The Ages 5-8 category has 4794 KIDS FIRST! endorsed titles

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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 -
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


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 -
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


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 -
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


This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SPACE LIGHTNING
MICHAEL BAUER
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic -
Description - May Starshine, intergalactic influencer and intern aboard the Starship Intellectus, needs to come up with a song for her live stream concert tonight, but on a routine mission she gets lost in outer space! Can the crew save her in time, or will she get sucked into a galactic black hole? Combining the excitement of a Star Trek space adventure with the whimsy of a cartoon-y kids' world, Space Lightning delivers an important message about responsible social media usage in today's ever-changing landscape, as the crew learns the value of friendship, teamwork, and using one's influence for positive change.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon
Runtime: 7 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


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 -
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


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


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 THEATER

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ELIZABETHAN THEATER
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


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


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


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


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


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


CARRY ME AWAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


PRINCESS HALLE AND THE JESTER

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PRINCESS HALLE AND THE JESTER       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - When goblins attack and capture the king, a young princess and a poor jester must avenge her father and battler the evil stepmother who has taken over the throne. This film uses cutting edge technology can make a new IP with real humans and in a sustainable way. The feature-length film is the first in a planned trilogy and uses breakthrough technologies to meld action, romance, and fairytales into a completely new and unique world that is both modern and timeless. The extensive, photorealistic digital world immerses the viewer in a hyper real experience with cutting-edge virtual sets, procedural AI, CGI creatures, and digital doubles.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Wow, but wow! Princess Halle and the Jester is such an interesting film - with all the CGI. It is so interesting and funny with lots of dramatic action. It has everything you can think of in a film and it is not a "once upon a time" movie. It's action royal - a kind of movie I just love. This movie tells you all about fairy tales. It doesn't have to end with a royal wedding. This movie ends unlike any royal fairy tale movie.

The storyline follows a kingdom that is attacked by an army of goblins and their king (Byron Herlong) is kidnapped and turned into stone. The young princess Halle (Emma Duchesneau) runs away with the jester Henri (Duncan Novak) and he brings her to his hometown. Afterwards she wants to return but the guards take her away and then kill Henri's grandpa (Geoffrey Lyons). Together they fight the evil goblin queen, Priscilla (Rachel Stacy).

The film's CGI is so good, especially how the dragon looks. It begins as cute, small and harmless, and then they make it big and ready to fly across the world. The animator deserves a lot of credit for his work which is very good. The costume makes Henri look like a villager and the dress for the princess makes her look royal - the necklace looks like an actual gem. The hair and makeup artist (Justine Sylvie) outdid herself, making the princess's hair look very regal. The lead animator (Kieth Lee) gives the dragon very bright colors, but it still looks realistic. I just love this film. It has a royal fairy tale movie genre and its executed so well. There is one thing that bugged me - when they are fighting the goblin queen, the princess Halle hits a wall and falls in pain, but there was no sound. That is weird.

The message is that not all fairy tales end with a happy royal marriage like in this film.

I give Princess Halle and the Jester 4.4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. Princess Halle and the Jester releases on VOD and streaming on May 21, 2024.

By Ryan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Perfect for fans of fantasy, Princess Halle and The Jester tells an elaborate and exquisite tale replete with action, drama and unconventional twists. It's a good watch despite stilted scriptwriting and performances, and some rough CGI.

The film follows Princess Halle (Emma Duchesneau), a teen royal reeling from the loss of her mother. At the coronation of her stepmother Queen Priscilla (Rachel Stacy), the new queen, goblins attack the castle and capture Halle's father King Victor (Byron Herlong), taking him to a faraway land. She must save her father and restore balance to the kingdom while also fighting her stepmother's allegations that she conspired with the goblins to steal her father's throne.

The plot of Princess Halle and the Jester really makes it stand out from any other action/fantasy film. It's somewhere between Lord of the Rings and a kids' show like Sophia the First. Halle's character is well built out, and we see her evolve and mature mentally and emotionally throughout the film. I also love the jester, Henri (Duncan Novak), who acts as Halle's sidekick; he was given such a positive and supportive role, and he plays it with conviction. There are some instances where Princess Halle and the Jester is let down by its budget. The CGI looks antiquated and basic. In many scenes - one where a dragon takes King Victor away and another where the characters pass through otherworldly groves and forests - the heavy usage of green screens and artificial graphics is evident. The backgrounds and characters are roughly rendered, and you can see the individual frames of some of the motion animations. Other technical elements could have been refined, too. The camerawork is awkward at times, with diagonal panning and some untimely cuts. But the film is lifted by performances by the supporting cast, who give it their all, and a well-written script. The dialogue writing is nicely done; it's crafted more like a work of theater than a film in some parts, which makes sense, since the action can be broken up into three acts, like a stage play. Justine Sylvie aces the costumes and hair and makeup, one element of the film I really love.

Princess Halle and the Jester promotes fighting for justice and preserving your internal sense of goodness and kindness.

I give Princess Halle and the Jester 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. The film releases on May 21, 2024 on demand and on Apple and Amazon streaming.

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

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


GREEN SUPERHEROES 2030

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GREEN SUPERHEROES 2030
1 SOUL PRODUCTION
Series: INDIE DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8 TO 18
Topic - Family
Description - This documentary follows a group of ten young environmentalists and their stories about how they are changing the world for the better and making the planet greener.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Green SuperHeroes 2030 is truly wonderful, showcasing a group of ten young and dedicated environmentalists working together to make our planet greener.

An extraordinary team of ten young environmentalists from different parts of the world, ranging in age from 5 to 17, have taken on a bold mission to save our planet. With their boundless creativity and scientific curiosity, they are developing groundbreaking environmental initiatives that have the potential to make a significant impact,

This film is a masterpiece of visual storytelling, created with cinematic precision. Using the latest technology, including a green screen, stunning drone shots, and imaginative visual effects, this movie takes viewers on a journey unlike any other. It inspires children to take action and protect the environment, planting a seed of awareness that will grow for years to come. These young environmentalists are a testament to the power of youth and innovation in addressing the ecological crisis that our planet is facing. They are working tirelessly to combat issues such as plastic pollution in our oceans, deforestation, and the impact of fossil fuels on the environment. Their passion and dedication are truly inspiring, and they are a shining example of what can be achieved when we come together to make a difference. As we witness their journey of hope, they remind us of the urgent need for action and the crucial role that we all have to play in protecting our planet for future generations. The plot development in this movie is captivating. It is interesting and well-organized, keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout. The movie masterfully introduces ten green superheroes, before showcasing a group of young environmentalists from around the world who unite to make a difference. Their audacious quest to save the planet is truly inspiring, as they develop ground-breaking environmental initiatives to protect our only home - the Earth. This movie is an absolute must-see and will motivate you to make a difference in the world. The film truly amazed me with its seamless transitions between different scenes. It features ten environmentalists, each presenting their own unique conservation project. The accompanying camera footage is equally impressive, showcasing various environments that have been severely impacted by human activities. From dry lands to polluted oceans and floating debris, the visuals are both disheartening and eye-opening. The plight of animals that died due to entanglement in the garbage is particularly hard-hitting. It is a powerful reminder of the urgent need to take action and address these pressing issues before it's too late.

The quality of the camerawork is suitable for exhibition; it's a high quality work! The sets and location were meticulously chosen to perfectly complement the story. The Earth Protectors' presentations are accompanied by informative videos and data presentations that leave a lasting impact. One video showcases the commendable efforts of the team in sorting out a large number of toys from landfills and distributing them among children in low-income areas. Another video highlights the dire need for marine conservation, detailing the tragic deaths of marine life due to marine debris and showcasing alarming footage of vast amounts of plastic polluting our oceans. All of the information is carefully curated to resonate with the storyline and leave a lasting impression on the audience. The carefully crafted soundtrack complements its message perfectly. For example, during the discussion of data, the video showcases a plethora of digitized data and is accompanied by upbeat techno music. Even the background music, which is typically tranquil, is robust and influential. It is evident that the background music greatly enriches the video, making it a more immersive experience. The ten young individuals featured in the film are the shining stars of environmental activism. Their stories are a source of inspiration and motivation for all of us. Kyle Tianshi, a 15-year-old, has designed a device called NEREID, which is a ray of hope for the world's oceans that are choking on micro-plastic pollution. Ryan Hickman, a 13-year-old, has taken the concept of zero waste to the next level with PROJECT 3R, which promotes reuse, reduction, and recycling. Katia Thomas, a 14-year-old, has developed DAESSE, an award-winning device that generates electricity from trash, a game-changer in the world of renewable energy. Janeth Guanulema, a '16 graduate, has taken up the cause of saving the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest from deforestation and fracking and is a true hero for her community. Connor Berryhill, a 15-year-old with autism, founded the Micro Activist Foundation, which is an excellent platform for educating young people on marine conservation. Sam Torres, a '17 graduate, has launched campaigns such as #MeatlessMonday, which is an innovative way to promote sustainable eating habits. Jessica Ong, also a '17 graduate, is doing her bit to save the planet by saving old toys from landfills and donating them to children in need. Justin Sather, an 11-year-old, has taken up the cause of protecting habitats such as rainforests through the Justin Frog Project and is a true champion of the environment. Ianna Mallyaka, a 13-year-old, has planted thousands of trees in Kenya through her foundation and is working to protect the soil through her ENVIROSAVE! Program. Finally, 5-year-old Nina Gomes may be the youngest of the lot, but she is doing her bit by collecting plastic on her father's surfboard in the bay of Rio de Janeiro every day after school. These young individuals have shown us that age is just a number and that we can all make a difference in our ways.

