The Ages 5-12 category has 6428 KIDS FIRST! endorsed titles

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SPROUT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


BOY A-NEE-GU FIGHT WITH MAGICAL BUGS!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


MUSHROOM MAGIC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


BEE AND A SILKWORM, A

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BEE AND A SILKWORM, A
MEDIA FRUIT
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic -
Description - Dong-ho, a botanist, fell in love with the beauty of wildflowers he once saw on Mount Baekdu. And even after his retirement, he makes seed bombs and throw them from place to place to spread wildflowers. In addition, he built a greenhouse to restore endangered alpine wildflowers and has been taking care of them for 10 years
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I absolutely love A Bee And A Silkworm. The script is captivating, drawing me in from the very first scene. The characters are so well-developed; the actors all are exceptional in their roles. The plot twists kept me on the edge of my seat.

This is a heartwarming tale about Dong-ho (Song Kang-ho), a retired botanist, who dedicates his life to preserving and spreading the beauty of wildflowers. His encounter with Bom (Kim Tae-ri), a courageous girl who isn't afraid of bees and has some silkworms she's caring for, changes everything. When Bom's mother seeks refuge from her abusive father, Dong-ho steps in to help, eventually facing a moral dilemma that leads to a tragic turn of events. It's a touching story about friendship, courage, and the consequences of one's actions. From Korea with dialogue in Korean and English subtitles.

The storyline is incredibly touching and thought-provoking. Firstly, I was captivated by Dong-ho's passion for wildflowers, his concern that bees could go extinct if not protected and his mission to spread their beauty, which adds a unique and compelling element to the narrative. Secondly, the development of the relationship between Dong-ho and Bom is beautifully portrayed, showcasing how their friendship blossoms over their shared love for nature. However, the tragic turn of events towards the end, with Dong-ho facing a moral dilemma to help Bom and her mother and ultimately meeting a tragic fate, is heart-wrenching yet brilliantly executed, leaving a lasting impact on the story. The cinematography is stunning, with the opening aerial shot of Mount Baekdu covered in wildflowers setting the tone of the film; the close-ups of the doctor walking through the forest emphasizes the emotional aspect of the film. The lighting and framing enhance the mood, especially the warm lighting during moments of friendship. The sets and locations enhance the visual experience of the film - the lush greenery of Mount Baekdu provides a breathtaking backdrop for Dong-ho's botanical adventures, while his greenhouse is filled with vibrant colors of various wildflowers, emphasizing his passion for nature. One standout location is the secluded gym where Bom and her mother seek refuge, which effectively conveys a sense of safety amidst the chaos. Plus, the detailed backgrounds in the animation, such as the intricate mountain trails and the cozy interiors of Dong-ho's home, add depth to the storytelling. The background music and sounds are all-enriching. When Dong-ho contemplates his past or Bom confronts difficulties, the music soars with emotion, pulling us deeper into their hearts. Even the subtlest sounds, like buzzing bees and rustling leaves, add a layer of realism that transports us into the film's natural world making us feel truly immersed.

The character development is central to the story and is beautifully portrayed by the actors. Dong-ho is a retired botanist, deeply passionate about wildflowers, but withdrawn from society. As the film develops, he undergoes significant growth, opening up emotionally as he forms a bond with Bom. His journey from a solitary man to a caring friend is compelling and heartwarming. Bom begins as a curious and brave girl, unafraid of bees despite her difficult family situation. Her character grows as she learns to trust Dong-ho and finds solace in their friendship. Both Song Kang-ho and Kim Tae-ri deliver nuanced performances that capture the complexity of their characters' journeys. The director, Sunghwan Kim,'s vision and storytelling skills are evident throughout, weaving together themes of friendship, environmentalism, and social justice seamlessly. My favorite part of the film is when we are shown that, after 20 years, the flowers that the doctor had been trying to grow finally blooms. Bom sees that the doctor's dream is achieved eventually. I recommend it for a youth and family film festival. The film's themes of friendship, courage, and the importance of nature resonate strongly with both younger audiences and families. It offers valuable lessons about compassion, environmental conservation, and standing up against injustice, all presented in a way that is accessible and engaging. The storyline is heartwarming yet thought-provoking, sparking meaningful conversations about empathy and the impact of one's actions. Furthermore, the film's beautiful cinematography and immersive backgrounds add to its appeal, ensuring an enjoyable experience. Furthermore, it offers insights into Korean culture through its characters and settings, appealing to those interested in multicultural experiences.

The film's message is about the transformative power of empathy and friendship - through Dong-ho and Bom's bond, it shows the beauty of connecting with others and the impact of standing up for what is right. It also addresses the importance of environmental conservation and encourages viewers to protect the environment. Be aware that it does contain bloody, gory acts of violence. There is a bloody scene when Bom's father is holding a knife lying on the floor and Dong Ho is at the corner and has blood beside him.

I give A Bee And A Silkworm 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Gloria J., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - absolutely love A Bee And A Silkworm. The script is captivating, drawing me in from the very first scene. The characters are so well-developed; the actors all are exceptional in their roles. The plot twists kept me on the edge of my seat.

This is a heartwarming tale about Dong-ho (Song Kang-ho), a retired botanist, who dedicates his life to preserving and spreading the beauty of wildflowers. His encounter with Bom (Kim Tae-ri), a courageous girl who isn't afraid of bees and has some silkworms she's caring for, changes everything. When Bom's mother seeks refuge from her abusive father, Dong-ho steps in to help, eventually facing a moral dilemma that leads to a tragic turn of events. It's a touching story about friendship, courage, and the consequences of one's actions. From Korea with dialogue in Korean and English subtitles.

The storyline is incredibly touching and thought-provoking. Firstly, I was captivated by Dong-ho's passion for wildflowers, his concern that bees could go extinct if not protected and his mission to spread their beauty, which adds a unique and compelling element to the narrative. Secondly, the development of the relationship between Dong-ho and Bom is beautifully portrayed, showcasing how their friendship blossoms over their shared love for nature. However, the tragic turn of events towards the end, with Dong-ho facing a moral dilemma to help Bom and her mother and ultimately meeting a tragic fate, is heart-wrenching yet brilliantly executed, leaving a lasting impact on the story. The cinematography is stunning, with the opening aerial shot of Mount Baekdu covered in wildflowers setting the tone of the film; the close-ups of the doctor walking through the forest emphasizes the emotional aspect of the film. The lighting and framing enhance the mood, especially the warm lighting during moments of friendship. The sets and locations enhance the visual experience of the film - the lush greenery of Mount Baekdu provides a breathtaking backdrop for Dong-ho's botanical adventures, while his greenhouse is filled with vibrant colors of various wildflowers, emphasizing his passion for nature. One standout location is the secluded gym where Bom and her mother seek refuge, which effectively conveys a sense of safety amidst the chaos. Plus, the detailed backgrounds in the animation, such as the intricate mountain trails and the cozy interiors of Dong-ho's home, add depth to the storytelling. The background music and sounds are all-enriching. When Dong-ho contemplates his past or Bom confronts difficulties, the music soars with emotion, pulling us deeper into their hearts. Even the subtlest sounds, like buzzing bees and rustling leaves, add a layer of realism that transports us into the film's natural world making us feel truly immersed.

The character development is central to the story and is beautifully portrayed by the actors. Dong-ho is a retired botanist, deeply passionate about wildflowers, but withdrawn from society. As the film develops, he undergoes significant growth, opening up emotionally as he forms a bond with Bom. His journey from a solitary man to a caring friend is compelling and heartwarming. Bom begins as a curious and brave girl, unafraid of bees despite her difficult family situation. Her character grows as she learns to trust Dong-ho and finds solace in their friendship. Both Song Kang-ho and Kim Tae-ri deliver nuanced performances that capture the complexity of their characters' journeys. The director, Sunghwan Kim,'s vision and storytelling skills are evident throughout, weaving together themes of friendship, environmentalism, and social justice seamlessly. My favorite part of the film is when we are shown that, after 20 years, the flowers that the doctor had been trying to grow finally blooms. Bom sees that the doctor's dream is achieved eventually. I recommend it for a youth and family film festival. The film's themes of friendship, courage, and the importance of nature resonate strongly with both younger audiences and families. It offers valuable lessons about compassion, environmental conservation, and standing up against injustice, all presented in a way that is accessible and engaging. The storyline is heartwarming yet thought-provoking, sparking meaningful conversations about empathy and the impact of one's actions. Furthermore, the film's beautiful cinematography and immersive backgrounds add to its appeal, ensuring an enjoyable experience. Furthermore, it offers insights into Korean culture through its characters and settings, appealing to those interested in multicultural experiences.

The film's message is about the transformative power of empathy and friendship - through Dong-ho and Bom's bond, it shows the beauty of connecting with others and the impact of standing up for what is right. It also addresses the importance of environmental conservation and encourages viewers to protect the environment. Be aware that it does contain bloody, gory acts of violence. There is a bloody scene when Bom's father is holding a knife lying on the floor and Dong Ho is at the corner and has blood beside him.

I give A Bee And A Silkworm 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Gloria J., KIDS FIRST!

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


SMALL PARTS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SMALL PARTS
AIDAN O'MALLEY
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic -
Description - A disheveled toy collector and a bratty little kid battle over a limited edition LEGO set at a garage sale.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I have to admit that this short film definitely made me chuckle. As a parent of kids who LOVED LEGOS I can totally relate to the obsession of these two young men.

