO       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Actor and comedian Adam Sandler (Hotel Transylvania, The Wedding Singer) delivers signature laughs in this coming-of-age animated musical comedy about the last year of elementary school - as seen through the eyes of a class pet. Jaded 74-year-old lizard Leo (Sandler) has been stuck in the same Florida classroom for decades with his terrarium-mate turtle (Bill Burr). When he learns he only has one year left to live, he plans to escape to experience life on the outside but instead gets caught up in the problems of his anxious students -- including an impossibly mean substitute teacher. It ends up being the strangest but most rewarding bucket list ever.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love the movie Leo --it is funny and relatable. Leo is a coming-of-age story, seen through the eyes of a school's class pet, as much as it is a coming-to-terms with aging story.

The story features Leonardo (Adam Sandler) and Squirtle (Bill Burr) who are quick witted, full of jokes and the best classroom pets ever. Leonardo, Leo for short, overhears a parent saying that lizards live up to 75; at age 74, Leo decides it is time to escape and live his life to the fullest. In comes strict "old school" substitute teacher Ms. Malkin (Cecily Strong) who wants to teach the 5th graders responsibility by taking turns to care for the classroom pets over the weekend. Each reluctant 5th grader who takes Leo home discovers his secret, along with wisdom about who they are and how they can better fit in the world. Every student returns Leo to the classroom and Squirtle is his biggest fan, boosting Leo's spirits and outlook on his caged life. When his secret is revealed, jealousy and distrust seeps in and Ms. Malkin, who feels the most threatened, takes Leo away.

Each 5th grader experiences positive change after their time with Leo and, in return, Leo experiences living like he never has before. The animation is colorful and realistic, from the background scenery to the small details like how a caterpillar is depicted. Each of the actors who play the 5th graders fits their character from their personality to their hair and body type. I especially liked Summer (Sunny Sandler) with her fast-talking, super sweet kindness, as well as the overly "great" and popular Jayda (Sadie Sandler). The little balls of energy that represent the kindergarteners are on point. And from the overprotected, super-safe, drone-watched home of Eli (Roey Smigel) to the over-the -top, mega-great mansion of Jayda's family, it is easy to get a sense of each character from their surroundings. The musical element of Leo propels the characters into songs that tell of their struggles, hopes and dreams while moving the story along in a beautiful way. I like the opening song that expresses how the last year of elementary school is about being on top and the melancholy song toward the end of the film each 5th grader sings about when they were younger.

While facing his mortality, Leo learns the important lesson that he has a lot of life experience to share. He is transformed from a grumpy old lizard with nothing to show for his 74 years to beloved friend and confidant who discovers he has many more years ahead of him. Another theme of Leo is in the significance of not underestimating yourself and the film delivers the message to live an authentic life by sharing your talents and being true.

I give Leo 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. Leo releases on Netflix November 21, 2023.

By Madeleine H.K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


AMMU'S TREASURES BY CHANDRIKA TANDON

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
AMMU'S TREASURES BY CHANDRIKA TANDON
SOUL CHANTS MUSIC
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 2-5
Topic - Family
Description - Ammu's Treasures is a gift of intergenerational love and wisdom, with profound messages for everyday living. A three-volume omnibus of 35 songs and 21 chants, Chandrika invites its listeners to reminisce or make new memories with traditional folk tunes and familiar popular songs and poems. This music collection also includes ancient Vedic chants set to Indian scales, aimed to soothe and relax. Ammu's Treasures features many maestros including Cyro Baptista, Martin Bejerano, Peter Calo, Purbayan Chatterjee, Rakesh Chaurasia, B�la Fleck, Eugene Friesen, Maeve Gilchrist, Jamey Haddad, Bobby Keyes, Kevin Kliesch, Howard Levy, Romero Lubambo, Marcus Rojas, Dave Schroeder, Michael Ward-Bergeman, Kenny Werner, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Scott Cannizzaro, Teese Gohl, John Kiehl, Kevin Killen, Mirek Vana, and more. Marc Lumer and Bob Spang contributed their talents to beautiful accompanying lyric videos.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Ammu's Treasures is great for young kids looking for auditory entertainment; with pop songs, poems, Vedic chants, and more, listeners will have more than enough to be transported to a whole new musical world.

Ammu's Treasures is a three-volume omnibus of 35 songs and 21 chants compiled by renowned musician Chandrika Tandon. The album features many maestros including Cyro Baptista, Martin Bejerano, Rakesh Chaurasia, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra and more.

Ammu's Treasures is beautifully composed, with each piece clearly having hours of thought behind its instrumentals, vocals and mixing. Plus, the accompanying lyric videos by Marc Lumer and Bob Spang are vibrant and enjoyable. The album was conceptualized by Tandon as a gift to her grandchildren, and it's evident that she painstakingly pieced together the motley array of songs in the album; I'll admit that the mix of pop songs, nursery rhymes, chants and instrumental pieces took me by surprise at the beginning, but only those who actually listen to the songs will realize how they come together to form a beautiful lyrical panoply. My personal favorite pieces are "Chants - To the Light," "Listen to the Pouring Rain," and "Au Clair la Lune," as much for their nostalgic value as for their elegance.

Ammu's Treasures was created to spread intergenerational love through art (one of the purest kinds of love!). And you do truly feel it after listening to two or three numbers, a magical sensation that envelopes you with joy and warmth. It's truly wonderful.

I give Ammu's Treasures 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 5 plus adults. Ammu's Treasures released on all major audio vendors beginning September 7, 2023.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

The children's album Ammu's Treasures is very well sang by Chandrika Tandon. The vocals are strong and lyrical. It brings back memories of my early childhood and the songs I used to sing, and the happy, cartoonish music videos will appeal to young kids.

Ammu's Treasures is a collection of 35 songs and 21 chants that range from traditional folk tunes to familiar and popular songs and nursery rhymes for multi-generations, sung by Grammy nominee Chandrika Tandon. It includes some music videos featuring an animated family of colorful bears -- one of whom is dressed in traditional Indian clothing - along with other characters.

Ammu's Treasures is appropriate for a multigenerational audience, particularly younger kids. For example, babies and toddlers will enjoy the nursery rhymes like "Teddy Bears' Picnic," "Hush Little Baby" and "Bye Bye Blackbird." The colorfully animated music videos, such as "Miller of the Dee" will also attract younger viewers. Many of the songs will be familiar to both children and adults, such as "Edelweiss" and "Scarborough Fair." Songs like "Au Clair de la Lune," "Molly Malone," "Vive Le Compagnie," and "Que Sera Sera" might remind adults of their own childhoods. Ammu's Treasures features many maestros including Cyro Baptista, Martin Bejerano, Peter Calo, Purbayan Chatterjee, Rakesh Chaurasia, B�la Fleck, Eugene Friesen, Maeve Gilchrist, Jamey Haddad, Bobby Keyes, Kevin Kliesch, Howard Levy, Romero Lubambo, Marcus Rojas, Dave Schroeder, Michael Ward-Bergeman, Kenny Werner, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Scott Cannizzaro, Teese Gohl, John Kiehl, Kevin Killen, Mirek Vana, and more. Marc Lumer and Bob Spang contributed their talents to the lyric videos. Chandrika Tandon also acknowledges her Indian heritage with songs such as "Surganani." In the song "There's a Hole in My Bucket" the name of the girl is changed from Liza to Kavi, which is an Indian girls' name. I like that.