Director, Los Angeles Barea studied at the famed Cristina Rota School of Theatre in Spain. Discovered by Director Pedro Almodovar, Angeles made her debut acting in his Academy Award winning film Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown which received an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Angeles went on to work with acclaimed directors such as Jess Franco and Alex de la Iglesia. Los Angeles became a well-known personality making countless television appearances. Los Angeles was inspired after working for six years with the environmental non-profit Grades of Green - watching young people develop amazing projects to help the Planet and looking for solutions. It is so inspirational that she realized she wanted to show the world how these young, brilliant minds create such new and innovative ideas and projects to help the planet with plastic pollution, clean energy, water contamination, fossil fuels, and climate change. These young people are role models, and heroes.

The scene where Connor Berryhill advocates for ocean conservation is truly inspiring. It's unfortunate that many species are on the brink of extinction, despite laws in place to protect them. Human activities continue to cause irreversible damage to wildlife, and marine life is particularly vulnerable due to the serious threat of fishing nets and garbage. We have a responsibility to follow the example set by animals and protect the ecosystem rather than destroy it. We can all do our part, no matter how small, to make a difference. Together, we can make a positive impact and ensure that future generations can enjoy the beauty of our planet's diverse wildlife.

The film's message is about taking responsibility for our actions is key to achieving a healthy environment, clean air, and peace that we all desire. Let's do our part and work together to create a better world for ourselves and future generations.

I give Green SuperHeroes 2023 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. This qualifies as a special interest topic - environment, ecology and climate change. By Changyang L., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Green SuperHeroes 2030 is truly wonderful, showcasing a group of ten young and dedicated environmentalists working together to make our planet greener.

An extraordinary team of ten young environmentalists from different parts of the world, ranging in age from 5 to 17, have taken on a bold mission to save our planet. With their boundless creativity and scientific curiosity, they are developing groundbreaking environmental initiatives that have the potential to make a significant impact,

This film is a masterpiece of visual storytelling, created with cinematic precision. Using the latest technology, including a green screen, stunning drone shots, and imaginative visual effects, this movie takes viewers on a journey unlike any other. It inspires children to take action and protect the environment, planting a seed of awareness that will grow for years to come. These young environmentalists are a testament to the power of youth and innovation in addressing the ecological crisis that our planet is facing. They are working tirelessly to combat issues such as plastic pollution in our oceans, deforestation, and the impact of fossil fuels on the environment. Their passion and dedication are truly inspiring, and they are a shining example of what can be achieved when we come together to make a difference. As we witness their journey of hope, they remind us of the urgent need for action and the crucial role that we all have to play in protecting our planet for future generations. The plot development in this movie is captivating. It is interesting and well-organized, keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout. The movie masterfully introduces ten green superheroes, before showcasing a group of young environmentalists from around the world who unite to make a difference. Their audacious quest to save the planet is truly inspiring, as they develop ground-breaking environmental initiatives to protect our only home - the Earth. This movie is an absolute must-see and will motivate you to make a difference in the world. The film truly amazed me with its seamless transitions between different scenes. It features ten environmentalists, each presenting their own unique conservation project. The accompanying camera footage is equally impressive, showcasing various environments that have been severely impacted by human activities. From dry lands to polluted oceans and floating debris, the visuals are both disheartening and eye-opening. The plight of animals that died due to entanglement in the garbage is particularly hard-hitting. It is a powerful reminder of the urgent need to take action and address these pressing issues before it's too late.

The quality of the camerawork is suitable for exhibition; it's a high quality work! The sets and location were meticulously chosen to perfectly complement the story. The Earth Protectors' presentations are accompanied by informative videos and data presentations that leave a lasting impact. One video showcases the commendable efforts of the team in sorting out a large number of toys from landfills and distributing them among children in low-income areas. Another video highlights the dire need for marine conservation, detailing the tragic deaths of marine life due to marine debris and showcasing alarming footage of vast amounts of plastic polluting our oceans. All of the information is carefully curated to resonate with the storyline and leave a lasting impression on the audience. The carefully crafted soundtrack complements its message perfectly. For example, during the discussion of data, the video showcases a plethora of digitized data and is accompanied by upbeat techno music. Even the background music, which is typically tranquil, is robust and influential. It is evident that the background music greatly enriches the video, making it a more immersive experience. The ten young individuals featured in the film are the shining stars of environmental activism. Their stories are a source of inspiration and motivation for all of us. Kyle Tianshi, a 15-year-old, has designed a device called NEREID, which is a ray of hope for the world's oceans that are choking on micro-plastic pollution. Ryan Hickman, a 13-year-old, has taken the concept of zero waste to the next level with PROJECT 3R, which promotes reuse, reduction, and recycling. Katia Thomas, a 14-year-old, has developed DAESSE, an award-winning device that generates electricity from trash, a game-changer in the world of renewable energy. Janeth Guanulema, a '16 graduate, has taken up the cause of saving the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest from deforestation and fracking and is a true hero for her community. Connor Berryhill, a 15-year-old with autism, founded the Micro Activist Foundation, which is an excellent platform for educating young people on marine conservation. Sam Torres, a '17 graduate, has launched campaigns such as #MeatlessMonday, which is an innovative way to promote sustainable eating habits. Jessica Ong, also a '17 graduate, is doing her bit to save the planet by saving old toys from landfills and donating them to children in need. Justin Sather, an 11-year-old, has taken up the cause of protecting habitats such as rainforests through the Justin Frog Project and is a true champion of the environment. Ianna Mallyaka, a 13-year-old, has planted thousands of trees in Kenya through her foundation and is working to protect the soil through her ENVIROSAVE! Program. Finally, 5-year-old Nina Gomes may be the youngest of the lot, but she is doing her bit by collecting plastic on her father's surfboard in the bay of Rio de Janeiro every day after school. These young individuals have shown us that age is just a number and that we can all make a difference in our ways.

Director, Los Angeles Barea studied at the famed Cristina Rota School of Theatre in Spain. Discovered by Director Pedro Almodovar, Angeles made her debut acting in his Academy Award winning film Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown which received an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Angeles went on to work with acclaimed directors such as Jess Franco and Alex de la Iglesia. Los Angeles became a well-known personality making countless television appearances. Los Angeles was inspired after working for six years with the environmental non-profit Grades of Green - watching young people develop amazing projects to help the Planet and looking for solutions. It is so inspirational that she realized she wanted to show the world how these young, brilliant minds create such new and innovative ideas and projects to help the planet with plastic pollution, clean energy, water contamination, fossil fuels, and climate change. These young people are role models, and heroes.

The scene where Connor Berryhill advocates for ocean conservation is truly inspiring. It's unfortunate that many species are on the brink of extinction, despite laws in place to protect them. Human activities continue to cause irreversible damage to wildlife, and marine life is particularly vulnerable due to the serious threat of fishing nets and garbage. We have a responsibility to follow the example set by animals and protect the ecosystem rather than destroy it. We can all do our part, no matter how small, to make a difference. Together, we can make a positive impact and ensure that future generations can enjoy the beauty of our planet's diverse wildlife.

The film's message is about taking responsibility for our actions is key to achieving a healthy environment, clean air, and peace that we all desire. Let's do our part and work together to create a better world for ourselves and future generations.

I give Green SuperHeroes 2023 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. This qualifies as a special interest topic - environment, ecology and climate change. By Changyang L., KIDS FIRST!

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


SPICY SPIES ALWAYS READY (2024)

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SPICY SPIES ALWAYS READY (2024)
SACHA PELL� KOZUBOVSKI
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Two inseparable spies come face to face with the mysterious and powerful Lady M, and the search for superpowers begins. Will they be able to find the source of her superpowers?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I have to say that, as a middle school student film, this definitely has its merits. One can see the work behind young Sacha's creation and applaud his ability to work with his mother and sister to create this film. That in itself is credible.