The storyline follows two guys that run into each other at a garage sale, where they both want to own a limited edition LEGO set.

Well made by college students, Hank McNeil, Aidan O'Malley and JP Spoonmore. Good production - from the camera work to the audio to the editing - and well acted. There are definitely some scenes that depict unnecessary acts of violence, like when the older guy in the car runs over the guy on a bike, but we're going to overlook that as something that emphasizes the storyline. Great background music. And, the special effects, accompanied by opera music, when the set escapes their clutches and flies in the air, are priceless. The ending is a welcome relief, showing that even in the most extreme circumstances friendships can be made.

The film's message is about finding friends in the most unlikely places.

I give Small Parts 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I have to admit that this short film definitely made me chuckle. As a parent of kids who LOVED LEGOS I can totally relate to the obsession of these two young men.

The storyline follows two guys that run into each other at a garage sale, where they both want to own a limited edition LEGO set.

Well made by college students, Hank McNeil, Aidan O'Malley and JP Spoonmore. Good production - from the camera work to the audio to the editing - and well acted. There are definitely some scenes that depict unnecessary acts of violence, like when the older guy in the car runs over the guy on a bike, but we're going to overlook that as something that emphasizes the storyline. Great background music. And, the special effects, accompanied by opera music, when the set escapes their clutches and flies in the air, are priceless. The ending is a welcome relief, showing that even in the most extreme circumstances friendships can be made.

The film's message is about finding friends in the most unlikely places.

I give Small Parts 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 11 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 6-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GIRL CALLED ELVIS, A

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GIRL CALLED ELVIS, A
LINDSAY CHRISTOPHERSON
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic -
Description - A Girl Called Elvis is a short drama about two sisters growing closer through a family quest. Ten year old Ellie likes to dress as her idol Elvis Presley, much to the annoyance of her half-sister Carol. When Ellie hears that her estranged father is back in town, she enlists Carol and her boyfriend Dion's help to find him.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Charming. It starts out slow and grows on you... in the end, it brought me to tears.

The story follows two half-sisters, Ellie and Carol. The younger one, Elie, is infatuated by Elvis and loves to play act her hero, much to her older sister's annoyance. Ellie hears that her estranged dad is back in town and gets Carol and her boyfriend to help find him. The ending has a big surprise.

Well produced - good camera work, good audio, good acting and editing. Wonderful storyline, very relatable. This really is a marvelous tale, well told and suitable for a KIDS FIRST! Film Festival.

The film's message is to never give up on your dreams, they may actually come true.

I give A Girl Called Elvis 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Charming. It starts out slow and grows on you... in the end, it brought me to tears.

The story follows two half-sisters, Ellie and Carol. The younger one, Elie, is infatuated by Elvis and loves to play act her hero, much to her older sister's annoyance. Ellie hears that her estranged dad is back in town and gets Carol and her boyfriend to help find him. The ending has a big surprise.

Well produced - good camera work, good audio, good acting and editing. Wonderful storyline, very relatable. This really is a marvelous tale, well told and suitable for a KIDS FIRST! Film Festival.

The film's message is to never give up on your dreams, they may actually come true.

I give A Girl Called Elvis 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 11 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GEESE FEAST

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GEESE FEAST
TAIRA OCHOA
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic -
Description - A childhood memory about a 5 year old who tries to feed a group of geese.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This animated short by a college student touched me in a lot of ways. I could relate to how the little girl was terrorized by the geese that she innocently tried to feed.

The storyline is based on a true tory of a young girl who tried to feed a group of geese, only to be frightened by their aggressive behavior.

This story revolves around the young girl's experience when trying to feed the geese some bread from her family's picnic. What isn't addressed here is how aggressive geese can be, especially around food. We don't see that in the short film, but I know from experience what they can be like. It's handled with humor here, but it could have been more of a nightmare than what actually happened - and thankfully it wasn't. At the time, the child was traumatized and the adults laughed. Today, 20 years later, the girl can laugh also. I kind of have mixed feelings about the whole geese feeding thing, but that short film, as it is, is quite sweet and nostalgic.

The film's message is about the humor in life, from one perspective to another, and how it changes as we grow up.

I give Geese Feast 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for age 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This animated short by a college student touched me in a lot of ways. I could relate to how the little girl was terrorized by the geese that she innocently tried to feed.

The storyline is based on a true tory of a young girl who tried to feed a group of geese, only to be frightened by their aggressive behavior.

This story revolves around the young girl's experience when trying to feed the geese some bread from her family's picnic. What isn't addressed here is how aggressive geese can be, especially around food. We don't see that in the short film, but I know from experience what they can be like. It's handled with humor here, but it could have been more of a nightmare than what actually happened - and thankfully it wasn't. At the time, the child was traumatized and the adults laughed. Today, 20 years later, the girl can laugh also. I kind of have mixed feelings about the whole geese feeding thing, but that short film, as it is, is quite sweet and nostalgic.

The film's message is about the humor in life, from one perspective to another, and how it changes as we grow up.

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


BIRDS (2024)

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

In a landscape where the authentic voices of children often play second fiddle to adult interpretations, "Birds" is a revelation. Here, children are not just passive actors but potent co-creators, channeling their unfiltered creativity and depth. Join us on this poetic journey to rediscover our lost connections, one where the chirps, rustles, and dances speak louder than words.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This film is truly unlike any other in its quiet exploration of the forest by a group of young children.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


MUTE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


GARFIELD MOVIE, THE (2024)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


FOR LOVE & LIFE: NO ORDINARY CAMPAIGN

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FOR LOVE & LIFE: NO ORDINARY CAMPAIGN       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
AMAZON PRIME
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign is an emotionally gripping documentary illustrating the power of love and determination in the face of adversity. The film follows the life of Brian Wallach and his wife Sandra in the aftermath of his ALS diagnosis at age 37. Exemplifying bravery, inspiration and hope, Brian and Sandra, continue to fight against a broken system for their own future, while seeking to build a brighter one for countless others.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I had a pleasant time viewing For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign. The mood, editing, and celebrity cameos make this an excellent film to watch.

This documentary follows Brian Wallach and Sandra Abrevaya, a couple from Chicago, who meet and fall in love while working during Obama's 2008 campaign. Shortly after starting their family; news of Brian's ALS diagnosis turned this family's world upside down. However, Brian and Sandra were not going to let ALS stand in their way. This film follows the mass ALS movement sparked by Brian and Sandra, and how this couple's journey gave a voice to the millions of people suffering with the disease and how they also brought attention to the US's broken healthcare system.

I love the uplifting mood this documentary takes - the music and editing perfectly captivate the success and struggles that both Brain and Sandra faced while fighting for ALS. One scene that really stuck with me is when Brian and Sandra were preparing a speech that they were going to give to the government urging them to make the drugs that could help the symptoms associated with ALS accessible for all. The music by Emily Rice really adds in creating a suspenseful, yet captivating moment. As for the editing, supervising editor Miranda Yousef makes us feel immersed in this film with its very smooth transitions, transitions between interviews, personal video recordings, and animated info graphics. Lastly, I was very pleased to see celebrities such as Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan, and countless others share their positive encounters with Brain and Sandra and the different ways in which they all support their campaign.

The film's message is that when you encounter a problem, no matter how hopeless you may feel, there is always a solution that can often end up helping others along the way. This message is explored throughout the film and, even when discussing their trials and tribulations, this messaging remains true. The only thing to note is that there are some cuss words that are used.

I give For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign 4 out of 5 starts and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The film releases on Prime Video on May 28, 2024. If you're looking for a new documentary to watch I definitely recommend you check this one out!

By Tia O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


LOCKER PROBLEMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


THERE WAS - THERE IS NO -THERE IS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
THERE WAS - THERE IS NO -THERE IS
LUKASZ KAMINSKI
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - The film deals with the topic of experiencing difficult emotions related to the loss of loved ones and coping with it. Together with the 12-year old heroine Krysia, we go on a journey through places and times that were, which are not, and which we want to remember. The film, based on a story by Katarzyna Jackowska-Enemuo, supports young viewers in meeting their own emotional "black holes" and brings relief. The film is intended for children aged 10-12, but its profound meaning and contexts allow people over 12 years old to experience a journey within themselves and history.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Beautifully animated short film offering insight into those that have left us. The storyline addresses dealing with the loss of loved ones - human or not - and how to cope with our loss. A young girl loses her dog and it leads her on a journey of discovery and a reminder of how we remember our beloveds. It takes us on a journey as she explores her family members from the past.

I love the animation of this film. It's brightly colored and a bit shaky, which gives us the impression that it is hand drawn. The storyline is easily relatable for kids anywhere. Even though this film is from Poland with dialogue in Polish, there are English subtitles, which make it easy to follow. The film's message is about how those that we love and have lost are still part of our lives.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Beautifully animated short film offering insight into those that have left us. The storyline addresses dealing with the loss of loved ones - human or not - and how to cope with our loss. A young girl loses her dog and it leads her on a journey of discovery and a reminder of how we remember our beloveds. It takes us on a journey as she explores her family members from the past.