Ammu's Treasures conveys an overall happy, cheerful message meant for the ears of younger audiences. There is no inappropriate language in any of the songs.

I give Ammu's Treasures 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 5, plus adults. Ammu's Treasures released on all major audio vendors beginning September 7, 2023.

By Ella S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14
Runtime: 137 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-5
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: AUDIO


CURSES

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CURSES       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
APPLE TV
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - When a generations- long family curse turns Alex Vanderhouven to stone, it's up to his two kids, Pandora and Russ, and his wife Sky, to return artifacts stolen by their ancestors to their rightful homes to finally lift the curse for good.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Curses is a fun and mysterious 10 episode series that is full of adventures and soon to be solved mysteries. This show is very kid friendly and could be interesting to adults as well. I really enjoy how this show refers to ancient civilizations and how the adventures you take around the world.

The storyline follows the Vanderhouven family when a generations-long family curse turns Alex Vanderhouven (Reid Scott) to stone. It's up to his wife Sky Vanderhouven (Lyric Lewis) and their two kids, Russ (Andre Robinson) and Pandora (Gabrielle Nevaeh) to return artifacts stolen by their ancestors to their rightful homes to finally lift the curse for good. The Vanderhouvens need to solve this mystery soon before it's too late.

This very adventurous show is full of unsolved mysteries and has lots of educational benefits. For example, in one episode we learn about two ancient civilizations -- the Aztecs, and the Olmec. The animation is phenomenal and the voice-acting cast is amazing - Rhys Darby, Rhea Perlman, Phylicia Rashad and horror legend Robert Englund, among others - which makes it outstanding. The voice actors really portray their characters exceptionally well. The way the director shows the bond between the family members and how they support each other is rare for an animated show. This show is so inspiring and heartfelt. However, I will say that the storyline is very predictable; for instance, when the kids go looking for their father I already knew something bad had happened because of how he was being so secretive from the beginning of the show.

The show's message is that, with the help of a family member, friend, or a trusted adult, you can do anything.

I give Curses 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 through 12, plus adults. This show premieres on Apple TV+ October 27, 2023, just in time for Halloween. Be sure to check it out.

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

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


SPY KIDS: ARMAGEDDON

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPY KIDS: ARMAGEDDON       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - The children of the world's greatest secret agents unwittingly help a powerful game developer unleash a computer virus that gives him control of all technology, leading them to become spies themselves to save their parents and the world.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Wow! Spy Kids: Armageddon is an action-packed, family-friendly adventure that takes the beloved Spy Kids franchise to new heights. Directed by the visionary Robert Rodriguez, this film combines thrilling spy missions with heartwarming family moments, making it a fantastic addition to the series.

The film follows the next generation of Spy Kids, Nora Torrez (Gina Rodriguez) and Terrance Tango (Zachary Levi)'s children, tasked to save the world from a diabolical villain's doomsday device. The young cast, led by talented newcomers Connor Esterson and Everly Carganilla, brings fresh energy to the franchise. The action sequences are exhilarating, and the gadgets are as ingenious as ever, providing a visual spectacle that left me on the edge of my seat.

Spy Kids: Armageddon excels in production elements. The imaginative sets, cleverly designed spy gadgets, and visually stunning special effects create a world that feels familiar and full of surprises. Standout performances by Everly Carganilla as Patty Tango-Torrez and Connor Esterson as Tony Tango-Torrez add depth to the cast, and their chemistry with the lead characters is delightful. Rodriguez's signature style shines through in the film's direction, keeping the pace engaging and fully immersing the audience in the Spy Kids universe.

At its core, Spy Kids: Armageddon delivers a positive message about teamwork, family and believing in oneself. The young spies face challenges and make mistakes, but ultimately learn and grow from their experiences.

I give Spy Kids: Armageddon 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults who have fond memories of the original Spy Kids movies. You can catch this exciting family adventure right now on Netflix, making it a perfect choice for a cozy movie night at home with your little spies-in-training.

By Hanadie K, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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


PAW PATROL: THE MIGHTY MOVIE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PAW PATROL: THE MIGHTY MOVIE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 2-8
Topic - Family
Description - A magical meteor crash lands in Adventure City and gives the PAW Patrol pups superpowers, transforming them into The Mighty Pups.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - If you need a new movie to keep your young ones entertained check out PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie. It has everything kids love and more.

After a meteor strikes Adventure City, damaging their Pup Tower - the PAW Patrol finds themselves with superpowers. But the pups soon realize they're in danger because Humdinger and mad scientist Victoria Vance are after these superpowers to make themselves into ultimate supervillains. It's up to Ryder and his team of mighty puppies to keep what is theirs as they learn that truly no pup is too small.

PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie is fantastically entertaining for younger viewers, with its fun storyline, bright colors and adorable characters. There are so many fun scenes that younger kids will enjoy. I really enjoyed the music choices in this film - it's a good mix of popular songs that different age groups will recognize and they are placed at nice points of the movie. The film takes place in Adventure City and the animators really excel in the attention to detail in creating the city as well as the other settings throughout the film. My favorite scene is when Sky tells Chase about her backstory; it is a really sentimental point of the film and is super sweet.

The theme of PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie is that if you believe in yourself you can do anything. Sky spends most of the movie contemplating her size because she's the smallest in the group, but in the end she learns that her size doesn't determine whether she can be a hero, she just has to believe in herself. Ryder says throughout the movie, "no pup too small." The pups learn the importance of this throughout the movie when they realize they all must work together to keep their powers.

I give PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. It releases in theaters September 29, 2023.

By Kendall B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


RUBY GILLMAN, TEENAGE KRAKEN (DVD/BLU-RAY)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
RUBY GILLMAN, TEENAGE KRAKEN (DVD/BLU-RAY)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Sometimes the hero you are meant to be lies just beneath the surface. This summer, DreamWorks Animation dives into the turbulent waters of high school with a hilarious, heartfelt action comedy about a shy teenager who discovers that she's part of a legendary royal lineage of mythical sea krakens and that her destiny, in the depths of the oceans, is bigger than she ever dreamed.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, is an absolute delight! This enchanting animated gem seamlessly weaves heartwarming coming-of-age themes with underwater fantasy, delivering a profound message about embracing one's uniqueness, making this a must-see film for all ages.

Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, tells the captivating story of Ruby (Lana Condor), a 16-year-old girl longing for acceptance in high school. Her life takes an extraordinary turn when she discovers her lineage as a descendant of warrior Kraken queens and her destiny to protect the oceans from power-hungry mermaids. As Ruby grapples with her newfound identity, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery, forming an unlikely friendship with Chelsea (Annie Murphy), a mermaid, and reconnecting with her estranged grandmother.

Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken brings its characters to life with a talented cast that shines throughout the film. Lana Condor delivers a remarkable performance as Ruby, capturing the essence of a shy teenager thrust into an enchanting underwater world. Annie Murphy adds depth to her character, Chelsea, the captivating mermaid, while Jane Fonda's commanding portrayal of Ruby's grandmother adds gravitas to the story. The film's imaginative world-building and stunning animation immerse the audience in a visually captivating underwater realm. For fans looking to dive deeper the Blu-ray and DVD release offers a treasure trove of bonus materials, including deleted scenes with intros by co-director Faryn Pearl, and a chance to meet the talented humans behind the scenes. One standout aspect is the pivotal scene where Ruby discovers her true heritage and destiny, a breathtaking moment that symbolizes her journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

The film's underlying message is of self-discovery and embracing one's uniqueness is strong.

I give Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken 4 out of 5 stars and recommended for ages, 5 to 18, plus adults. Ruby Gillman is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.

By Hanadie K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken is a hilarious film with a captivating story -- I couldn't even get up for more popcorn! It is illustrated by bright and interesting characters that you will root for and evil ones you'll be afraid of. I love the music chosen for the film, but my favorite part is definitely the animation.

The storyline follows 16-year-old Ruby Gillman (Lana Condor), a kraken girl who just wants to be a normal teenager, but the universe has other plans for her. When she accidentally sends Connor (Jaboukie Young-White), the boy she had planned to ask to prom, overboard and dives in after him, she discovers that she is not only a giant kraken, but underwater royalty, granddaughter of the kraken queen (Jane Fonda). With the help of her new kraken superpowers and her Uncle Brill (Sam Richardson), she uncovers her family history and the ancient rivalry between the krakens and the evil mermaids, all while trying to maintain her friendships and avoiding the monster-hunting sailor, Gordon Lighthouse (Will Forte).

You need to know that the kraken are sworn to protect the oceans of the world against the power-hungry mermaids. The characters in Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken immediately drew me in. Viewers will cheer Ruby on from the beginning because of her determination and her vivid personality. Her little brother, Sam, has a contagious happy energy that made me feel more awake when I watched him destroy his opponents at dodgeball. Uncle Brill is so effortlessly hilarious, even when he doesn't mean to be -- such as when he accidentally reveals Ruby's lineage to her. His goofy antics kept me entertained throughout the film. It's hard not to adore Connor, with his big eyes and innocent personality. The wicked mermaid (Annie Murphy), on the other hand, is malicious and terrifying. The soundtrack of Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken features upbeat songs that many teenagers will find relatable, such as I Just Wanna Shine by Fitz and the Tantrums. What I find most stunning about the film is the animation. I love the way the mermaid's hair is like a glowing white mist -- and how all the krakens' markings glow in the dark. The underwater Kraken Kingdom is beautifully constructed, and I love the way the main building is designed with a skylight. The lights and darks and the animation's color scheme make a huge impact on the film as a whole. Even the fast-moving scenes, such as the fight for the trident, are seamlessly animated, and it almost feels like a three-dimensional experience.

Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken reminded me that anyone can do anything, regardless of their age or species! Our differences don't make us weird; they make us special. We can't all have laser eyes, but everyone has a superpower unique to them, just waiting to be unlocked.

I give Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. The movie releases in theaters June 30, 2023.

By Ella S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

The film Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken is great! I like that they center the film on a 15-year-old and her struggles as a teenager. The film also has some really talented voice actors and hilarious characters that made it really fun to watch and a great time at the movies.

The film is set in a seaside town where Ruby Gillman (Lana Condor) is a teenage kraken just trying to fit in when, after an accident, she turns into a giant kraken! She is embarrassed about her newfound power and desperately wants to hide it. The conflict arises when Ruby tries to learn about her powers, but her mother (Toni Collette) tries to stop her. Ruby decides to learn anyway and finds out that she is much more than just a giant kraken.

Thematically, this film explores coming-of-age and how to treat each other nicely. There are a ton of great things about the movie. To begin, the animation is very creative and colorful. While mostly CGI, it includes traditional 2D animation mixed in. The design of the town is well crafted, and the krakens are very interesting because they have tentacle-like arms and legs that stretch and bend in hilarious ways. The voice actors are great in this film, as well. Annie Murphy's portrayal of Chelsea really covers a wide range of personalities, from sweet to menacing. One of the funniest characters is Uncle Brill, who is just trying to help but always seems to end up getting bonked. My favorite scenes are all the ones under water, because of the wide variety of creatures we see. The ending has a bit of a plot twist.

The film's message is very uplifting -- to answer the call and discover your true self. It's a very positive social message, especially for teenagers. Be aware that there is one mildly disturbing scene where a character almost drowns.

I give Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken is available now in theaters.

By Connor S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

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


DREAMS COME TRUE: GINJI SERIES, EPISODE 1

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
DREAMS COME TRUE: GINJI SERIES, EPISODE 1
BLANCA PICTURES
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 5 -12
Topic - Family
Description - Ginji's dream takes flight when she joins Cade Express, the bustling heart of Cade City's economy, as a courier. What starts as a routine job quickly spirals into a series of thrilling escapades, with new friends like the adventurous Varona and her ever-reliable sidekick, UB-7, her trusty backpack. UB-7 is more than just her delivery companion; he's her loyal protector, ready to aid her through any obstacle. But the real adventure begins when Ginji crosses paths with Nigista, the eccentric, ethereal spirit of her distant ancestor. From Cyprus, Animation, Dialogue in English
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I love Dreams Come True: Ginji Series. It is an animated show that is pretty funny because they have adventures delivering packages. Ginji is also very stubborn.

The story follows Ginji (Katie Zieff) arriving in Cade City to fulfill her dream of becoming a courier, and when a thief steals her package, Ginji's droid backpack helps her. The film is from Cyprus, but the dialogue is all in English.