As to the storyline, this is an odd piece. I'm not keen on the use of guns and knives, and later on a needed with young children, but they are fairly tame here. It's quirky and nonverbal; I like the driving background music. The camerawork is okay; the lighting is not great -- there are lots of shadows and poorly lit scenes. But, it doesn't detract from the storyline. The "chapters" in this help pull it together, but it is a bit pretty disjointed in terms of story development. The costumes work. Like particularly liked the face mask when it first appears, but it's used again later which diminishes its impact and makes it less unique.

The ending sort of makes a statement about the power of the water, which is the sign on the bathroom door. The boy walks into the bathroom, sits on the side of a filled tub, falls into tub and appears to down, but he doesn't. He has a vision of Bruce Lee talking about the power of water and water being a symbol of purity and the source of life. The boy emerges from the water and it cut to credits.

The message I take away from this film is - make a film with your family, it'll bring you closer together.

I give Spicy Spies Always Ready 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 14, plus adults. By Julie S, KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I have to say that, as a middle school student film, this definitely has its merits. One can see the work behind young Sacha's creation and applaud his ability to work with his mother and sister to create this film. That in itself is credible.

As to the storyline, this is an odd piece. I'm not keen on the use of guns and knives, and later on a needed with young children, but they are fairly tame here. It's quirky and nonverbal; I like the driving background music. The camerawork is okay; the lighting is not great -- there are lots of shadows and poorly lit scenes. But, it doesn't detract from the storyline. The "chapters" in this help pull it together, but it is a bit pretty disjointed in terms of story development. The costumes work. Like particularly liked the face mask when it first appears, but it's used again later which diminishes its impact and makes it less unique.

The ending sort of makes a statement about the power of the water, which is the sign on the bathroom door. The boy walks into the bathroom, sits on the side of a filled tub, falls into tub and appears to down, but he doesn't. He has a vision of Bruce Lee talking about the power of water and water being a symbol of purity and the source of life. The boy emerges from the water and it cut to credits.

The message I take away from this film is - make a film with your family, it'll bring you closer together.

I give Spicy Spies Always Ready 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 14, plus adults. By Julie S, KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


HALLELUJAH FOREVER

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
HALLELUJAH FOREVER
ODVEIG KLYVE
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - This is a story about what it's like to sing together with others. A young boy, busy with gaming and climbing, makes a new and surprising experience when he starts singing in a choir. He discovers the power of an almost 300-year-old classical oratorio. From Norway, dialogue in Norwegian
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Hallelujah Forever is an inspirational and uplifting short with George F. Handel's music at the core of its story. A 10-year-old Norwegian boy, who joins a city choir, learns the theoretic and aesthetic values that musicians carry inside of themselves in order to be a part of a community of listeners and performers.

Tears came to my eyes several times as the beautiful children of this film learn how to sing Hallelujah. The film show these little boys running, playing and hiking outdoors and then, pivoting into the hallowed halls of the local church to practice their section of vocals. The detail and beauty of this film is so special.

The content of Hallelujah Forever is so endearing, showing a group of young boys as they learn the melody lines that have for 350 years inspired the respect and adoration of millions of listeners. The cinematography is chock full of close ups and establishing shots in churches, play grounds and nature. The primary focus of the film is a boy named Viljar Austvoll Hjelmeland who has a face like a playful angel. The camera catches him singing so high and running so very fast -- all while presenting him as an innocent with adorable demeanor. The camera catches all of it! The costumes are documentary clothes. When outside everyone wears active wear. In the choir, robes reflect the uniform of noble grace and hollowed beauty! The sets are simply standard classroom or pristine nature locations. The music underscore is from the film source music, i.e. the final choir performance of Handel's Hallelujah. I especially love it when the boys are singing because their voices are so high and angelic! The choir plays with instruments such as violin, viola, cell, double bass and piano. There are no visual of sound effects in Hallelujah Forever except for a trick played by the editor who elevates the boy singers up into the sky, using a green screen I suppose. It is almost an unnecessary distraction, but a fun idea. Viljar Austvoll Hjelmeland, a blond, blue-eyed choir boy is the key subject who is very comfortable in front of the camera singing, playing with his friends and demonstrating suggestions the choir director (Odgeir Kjetilstad's) makes. The other children and adults in the film add context and curiosity to the magic of the film. The writer director, Odveig Klyve is a genius with a heart. She has produced a film that should be seen by everyone. Period. I loved it all. Odveig Klyve has created a masterpiece!

The message is that music in one of life's most important experiences, available to all with the ears and soul to enjoy it. From this one must see the value of having music in the school, on the streets and in the rituals of human life.

I give Hallelujah Forever 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5-18. By Nancy K., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Hallelujah Forever is an inspirational and uplifting short with George F. Handel's music at the core of its story. A 10-year-old Norwegian boy, who joins a city choir, learns the theoretic and aesthetic values that musicians carry inside of themselves in order to be a part of a community of listeners and performers.

Tears came to my eyes several times as the beautiful children of this film learn how to sing Hallelujah. The film show these little boys running, playing and hiking outdoors and then, pivoting into the hallowed halls of the local church to practice their section of vocals. The detail and beauty of this film is so special.

The content of Hallelujah Forever is so endearing, showing a group of young boys as they learn the melody lines that have for 350 years inspired the respect and adoration of millions of listeners. The cinematography is chock full of close ups and establishing shots in churches, play grounds and nature. The primary focus of the film is a boy named Viljar Austvoll Hjelmeland who has a face like a playful angel. The camera catches him singing so high and running so very fast -- all while presenting him as an innocent with adorable demeanor. The camera catches all of it! The costumes are documentary clothes. When outside everyone wears active wear. In the choir, robes reflect the uniform of noble grace and hollowed beauty! The sets are simply standard classroom or pristine nature locations. The music underscore is from the film source music, i.e. the final choir performance of Handel's Hallelujah. I especially love it when the boys are singing because their voices are so high and angelic! The choir plays with instruments such as violin, viola, cell, double bass and piano. There are no visual of sound effects in Hallelujah Forever except for a trick played by the editor who elevates the boy singers up into the sky, using a green screen I suppose. It is almost an unnecessary distraction, but a fun idea. Viljar Austvoll Hjelmeland, a blond, blue-eyed choir boy is the key subject who is very comfortable in front of the camera singing, playing with his friends and demonstrating suggestions the choir director (Odgeir Kjetilstad's) makes. The other children and adults in the film add context and curiosity to the magic of the film. The writer director, Odveig Klyve is a genius with a heart. She has produced a film that should be seen by everyone. Period. I loved it all. Odveig Klyve has created a masterpiece!

The message is that music in one of life's most important experiences, available to all with the ears and soul to enjoy it. From this one must see the value of having music in the school, on the streets and in the rituals of human life.

I give Hallelujah Forever 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5-18. By Nancy K., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 16 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


I LOVED TO SEE YOU

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
I LOVED TO SEE YOU
RICARDO GARCIA
Series: FOREIGN STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - A deaf boy falls in love with a blind girl. Now he must find a way to communicate as he discovers the world that surrounds her.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The film, I Loved To See You, is absolutely incredible! The storyline is unique.

In a world full of different people, this storyline takes an incredible turn and showcases a different perspective from what we tend to know. It addresses the lives of a deaf boy and a blind girl, showing how disabilities don't necessarily have to bring us down, but rather, strengthen our determination. In the end, everything always works out.

This film stands out compared to other short films that I've watched - it takes a different approach and still manages to be completely engaging. I like how the young boy, Bruno, is determined to get the attention of the girl, Ana. The cinematography is fabulous - very clear, well lit, with various angles to help attract the viewer's attention. The use of sign language with the boy is well executed and so descriptive. The background music tends to be low-tuned and calm, making it effective in the storyline as it fills in any silence. I love all the characters. The relationship between Bruno and his mom is particularly warm and heartfelt. I also was deeply touched by Bruno overcoming the bullies and taking the initiative to be with Ana. Ana, on the other hand, is there for Bruno when he needs a friend the most. My favorite part is when Bruno goes to the salon and meets Laura, who has a customer that is oversharing. However, the customer isn't aware that Laura is, in fact, deaf. She makes a joke about it, adding humor to the film. The ending is so touching and truly brought tears to my eyes as these two young people find a friend in each other.

The film's message is that, regardless of who you are, you are likely to face challenges on the path you choose. However, it's your resilience that allows you to overcome them, together with the support of those that surround you on your journey, whether you've known them for a long time or have just met. Be aware that it does contain some profanity. When Bruno is being bullied at the beginning the word "Mute dick" is used to emphasize the extent of bullying.

I give I Loved To See You 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It builds an awareness about those with multi-sensory impairment. By Eunnet C. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really enjoyed the film I Loved to See You because it is a wholesome and honest story that watches two determined children conquer their disabilities to build a friendship. I was inspired by the characters' cheer and confidence throughout the film.