I love the animation of this film. It's brightly colored and a bit shaky, which gives us the impression that it is hand drawn. The storyline is easily relatable for kids anywhere. Even though this film is from Poland with dialogue in Polish, there are English subtitles, which make it easy to follow. The film's message is about how those that we love and have lost are still part of our lives.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 17 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SNAIL TALE, A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


GLITTER BABY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SWEET STRUGGLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


HERO'S JOURNEY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
HERO'S JOURNEY
WES SMITH
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Hero's Journey is a 2D and 3D animation about the main character of a video game who cannot control his actions. The title directly alludes to the ancient monomyth, Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Hero's Journey reframes the mythic and cyclic story structure through the modern perspective of a role-playing video game. It also serves as an homage to some of favorite childhood games such as Legend of Zelda, Dragon Quest, and Super Mario Bros. Featuring rising star Christopher Sean Cooper Jr. (Sweet Tooth) as the voice of the Gamer and Wes Smith as the voice of the titular character, Hero's Journey combines laughter and heartbreak into one action-packed adventure.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed Hero's Journey for its nostalgic take on videogames and heroes.

The storyline follows the key character of a video game that cannot control his actions and is in search of his true identify. It plays homage to some classic video games and combines humor with heartbreak in one action-packed adventure.

I'm not a gamer so I can't speak about the film's references to classic childhood games, although my older brother definitely could. I can say that the images definitely remind me of older gamers with their rough edges and the background sounds remind me of the 80s. I can relate to Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces, which has influenced a wide variety of films and stories, include George Lucas' Star Wars films. The monomyth definitely fits here as the hero searches for its identity. The final battle scene is the perfect ending. Saving the princess in the cage is pretty anticlimactic.

The film's message is about seeking your identity.

I give Hero's Journey 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Samantha M., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I enjoyed Hero's Journey for its nostalgic take on videogames and heroes.

The storyline follows the key character of a video game that cannot control his actions and is in search of his true identify. It plays homage to some classic video games and combines humor with heartbreak in one action-packed adventure.

I'm not a gamer so I can't speak about the film's references to classic childhood games, although my older brother definitely could. I can say that the images definitely remind me of older gamers with their rough edges and the background sounds remind me of the 80s. I can relate to Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces, which has influenced a wide variety of films and stories, include George Lucas' Star Wars films. The monomyth definitely fits here as the hero searches for its identity. The final battle scene is the perfect ending. Saving the princess in the cage is pretty anticlimactic.

The film's message is about seeking your identity.

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


LIGHTS, CAMERA, MAESTRO!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


ESCORT, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ESCORT, THE
RICK WILLIAMSON
Series: INDIE ANIMATED SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - The Escort is a story of a young boy traversing through all the moments of his romantic life while guided by a mysterious figure. Shown all the events that will transpire in his life, a young boy must find peace in knowing all the bliss and grief that comes with life. The Escort reconnoiters the relationship between human spirituality and the emotional spectrum of our lived experiences.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What a lovely film and yes, perhaps a sad ending, but it does represent the circle of life - with all its ups and downs.

The storyline is about a boy who is guided by a shadowy figure who shows him his future - from boyhood to adulthood, parenthood, old age and death.

Beautifully and simply animated with quiet piano music in the background, the film takes its time to savor all the beautiful moments in the boy's life. It sort of reminds me of the book, The Giving Tree, in how it takes the audience through the cycle of life seen through the eyes of a single person.

The film's message is about the ups and downs we experience in our lives as humans and how our journey is seen from the outside point of view.

I give The Escort 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What a lovely film and yes, perhaps a sad ending, but it does represent the circle of life - with all its ups and downs.

The storyline is about a boy who is guided by a shadowy figure who shows him his future - from boyhood to adulthood, parenthood, old age and death.

Beautifully and simply animated with quiet piano music in the background, the film takes its time to savor all the beautiful moments in the boy's life. It sort of reminds me of the book, The Giving Tree, in how it takes the audience through the cycle of life seen through the eyes of a single person.

The film's message is about the ups and downs we experience in our lives as humans and how our journey is seen from the outside point of view.

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


LYRICS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LYRICS
HSUAN WANG
Series: FOREIGN ANIMATED SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Daddy Lo has a rock 'n' roll soul, having written lyrics for Wu Bai and The Party when he was young. Perhaps it's in the genes, as his youngest son, A-nee-gu, also possesses a passionate love for music. Upon returning to school, A-nee-gu decides to vigorously revamp the Chatting Club, embarking on the path of music! Despite encountering various challenges along the way, he never gives up on music, for it's something he cherishes deeply!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Fun and inspiring. We all need a hero to stimulate our ambitions and, in this case, A-nee-gu's hero is his dad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


TO CATCH A MEMORY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TO CATCH A MEMORY
SIJIA WANG
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Overcoming fear in the nick of time by catching a joyful memory from childhood.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The story captures a memory of childhood and that turns things around.

I really enjoyed this film. We watch as fear grips a young woman in the baseball dugout and her coach pushes her to get out there and "do it." A ball comes her way and she falls..... Falls farther into a dream of herself as a young girl. And then a small miracle happens and everything changes. Beautifully animated -- simple and straightforward. Terrific background music.

The film's message is a bout believing in yourself and allowing your life to come together as you wish.

I give To Catch A Memory 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The story captures a memory of childhood and that turns things around.

I really enjoyed this film. We watch as fear grips a young woman in the baseball dugout and her coach pushes her to get out there and "do it." A ball comes her way and she falls..... Falls farther into a dream of herself as a young girl. And then a small miracle happens and everything changes. Beautifully animated -- simple and straightforward. Terrific background music.

The film's message is a bout believing in yourself and allowing your life to come together as you wish.

I give To Catch A Memory 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!

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


NORMAL GIRL

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
NORMAL GIRL
KIMMY NGUYEN THOI
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - When Vietnamese-born Khanh Nguyen begins her new life in Australia, she faces challenging tribulations derived from her attempt to become the 'perfect, Normal Girl."
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


LUCA THE TEDDY BEAR

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LUCA THE TEDDY BEAR
EMILIE BERKOWITZ
Series: HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Luca the Teddy Bear is a short film exploring the theme of grief through a Latinx girl named Olivia and her beloved teddy bear, Luca, who was given to her by her father. When Olivia and her mother finally talk about the father's death, things begin to escalate as they both express their emotions differently. Luca the Teddy Bear shines a light on the emotional pain families experience when losing a loved one. In this story, the Latina mother, overwhelmed by her new responsibilities as a single mother trying to support her family, finds it easier to bottle up her emotions. Many issues come out of this, leaving the daughter lonely and unable to share her feelings with the only other person who would understand. As things begin to go downhill, Luca sparks a conversation about the loss of their father and husband.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Beautifully produced short film by a high school student about grief that touched my heart.

This short film follows a young girl and her mom after her father passes and she and he mom find ways to express their grief to one another and redefine their relationship with each other.

Oh boy, anyone that has lost a family member can relate to this short film. I am so impressed by the production values by this young filmmaker -- great camera work, audio recording and editing. Good background music. And a very touching script. I find the title a bit misleading because the teddy bear doesn't have that big a role in the film, but that doesn't detract from it at all.

The film's message is about communication and how finding ways to talk with our loved ones is key to being able to move on with our lives.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Beautifully produced short film by a high school student about grief that touched my heart.

This short film follows a young girl and her mom after her father passes and she and he mom find ways to express their grief to one another and redefine their relationship with each other.

Oh boy, anyone that has lost a family member can relate to this short film. I am so impressed by the production values by this young filmmaker -- great camera work, audio recording and editing. Good background music. And a very touching script. I find the title a bit misleading because the teddy bear doesn't have that big a role in the film, but that doesn't detract from it at all.

The film's message is about communication and how finding ways to talk with our loved ones is key to being able to move on with our lives.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 10 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GREAT AMERICAN BAKING SHOW, SEASON TWO, THE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GREAT AMERICAN BAKING SHOW, SEASON TWO, THE
THE ROKU CHANNEL
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Roku Original The Great American Baking Show is the American version of the most beloved baking show on the planet, bringing together passionate, talented bakers from around the country to see who will be named America's Best Amateur Baker.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Watching nine contestants bake in a tent in the British countryside became an international pastime with the release of the Great British Baking Show. Season 2 of The Great American Baking Show is soon to arrive, in an attempt to capture the magic of its counterpart across the pond...and it succeeds beautifully. The Great American Baking Show is as fluffy and sweet as its bakers' treats, and it replicates the British show's format without feeling like a knock-off - though it is a bit corny at times.

The premise of the Great American Baking Show is simple: nine bakers from across the US, who each have expertise in different areas of baking, are assembled and brought to a white tent in the British countryside where they're tasked with making increasingly difficult items. Each episode deals with one type of baked goods -- week one is cake week, for example -- and the bakers face three challenges to test their creativity and their mastery of baking in a time crunch and without a formal recipe. Their baked goods are judged by renowned chefs Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, who winnow down the pool of bakers by eliminating one each episode and, in the end, crown one baker as the winner.