The animation is very outstanding! Kudos to Slava Ushakov, the creator. This really is some of the best animation I have seen in some time. It is very unique and beautifully created - very vintage style with a completely wildly futuristic background of Cade City. All of the characters are interestingly formed, relating to animal type shapes sort of and each one is quite different. I love how her backpack is anthropomorphic - and very cute. I like the relationship between Ginji and her backpack, UB7 (Erik Zieff). He always tries to help, but Ginji will not listen and she winds up getting into trouble. Ginji and UB7 argue quite frequently, but UB7 tries to help her and eventually Ginji has to save him. Even though they argue a lot, Ginji and Ub7 show their friendship and devotion by saving one another. They also make a new ally in Verona, (Katie Zieff), who goes from foe to friend and leads them on a path to new adventures.

The film reminds us that sometimes you need to listen to others because your stubbornness can get you into trouble or prevent you from doing important things.

Dreams Come True: Ginji Series, Episode 1 gets 4 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. Anyone who loves animation will appreciate this. By Kira O. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love Dreams Come True: Ginji Series. It is an animated show that is pretty funny because they have adventures delivering packages. Ginji is also very stubborn.

The story follows Ginji (Katie Zieff) arriving in Cade City to fulfill her dream of becoming a courier, and when a thief steals her package, Ginji's droid backpack helps her. The film is from Cyprus, but the dialogue is all in English.

The animation is very outstanding! Kudos to Slava Ushakov, the creator. This really is some of the best animation I have seen in some time. It is very unique and beautifully created - very vintage style with a completely wildly futuristic background of Cade City. All of the characters are interestingly formed, relating to animal type shapes sort of and each one is quite different. I love how her backpack is anthropomorphic - and very cute. I like the relationship between Ginji and her backpack, UB7 (Erik Zieff). He always tries to help, but Ginji will not listen and she winds up getting into trouble. Ginji and UB7 argue quite frequently, but UB7 tries to help her and eventually Ginji has to save him. Even though they argue a lot, Ginji and Ub7 show their friendship and devotion by saving one another. They also make a new ally in Verona, (Katie Zieff), who goes from foe to friend and leads them on a path to new adventures.

The film reminds us that sometimes you need to listen to others because your stubbornness can get you into trouble or prevent you from doing important things.

Dreams Come True: Ginji Series, Episode 1 gets 4 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. Anyone who loves animation will appreciate this. By Kira O. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 24 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


CAMILLE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CAMILLE
CAMILLE SHORT
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Camille, a little shy girl who feels lonely, bakes a mountain of cupcakes in order to make friends, but the situation doesn't turn out as she expected. From Mexico, No dialogue, animation
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I like the stylized animation of Camille and the message, which is a good reminder to not give too much.

The storyline follows Camille, who is alone at school and excluded from the other children on the playground. She makes cupcakes in an attempt to make friends, but she endangers herself in the escalating attempts to be accepted.

Social isolation at school is a real issue and I admire this little girl making an attempt to step forward to be accepted. However, she goes over the top in her quest to have others like her to the point that she endangers herself and her health. The animation is very good and the kids' faces are very expressive. Background music begins rather sad and you can emphasize with Camille's sense of isolation; it gets happier when she is baking and interacting with her cat. As the film progresses we see her getting tired, overwhelmed and then frightened. The music really moves the story forward - it is critical to the film since there is no dialogue. However, Camille's face is very expressive so you can feel the emotion of Camille as well as the others. My favorite scene is when Camille comes home from school and is greeted by her cat, who is likely her best friend.

The film's message is about fitting in at school, or elsewhere. Showing how Camille is taken advantage of by the other children in her search for friendship is a reminder to not over extending yourself.

I give Camille 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Selene W. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like the stylized animation of Camille and the message, which is a good reminder to not give too much.

The storyline follows Camille, who is alone at school and excluded from the other children on the playground. She makes cupcakes in an attempt to make friends, but she endangers herself in the escalating attempts to be accepted.

Social isolation at school is a real issue and I admire this little girl making an attempt to step forward to be accepted. However, she goes over the top in her quest to have others like her to the point that she endangers herself and her health. The animation is very good and the kids' faces are very expressive. Background music begins rather sad and you can emphasize with Camille's sense of isolation; it gets happier when she is baking and interacting with her cat. As the film progresses we see her getting tired, overwhelmed and then frightened. The music really moves the story forward - it is critical to the film since there is no dialogue. However, Camille's face is very expressive so you can feel the emotion of Camille as well as the others. My favorite scene is when Camille comes home from school and is greeted by her cat, who is likely her best friend.

The film's message is about fitting in at school, or elsewhere. Showing how Camille is taken advantage of by the other children in her search for friendship is a reminder to not over extending yourself.

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


AFTER THE ENDLING

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
AFTER THE ENDLING
DAN KELIN
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - This is a story of a pupu kani oe (Hawaiian tree snail) named George and a tiny, yet vital, battle against extinction. Presented in shadow puppet style, the story follows Lonely George struggling to survive invasive threats as an endling, the last of his species. Deep within the forests of Hawai'i, pupu kani oe maintain a harmonious relationship with their environment, caring for the flora until invasive creatures sail in, disrupting the tiny island creatures' trusting lifestyle. Upon his parents' death, George becomes an endling, the last of his species. For more than ten lonely years, George struggles to survive, waiting for a mate. On New Year's Day, as the world celebrates a new beginning, Lonely George's wait ends, as his species comes to an end, begging the question, "How will we carry on the story of Lonely George?"
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really like After The Endling! It's a wordless fable with pretty remarkable, shadow-puppet like animation.

A baby snail is left in a state of shock when both of his parents are taken from him by a formidable predator.

The story line is about a baby snail, the Hawaiian pupu kani oe named George, who is left in a state of shock when both of his parents are taken from him by a formidable predator. Presented in shadow puppet style, we watch George struggle to survive invasive threats to his own life. In Hawai'i, these snails have maintained a harmonious relationship with their environment, until invasive predators arrive. Upon his parents' death, George becomes an endling, the very last of his species.

Great short! I love the animation, the story, and its message about the environment. This story is not particularly complex, but it's certainly relevant to our planet today, with issues of extinction and sustainability and is presented in an entertaining animation that definitely kept my attention. The animation is really, really cool; the 2-D figures that look like cut out pieces of paper traversing a flat, but colorful world are oozing with charm. The backgrounds add an enormous amount of atmosphere to the story. The background Hawaiian music complements the story well, including a haunting piece after a tragic event that really stands out. My favorite scene is the one where George is out on his own after the death of his parents.

I give After The Endling 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really like After The Endling! It's a wordless fable with pretty remarkable, shadow-puppet like animation.

A baby snail is left in a state of shock when both of his parents are taken from him by a formidable predator.