The story follows Bruno, optimistic young boys who is often bullied or in trouble due to the fact that he is deaf. He finds a friend in his sign language coach but longs for a companion his own age. Ana is a girl who is blind and whose mother is protective of her, though very loving. Bruno and Ana form a strong bond, defying the communicational restrictions placed on them by their conditions. The film is from Brazil with dialogue in Portuguese and American Sign Language; it is subtitled in English.

The story is very fast-paced. Ana and Bruno's relationship progresses quickly, despite not being able to introduce themselves. I was constantly engaged, as the storyline moves along fast and does not drag. I was impressed by the cinematography. The camera blurs whenever the viewer can imagine the character feeling faint or overcome with emotion and the lights and darks remain fairly neutral throughout the film but are heavily contrasted during intense scenes, such as when Bruno is caught by the guard and when he wakes up in the hospital. The costumes complement the characters' personalities. For example, we often see Ana in dresses and flower headbands in bright colors. This is exactly the outfit I would picture for her with her upbeat personality. The sets are mostly neutral-colored to contrast with the fast-paced plot line. My favorite location is for the scene where Bruno decides to remove his second hearing aid after the first is ripped from his ear by the guard. Bruno is sitting at the top of a hill under a tree, all by himself. The lighting during this scene is beautiful, and the hill symbolizes how Bruno's deafness can make him feel isolated, even when he is completely surrounded by people. The sound effects are an essential part of this film, since one of the main characters is deaf. I found them satisfactory - for example, scenes from Bruno's point-of-view alternate between being muffled and clear. There is also occasionally a high-pitched ringing sound. These effects made me feel like I was in Bruno's place and it gave me a very real sense of his deafness. The special effects are not as effective as I hoped for. Occasionally, we are shown a glimpse of what Ana "sees." This is a black background with very defined, illuminated neon teal lines outlining random shapes in her sight. The lines are very sharp, rather than blurred, but very few objects in her vision are shown, which does not seem very believable. My favorite character is Bruno. Though he often finds himself alone, he enjoys his own company. He is resilient and keeps his head up, refusing to let bullies impact his life. Ana is also worth mentioning; though she is blind, she is a fierce friend who takes care of those close to her, and she has a special sense of the world. She demonstrates this when Bruno is in the middle of the road playing the flute and cannot hear the car coming up behind him. She cannot see, but she is very aware of what is happening and immediately tries to run into the road and save Bruno without taking a moment to think about herself. My favorite part of the film is the scene when Bruno makes money by playing the flute. He is an inspiration because he does not let anything get him down; he is determined and he keeps going with a smile on his face. I recommend this film because it is a wholesome and inspirational depiction of the challenges that disabled people face.

The film's message is about learning to cope with obstacles while you are waiting to overcome them - when there is a will, there is a way - if you believe in your abilities and work hard, you will find that way. Please note that there is mild violence when Bruno's hearing aid is accidentally torn off of his ear by a guard. Also, a child and a woman are hit by a car towards the end of the film. The shot is cut short before the car actually makes contact with the people, but mild graphic violence is shown in the form of bruises and smudged blood on the child's arm in a later scene.

I give I Loved To See You 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Elle S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 19 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


CELESTE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SHAKESPEARE FOR ALL AGES

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SHAKESPEARE FOR ALL AGES
HANNES RALL
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Shakespeare's works are timeless - this film proves it... without any dialogue.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This short animated film offers a cleverly assembled collection of images that depict a variety of Shakespearean plays and morph one into the other in almost a comedic fashion. The graphic designs are crisp in black and white primarily with other secondary colors added at times. The background music, scored by Patrick Kuhn Botelho, pushes the action along with a quick pace. Kudos to animators Siew May Khoo and Jay Septimo who deliver Hannes Rall's concept with meticulous execution. My only complaint is that I wanted it to go on for a longer period of time. I was just getting into it when it ended. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This short animated film offers a cleverly assembled collection of images that depict a variety of Shakespearean plays and morph one into the other in almost a comedic fashion. The graphic designs are crisp in black and white primarily with other secondary colors added at times. The background music, scored by Patrick Kuhn Botelho, pushes the action along with a quick pace. Kudos to animators Siew May Khoo and Jay Septimo who deliver Hannes Rall's concept with meticulous execution. My only complaint is that I wanted it to go on for a longer period of time. I was just getting into it when it ended. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 3 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


STORYTELLER, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
STORYTELLER, THE
ALLISON VOLK
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - An Iraq war veteran suffering from PTSD, Chase (43), works nights as a janitor at a car museum -- perfect for him, because he prefers to be alone. He thoughtfully dusts, vacuums, and polishes with striking attention to detail, occasionally taking breaks to longingly stare at the historic photos of Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles after they won Le Mans in 1966. His reverie is broken when the phone rings; it's a little boy, who thinks he's called The Storyteller's Hotline. Touched by the boy's innocence, Chase tells him a story that launches them into the world of 1960's car racing. Chase realizes that the boy has fallen asleep, and goes back to work... until the phone rings again.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Storyteller offers a simple storyline that's surprisingly different. It only involves three characters and the primary conversation happens between two of the characters.

The storyline is centered on a formerly successful army veteran named Chase (Colin Martin) who, due to circumstances, has transitioned into a different career, though he doesn't seem fully satisfied with it. However, a random phone call from a young boy (Jake Belliston) disrupts his routine and gives him a sense of excitement and possibly offers him an opportunity for change.

I appreciated how the storyline provides the veteran with the chance to share his own story, highlighting his depth of experience and the consistency he experienced. Additionally, his character during the phone changes dramatically and he is remarkably gentle and kindhearted, which is in direct contrast to the behavior he showed at the beginning of the film. The film's cinematography is well executed, using techniques such as background blurring to draw focus to the protagonist and close-up shots that capture the Veteran's facial expressions. Additionally, it uses various angles to provide a wider perspective of the environment where the story takes place, enhancing the viewer's understanding of the story. The quality of the camera work is certainly suitable for exhibition.

During the storytelling section, the film transits to show images that enhance his story, which adds to the audience's viewing experience. The background music helps to enhance the dramatic impact of the story. Some special effects can be seen in the section of storytelling, which help deliver this veteran's reality. Chase, the protagonist, has a major character arc throughout the film. Initially he is seen as somewhat cold-hearted and detached from the world, but he transforms and by the end, he seems to be more content with his circumstances and finds satisfaction in helping the boy on the phone. My favorite part is when the boy asks Chase to read a story to him and Chase grabs the nearest book, flips it open, and begins reading straight away. It gives a slight humor to the film, especially when Chase realizes that he needs to be a bit more gentle with the boy and then begins to tell his own story. The other part I love is when the phone rings a second time and Chase answers it saying, "hello, storytellers." That brought a smile to my face.

The film's message is pretty well summed up in the line Chase says to the boy, "In life some things are way important than winning."

I give The Storyteller 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Eunnet C. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Storyteller offers a simple storyline that's surprisingly different. It only involves three characters and the primary conversation happens between two of the characters.

The storyline is centered on a formerly successful army veteran named Chase (Colin Martin) who, due to circumstances, has transitioned into a different career, though he doesn't seem fully satisfied with it. However, a random phone call from a young boy (Jake Belliston) disrupts his routine and gives him a sense of excitement and possibly offers him an opportunity for change.

I appreciated how the storyline provides the veteran with the chance to share his own story, highlighting his depth of experience and the consistency he experienced. Additionally, his character during the phone changes dramatically and he is remarkably gentle and kindhearted, which is in direct contrast to the behavior he showed at the beginning of the film. The film's cinematography is well executed, using techniques such as background blurring to draw focus to the protagonist and close-up shots that capture the Veteran's facial expressions. Additionally, it uses various angles to provide a wider perspective of the environment where the story takes place, enhancing the viewer's understanding of the story. The quality of the camera work is certainly suitable for exhibition.

During the storytelling section, the film transits to show images that enhance his story, which adds to the audience's viewing experience. The background music helps to enhance the dramatic impact of the story. Some special effects can be seen in the section of storytelling, which help deliver this veteran's reality. Chase, the protagonist, has a major character arc throughout the film. Initially he is seen as somewhat cold-hearted and detached from the world, but he transforms and by the end, he seems to be more content with his circumstances and finds satisfaction in helping the boy on the phone. My favorite part is when the boy asks Chase to read a story to him and Chase grabs the nearest book, flips it open, and begins reading straight away. It gives a slight humor to the film, especially when Chase realizes that he needs to be a bit more gentle with the boy and then begins to tell his own story. The other part I love is when the phone rings a second time and Chase answers it saying, "hello, storytellers." That brought a smile to my face.

The film's message is pretty well summed up in the line Chase says to the boy, "In life some things are way important than winning."