The Great American Baking Show Season 2 is, by leaps and bounds, superior to the most recent seasons of its British counterpart (and its first season, which had a tough run). That doesn't mean it doesn't have issues, but it's almost at the level of the first few seasons of the Great British Baking Show. The bakers are judged by Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, both of whom lean into the characters they've carved out for themselves in the British version. Paul is the exacting master baker whose handshakes seem to be worth more than the lottery (and whose striking good looks are a source of near-constant discussion among the ladies). And Prue is the endearing British dame, providing periodic, measured compliments and pearl-clutching comments about calories. The show's hosts, comedian Zach Cherry and actress Ellie Kemper, have, essentially, one job: pull silly, cheesy stunts, motivate the bakers and mug for the camera while mournfully calling out time checks. In the first few episodes, they seem a bit awkward together, with some of their jokes working and others falling flat, but they soon find their beat. I did miss seeing Noel Fielding in the tent, but I will say that Cherry and Kemper's chats with the bakers are fun and help the show move along. The contestants are a sweet, supremely talented, but somewhat unremarkable batch, likely due to the editing which, as in last season, doesn't allow viewers to understand the bakers' back-stories very well. There are other rough moments in the editing of this show, like some jerky cutaways, shaky footage of bakers running from place to place and clearly artificial, over-the-top reactions to the technical bake judging. Also to be noted, the items on this list were present in the first season of the American show too, so perhaps it's an artistic choice. The actual content of the show is pleasant , though. The British version of the show has seen its challenges grow more and more wild over time, and the Great American Baking Show follows suit. I also think it was a smart move to make the show more "American" so that both viewers and bakers would have an easier time relating to the show. And, my final note -- I love how wholesome the energy in the tent is throughout the show. Even in the midst of heated competition, the bakers smile and encourage each other. It appears that the most kind cross-section of America got its own TV show, which is nice to see in this age of discord and infighting.

The Great American Baking Show promotes healthy competition, exploration, creativity and the enjoyment of simple joys in life like food.

Great American Baking Show: Season 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It will be available on The Roku Channel beginning May 24, 2024.

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

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


HOME SWEET ROME!

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HOME SWEET ROME!       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
HBO MAX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Home Sweet Rome! is a coming-of-age comedy series about Lucy, a 13-year-old girl who moves from California to Rome with her father, an archaeologist, and stepmother, an Italian pop star. Lucy must adjust to her new city, school, and life with her famous stepmother, while also dealing with the challenges of being a 13-year-old girl and her best friend, Kyla, who is 6,000 miles away. The series features original music, relatable mishaps, heartwarming connections, and stunning Italian vistas.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Home Sweet Rome! is an incredible TV series with some very important messages. It ties together a lot of different components that make the series unique.

The plot of this series is that of 13-year-old Lucy (Kensington Tallman) moves from the US to Rome because her father (Darrin Rose) marries an Italian pop star, Francesca (Eleonora Facchini). The series follows her life as she learns to live and go to school in Rome without knowing any Italian. Along the way she meets many good people and learns to appreciate the life she's been given.

There are many incredible parts of this series. One of the main ones is how very relatable it is to teens and tweens alike. Lucy is forced to move away from her home and her best friend, Kyla (Ava Ro). Her dad marries new woman and she doesn't want to forget her mom. A lot of teens and tweens have experienced similar events in their lives and this show can help them feel less alone. Another fantastic thing about this show is the location. It is set in Rome! And, it was filmed entirely on location in Rome rather than in a studio with green screens, which makes it very authentic. The cast and crew flew to Rome about four months to film the show and shot all of it in and in front of actual buildings all around the city. Another interesting thing to note is that, other than a few background actors, most of the tourists in the background of outdoor shots are real tourists just enjoying their vacations.

The message of this series is to always be true and genuine to yourself because that's ultimately the most important thing.

I give Home Sweet Rome! 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. You can watch this series on Max starting May 16, 2024.

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

Welcome to Rome! Home Sweet Rome! is an incredible coming-of-age comedy series set in Italy's capital, with breathtaking views, funny scenes, and heartwarming moments.

This show takes place in Rome, where 13-year-old Lucy (Kensington Tallman) moves to after her dad Will (Darrin Rose) marries Italian popstar Francesa Fortuna (Eleonora Facchini). As Lucy tries to find her place in her new school, she embarrasses herself a lot, which leads to her struggling to make new friends, other than a boy named Nico (Christian Monaldi), and her long-distance best friend Kyla (Ava Ro). And while Lucy goes through this tough change, Francesca and Will try to help her through it, as they both know what it's like to face life-changing events.

The scenery in this show is absolutely incredible -- all of it, from the fountains, to the bridges, to even the interior of Lucy's apartment. One example is when Lucy and her dad are talking by the hotdog stand, and in the background, there is an amazing view of the city. Another part I adore is the choice in fashion. The clothes are stunning, especially with their unique patterns, color combinations, and style. I love how the fashion choices for Francesca's character match her so well, since they show that she is a popstar, but also has an incredible taste in clothing, in general. My favorite characters are Kyla and Francesca. I love Kyla, because of how supportive she is of Lucy and how she always knows what to say when Lucy is upset. For example, when Lucy is upset and crying, Kyla sings a song they created together and tells her to talk to her dad. I also love Francesca because although she is a famous singer in Italy, she shows that she cares about Lucy and wants her to live the best life she can. An example of this is when Lucy wants to make her late mom's famous mac-and-cheese for Thanksgiving, and Francesca decides to take Lucy to the market to try and find the necessary ingredients.

The message of this show is it is always important to be close with your family and friends. When Lucy goes through the normal ups and downs of moving to a new place, she learns that she has people around her that love and care for her, and will always help her when she needs it the most.

I give Home Sweet Rome! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. This series will be released on Max and other streaming platforms on May 16, 2024.

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

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


IF

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
IF       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - From writer and director John Krasinski, IF is about a girl who discovers that she can see everyone's imaginary friends -- and what she does with that superpower -- as she embarks on a magical adventure to reconnect forgotten IFs with their kids. IF stars Cailey Fleming, Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski, Fiona Shaw, and the voices of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Louis Gossett Jr. and Steve Carell alongside many more as the wonderfully unique characters that reflect the incredible power of a child's imagination.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love the film IF. It delivers a lot of heart and teaches everyone to keep the magic alive. It is fun, silly and had me shedding a tear in the theater and thinking about my childhood and imaginary friend.

In the film Bea (Cailey Fleming) discovers she can see everyone's imaginary friends and embarks on a magical adventure to reconnect forgotten Ifs with their kids. Bea has gone through a lot and is forcing herself to grow up and then, she meets Cal (Ryan Reynolds) and re-discovers her belief in the unbelievable. Bea needed a distraction as life was getting tougher for her and helping these imaginary friends is just what she needed.

IF is a fantastic film that is perfect for the entire family. The cast is outstanding and the CGI work is so impressive. This movie will bring you right back to your childhood in all the most magical ways. Cailey Fleming is remarkable. Her relationship onscreen with Ryan Reynolds is magical -- they get along perfectly and you can feel their natural connection. John Krasinski's role as Bea's father is amazing -- he is silly, loving and fun, and does not want Bea to give up on being a child. He jokes around with her a lot throughout the movie, even when she tells him to stop. His response is "never." John Krasinski not only stars in the film, but he wrote and directed it as well. The IF's are designed so well and there is something special about each one of them. They look so real on the screen and I fell in love with them immediately. Cailey's performance is terrific when she interacts with the IF's that obviously were not really there during filming.

The film's message deals with healing yourself and creating distractions when life gets difficult. It reminds us to never lose the joy in life -- keep the magic alive and believe in the unbelievable. It is about family, friendship and always having someone who is there for you, even if you have to make believe. The movie is the perfect length and never drags.

I give IF 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. You can watch IF in theaters on May 17, 2024.

By Kennedy P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

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


LET IT BE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LET IT BE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DISNEY+
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 TO 18
Topic - Family
Description - Available for the first time in over 50 years, Let It Be, director Michael Lindsay-Hogg's original 1970 film about The Beatles, is now available on Disney+. First released in May 1970 amidst the swirl of The Beatles' breakup, Let It Be now takes its rightful place in the band's history. Once viewed through a darker lens, the film is now brought to light through its restoration and in the context of revelations brought forth in Peter Jackson's multiple Emmy Award�-winning docuseries, The Beatles: Get Back. Let It Be, , brings viewers into the studio and onto Apple Corps' London rooftop in January 1969 as The Beatles, joined by Billy Preston, write, and record their GRAMMY Award�-winning album Let It Be, with its Academy Award�-winning title song, and perform live for the final time as a group. With Lindsay-Hogg's full support, Apple Corps asked Peter Jackson's Park Road Post Production to dive into a meticulous restoration of the film from the original 16mm negative.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The beauty and creative process of one of the greatest bands ever is captured in Let it Be, a documentary filmed 50 years ago that gives the audience an intimate look at the interactions of the band members. It also includes the rehearsals behind what was the very last live performance ever from the four geniuses of Liverpool: The Beatles. This is an essential testimony for music lovers that I enjoyed in every aspect. Not only is it a piece of history, but it is also a delightful music video in a longer format.

Ringo Starr, John Lennon, George Harrison and Paul McCartney stopped touring in 1966. They focused on solo careers, but after a three-year hiatus, they got back together to record some new songs and a final album. Let it Be was produced by filmmaker Peter Jackson, who produced The Beatles: Get Back, the docuseries of almost eight hours that previously aired on Disney+ in 2022. The Beatles: Get Back: The Rooftop Concert is a film that had a theatrical release in January 2022 and then on BluRay and DVD in July of the same year.

Let it Be is a condensed experience that combines rare footage of the musicians recording studio with the famous rooftop concert in around 80 minutes, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg who also directed music videos for The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. It premiered in 1970 and won an Oscar for Best Music and Original Song Score, and a Grammy for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special. This is the first time in years that the documentary is available for audiences after Jackson recovered and restored damaged 16mm footage. The documentary portrays the creative process and shows how, despite the disagreements the band members had, they speak in a common language when they play their instruments. We see the tension, the laughs, the joy, and the balance they kept as a band. It is interesting to watch the musicians in their mid-to-late 20s, coming together and working in the studio together, sometimes accompanied by their wives and children. My favorite part is when The Beatles sing "Besame Mucho," an iconic bolero written in 1932 by Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velasquez which is the song the band recorded as an audition at EMI in 1962.