The story line is about a baby snail, the Hawaiian pupu kani oe named George, who is left in a state of shock when both of his parents are taken from him by a formidable predator. Presented in shadow puppet style, we watch George struggle to survive invasive threats to his own life. In Hawai'i, these snails have maintained a harmonious relationship with their environment, until invasive predators arrive. Upon his parents' death, George becomes an endling, the very last of his species.

Great short! I love the animation, the story, and its message about the environment. This story is not particularly complex, but it's certainly relevant to our planet today, with issues of extinction and sustainability and is presented in an entertaining animation that definitely kept my attention. The animation is really, really cool; the 2-D figures that look like cut out pieces of paper traversing a flat, but colorful world are oozing with charm. The backgrounds add an enormous amount of atmosphere to the story. The background Hawaiian music complements the story well, including a haunting piece after a tragic event that really stands out. My favorite scene is the one where George is out on his own after the death of his parents.

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


LOVE LETTERS FOR THE SUBWAY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LOVE LETTERS FOR THE SUBWAY
MARY HAWKINS
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - I love working with type and I started making this set of hand-drawn, animated letters representing New York City's subway lines as a love letter to NYC. I've pulled the imagery from the neighborhoods that our trains move through, used common items in the subway as textures, and found shapes in the architecture and sights around us as we get where we're going. I've been drawing these on the trains, and other subway riders have peered over my shoulder as I work and started conversations with me about the lines they take to live, play and work and the communities we move through.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The animated short, Love Letters For The Subway, clearly tells a compelling and interesting story about NYC subways, with great background music and flawless animation.

In her animated film Love Letters for the Subway, Mary Hawkins uses hand-drawn letters to represent New York City's subway lines. The images in the film are inspired by the architecture, geography, and everyday life of the neighborhoods through which the trains run.

The clever concept and great visuals of Love Letters for the Subway are perfectly suited to the New York City subway system. Each letter or number tells a story, from the Ferris wheel to the protest signs, buildings, staircases, subway pillars, flowers, the pond with ducks, and subway rails. I had to watch the film multiple times to appreciate all of its nuances. The background music by Carlos Dengler is also well-suited to the film, giving it a sense of motion and excitement. Love Letters for the Subway is a love letter to New York City and its inhabitants. The film captures the richness and diversity of life in the city, from the hustle and bustle of the subway to the quiet moments of reflection in Central Park. It is a reminder to slow down and appreciate the beauty and complexity of the city that we call home.

I give Love Letters for the Subway 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 through 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The animated short, Love Letters For The Subway, clearly tells a compelling and interesting story about NYC subways, with great background music and flawless animation.

In her animated film Love Letters for the Subway, Mary Hawkins uses hand-drawn letters to represent New York City's subway lines. The images in the film are inspired by the architecture, geography, and everyday life of the neighborhoods through which the trains run.

The clever concept and great visuals of Love Letters for the Subway are perfectly suited to the New York City subway system. Each letter or number tells a story, from the Ferris wheel to the protest signs, buildings, staircases, subway pillars, flowers, the pond with ducks, and subway rails. I had to watch the film multiple times to appreciate all of its nuances. The background music by Carlos Dengler is also well-suited to the film, giving it a sense of motion and excitement. Love Letters for the Subway is a love letter to New York City and its inhabitants. The film captures the richness and diversity of life in the city, from the hustle and bustle of the subway to the quiet moments of reflection in Central Park. It is a reminder to slow down and appreciate the beauty and complexity of the city that we call home.

I give Love Letters for the Subway 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 through 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 2 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


TECA & TUTI: A NIGHT AT THE LIBRARY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TECA & TUTI: A NIGHT AT THE LIBRARY
TECA E TUTI
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - The tiny clothes moth Teca lives with her family and pet dust mite in a sewing box. What they love most is to eat paper, but when Teca learns to read, she notices that books cannot be eaten; after all, they keep stories that she loves. Committed to solving a great mystery, Teca and Tuti part towards the library, searching for the most important story of their life. From Brazil; Dialogue in Portuguese, English subtitles
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really enjoyed watching Teca & Tuti: A Night at the Library. It has a wonderful family-friendly storyline and a strong message about the importance of reading.

The storyline is about a moth named Teca (Luy Campos) and her little pet Tuti (Hugo Picchi) who understand the importance of reading instead of eating a book.

I love the story line because it shows the importance of reading and talks about how kids are forgetting to read daily. This film is a combination of animation and live-action. Both are done perfectly --I love how the camera shows the scenery of the city during the live-action parts and in the animation we always get a perfect angle of the characters. For example when Teca turns to a book character the quality of the animation is on point. The costumes are perfect. Teca has a great outfit and always appears with a bow on her antenna. The locations for the live-action are great and the backgrounds of the animation are very well done. The music follows the story line perfectly. Every scene when Teca or another character has a strong feeling the music fits their mood quite well. Zico (Micael Gomes Matos) and his Grandmother (Nelma Nunes) love to read every night and Teca learns how to read and appreciate a book by listening to its story. The Directors Eduardo Perdido, Tiago M. A. Lima, Diego M. Doimo made an amazing film with a very compelling storyline and message to all. My favorite part is when Teca meets her mother.

The film's message is that we all should go more to the library and read constantly.

I give Teca & Tuti: A Night at the Library 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8, plus adults. By Keila V., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really enjoyed watching Teca & Tuti: A Night at the Library. It has a wonderful family-friendly storyline and a strong message about the importance of reading.

The storyline is about a moth named Teca (Luy Campos) and her little pet Tuti (Hugo Picchi) who understand the importance of reading instead of eating a book.

I love the story line because it shows the importance of reading and talks about how kids are forgetting to read daily. This film is a combination of animation and live-action. Both are done perfectly --I love how the camera shows the scenery of the city during the live-action parts and in the animation we always get a perfect angle of the characters. For example when Teca turns to a book character the quality of the animation is on point. The costumes are perfect. Teca has a great outfit and always appears with a bow on her antenna. The locations for the live-action are great and the backgrounds of the animation are very well done. The music follows the story line perfectly. Every scene when Teca or another character has a strong feeling the music fits their mood quite well. Zico (Micael Gomes Matos) and his Grandmother (Nelma Nunes) love to read every night and Teca learns how to read and appreciate a book by listening to its story. The Directors Eduardo Perdido, Tiago M. A. Lima, Diego M. Doimo made an amazing film with a very compelling storyline and message to all. My favorite part is when Teca meets her mother.

The film's message is that we all should go more to the library and read constantly.

I give Teca & Tuti: A Night at the Library 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8, plus adults. By Keila V., KIDS FIRST!

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


TRACE, A

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TRACE, A
JULIETTA ZAMORA LAM
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A 3D Animated Short film in which a young girl learns to shed her guilt about her absent father. This student short film features an experimental flat character in a 3D environment with a toony rendered look.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - A Trace is my new favorite film of the day. Beautifully animated and addressing a difficult topic of absentee fathers - or parents.