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


MR. MOORE'S GIFT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


MOST WONDERFUL CHOICE OF THE YEAR, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MOST WONDERFUL CHOICE OF THE YEAR, THE
ANDREW LURIA
Series: ELEMENTARY STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - The MagTV team explores a Christmas gone awry, when one wrong choice leads to endlessly bad consequences. But luckily for well-intentioned dad, Carl, there are two parallel experiences. Though his gas-guzzler gift was not well received, thanks to his magical Rewind Button, it was a Christmas morning they won't soon forget.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What a cute storyline, cleverly written script and adorable performances by these elementary school kids.

Perfect for a festival addressing climate change and the environment, this plot twist, thanks to the rewind button, moves from Dad gifting the family with a gas guzzling car that they diss him about to an electric that they give him props about.

Well produced, aside from some wind noise in the shots outside. The kids play all the roles so don't be surprised to see very young looking parents here. But the kids are confident performers and deliver their lines like pros. Well shot and edited. Commendable. I would put this into any film festival with student made films. It's adorable and meaningful. My favorite shot is the Dad's wink when he presses the rewind button.

The film's message is pretty overt - climate change calls for environmentally friendly vehicles.

I give The Most Wonderful Choice Of The Year 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What a cute storyline, cleverly written script and adorable performances by these elementary school kids.

Perfect for a festival addressing climate change and the environment, this plot twist, thanks to the rewind button, moves from Dad gifting the family with a gas guzzling car that they diss him about to an electric that they give him props about.

Well produced, aside from some wind noise in the shots outside. The kids play all the roles so don't be surprised to see very young looking parents here. But the kids are confident performers and deliver their lines like pros. Well shot and edited. Commendable. I would put this into any film festival with student made films. It's adorable and meaningful. My favorite shot is the Dad's wink when he presses the rewind button.

The film's message is pretty overt - climate change calls for environmentally friendly vehicles.

I give The Most Wonderful Choice Of The Year 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 3 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


CHRISTMAS TALE, A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


LUCKY DOG

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LUCKY DOG
DONNA GUTHRIE
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - A dog lives a lucky life in a retirement home with friends who know and remember him in different ways.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What an adorable short film. I love the way that this pup adapts to all of the residents at the home who call him by a different name, one that their favorite dog was called years ago.

The storyline of this short animated film follows a dog who lives at a senior care facility and works as an emotional support dog for the residents there.

This 2D animated film is simply made and has a poignant storyline. I'm to going to rave about the animation - it's serviceable and entirely watchable, but isn't going to win any awards. It doesn't matter because the storyline of this film is the true winner here. Anyone who has loved a dog will relate to this as our pup here spends his day visiting the various residents and providing comfort for them as if she was their long lost "best friend." The narrator is uncredited, but I would like to point out that his voice is definitely toned down and yet, at the same time, works for this sweet working dog. The writer/ director, Donna W. Guthrie, definitely has a handle on older people and their needs - especially as it comes to needing a furry friend.

The film's message is that "man's best friend doesn't abandon you, even in the sunset years of your life."

I give Lucky Dog 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What an adorable short film. I love the way that this pup adapts to all of the residents at the home who call him by a different name, one that their favorite dog was called years ago.

The storyline of this short animated film follows a dog who lives at a senior care facility and works as an emotional support dog for the residents there.

This 2D animated film is simply made and has a poignant storyline. I'm to going to rave about the animation - it's serviceable and entirely watchable, but isn't going to win any awards. It doesn't matter because the storyline of this film is the true winner here. Anyone who has loved a dog will relate to this as our pup here spends his day visiting the various residents and providing comfort for them as if she was their long lost "best friend." The narrator is uncredited, but I would like to point out that his voice is definitely toned down and yet, at the same time, works for this sweet working dog. The writer/ director, Donna W. Guthrie, definitely has a handle on older people and their needs - especially as it comes to needing a furry friend.

The film's message is that "man's best friend doesn't abandon you, even in the sunset years of your life."

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


SOCCER FOOTBALL MOVIE, THE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


FRIGHT KREWE SEASON 2

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FRIGHT KREWE SEASON 2       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
HULU, LLC
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Soleil Le Claire, a girl who lives for horror, accidentally breaks a spell on the Tree of Life and unleashes an ancient evil. The spirit of Marie Laveau, the voodoo queen of New Orleans, puts her and four other kids in charge of saving the city from Belial, an ancient demon who feeds on fear. Luckily, they're not alone, as each kid gets a special gift from the voodoo spirits called Loa. Eventually they learn their town's biggest secret: Vampires, rougarous, ghosts, monsters and demons are real and have secretly lived among humans for decades. The Krewe will have to hone their powers, figure out what Belial's up to and keep the peace between creatures as they go head-to-head with local legends from the underworld.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The suspenseful 10 episode series Fright Krewe Season 2 depicts the beautifully animated journey of a group of teens fighting monsters and just being teenagers. Their passionate acting combined with the evocative animation brings the characters to life. The crafting of the monsters and the music work together in harmony to frighten not only the characters but the viewers as well.

The story follows a group of misfit teenage friends, named the Krewe, who secretly fight the evil that threatens their world. Soleil (Sydney Mikayla), the protagonist and leader of the Krewe, is at the center of the nightmare that threatens the city of New Orleans. Belial (Jacques Colimon), the antagonist, summons monster after monster to combat the Krewe. Each Krewe member has special power that they must hone in order to save themselves, their city, and all those who are possessed by the evil spirits that threaten them. Will Soleil and her friends successfully ward off the demons, or will they fall into the possession of wickedness?

Sydney Mikayla's portrayal of Soleil's courage is beautifully balanced with her portrayal of Soleil's love of all things horror. Another key member of the Krewe, Missy, is played by Grace Lu whose vocal style conveys power and empathy at the same time. Terrance Little Gardenheigh, who plays Pat, and his co-stars create a wonderful ensemble to bring life to the rest of the Krewe. They speak just as teenagers would, making the Krewe easy to root for. The film mixes a modern realistic character animation style with a more classical animated background style, resulting in a unique look that viewers are drawn to. The monsters are otherworldly and inhuman, making them creepy enough for the audience to feel the fear behind the screen. The classical music and sound effects add an element of suspense during the climax of each episode when the Krewe fights the evil monsters.

This film's message centers around community and friendship, emphasizing the need to maintain our relationships through the hardships of life. There are consequences to our actions, and we must put friendship and love before all else that may tempt us. Note there is some graphic violence in the film and scary creatures.

Fright Krewe Season 2 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It releases on Hulu and Peacock March 29, 2024.

By Nyara A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

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


Y.L.A. VIRUS, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Y.L.A. VIRUS, THE
PAMELA KAVAL
Series: FOREIGN STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Two girls seeking revenge accidentally unleash a paralyzing virus on their victims, sparking a chain of unintended consequences. From New Zealand.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Y.L.A. Virus is very adorable and relatable for children. Most surprisingly, the whole team is made up of primary school and middle school students, which is very cool! They are very creative students.

After ten years, there is a new virus appear in the world. One day, several kids are playing outside and one girl touches the plant. However something wrong happens and she can't move. Other kids also can't move because they all touched the plant. At the end, they find teacher to help them.

I really like this storyline; this story relates to the environment and is super interesting. The storyline is not super strong, but it is very nice. I also like that when the young children face difficulties they are willing to help each other. The cinematography is quite good; it has a lot of Dutch angle shots to show some kinds of tension. The background music changes throughout the film; changing from the soft, quiet background music to tense music, to steel band sounds when the problem is resolved. I love the acting by the kids and I like their teamwork.

The film's message is about the importance of teamwork, especially in protecting the environment.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults.

By Xiangxi K. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Y.L.A. Virus is very adorable and relatable for children. Most surprisingly, the whole team is made up of primary school and middle school students, which is very cool! They are very creative students.

After ten years, there is a new virus appear in the world. One day, several kids are playing outside and one girl touches the plant. However something wrong happens and she can't move. Other kids also can't move because they all touched the plant. At the end, they find teacher to help them.

I really like this storyline; this story relates to the environment and is super interesting. The storyline is not super strong, but it is very nice. I also like that when the young children face difficulties they are willing to help each other. The cinematography is quite good; it has a lot of Dutch angle shots to show some kinds of tension. The background music changes throughout the film; changing from the soft, quiet background music to tense music, to steel band sounds when the problem is resolved. I love the acting by the kids and I like their teamwork.

The film's message is about the importance of teamwork, especially in protecting the environment.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults.

By Xiangxi K. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


COLOR OF AUTUMN

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
COLOR OF AUTUMN
AIMIENDE NEGBENEBOR SELA
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Inspired by a true story, in 1966 Chicago a sheltered Black eight-year-old is blindsided by cruel and casual racism while play grounding with white children. Narrative short film Color of Autumn depicts a precocious eight-year-old Black girl who lives with her hardworking parents and her adoring, wise grandmother in a quaint house on the Southside of Chicago. Nestled within the safety of her neighborhood and focused on the comforts and stresses of her family's hard-won middle class life, Dottie Grimsby has little awareness of racial tension or the isolation of segregation. But she is about to find out.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I love the intention of this film with its racial and educational implications. One thing I like about this film is that it is narrated entirely from the actor's point of view, which is a unique and original way of telling the story.