The film's message is that music is a universal language and makes people come together, from the joy of a group of musicians playing to the profound effect in audiences that gather together and form an instant bond.

I give Let it Be 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages12 to 18, plus adults. Let it Be is now streaming on Disney+.

By Zo� C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

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


STAR WARS: TALES OF THE EMPIRE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
STAR WARS: TALES OF THE EMPIRE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DISNEY+
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8 TO 12
Topic - Family
Description - Star Wars: Tales of the Empire is a six-episode journey into the fearsome Galactic Empire through the eyes of two warriors on divergent paths, set during different eras. After losing everything, young Morgan Elsbeth navigates the expanding Imperial world toward a path of vengeance, while former Jedi Barriss Offee does what she must to survive a rapidly changing galaxy. The choices they make will define their destinies.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Star Wars: Tales of the Empire is an enjoyable series that I loved with its great animation and captivating characters.

The animated series consists of six short episodes and is split into two parallel stories - the first three episodes follow Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) who we were introduced to in 2023's Ashoka, and these episodes act as a sort of prequel for the Ashoka character. We witness Morgan's rise to power through vengeance, following the destruction of her home as a child. The last three episodes follow Barriss Offee (Meredith Salenger), a recurring character from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. These episodes show Barriss navigating an ever changing galaxy, and include stories from throughout her life.

Star Wars: Tales of the Empire is perfect for lifelong fans, but also an entertaining watch for new viewers. Its stunning animation and characters make it an amazing entry into the Star Wars franchise. The animation style is in the vein of Star Wars' beloved animated series The Clone Wars, and is absolutely stunning. We are introduced to many characters, some familiar to fans, and some brand new; every character design is unique and lifelike. The episodes travel to many different planets in the Star Wars galaxy and the landscapes are distinct and beautiful. Absolutely everything in this series, snow, wind, or fire, is all so detailed and stylistic. Some of the most stunning animation in this series comes in the form of action. Tales of the Empire perfectly depicts the essence of the lightsaber in animation, and they have captured the same thrill of lightsaber combat that is so prominent in the live action films. The two characters at the forefront of Tales of the Empire, Morgan and Barriss, are both wonderfully nuanced and fascinating. The series juggles complex themes, which make the characters and their stories very rich and grounded. Morgan Elsbeth is a character forged through tragedy and is on a path of vengeance. She needs to choose whether she will rise above, or be corrupted by the very evil that took everything from her. Barriss Offee is a former Jedi, who is forced to traverse a world of conflicting good and evil, and ultimately choose her side. The characters are surprisingly multilayered and interesting.

The biggest constraint in Tales of the Empire's short format is its limited runtime, which means that the pacing is way too fast. Each episode spans just over ten minutes and the story moves along so quickly that we are unable to get a clear picture of the characters. The episodes have to hurry to their resolution so some scenes feel rushed, which lessens the emotional impact of the stories. Additionally, each episode features a different point in the character's life, so we feel like we are missing so much in the gaps between stories. Granted, the stories are very entertaining, but the lightning fast pace doesn't allow enough time to fully grasp them.

I give Star Wars: Tales of the Empire 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 through 18, plus adults. It releases on Disney Plus on May 4th, 2024.

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

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


CREEK DWELLER IN THE BAYOU, THE (2024)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


ELIZABETHAN THEATRE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ELIZABETHAN THEATRE
CHRYSOULA NIKOLOPOULOU
Series: ELEMENTARY STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - This student creation entitled "Elizabethan Theatre" narrates the basic historical and social elements of the Elizabethan era, regarding the development of the theater of the same name in England. The time period it focuses on starts from 1562 until 1642, when the English Parliament banned all plays and sealed all theatrical stages for the following 18 years.

This Documentary Short Film was created with the Stop Motion Animation technique by the students of E1 of the 6th Intercultural Primary School of Eleftherio - Kordelio in Thessaloniki.

Students of the 6th grade also aided filming, while students of the 3rd, 5th and 6th grades contributed to the construction - collection of the sets used.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The student film, Elizabethan Theatre offers a unique blend of creativity and authenticity. I really enjoyed the stop-motion animation technique -- the animated images in the film are very vivid and realistic as they explain the historical and social elements of the Elizabethan era. I also like how the film is presented; it is very organized.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


BOX: THE EMPATHY PROJECT

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BOX: THE EMPATHY PROJECT
TODD VERCOE
Series: FOREIGN STUDENT SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Begun as a collective creation intended for the stage, shut down by pandemic to become a film. A story of quirky kids and lively people trying to make sense of the world. Going into the project with nothing more than a single theme - "Empathy" - meant there was an opportunity to empower the cast and build our film the way we wanted to, together. Through a series of vignettes beginning with characters trapped in their virtual boxes, our cast explores individual meaning searching for understanding amongst themselves, and the audience.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I like the general idea of the short film, Box: The Empathy Project. It is very thoughtful and could open up many people's eyes and minds.

This is a short film that was made during the time of Covid to broadcast different events for which people can or should have empathy. Friends come together to make scenarios and examples. The cast is a group of kids at the actOUT! KW Children's Drama Workshop.

The idea of making a film about the existence of empathy is very heartwarming. What I like about most about this film is how ironic it is. Shot during the pandemic, the young actors often appear in virtual boxes and discuss how to empathetic. Unfortunately, I find the film really confusing, especially at the beginning -- everything is all over the place and you have no idea what is actually going on. There is no description. We just see their heads or upper body parts as they float onto the screen talking.

Since everything was filmed on computers the images of the actors are all images that were shot again a green screen so there is no background; it's just black. The images are pretty pixelated; they are never crisp, but in some ways that adds to the comedic side to the film. In the second scene, the background is that of the interior a spaceship and they almost go into battle. This is probably my favorite background and it's well thought out. I also like the circus background. The costumes throughout are casual clothing typical of what kids this age would be wearing. When they are at the circus the person in charge had on a blazer replicating an outfit worn at this type of event. There is not a lot of background music; the piano music at the opening and the ending is impactful and the sound effects, which are few and far between, are well selected. Each of the actors adds their own spin which, considering the circumstances, seems to work out pretty well. What I like about this film is the idea behind it and the fact that these kids created it during the pandemic, which was a great use of their time and creative skills. My favorite part is the ending when all of the actors come together and explain the film.

The film's message is supposedly about how to show empathy towards others, and why it is important to do that. What I really took away is that this was an interesting way to spend the pandemic and these kids not only explored their own creativity, but formed relationships with each other, something that definitely was missing during the shutdown. Note that there is some profanity at the beginning.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By SaniyaRain F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like the general idea of the short film, Box: The Empathy Project. It is very thoughtful and could open up many people's eyes and minds.

This is a short film that was made during the time of Covid to broadcast different events for which people can or should have empathy. Friends come together to make scenarios and examples. The cast is a group of kids at the actOUT! KW Children's Drama Workshop.

The idea of making a film about the existence of empathy is very heartwarming. What I like about most about this film is how ironic it is. Shot during the pandemic, the young actors often appear in virtual boxes and discuss how to empathetic. Unfortunately, I find the film really confusing, especially at the beginning -- everything is all over the place and you have no idea what is actually going on. There is no description. We just see their heads or upper body parts as they float onto the screen talking.

Since everything was filmed on computers the images of the actors are all images that were shot again a green screen so there is no background; it's just black. The images are pretty pixelated; they are never crisp, but in some ways that adds to the comedic side to the film. In the second scene, the background is that of the interior a spaceship and they almost go into battle. This is probably my favorite background and it's well thought out. I also like the circus background. The costumes throughout are casual clothing typical of what kids this age would be wearing. When they are at the circus the person in charge had on a blazer replicating an outfit worn at this type of event. There is not a lot of background music; the piano music at the opening and the ending is impactful and the sound effects, which are few and far between, are well selected. Each of the actors adds their own spin which, considering the circumstances, seems to work out pretty well. What I like about this film is the idea behind it and the fact that these kids created it during the pandemic, which was a great use of their time and creative skills. My favorite part is the ending when all of the actors come together and explain the film.

The film's message is supposedly about how to show empathy towards others, and why it is important to do that. What I really took away is that this was an interesting way to spend the pandemic and these kids not only explored their own creativity, but formed relationships with each other, something that definitely was missing during the shutdown. Note that there is some profanity at the beginning.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By SaniyaRain F., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 28 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ERASERVERSE, THE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CATAPULTS TO CAMERAS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CATAPULTS TO CAMERAS
ROUNDGLASS SUSTAIN
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Calcutta-born wildlife filmmaker Ashwika Kapur, sets out on a deeply personal quest to uncover the roots of an illegal wildlife hunting festival in the forests of her home in Bengal. Here, each year, thousands of protected animals are massacred in an illegal blood sport. As Ash sets out to find answers, she uncovers a heart-breaking truth: children as young as three are handed catapults as weapons in this assault against wildlife. In a defiant act of hope, Ash teams up with conservationist Suvra Chatterjee, to inspire change where it matters most - in the hearts of children within these hunting communities.

Catapults to Cameras is a one-of-a-kind format that has gone on to have an actual, tangible impact on the ground. In an inspiring journey beyond the screen, Catapults to Cameras has turned into an actual Conservation Project, impacting change for both the youth and the wildlife of Bengal. What originated as a deeply personal film and a small yet passionate experiment, is now officially an ongoing programme that is quantifiably expanding every month.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is quite a remarkable documentary about an innovative program that educates young people about the need to conserve wildlife in their country.