The storyline follows a little girl whose father has left the family and her feelings about that. Ultimately, she is able to let go of him and realize that her family is herself and her mom.

Great animation. Beautiful rendered. I love how the little girl is created and the backgrounds are also quite wonderful. But, the focus here really is on the storyline, which is told amazingly well, without narration.

The film's message is about being able to let go and move on when someone walks out of your life.

I give A Trace 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Marissa S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A Trace is my new favorite film of the day. Beautifully animated and addressing a difficult topic of absentee fathers - or parents.

The storyline follows a little girl whose father has left the family and her feelings about that. Ultimately, she is able to let go of him and realize that her family is herself and her mom.

Great animation. Beautiful rendered. I love how the little girl is created and the backgrounds are also quite wonderful. But, the focus here really is on the storyline, which is told amazingly well, without narration.

The film's message is about being able to let go and move on when someone walks out of your life.

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


CRAYONERELLA

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CRAYONERELLA
LORA BATCHELOR MIDDLE SCHOOL
Series: MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - This is an animation film made with crayons. It is inspired by Cinderella. Middle School student film. Animation
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Crayonerella is a fun twist on the classic tale of Cinderella, featuring crayons as characters.

The middle student-made animated film is inspired by the Cinderella story and told with crayons.

The narrator, Elia Defore, is really good; I enjoyed listening to her tell the story. She is also the writer, director, producer and cinematographer. The camera work is pretty good - all the images are clear. I like the ending, when a human hand comes onto the screen to turn the page and close the book. The backgrounds are very basic - white! The audio is very good; it's nice and clear. I particularly enjoyed the voice inflection by the narrator. I love the ending where Elia Defore tells what inspired her to create this short film.

This film reminds me how creativity and imagination are blessings.

I give Crayonerella 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Selene W., and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Crayonerella is a fun twist on the classic tale of Cinderella, featuring crayons as characters.

The middle student-made animated film is inspired by the Cinderella story and told with crayons.

The narrator, Elia Defore, is really good; I enjoyed listening to her tell the story. She is also the writer, director, producer and cinematographer. The camera work is pretty good - all the images are clear. I like the ending, when a human hand comes onto the screen to turn the page and close the book. The backgrounds are very basic - white! The audio is very good; it's nice and clear. I particularly enjoyed the voice inflection by the narrator. I love the ending where Elia Defore tells what inspired her to create this short film.

This film reminds me how creativity and imagination are blessings.

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


LITTLE LUNA

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LITTLE LUNA
TARA STRICKLAND
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 5 -12
Topic - Family
Description - As society races faster and louder towards modernity, Gorjuss is a nostalgic reminder of the human psyche; a gentle nod to our childhood courage, hidden insecurities and innermost thoughts. 'Little Luna' is the very first Gorjuss girl to be brought to life. She manifests an inspiring narrative for us all, encouraging girls everywhere to defy expectations.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What a lovely short fantasy animation this is. Perfect for letting your imagination wander.

The story follows a little girl, Little Luna, as she explores her imagination and travels to a host of magical places. This short is part of the Gorjuss Anthology, which is a series of bedtime stories for children using the image of a Gorjuss doll.

The film's animation is stunningly beautiful. Luna is so cute you relish her every movement and the narration, in iambic pentameter suits her so darn well. The background music is quite lovely although it often overshadows the narration, making it difficult to understand what is being said. The images of Luna's fantasy are spectacular - outer space, dancing, dreaming, discovering worlds beyond our own and finding a star in her pocket, a string from a magical moonbeam. She dreams so big that she makes them come true.

The film's message is to dream big and allow your fantasies to materialize in whatever way possible - be it real or make believe.

I give Little Luna 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for age 5 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What a lovely short fantasy animation this is. Perfect for letting your imagination wander.

The story follows a little girl, Little Luna, as she explores her imagination and travels to a host of magical places. This short is part of the Gorjuss Anthology, which is a series of bedtime stories for children using the image of a Gorjuss doll.

The film's animation is stunningly beautiful. Luna is so cute you relish her every movement and the narration, in iambic pentameter suits her so darn well. The background music is quite lovely although it often overshadows the narration, making it difficult to understand what is being said. The images of Luna's fantasy are spectacular - outer space, dancing, dreaming, discovering worlds beyond our own and finding a star in her pocket, a string from a magical moonbeam. She dreams so big that she makes them come true.

The film's message is to dream big and allow your fantasies to materialize in whatever way possible - be it real or make believe.

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


A CHILD'S GUIDE TO SWEARING: A SHORT DOCUMENTARY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
A CHILD'S GUIDE TO SWEARING: A SHORT DOCUMENTARY
DARREN PAUL FISHER
Series: ELEMENTARY STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Eight-year-old Miles loves the idea of swearing, but wants to investigate people's attitudes to using 'bad' language. He has a big question to ask: should children be allowed to swear?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This documentary is part fun and part serious.

The young filmmaker (elementary school) take a serious look at whether or not children should be allowed to swear.

The many interviews with adults and kids are insightful and well shot, for the most part. The outdoor scene lacks a windscreen so the audio is distorted. But, for the most part it is well made. I admire this young man for taking this on and giving it a thorough overview. There are no hard and fast conclusions. He ends with, "what do you think."

The film's message is about whether or not kids should be allowed to swear.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Marissa S.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This documentary is part fun and part serious.

The young filmmaker (elementary school) take a serious look at whether or not children should be allowed to swear.

The many interviews with adults and kids are insightful and well shot, for the most part. The outdoor scene lacks a windscreen so the audio is distorted. But, for the most part it is well made. I admire this young man for taking this on and giving it a thorough overview. There are no hard and fast conclusions. He ends with, "what do you think."

The film's message is about whether or not kids should be allowed to swear.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Marissa S.
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


WARRIOR INTERN'S QUEST FOR LOVE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
WARRIOR INTERN'S QUEST FOR LOVE
SHIHYUN WANG
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A Korean man vowed to be a Kungfu master before proposing to his dream girl. However, he had a second thought after going through meditation for love. From Korea, Dialogue in English
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Warrior Intern's Quest for Love tells a story of devotion and love.

The storyline follows a Korean man who vowed to be a Kungfu master before proposing to the woman he loves and then has a second thought after meditating.

This is pretty well produced, although the parts where the man is talking with the Kungfu master outdoors suffers from not having a windscreen on the microphone so there is a lot of audio distortion. The blend of animation with live action is well done.

The film's message is to be true to yourself.

I give Warrior Intern's Quest for Love 3,5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Marissa S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Warrior Intern's Quest for Love tells a story of devotion and love.