Inspired by a true story, in 1966, a young Black girl, Dottie (Ramiyah DeGray), resides with her parents and grandmother in a comfortable neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. Being part of a middle-class family and living in a harmonious community, the girl did not experience racial discrimination or the hardships of segregation. The warmth and love of her family provided her with a happy childhood. However, as she grows up and interacts with white people, she begins to witness the harsh realities of the world.

The grown-up protagonist, Adult Dottie (Zealyne Marchelle Williams), remembers bits and pieces of his childhood. The production is exquisitely made, using warm colors to contrast with the nostalgic images. The camera angles and video style create a captivating visual experience, while the high-quality video lends a calming effect to the overall viewing experience. The sets and locations perfectly fit the story and the era. The entire film is shot around the scenes of the main character's life and the locations were carefully chosen to match the overall effect of the movie. For instance, at the beginning, the house is surrounded by flowers and a brightly colored tree. As the film transitions back to the main character's childhood, the tone of the entire movie changes to a yellowish-gray color. This change in color tone is maintained throughout the rest of the movie. The background music is well chosen in this film, with a variety of selections that really enhance the mood from scene to scene. The ending music is particularly insightful. Kudos to director Aimiende Negbenebor Sela for tackling a difficult topic. The most impactful part for me is the moment when Dottie is subjected to malicious discrimination and her friend courageously stands up for her. Witnessing a friend standing up for what is right is truly heartwarming. It is a reminder that by supporting each other and speaking up against injustices, we can make a positive impact on the world. I feel this movie is an important one for children to watch because they may be subjected to stereotyping associated with their race, which can lead to discriminatory treatment by their peers, including behavior can be harmful. Educating children about discrimination is important, especially before they encounter it personally.

The film's message is about how there is brutal racism, not just in 1966, but even in our world today, but there are also people who are brave enough to stand up against it and speak up for their friends. Be aware that there is definitely an unsavory of nasty racism and use of the "n" word.

I give Color of Autumn 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Changyang L. and Julie S, KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love the intention of this film with its racial and educational implications. One thing I like about this film is that it is narrated entirely from the actor's point of view, which is a unique and original way of telling the story.

Inspired by a true story, in 1966, a young Black girl, Dottie (Ramiyah DeGray), resides with her parents and grandmother in a comfortable neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. Being part of a middle-class family and living in a harmonious community, the girl did not experience racial discrimination or the hardships of segregation. The warmth and love of her family provided her with a happy childhood. However, as she grows up and interacts with white people, she begins to witness the harsh realities of the world.

The grown-up protagonist, Adult Dottie (Zealyne Marchelle Williams), remembers bits and pieces of his childhood. The production is exquisitely made, using warm colors to contrast with the nostalgic images. The camera angles and video style create a captivating visual experience, while the high-quality video lends a calming effect to the overall viewing experience. The sets and locations perfectly fit the story and the era. The entire film is shot around the scenes of the main character's life and the locations were carefully chosen to match the overall effect of the movie. For instance, at the beginning, the house is surrounded by flowers and a brightly colored tree. As the film transitions back to the main character's childhood, the tone of the entire movie changes to a yellowish-gray color. This change in color tone is maintained throughout the rest of the movie. The background music is well chosen in this film, with a variety of selections that really enhance the mood from scene to scene. The ending music is particularly insightful. Kudos to director Aimiende Negbenebor Sela for tackling a difficult topic. The most impactful part for me is the moment when Dottie is subjected to malicious discrimination and her friend courageously stands up for her. Witnessing a friend standing up for what is right is truly heartwarming. It is a reminder that by supporting each other and speaking up against injustices, we can make a positive impact on the world. I feel this movie is an important one for children to watch because they may be subjected to stereotyping associated with their race, which can lead to discriminatory treatment by their peers, including behavior can be harmful. Educating children about discrimination is important, especially before they encounter it personally.

The film's message is about how there is brutal racism, not just in 1966, but even in our world today, but there are also people who are brave enough to stand up against it and speak up for their friends. Be aware that there is definitely an unsavory of nasty racism and use of the "n" word.

I give Color of Autumn 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Changyang L. and Julie S, KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 15 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


WHERE IS ANNE FRANK?

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WHERE IS ANNE FRANK?       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
ALTITUDE FILM ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Kitty, the imaginary girl to whom Anne Frank wrote her famous diary, comes to life in the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Her memories reawakened by reading the diary, believing that if she's alive, Anne must be alive as well, she sets out on a quest to find Anne. We follow Kitty as she travels across Europe and back to Anne Frank's time, armed with the precious book, in search of her beloved friend.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Where is Anne Frank? offers a poignant and innovative take on the story of Anne Frank through the lens of animation and the adventures of her imaginary friend, Kitty. I thoroughly enjoyed this film for its unique approach to storytelling and its ability to blend historical narratives with elements of fantasy.

Directed by Ari Folman, the story unfolds as Anne Frank's diary comes to life years after Anne's death. Anne's imaginary friend, Kitty, embarks on a journey to find Anne, spending a lot of time trying to uncover the truth about Anne's fate. Kitty learns about the harrowing experience that Anne and her family experienced during the holocaust, and the heartbreaking reality of their demise.

The film captivates audiences from the outset with its imaginative premise, as her imaginary friend Kitty, embarks on a quest to find Anne years after her death. This narrative device not only provides a fresh perspective on Anne's life but also allows for a deeper exploration of her experiences and legacy. The animation is beautifully crafted, bringing both the historical setting and the fantasy elements of life with vibrant visuals and rich detail. The adventure that Kitty undertakes to uncover the truth about Anne's fate is both suspenseful and emotionally resonant, keeping viewers engaged throughout.

The film's message is that anyone has the right to live in freedom, no matter their race, religion, or culture. Be forewarned this film does contain moderate profanity.

I give Where Is Anne Frank? 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 through 12, plus adults. It was featured on March 10 at the New York International Children's Film Festival. You can watch it on Prime Video, Vudu or Apple TV. Be sure to check it out.

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

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


KUNG FU PANDA 4

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
KUNG FU PANDA 4       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DREAMWORKS - LA
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - After Po is tapped to become the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace, he needs to find and train a new Dragon Warrior, while a wicked sorceress plans to re-summon all the master villains whom Po has vanquished to the spirit realm.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Don't get your noodles in a twist because Kung Fu Panda 4 is available now. For the first time in almost a decade, comedy icon Jack Black returns to his role as Po, the world's acknowledged most unlikely kung fu master. Some familiar characters are here to support him on his journey along with some new relationships which refresh this beloved franchise.

Po, the Dragon Warrior (Jack Black) is about to experience a transition in his kung fu role in the Valley of Peace. Kung Fu Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) informs Po that he is needed to become a spiritual leader and to choose and train the next Dragon Warrior. This new role is a challenge for Po as he enjoys butt-kicking moves to counter villains and questions his fitness for a new cerebral role. While searching for inner peace we are reminded that for Po everything comes back to dumplings. Resisting his new role, Po determines it is necessary to first thwart a powerful new sorceress, Chameleon (Viola Davis), who can shapeshift and seeks total kung fu domination. He finds an unlikely partner in a tricky thief, Zhen (Awkwafina) who ends up teaching him that heroes can be found even in a den of thieves.

The computer animation of this film is so beautiful that, in the beginning, it almost appears to be 3D. The backgrounds are stunning and you'll love the various scenes in this wonton wonderland from DreamWorks Animation. I really enjoyed the interaction between the unlikely duo of Po and Zhen and the comedy created between their two characters. I absolutely love the new villain Chameleon and Viola Davis really illustrates how small and stylish stature doesn't impact the extent of evil evident in a character.

This film's message is that true change comes from within and that support from family and friends makes a great impact while helping to enable that change. After all, every step someone takes, no matter how large or small creates a footprint for others to follow.

Kung Fu Panda 4 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. This movie releases in theaters March 8, 2024 so go enjoy this hilarious new chapter in a favorite action-comedy franchise!

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

Kung Fu Panda 4 is just the feel-good movie I needed this year. It's an incredibly entertaining family-friendly movie that seamlessly weaves humor and heartwarming messages.

When our favorite Dragon Warrior and Kung Fu fighting panda, Po (Jack Black), is chosen to become the spiritual leader of the Valley of Peace, he must step down and train a new Dragon Warrior. However, he isn't quite ready for that change and has no idea who to choose as his successor. To top it off, the Chameleon (Viola Davis), a powerful sorceress, has set her eyes on Po's Staff of Wisdom, so he must go on one last Dragon Warrior adventure to save the Valley of Peace with the help of the clever bandit corsac fox, Zhen (Awkwafina).