Wildlife filmmaker Ashwika Kapur, sets out on a deeply personal quest to uncover the roots of an illegal wildlife hunting festival in the forests of her home in Bengal where thousands of protected animals are massacred every year. She discovers that children as young as three are engaged in this assault against wildlife. Ash teams up with conservationist Suvra Chatterjee, to inspire change in the hearts of children within these hunting communities. Catapults to Cameras has turned into an actual Conservation Project, impacting change for both the youth and the wildlife of Bengal and is now officially an ongoing program.

Bravo for taking on such an important issue. This documentary is beautifully shot and beautifully narrated. We really are able to grasp the severity of the situation and join Ash in celebrating her small victories, changing the mindset of one child at a time.

The film's message is about the importance of conservation. Be aware that there are images of killing animals and dead animals. It is not glorified, but it is disturbing.

I give Catapults to Cameras 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is quite a remarkable documentary about an innovative program that educates young people about the need to conserve wildlife in their country.

Wildlife filmmaker Ashwika Kapur, sets out on a deeply personal quest to uncover the roots of an illegal wildlife hunting festival in the forests of her home in Bengal where thousands of protected animals are massacred every year. She discovers that children as young as three are engaged in this assault against wildlife. Ash teams up with conservationist Suvra Chatterjee, to inspire change in the hearts of children within these hunting communities. Catapults to Cameras has turned into an actual Conservation Project, impacting change for both the youth and the wildlife of Bengal and is now officially an ongoing program.

Bravo for taking on such an important issue. This documentary is beautifully shot and beautifully narrated. We really are able to grasp the severity of the situation and join Ash in celebrating her small victories, changing the mindset of one child at a time.

The film's message is about the importance of conservation. Be aware that there are images of killing animals and dead animals. It is not glorified, but it is disturbing.

I give Catapults to Cameras 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 39 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


FORGOTTEN GENERATION, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
FORGOTTEN GENERATION, THE
DRAHOMIR STREIT
Series: ELEMENTARY STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - The documentary film "The Forgotten Generation" was created last school year and captures through the eyes of nine-year-old children three school years that were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The main creators of the successful documentary were a group of nineteen children under the guidance of lecturer Drahom�r Streita. Editing, subtitles and music were provided by Luk�� Vaida, Ondrej Mik and Michal Matula. Samuel Duda and Krist�na �inov� operated the camera, Laura Gun�rov� Gorolov�, Lucie Kavanov�, Teodor Adamec, Timothy Paul Hermsen, Sofie Anna Moslerov�, Nikol Nol v�, Eli�ka Adamcov�, Pavel Kavan, Robert Gil�k, Eli�ka Babicov�, Zuzana Monczmmannov�, Julie Ratajov�, Stela Ratajov� and Radana Hor�kov�.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The documentary, The Forgotten Generation, is very emotional and full of memories.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


GIRL IN THE WOODS, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GIRL IN THE WOODS, THE
MEADOW CLOUSE
Series: MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - A little girl is playing in the woods and gets separated from her mom. Another girl finds her and keeps her company. The mom finds the little girl and they figure out the bigger girl was an angel keeping the little girl safe until she was found.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a magical short film that makes you smile.

A young girl gets separated from her mother while playing in the woods and another girl comes to her rescue and takes care of her. In the end, we wonder just who that other girl was and whether she was real or make believe or something else.

Well shot, well edited. This student made film by 14-year-old Meadow Rain Clouse exemplifies what young people are capable. The storyline is well thought out, well acted and well produced. The background music works well. It is perfect for KIDS FIRST!

The film's message is about believing in the better side of life. It's not all dark and depressing. There are angels out there looking out for us.

I give The Girl in the Woods 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a magical short film that makes you smile.

A young girl gets separated from her mother while playing in the woods and another girl comes to her rescue and takes care of her. In the end, we wonder just who that other girl was and whether she was real or make believe or something else.

Well shot, well edited. This student made film by 14-year-old Meadow Rain Clouse exemplifies what young people are capable. The storyline is well thought out, well acted and well produced. The background music works well. It is perfect for KIDS FIRST!

The film's message is about believing in the better side of life. It's not all dark and depressing. There are angels out there looking out for us.

I give The Girl in the Woods 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 2 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


STRINGS (2024)

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
STRINGS (2024)
KVARTERET FILMPRODUKTION
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A game with explosives backfires and we are thrown back in time into a crucial year in a group of young people's lives. Strings is a tender yet humorous everyday poetic depiction of young people on a collision course with an alienated adult world.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Strings is appealing as it 'lets you into the world' of teenagers who are trying to find their way from childhood into adulthood. It shows the challenges they face and the activities that they engage in the absence of adult supervision. This is mostly in their conversations while eating as they have a sexual conversation amongst themselves freely - one of them says that he had a girlfriend which sparks the curiosity of his other friends as they want to know what happened as this is new territory to them. There's also a scene where one of the boys who's left by himself in his house and watches a video from an adult site. Another girl's mother asks her to take photos of her for Tinder, which is something that happens in this era.

The story follows a group of teenagers from all walks of life and families who bond because of their board skating hobby. These teenagers are all dealing with different things in their personal lives ranging from absentee parents, always arguing parents, and trying to keep up with their parents' love lives. They are adventurous and sometimes put them in dangerous positions. It ends in suspense as one can't really tell what happens at the end, which leaves the viewer wanting more and wishing for a better outcome.

A teenager would enjoy this film as they can relate to most of the activities happening throughout. Everything in this film has been experienced by teenagers in many corners of the world. They may resonate with the actors. There is a scene where one of the kids' guardians is walking using crutches and, if an audience member has a loved one using these, they won't feel as if they are the only one with such a person in their life. The scene where one kid is left alone in his house and a neighbor is sent to check up on him could resonate with a kid who is in the same situation and maybe they will find solace in that. The girl whose mother asks her to take photos of her for Tinder is something that happens in this era.

The film is above average - it is realistic in how it depicts everyday life of teenagers. These teens are dealing with different things in their personal lives and they always have their headsets on to block some of the unpleasantness. The most outstanding thing about the film is its unpredictable nature. The ending and the beginning are so in sync yet not so subtle. It has an original storyline and nothing is clich� throughout the entire film. All the actors play their roles fairly well. The camera work is serviceable and keeps up with the characters' pace; for example, there is a part where we can't see the characters skating and you assume it's the camera person trying to keep up with the speed of the skaters. Other than that it's clear and meets film quality standards. The audio is perfect throughout the film. The costumes and music are good. The music and sound effects put you in the mood of the occurring scene and makes you feel a part of the film. The locations used for different scenes are fairly good. Some parts of the film contain mature language, serving as a warning for parents regarding its suitability for younger audiences. It is most suitable for audiences for teens.

It uses vocabulary suitable for its target audience. For example there's a scene where one of the boys hints on having intimate relations with a girl and his friends want him to tell them more about the experience. There's also one instance when another boy is home alone and he is watching some adult film before receiving a call from his father telling him he won't make it home that night. That basically is a pretty predictable depiction of any teenage boy. There is also the scene where there are two of them that seem to be dating as they are always together, even cuddling, and in one scene the boy gets jealous as he watches his girlfriend holding another boy's hand while being taught how to jump on the skateboard and he goes off to sit and watch from a distance. You can tell his mood changes from that. Most teenagers that age are dating in the outside world.

I give Strings 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Some parts contain mature language. By Gloria J., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Strings is appealing as it 'lets you into the world' of teenagers who are trying to find their way from childhood into adulthood. It shows the challenges they face and the activities that they engage in the absence of adult supervision. This is mostly in their conversations while eating as they have a sexual conversation amongst themselves freely - one of them says that he had a girlfriend which sparks the curiosity of his other friends as they want to know what happened as this is new territory to them. There's also a scene where one of the boys who's left by himself in his house and watches a video from an adult site. Another girl's mother asks her to take photos of her for Tinder, which is something that happens in this era.

The story follows a group of teenagers from all walks of life and families who bond because of their board skating hobby. These teenagers are all dealing with different things in their personal lives ranging from absentee parents, always arguing parents, and trying to keep up with their parents' love lives. They are adventurous and sometimes put them in dangerous positions. It ends in suspense as one can't really tell what happens at the end, which leaves the viewer wanting more and wishing for a better outcome.

A teenager would enjoy this film as they can relate to most of the activities happening throughout. Everything in this film has been experienced by teenagers in many corners of the world. They may resonate with the actors. There is a scene where one of the kids' guardians is walking using crutches and, if an audience member has a loved one using these, they won't feel as if they are the only one with such a person in their life. The scene where one kid is left alone in his house and a neighbor is sent to check up on him could resonate with a kid who is in the same situation and maybe they will find solace in that. The girl whose mother asks her to take photos of her for Tinder is something that happens in this era.

The film is above average - it is realistic in how it depicts everyday life of teenagers. These teens are dealing with different things in their personal lives and they always have their headsets on to block some of the unpleasantness. The most outstanding thing about the film is its unpredictable nature. The ending and the beginning are so in sync yet not so subtle. It has an original storyline and nothing is clich� throughout the entire film. All the actors play their roles fairly well. The camera work is serviceable and keeps up with the characters' pace; for example, there is a part where we can't see the characters skating and you assume it's the camera person trying to keep up with the speed of the skaters. Other than that it's clear and meets film quality standards. The audio is perfect throughout the film. The costumes and music are good. The music and sound effects put you in the mood of the occurring scene and makes you feel a part of the film. The locations used for different scenes are fairly good. Some parts of the film contain mature language, serving as a warning for parents regarding its suitability for younger audiences. It is most suitable for audiences for teens.