The storyline follows a Korean man who vowed to be a Kungfu master before proposing to the woman he loves and then has a second thought after meditating.

This is pretty well produced, although the parts where the man is talking with the Kungfu master outdoors suffers from not having a windscreen on the microphone so there is a lot of audio distortion. The blend of animation with live action is well done.

The film's message is to be true to yourself.

I give Warrior Intern's Quest for Love 3,5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Marissa S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 8 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SAVAGELINGS, THE: GINJI SERIES, EPISODE 7

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SAVAGELINGS, THE: GINJI SERIES, EPISODE 7
BLANCA PICTURES
Series: FOREIGN ANIMATED SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - When it turns out that Vanilla is behind in the monthly courier ratings he takes a delivery to The Tundara, a dangerous icy desert populated by the "savagelings" in hopes of getting ahead in the ratings. But at the last minute gets scared and grabs a different package. Ginji sets out to help Vanilla and encounters all kinds of adventures on the way. From Cyprus, English dialogue
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Another wonderful and lively episode of The Savagelings: Ginji Series.

This series, filmed in Armenia, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, United States, and directed by Slava Ushakov delivers a beautifully produced animated show that just wows me!

This episode takes our protagonist, Vanilla to the Tundara in hopes of improving her rating as a courier. Ginji accompanies her and the adventure escalates from there.

I am totally enchanted by the animation in this show. It is everything that great animation should be - unique characters, great movement, great backgrounds... and a fun storyline. Vanilla's way of moving through the world is commendable as she always leads with kindness, even when those around her are less so. Her innocence is partly why we love her so much. And her backpack Ginji is equally awesome. I love how it turns into a flying machine. It's crazy and wacky and fun.

Vanilla reminds us that kindness matters and helps you navigate the world better than anything else.

I give The Savagelings: Ginji series, Episode 7 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Another wonderful and lively episode of The Savagelings: Ginji Series.

This series, filmed in Armenia, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, United States, and directed by Slava Ushakov delivers a beautifully produced animated show that just wows me!

This episode takes our protagonist, Vanilla to the Tundara in hopes of improving her rating as a courier. Ginji accompanies her and the adventure escalates from there.

I am totally enchanted by the animation in this show. It is everything that great animation should be - unique characters, great movement, great backgrounds... and a fun storyline. Vanilla's way of moving through the world is commendable as she always leads with kindness, even when those around her are less so. Her innocence is partly why we love her so much. And her backpack Ginji is equally awesome. I love how it turns into a flying machine. It's crazy and wacky and fun.

Vanilla reminds us that kindness matters and helps you navigate the world better than anything else.

I give The Savagelings: Ginji series, Episode 7 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 13 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ALL YOU'VE GOT

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ALL YOU'VE GOT
WEI HUNTER
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Chinese American kids grow up torn between two cultures and don't always understand the importance of their heritage, but learning Chinese helps them connect with the past, grow in the present, and set the stage for their future success.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - All You've Got gives us insight into a mixed cultural family dealing with teaching their child the father's native Chinese language.

The story follows a young boy whose dad is Chinese and mother is American. The dad wants him to learn Chinese and thinks it will help connect him with his past and help him in the future. The boy resists until the Dad finds a way to motivate him.

Bribery always works with kids and, in this case, definitely makes an impact. This is a well produced short film with a simple message and is relevant not only to Chinese Americans but any mixed cultural family. The camerawork is good, so is the audio and the acting is spot on. Nothing is too dramatically unique here, it's just a good short film with a simple message.

The film's message is about the importance for bi-cultural children to be taught the native language and culture of both sides of their family.

I give All You've Got 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 - All You've Got gives us insight into a mixed cultural family dealing with teaching their child the father's native Chinese language.

The story follows a young boy whose dad is Chinese and mother is American. The dad wants him to learn Chinese and thinks it will help connect him with his past and help him in the future. The boy resists until the Dad finds a way to motivate him.

Bribery always works with kids and, in this case, definitely makes an impact. This is a well produced short film with a simple message and is relevant not only to Chinese Americans but any mixed cultural family. The camerawork is good, so is the audio and the acting is spot on. Nothing is too dramatically unique here, it's just a good short film with a simple message.

The film's message is about the importance for bi-cultural children to be taught the native language and culture of both sides of their family.

I give All You've Got 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 14 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SKIP  HER

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SKIP HER
SARA KEY
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 5 -12
Topic - Family
Description - Molly, soon 9, wishes for a Barbie doll for her Birthday . Her parents are having a good time, and she too wishes to grow up! She wants to have a Barbie doll so she can dress her with clothes and shoes just like her mothers. Molly's brother Peter is a nuisance and he is always trying to sneak into her room to try to steal her stored candy that she is keeping in a jar. Birthday comes with a surprise she has to deal with, in her own way, in the manner of the calm days of 1970�s.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The cinematography in Skip Her is beautiful, but the storyline is really unclear. If I hadn't read the synopsis, I wouldn't have understood what was going on. There is very little dialogue, which is fine as the action mostly describes what is transpiring. However, the one thing that is unclear to me is understanding why the parents don't feel that Molly is not old enough to have a Barbie. The background music is great and represents Molly's emotions, but doesn't help us connect to her.

The story follows Molly (Lilou Traista), who wishes for a Barbie doll for her ninth Birthday. She is seen oogling over them at the shop where they are sold and clearly keen on having a Barbie of her own. The story is about how Molly handles her disappointment when her parents give her a Skipper doll instead of a Barbie.

It's a challenge to understand what is really going on between the family members in this film, particularly with Molly's parents. I can't relate to the idea that a 9-year-old girl is not ready to play with a Barbie doll since many girls much earlier than age 9 do, so that premise is completely lost on me. The cinematography by Niklas Ribbarp is really beautiful. I love the lakeside scene where everything is grayscale except for one woman, I imagine it is her mother, who is wearing a bright red skirt. The cinematography really evokes the 1970s timeframe and emotions typical of that era. The costumes definitely are reminiscent of the 1970s and take us backwards in time. The background music by Arnaud Drieu is beautiful and somewhat melancholy. It is a beautiful score and perhaps is supposed to depict the sadness of Molly's situation. I definitely didn't feel the joy and anticipation that a young girl would have for an upcoming birthday. And, Molly's pesky brother's (Albin Goq) behavior doesn't seem to relate to the overall purpose of the story. There is not much character development shown in Molly, which makes it difficult for me to connect with her character, although I do appreciate her decision at the end to put the doll that she has no use for into a jar - presumably to never be played with. That is when Molly takes control of her situation. Sara Key is the writer, director and costume designer. I really like the costumes and feel they are one of the strengths of the film - they really take you back to the time period. My favorite scene is the introduction which shows all the period Barbie dolls and sets the nostalgic scene and feeling.