Even though the target audience for this movie, based on its humor, is pretty young, this film is enjoyable for the whole family. Plus, it embeds some deep messages about change and redemption. The animation style and quality is top notch - reflecting exactly what we expect and more from DreamWorks. The animation style of the bunnies and pigs is so iconic and adorable, and I love seeing the new types of animals the movie introduces. I also love how they portray the energy coming from the Staff of Wisdom and the Chameleon's magic. One of my favorite duos in this movie is Mr. Ping (James Hong), who is Po's adoptive dad, and Li (Bryan Cranston), Po's biological dad. You can really tell how much they both care for Po and they make a great team. Awkwafina's distinct and unique voice really fits the personality of Zhen. It's so endearing to see her character grow and develop, and the contrast between her sneakiness and Po's genuineness makes them complementary partners. Of course, Jack Black never fails to make the audience laugh - he makes Po so lovable and relatable. There's a lot more star power in this film with voice actors like Viola Davis, Ian McShane, Dustin Hoffman, Mr. Beast, Seth Rogen and more. I only wish we got to see more of the Furious Five.

The film's messages include recognizing that even though change is hard, it isn't always bad, and it's never too late to do the right thing. Also, as with the previous Kung Fu Panda movies, we are reminded to never judge a book by its cover.

Kung Fu Panda 4 gets 4 of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It comes out in theaters on March 8, 2024.

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

Exciting. Dynamic. Captivating. Our favorite panda, Po is BACK in the fourth installment of Kung Fu Panda. With a daring adventure and character development that gives the movie an appropriate pace, Kung Fu Panda 4 is a new lighthearted film that I definitely enjoyed.

Kung Fu Panda 4 focuses on Dragon Warrior Po (Jack Black), who has been promoted to the spiritual leader of the Valley of Peace. This means that he now has to select and train a new warrior. In his process, he discovers that the evil shapeshifter Cameleonul (Viola Davis) is trying to steal his Staff of Wisdom. Joining forces with a witty and sly fox named Zhen (Awkwafina), Po has to try to stop Cameleonul's plan.

This animated film is geared toward a younger audience and with that in mind, the plot is a bit predictable. The viewers can sense the plot twists and changes throughout the movie. Despite this, the fast paced scenes like the chase in the town, keep you engaged the whole time. The animation pays great attention to detail, which helps move the story forward while keeping the audience interested. One of the biggest examples of captivating animation is when Cameleonul is shape shifting. Audiences anticipate what she will turn into next, big or small, and what vibrant colors are coming. One of the characters that stands out is Zhen, voiced by Awkwafina. Her delivery and comedic timing is on point, and she fits the character perfectly. Her banter with Po creates a friendly relationship that audiences can invest in. Kung Fu Panda 4 is perfect for a family movie night, and has an important message that all audiences can relate to.

The film's message is that, while it may not be easy, change is what builds character and makes you the best version of yourself. Po doesn't know who he is, if not the Dragon Warrior, but he eventually realizes that passing wisdom down and helping others succeed is one of the greatest accomplishments he can achieve.

Kung Fu Panda 4 gets 4 out 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. You can find Kung Fu Panda 4 in theaters on March 8, 2024. Make sure you check it out!

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

Kung Fu Panda 4 may not pack the punch of earlier Kung Fun Panda movies, but the breathtaking animation, frenetic fights and well-placed humor more than deliver. Families must check this out for fun pandemonium that both adults and kids can enjoy.

This film starts a new journey for Dragon Warrior Po (Jack Black) once he is commanded by Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) to find a replacement Dragon Warrior and complete his transformation as the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace. Unfortunately, Po knows little of spiritual learning, preferring a good fight and dumplings; worse yet, he runs into a mysterious thief Zhen (Awkwafina), who really gets under his fur. Worst of all, a sinister, shapeshifting sorceress Chameleon (Viola Davis) seeks to usurp Po's Staff of Wisdom to lead and re-summon the spirit realm that is littered with Po's finest foes. Desperate times call for desperate measures from Po as he trains and relies on Zhen. Can Po once again save the day and make a Dragon Warrior out of Zhen?

The cast is full of hilarious talent that works well off each other. Jack Black, as Po, picks up his character compellingly since he last picked up the mantle. Black's liveliness is always present, but here, he also gets to show off his emotional chops while coming to terms with change. Po might be at a career crossroads, but thankfully Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) is here to help with his elderly wisdom. The Furious Five might leave a void in their absence but thankfully Awkwafina, as Zhen, naturally fills that void with Po as their hunt for the Chameleon turns into a buddy-cop spectacle. I can't think of a better complement for Po as the duo bond over their similarities and weaknesses; furthermore, it's Zhen's inner struggle with her inherent shadiness that remains most compelling. For that reason, Zhen's inclination to improve and do the right thing is a memorable and honorable character arc. Viola Davis, as Chameleon, absolutely carries the foe's presence with her commanding, sinister voice. Sadly, the Chameleon is the weakest antagonist in the franchise. Her underdeveloped, generically villainous endgame does not bring the nuances and complexities of Po's previous rogue gallery. Last but not least, Po's parents Mr. Ping (James Ping) and Li (Bryan Cranston) undergo a wholesome quest to find Po; Cranston, in particular, comedically shines in a recurring subplot where he must fool enemies into thinking he's Po. Mike Newell aptly directs the animation with stylistic choices that allow for breathtaking world building and fluid, stadium-like fights.

The film's message is that violence never solves conflicts. Although the film is full of fisticuffs, Po goes to great lengths to first reach an understanding with his foes. Po's reluctant transformation from Dragon Warrior to Spiritual Leader is at the heart of this nonviolence; furthermore, it develops Po's brazenness into a source of peace. Despite the film's child-friendliness, parents should be aware of mild violence. A few characters unfortunately die, but thankfully the deaths are comically unfocused and mostly implied.

Kung Fu Panda 4 gets 4 out of 5 stars and from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. The film releases on March 8, 2024 in theaters. Be sure to check it out in theaters.

By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 22

Set in the fun and humble town of the Valley Of Peace, Kung Fu Panda 4 had me laughing from the amusing story, amazing acting and great animation.

Po (Jack Black), the great Dragon Warrior, now has to become a spiritual leader who has to identify a successor and guide the next Dragon Warrior. He does not believe he can be a mentor and a leader, and while meditating to find a solution, he encounters a fox named Zhen (Awkwafina). A fight ensues and when Po puts her behind bars, he finds out that a new villain, The Chameleon (Viola Davis), has taken over Juniper City. With her shape shifting powers, she can turn into anyone and is planning to take over more land, including The Valley of Peace. Together, Zhen and Po go on a dangerous journey to bustling Juniper City to fight The Chameleon. They are met with countless challenges, and ultimately with the help of a team of bandits, take down The Chameleon.

Kung Fu Panda 4 definitely is entertaining with its funny and amusing characters, plus great morals and stories. The animation is mind blowing with amazing detail for these two different locations. The Valley of Peace is shown to be a small, colorful, village where everyone knows each other. Compared to the Valley of Peace, Juniper City is shown to be a darker, bustling city with many hardened people. The 60s style fight scenes, reminiscent of old Batman TV shows, kept me engaged and are very enjoyable. Jack Black definitely skadooshes as Kung Fu Panda! His empathetic and hilarious tones make it impossible not to love Po. Awkwafina is so great as Zhen because you can feel the hurt she carries with her in her voice. Viola Davis shows her Oscar prowess by delivering a very intimidating Chameleon. Dustin Hoffman, as Master Shifu, shows his annoyance and frustration towards Po in a very funny, yet kind way. Finally, Bryan Cranston and James Hong play Po's Panda and Goose dads, Li and Ping respectively, showing their love and support of Po throughout the movie. Kung Fu Panda 4 reminds us to always believe in ourselves and, even when we do not, at least pretend to. After Po gets hurt, he does not believe he can defeat The Chameleon, but his belief in himself grows with his parents' support. When it gets challenging, his panda dad, Li, is extremely worried, but acts brave just to save Po. We also are reminded that anyone has the ability to grow into a successful or beautiful thing. At first, Zhen does the wrong thing and then she remembers Po's kindness and how he believes in her and that changes her.

The film's messages are to believe in yourself and remember that kindness is important - everything we say to others affects them as it can affect how they think about themselves and ultimately, their actions.