It uses vocabulary suitable for its target audience. For example there's a scene where one of the boys hints on having intimate relations with a girl and his friends want him to tell them more about the experience. There's also one instance when another boy is home alone and he is watching some adult film before receiving a call from his father telling him he won't make it home that night. That basically is a pretty predictable depiction of any teenage boy. There is also the scene where there are two of them that seem to be dating as they are always together, even cuddling, and in one scene the boy gets jealous as he watches his girlfriend holding another boy's hand while being taught how to jump on the skateboard and he goes off to sit and watch from a distance. You can tell his mood changes from that. Most teenagers that age are dating in the outside world.

I give Strings 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Some parts contain mature language. By Gloria J., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 22 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ARIEL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


KOOL-AID STAND

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
KOOL-AID STAND
JENN CLEARY
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - An inner city, latchkey kid must stand-up to the school bully and a local gang leader in order to help his mom pay the overdue electricity bill.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What a touching film and one that rings true to kids and moms in this predicament.

The storyline follows a young inner city boy, who is a latchkey kid that is dealing with school bullies and a local gang leader. He comes up with a bright idea to make money to help his mom pay the past due electricity bill.

Beautifully shot, great audio, excellent editing, great storyline and good acting - especially on the part of the young boy. Kudos to Jennifer Marie for writing a compelling script and for directing this film. The storyline truly tugged at my heartstrings because I have worked in inner city schools and have worked with kids and moms just like this boy and mom in the film. There is so much love between them and their connection is so precious. The ending of the film is my favorite part -- it brought smiles to me and my son who watched this with me.

The film's message is about being true to yourself and to those you love - even in the most difficult circumstances.

I give Kool-Aid Stand 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What a touching film and one that rings true to kids and moms in this predicament.

The storyline follows a young inner city boy, who is a latchkey kid that is dealing with school bullies and a local gang leader. He comes up with a bright idea to make money to help his mom pay the past due electricity bill.

Beautifully shot, great audio, excellent editing, great storyline and good acting - especially on the part of the young boy. Kudos to Jennifer Marie for writing a compelling script and for directing this film. The storyline truly tugged at my heartstrings because I have worked in inner city schools and have worked with kids and moms just like this boy and mom in the film. There is so much love between them and their connection is so precious. The ending of the film is my favorite part -- it brought smiles to me and my son who watched this with me.

The film's message is about being true to yourself and to those you love - even in the most difficult circumstances.

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


PLATAGO

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
PLATAGO
WARSAW FILM SCHOOL
Series: FOREIGN STUDENT SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - This is a story about Ukrainian child Vania who escapes from Russian occupants in order to not to be exported to the Russia. He finds a girl that hides in an abandoned house. This movie is about the relationship between Vania and Zlata and their attempts to survive together during the occupation.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a true heartbreaker, sensitively depicting two Ukrainian children trying to escape from the Russians during the occupation. It has a lovely and positive ending.

The storyline follows two children in Ukraine escaping from the Russians in an abandoned old house and befriending each other.

Beautifully shot and beautifully acted, this film draws our attention to the dire situation in Ukraine as it follows two children whose parents have died or disappeared. It tugs at your heartstrings and brings the reality of the war there home, in a very real way.

The film's message is about always having hope, as these two young children do. And to remember that sometimes we discover friends in the most unusual way.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a true heartbreaker, sensitively depicting two Ukrainian children trying to escape from the Russians during the occupation. It has a lovely and positive ending.

The storyline follows two children in Ukraine escaping from the Russians in an abandoned old house and befriending each other.

Beautifully shot and beautifully acted, this film draws our attention to the dire situation in Ukraine as it follows two children whose parents have died or disappeared. It tugs at your heartstrings and brings the reality of the war there home, in a very real way.

The film's message is about always having hope, as these two young children do. And to remember that sometimes we discover friends in the most unusual way.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 14 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


FIRST LAST MONTH

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
FIRST LAST MONTH
WARSAW FILM SCHOOL
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Doina, a 12-year-old girl, has her first period on the day her grandma has a stroke. Since then, their roles are inverted. When Doina's dad considers taking grandma to a nursery home, the girl has to prove to him that she is mature enough to take care and keep her only mother figure close to he
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Beautiful and touching film. Terrific acting and a very poignant story.

The storyline follows a young girl, Doina, who has her first period on the same day that her grandma has a stroke. From that day on, their roles are reversed and Doina has to take care of her grandma, just like she has always taken care of Doina. When Doina's father wants to take grandma to a nursery home, Doina has to prove to him that she is capable of caring for her and that she needs her there for herself as she is the only mother figure she has ever known.

This heartfelt story definitely tugs at the emotions and it is beautifully acted. The relationship between the young girl and her grandma is so believable and heartfelt. The dad also cuts a striking figure. He is not trying to be mean by taking grandma to a nursing home; he is trying to be practical. Well shot; excellent camera and audio work, excellent editing. A story well told. Perfect for families, especially multigenerational families.

The film's message is about the importance of family in our life and the need to protect it.

I give First Last Month 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Beautiful and touching film. Terrific acting and a very poignant story.

The storyline follows a young girl, Doina, who has her first period on the same day that her grandma has a stroke. From that day on, their roles are reversed and Doina has to take care of her grandma, just like she has always taken care of Doina. When Doina's father wants to take grandma to a nursery home, Doina has to prove to him that she is capable of caring for her and that she needs her there for herself as she is the only mother figure she has ever known.

This heartfelt story definitely tugs at the emotions and it is beautifully acted. The relationship between the young girl and her grandma is so believable and heartfelt. The dad also cuts a striking figure. He is not trying to be mean by taking grandma to a nursing home; he is trying to be practical. Well shot; excellent camera and audio work, excellent editing. A story well told. Perfect for families, especially multigenerational families.

The film's message is about the importance of family in our life and the need to protect it.

I give First Last Month 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 21 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


MR. MOORE'S GIFT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


HIDDEN THROUGH THE LAYERS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
HIDDEN THROUGH THE LAYERS
LEAHNA THOMAS
Series: MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - This film is about why mental health is something that is important to look for in others, and how people can seem perfectly fine on the outside and be struggling on the inside.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This middle school student made film addresses an important issue in a meaningful way. It encourages kids to be more sensitive to others because we never know what they might be going through.

Mental health is something that is invisible from the outside and this film seeks to show how people can behave fine on the outside while they are dealing with their own internal struggles.

The film is well produced although I had some difficulties with the audio recording at times. It shows a variety of kids in different situations and indicates that they might be struggling emotionally. Then it shows how other kids react to them, and makes suggestions about how they might react in a different and more helpful way.

The film's message is to be more empathetic with those around you because you never know what they are dealing with.

I give Hidden Through the Layers 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This middle school student made film addresses an important issue in a meaningful way. It encourages kids to be more sensitive to others because we never know what they might be going through.

Mental health is something that is invisible from the outside and this film seeks to show how people can behave fine on the outside while they are dealing with their own internal struggles.

The film is well produced although I had some difficulties with the audio recording at times. It shows a variety of kids in different situations and indicates that they might be struggling emotionally. Then it shows how other kids react to them, and makes suggestions about how they might react in a different and more helpful way.

The film's message is to be more empathetic with those around you because you never know what they are dealing with.

I give Hidden Through the Layers 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 3 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ECLIPSE: THE MUSICAL

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ECLIPSE: THE MUSICAL
CENTER OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - nspired by the once-in-a-generation Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024, the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio partnered with a diverse team of dynamic artists to produce a musical short film, Eclipse: The Musical.

This creative exploration of the unique science phenomenon features original music from GRAMMY-winning artists, Alphabet Rockers, exciting live-action choreography, and imaginative animation. The film tells the story of two teen characters who help their peers and teachers rethink the way a science story can be told. After all, "you don't have to be a scientist to be curious!"
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon
Runtime: 20 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


WELCOME SESAME (UKRAINE): INVISIBLE SHIELD

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

As Denys practices different elements of the dance, he also learns about its history and the story of the Cossacks. Hopak is a dance that shows their strength and courage, which Denys compares to having an invisible shield, some kind of a 'super defense'.

After classes, Denys likes to go to the park by the Dnipro River, where he collects his thoughts and rehearses his dance alone in nature, preparing for his performance on the big stage some day.

This film is part of the 5-film series produced by Sesame Workshop, as part of the Welcome Sesame initiative, designed for children and families affected by the war in Ukraine to develop coping skills, encourage emotional wellbeing, and provide opportunities for early education. Videos and print resources are being distributed on an ongoing basis to families and to Sesame Workshop's partners responding to the crisis.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really enjoyed this film and the message it offers about the strength of this Ukrainian boy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


GOLD MEDAL

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GOLD MEDAL
UJJWAL PATEL
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - An aspirational but unconfident pre-teen Moti, discovers a pure gold medal while collecting coins at the river bottom. What is supposed to bring Moti prosperity, leads him down the path of unexpected challenges.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I love this film. It's beautifully made with a great storyline, excellent production and excellent acting. Definitely a great fit for KIDS FIRST!