The film's message is about managing disappointment and I do love how Molly does that in the ending scene.

I give Skip Her 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Selene W. and Marissa S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The cinematography in Skip Her is beautiful, but the storyline is really unclear. If I hadn't read the synopsis, I wouldn't have understood what was going on. There is very little dialogue, which is fine as the action mostly describes what is transpiring. However, the one thing that is unclear to me is understanding why the parents don't feel that Molly is not old enough to have a Barbie. The background music is great and represents Molly's emotions, but doesn't help us connect to her.

The story follows Molly (Lilou Traista), who wishes for a Barbie doll for her ninth Birthday. She is seen oogling over them at the shop where they are sold and clearly keen on having a Barbie of her own. The story is about how Molly handles her disappointment when her parents give her a Skipper doll instead of a Barbie.

It's a challenge to understand what is really going on between the family members in this film, particularly with Molly's parents. I can't relate to the idea that a 9-year-old girl is not ready to play with a Barbie doll since many girls much earlier than age 9 do, so that premise is completely lost on me. The cinematography by Niklas Ribbarp is really beautiful. I love the lakeside scene where everything is grayscale except for one woman, I imagine it is her mother, who is wearing a bright red skirt. The cinematography really evokes the 1970s timeframe and emotions typical of that era. The costumes definitely are reminiscent of the 1970s and take us backwards in time. The background music by Arnaud Drieu is beautiful and somewhat melancholy. It is a beautiful score and perhaps is supposed to depict the sadness of Molly's situation. I definitely didn't feel the joy and anticipation that a young girl would have for an upcoming birthday. And, Molly's pesky brother's (Albin Goq) behavior doesn't seem to relate to the overall purpose of the story. There is not much character development shown in Molly, which makes it difficult for me to connect with her character, although I do appreciate her decision at the end to put the doll that she has no use for into a jar - presumably to never be played with. That is when Molly takes control of her situation. Sara Key is the writer, director and costume designer. I really like the costumes and feel they are one of the strengths of the film - they really take you back to the time period. My favorite scene is the introduction which shows all the period Barbie dolls and sets the nostalgic scene and feeling.

The film's message is about managing disappointment and I do love how Molly does that in the ending scene.

I give Skip Her 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Selene W. and Marissa S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 10 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


DONUT WORLD

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
DONUT WORLD
DANA LEIGH SNYDER (NORA 6592)
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - "It all began at Donut World. Just a regular donut shop in a regular town. But if you're a day old donut, you get to go to the real Donut World." A stop-motion animation created by 5 to 7-year-olds. Part of Urban Wildlife Arts Animated Storytelling class at Village Community School in Manhattan, NY. Winter 2023.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Donut World is an absolute delight. This is so cute I could gobble it all up - pun intended! The premise of day-old donuts discovering a magical world is incredibly endearing, striking the perfect balance between whimsy and imagination. This stop-motion animation was created by 5 to 7-year-olds, which is rather remarkable and shows how their creativity brings fantastical ideas to life.

Donut World follows heroic donuts in a whimsical town battling evil Vamp Jelly to save their community.

I love this film's endearing storyline, youthful creativity, and upbeat themes. The simplicity of the animation and its heartfelt message about teamwork make it appropriate for young audiences. The stop-motion animation with the concept of donuts entering a magical world is unique and captivating. The emphasis of unity, friendship, and collaboration is a strong point. Using artwork by young children adds an adorable and authentic touch to the film. The innocence and imaginative qualities of their creations enhance the overall charm of the story. The characters' costumes align well with the storyline's whimsical nature that resonates with the film's magical theme. The characters spring to life and evoke empathy and relatability. It even has a villain, Vamp Jelly - which bodes well for creating conflict resolution. The sets and backgrounds in seamlessly blend with the narrative, crafting a captivating visual realm that enriches the storytelling. Bursting with vibrant and imaginative details, they transport viewers to the fantastical realm of the day-old donuts' adventures. The background music and sound effects exhibit a simplicity that suits a younger audience. I especially like the song at the end, which plays under the credits - it's upbeat and fun, with great lyrics and left me singing it afterwards! Donut World's charm lies in its handcrafted approach, which adds authenticity and a sense of creative innocence. While the film may not have intricate visual effects, its endearing and imaginative qualities stand out and works for its intended audience, making it a remarkable showcase of youthful creativity. My favorite part is when they capture Vamp Jelly and send him off. The donuts' triumphant unity, resourceful plan, and satisfying resolution showcase the film's heartwarming message of teamwork and creativity.

The film's message revolves around the power of teamwork. Through the unity of diverse characters - the donuts - the film highlights the strength that emerges when individuals collaborate, utilizing their unique talents to overcome challenges.

I give Donut World 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Hanadie K. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Donut World is an absolute delight. This is so cute I could gobble it all up - pun intended! The premise of day-old donuts discovering a magical world is incredibly endearing, striking the perfect balance between whimsy and imagination. This stop-motion animation was created by 5 to 7-year-olds, which is rather remarkable and shows how their creativity brings fantastical ideas to life.

Donut World follows heroic donuts in a whimsical town battling evil Vamp Jelly to save their community.

I love this film's endearing storyline, youthful creativity, and upbeat themes. The simplicity of the animation and its heartfelt message about teamwork make it appropriate for young audiences. The stop-motion animation with the concept of donuts entering a magical world is unique and captivating. The emphasis of unity, friendship, and collaboration is a strong point. Using artwork by young children adds an adorable and authentic touch to the film. The innocence and imaginative qualities of their creations enhance the overall charm of the story. The characters' costumes align well with the storyline's whimsical nature that resonates with the film's magical theme. The characters spring to life and evoke empathy and relatability. It even has a villain, Vamp Jelly - which bodes well for creating conflict resolution. The sets and backgrounds in seamlessly blend with the narrative, crafting a captivating visual realm that enriches the storytelling. Bursting with vibrant and imaginative details, they transport viewers to the fantastical realm of the day-old donuts' adventures. The background music and sound effects exhibit a simplicity that suits a younger audience. I especially like the song at the end, which plays under the credits - it's upbeat and fun, with great lyrics and left me singing it afterwards! Donut World's charm lies in its handcrafted approach, which adds authenticity and a sense of creative innocence. While the film may not have intricate visual effects, its endearing and imaginative qualities stand out and works for its intended audience, making it a remarkable showcase of youthful creativity. My favorite part is when they capture Vamp Jelly and send him off. The donuts' triumphant unity, resourceful plan, and satisfying resolution showcase the film's heartwarming message of teamwork and creativity.

The film's message revolves around the power of teamwork. Through the unity of diverse characters - the donuts - the film highlights the strength that emerges when individuals collaborate, utilizing their unique talents to overcome challenges.

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



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