Kung Fu Panda 4 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters on March 8, 2024

By Avani M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

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


ARTHUR THE KING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Here (from LIONSGATE FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT)


ORDINARY ANGELS

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
ORDINARY ANGELS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
KINGDOM STORY COMPANY
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Based on a remarkable true story, Ordinary Angels centers on Sharon (Hilary Swank), a fierce but struggling hairdresser in small-town Kentucky who discovers a renewed sense of purpose when she meets Ed (Alan Ritchson), a widower working hard to make ends meet for his two daughters. With his youngest daughter waiting for a liver transplant, Sharon sets her mind to helping the family and will move mountains to do it. What unfolds is the inspiring tale of faith, everyday miracles, and ordinary angels.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Tighten up your heartstrings for this new release because the film Ordinary Angels delivers a rollercoaster of scenes sure to unleash your deepest emotions. This well-crafted film offers such a mixture of highs and lows, almost in a magical way, that it definitely made its way onto my favorite films of all time. Viewers are in for a real treat with this masterpiece!

Based on an amazing true story, Ordinary Angels takes us on a journey to a small Kentucky Town where a bold, yet emotionally struggling hairdresser, Sharon Stevens (Hilary Swank), finds meaning to her life by helping a tragedy stricken family who are complete strangers. With the recent loss of his wife, Ed Schmitt (Alan Ritchson) faces yet another hardship when his youngest daughter must have a lifesaving liver transplant in order to survive her illness. With mounting medical bills and other expenses which the Schmitt Family cannot afford, saving his daughter's life seems out of reach until Stevens sets out to move mountains in making this happen. With renewed purpose, this "ordinary angel" brings her community together in this near impossible mission.

There is so much to love about this film! The cast, with both its lead and supporting actors, are dynamite and are an absolute perfect fit for their roles. Although some scenes are bitterly sad and required a box of tissues within reach, others I found to be comedic, which offered a great balance and some time for the tears to dry up. I was totally connected to the film from beginning to end as each scene delivers something so unique, setting off a gamut of emotions. A big two thumbs up for writers Kelly Fremon Craig and Meg Tilly, as well as for director Jon Gunn, for such a powerful timely film which is a true gift in a world so divided. Ordinary Angels reminds us that we must see beyond our flaws and appreciate one another, which I can certainly appreciate. This film is the perfect family movie one in which I will be encouraging families far and wide to watch!

Ordinary Angels delivers a message of faith within "community" and allows that faith to encourage good deeds for one another. God shows up in a big way when there is faith allowing for such a unique ripple effect. Serving within your community is a powerful tool and can result in significant positive change in people's lives. "Find a reason to be here and find meaning outside yourself."

I give Ordinary Angels 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Ordinary Angels is available in theaters now.

By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

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


MESSI'S WORLD CUP: THE RISE OF A

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MESSI'S WORLD CUP: THE RISE OF A       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
APPLE TV
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Messi's World Cup: The Rise of a Legend is a biographical documentary series produced in a collaboration between Apple TV+, Smuggler Entertainment and Pegsa Group. The series follows Lionel Messi's triumphant career, his overall impact on football and shows his journey of highs and lows with the Argentina national football team across five World Cups, culminating with his fairytale ending of winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I loved every second of the documentary Messi's World Cup: The Rise of a Legend. Messi is an absolute legend. I remember watching these games in 2022 so it's very very interesting to know what was going on behind the scenes, what the players were thinking and feeling, and other things. In the 2006 World Cup, he was just hoping he would get to play. Now he's the most decorated player in the history of the game.

This documentary follows Lionel Messi through the World Cup of 2022. The documentary shows his journey from when he was young to current time. It touches on his time at Barcelona, his previous World Cups, the challenges he had to overcome, his hopes and dreams for the 2022 World Cup, and finally the World Cup itself from the group stages all the way through the finals and how he feels and what he's thinking in between and throughout. The documentary does this across four episodes ranging from 44 minutes to 49 minutes in length titled "The Last Cup," "We Can Dream Again," "The Weight of a Nation," and "Redemption."

This is a feel-good documentary as we observe an inspiring man getting to accomplish his biggest dream. There's a wonderful beauty to that and this documentary is a beautiful depiction of it. Messi's World Cup: The Rise of a Legend is really very well-made. It offers an intimate view into Lionel Messi's life. He speaks of Diego Maradonna, his soccer hero. Messi tells us that when he doesn't do well, he's very self-critical and explains how he feels guilty. The documentary includes interviews with Messi's teammates, his first coach and Argentina's coach, Lionel Sebasti�n Scaloni. It delves into what happened after the Saudi Arabia loss - 36 matches undefeated ended in the opening match. The Saudi Arabia win against Argentina came as one of the World Cup's greatest shocks. Roger Bennett says, "watching Lionel Messi walk off the field... It was agony. At this moment, he looked defeated." Everybody started attacking Messi after the World Cup loss to Saudi Arabia, saying he was overhyped and similar things. The documentary excels at comparing that incident to when Messi quit Argentina in 2016. When Messi did quit, everyone suddenly freaked out. People begged him to stay, to change his mind, there were even hash tags such as #LioDon'tLeave. Enzo Fernandez was 15 at the time and wrote a letter to Messi that ended up going viral. Six years later, Messi reverted his decision and Fernandez played alongside him in the World Cup. They won it together. The documentary is full of heart touching anecdotes like this. I truly had a smile on my face the entire time I watched it. I love seeing how Messi and his teammates celebrate after a goal - all smiles and jumping on each other. It's heartwarming how happy they look and how they support one another. Watching the team hang out together makes me smile as they sing, dance, chant, play card games and celebrate! This is all Messi's story. Throughout the documentary, you can tell he truly loves his children, his wife, his sport, his country, his team and his life. What a legend! Like Messi or not, you cannot deny that he is one of the greatest players of all time. This documentary helps us understand him, his journey, and his story. You can't say you're a soccer fan and not know the story of one of the greatest players the world has ever seen. Messi's teammates say that they all grew up watching him play. Emiliano Martinez says "We feel that we have to defend our hero." Fernandez says "The team always had the sense of wanting to win it for Leo." It felt like all of Argentina was watching, saying "We need to win because it's Messi's last one." This is an absolutely amazing documentary. I wish it had included interviews with the French team in the fourth episode, which would have given us a very interesting perspective. Argentina would have lost to France, 3-4, if not for Martinez's brilliant last-minute save.

The film's message is that you can't do it alone. The World Cup final is one of the best and most interesting matches I've ever seen. It was Messi's World Cup. But it was also Martinez's world cup. And Fernandez's world cup. Alvarez, Di Maria, De Paul, Scaloni, every other person on that team. It was Argentina's World Cup. Messi could never have done it without them. The documentary ends with Messi saying "I'm just a kid from Rosario who loves to play ball." That makes the documentary all the more inspiring. Messi says "If something is meant to happen to you, it will happen." That's another one of the messages. Messi worked really hard. This documentary shows that truly anyone can do it. Work hard enough, and you can achieve all your dreams. Don't give up. That's 100% true. But by Messi saying that, he acknowledges there's an aspect of luck to it as well.

I give Messi's World Cup: The Rise of a Legend 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults, but this is truly a must-watch for all fans of the sport. You can watch this documentary starting February 21, 2024 on AppleTV+.

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

Messi's World Cup: The Rise of a Legend follows pro soccer player Lionel Messi's journey through obstacles and triumphs during the 2022 World Cup. Tasked with leading his team and acting as the face of Argentina, Messi must lead his teammates and country to victory.

This documentary series tells the story of all-star Messi's background throughout the episodes, often non-chronologically. However, at times this method doesn't work, and the story feels disjointed, underdeveloped and the flashbacks feel out of place. We undoubtedly root for Messi throughout the series, but only because the series urges us to cheer him on, not because we have fully gotten to know him. Also, the documentary's formula grows repetitive. We continuously witness Lionel and Argentina's performance during the World Cup, which becomes hard to watch. Messi never remains at a high or low because the series swiftly cycles between the media disliking him, him gaining back their support, and the media disliking him again. This trend is utilized so many times throughout the episodes that it's hard to cheer for a win when we know there is another devastating loss around the corner. Fortunately, Messi's World Cup: The Rise of a Legend thrives from its frequent use of footage from Messi's games. As an audience, we truly get a sense of why Lionel Messi is regarded as one of the all time greats of soccer. He is fueled by his peers and country, which is quite inspiring. His collaboration with teammates and talent in the game is truly entertaining to watch. Viewing the way in which the Argentinean team bonds throughout their wins and losses is something very special to see.

There is no question that Messi's World Cup: The Rise of a Legend has aspects that soccer fans and Lionel Messi fans will enjoy, but the series fails to include many additions that it would benefit from.

I give Messi's World Cup: The Rise of a Legend 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Catch the series when it releases on February 21, 2024 on Apple TV+.

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

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


POPULAR THEORY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


GET ALONG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


PARK SLOPE PANICS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


LIA IRL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CHRISTMAS IN JULY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CARDBOARD MAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


GHOULASH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


BEYOND THE GATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


DANCING SQUID

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CAN HYDROPONIC FARMING HELP REDUCE THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


I SQUISHED GRANDPA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


DYING TO DEFROST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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