The story follows a young tween boy, Moti, who discovers a gold medal while collecting coins on the river bottom. What Moti hoped would bring him prosperity, leads him down the path of unexpected challenges from people thinking he had stolen it to others threatening his life.

Beautiful tale, wonderfully made. This is absolutely my favorite film of the week! I love the performance by Jihan Hodar who plays Moti, the young boy. His best friend, Sonu, played by Farhaan Shah, is also well enacted. Truthfully all the actors are to be commended. Ujjwal Patel, as writer, director and producer, has a precious gem on his hands. Himanshu Dubay, as cinematographer, delivers a visual story with wonderful attention to detail. And Aador Das's background music is absolutely spot on and really adds depth to the film. From start to finish, with a great pace, this is a joy to watch. You can't help but root for Moti, hoping he will escape those that try to grab the medal from him in one way or another. The ending is perfect, and a great twist as well.

The film's message is about true friendship and belonging.

I give Gold Medal 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love this film. It's beautifully made with a great storyline, excellent production and excellent acting. Definitely a great fit for KIDS FIRST!

The story follows a young tween boy, Moti, who discovers a gold medal while collecting coins on the river bottom. What Moti hoped would bring him prosperity, leads him down the path of unexpected challenges from people thinking he had stolen it to others threatening his life.

Beautiful tale, wonderfully made. This is absolutely my favorite film of the week! I love the performance by Jihan Hodar who plays Moti, the young boy. His best friend, Sonu, played by Farhaan Shah, is also well enacted. Truthfully all the actors are to be commended. Ujjwal Patel, as writer, director and producer, has a precious gem on his hands. Himanshu Dubay, as cinematographer, delivers a visual story with wonderful attention to detail. And Aador Das's background music is absolutely spot on and really adds depth to the film. From start to finish, with a great pace, this is a joy to watch. You can't help but root for Moti, hoping he will escape those that try to grab the medal from him in one way or another. The ending is perfect, and a great twist as well.

The film's message is about true friendship and belonging.

I give Gold Medal 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 33 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


DYSLEXIA & ME

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


ROSE FROM THE ASHES, A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


ONE EYED NUTCRACKER

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ONE EYED NUTCRACKER
QUINN FRIEDMAN
Series: HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT FILM, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A boy looking at Christmas lights with his father meets a one-eyed nutcracker.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This high school student short rings true from the perspective of a teenager.

The film follows a boy who is out looking at Christmas lights with his dad and not very interested until he meets a one eyed nutcracker and something changes.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. By Samantha S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This high school student short rings true from the perspective of a teenager.

The film follows a boy who is out looking at Christmas lights with his dad and not very interested until he meets a one eyed nutcracker and something changes.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. By Samantha S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 3 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GLIMPSE OF HOPE, A

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GLIMPSE OF HOPE, A
BRANDON KIM
Series: HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A heartfelt documentary depicting the struggles of a Ukrainian couple victimized by the Russia-Ukraine war that highlights the importance of assisting those in need.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - A Glimpse Of Hope is a wonderfully informative and true story that ties components of love and hardship together to create a truly beautiful and heartbreaking story.

This short five-minute documentary features an interview by a high school freshman named Brandon Kim who interviews a family that fled Ukraine when Russia attacked and they discuss their experiences with this traumatic event.

The camera work is pretty good quality although it is a bit grainy at times. The setting where the interview takes place is in a living room plus there stills and videos that show their escape on a train, and people standing on the platform waiting to board, people walking across snow-covered terrain, refugees sitting on the back platform of a fan filled to the brink with their belongings. We see people of all ages, young and old, as they The background music soft and unobtrusive. It ends with a beautifully moving quote from President John F. Kennedy and statistics about the war. The couple that is interviewed is very true and authentic. They speak in a way that allows the audience to connect with them and their experience, even if they've never been through this experience themselves. The whole film was filmed and directed by a high school freshman named Brandon Kim. My favorite part of this documentary is when Brandon talks to someone from a Ukraine refugee help program. The film is shot standard definition so it would not play well on the big screen. It would okay to watch on a smaller screen.

The message of this film is that sometimes when things seem dark, not all hope is lost. Some of the stories that are told would be too frightening for younger children.

I give A Glimpse of Hope 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Avalon N., and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A Glimpse Of Hope is a wonderfully informative and true story that ties components of love and hardship together to create a truly beautiful and heartbreaking story.

This short five-minute documentary features an interview by a high school freshman named Brandon Kim who interviews a family that fled Ukraine when Russia attacked and they discuss their experiences with this traumatic event.

The camera work is pretty good quality although it is a bit grainy at times. The setting where the interview takes place is in a living room plus there stills and videos that show their escape on a train, and people standing on the platform waiting to board, people walking across snow-covered terrain, refugees sitting on the back platform of a fan filled to the brink with their belongings. We see people of all ages, young and old, as they The background music soft and unobtrusive. It ends with a beautifully moving quote from President John F. Kennedy and statistics about the war. The couple that is interviewed is very true and authentic. They speak in a way that allows the audience to connect with them and their experience, even if they've never been through this experience themselves. The whole film was filmed and directed by a high school freshman named Brandon Kim. My favorite part of this documentary is when Brandon talks to someone from a Ukraine refugee help program. The film is shot standard definition so it would not play well on the big screen. It would okay to watch on a smaller screen.

The message of this film is that sometimes when things seem dark, not all hope is lost. Some of the stories that are told would be too frightening for younger children.

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


SWITCH UP, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SWITCH UP, THE
FILLMORE HIGH SCHOOL
Series: HIGH STUDENT SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A group of students in detention find a mysterious video game system that leads to supernatural consequences.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Switch Up is a good student made film but it was hard to follow the storyline and, at times, I didn't understand what was going on.

The story follows a boy named Joe and his friends who turn on a video game and get sucked into the action. In order to escape the game they must complete a series of tasks. Working together as a team, they are able to complete all the tasks and beat the game. This was made by a high school student, Joseph Castellon, from Fillmore High School.

I like that the story revolves around video games, because that is something most kids can relate to. It is also really cool to see them sucked into the game because that is something that would be a lot of fun to do with my friends. I don't particularly like how the story ends, as it does not give much of an explanation as to why certain things occur in the story. There are moments in this film when the cinematography really shines, such as when we see the friends running in the game and it looks and sounds real. Another great cinema graphic moment is when the screen switches to the Mario Kart game and the split screen looks exactly like it does when you play the actual game. This film is set in a high school and appears to have been filmed at an actual high school. When the film switches to the game it is clear that they are playing a well-known game. The background music isn't anything special but the sound effects are fantastic. When they are playing Mario Kart you can hear the actual sounds you would hear playing the game. When one character is being punched, you hear the actual sound of a punch. Switching from real worldview to Mario Kart view is done really well. The transition is seamless and gives the effect that the viewer is also playing the game. Through the use of a cartoon hand, the viewer sees one character being punched when they are not really being punched. Aside from knowing the names of each character, there is not much character development occurring in this film. Being that it is only five and a half minutes long, there isn't much time for any of that to happen. My favorite part is definitely the Mario Kart scene because it looks and sounds so real. It feels like the viewer is actually playing the game and this helps the viewer really get into the storyline.

This film's message is that when you work together as a team, anything is possible. We see a group of friends working together to escape a video game, and they are ultimately successful because they work together. Note that it does show kids doing risky things that kids might imitate. One of the characters is punched repeatedly.

I give The Switch Up 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. I recommend this for youth and family film festivals because the story is interesting and there are no concerning or inappropriate behaviors or language used. By Audrey L., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Switch Up is a good student made film but it was hard to follow the storyline and, at times, I didn't understand what was going on.

The story follows a boy named Joe and his friends who turn on a video game and get sucked into the action. In order to escape the game they must complete a series of tasks. Working together as a team, they are able to complete all the tasks and beat the game. This was made by a high school student, Joseph Castellon, from Fillmore High School.

I like that the story revolves around video games, because that is something most kids can relate to. It is also really cool to see them sucked into the game because that is something that would be a lot of fun to do with my friends. I don't particularly like how the story ends, as it does not give much of an explanation as to why certain things occur in the story. There are moments in this film when the cinematography really shines, such as when we see the friends running in the game and it looks and sounds real. Another great cinema graphic moment is when the screen switches to the Mario Kart game and the split screen looks exactly like it does when you play the actual game. This film is set in a high school and appears to have been filmed at an actual high school. When the film switches to the game it is clear that they are playing a well-known game. The background music isn't anything special but the sound effects are fantastic. When they are playing Mario Kart you can hear the actual sounds you would hear playing the game. When one character is being punched, you hear the actual sound of a punch. Switching from real worldview to Mario Kart view is done really well. The transition is seamless and gives the effect that the viewer is also playing the game. Through the use of a cartoon hand, the viewer sees one character being punched when they are not really being punched. Aside from knowing the names of each character, there is not much character development occurring in this film. Being that it is only five and a half minutes long, there isn't much time for any of that to happen. My favorite part is definitely the Mario Kart scene because it looks and sounds so real. It feels like the viewer is actually playing the game and this helps the viewer really get into the storyline.

This film's message is that when you work together as a team, anything is possible. We see a group of friends working together to escape a video game, and they are ultimately successful because they work together. Note that it does show kids doing risky things that kids might imitate. One of the characters is punched repeatedly.

I give The Switch Up 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. I recommend this for youth and family film festivals because the story is interesting and there are no concerning or inappropriate behaviors or language used. By Audrey L., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO



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