The Ages 8-12 category has 5551 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
NORMAL GIRL
KIMMY NGUYEN THOI
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic -
Description - When Vietnamese-born Khanh Nguyen begins her new life in Australia, she faces challenging tribulations derived from her attempt to become the 'perfect, Normal Girl."
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


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


LET IT BE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


STAR WARS: TALES OF THE EMPIRE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


STRINGS (2024)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


GLIMPSE OF HOPE, A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MUSIC SCHOOL
PAPARAO BIYYALA
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - This heartwarming 11-song Musical is about how the Indian education system and parents put pressure on children to be competitive in the so-called "studies" leaving no time for art and culture. The film opens with a scene in a straight-jacketed school situated in Hyderabad where the principal is exhorting the students to ace every test.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Music School is a rollercoaster ride of a film, which kept me on the edge of my seat with anticipation. I love the music that is interspersed throughout the film and the performances by the cast. The ending, in particular, is a delightful surprise. It offers a compelling perspective on the consequences of strict parenting and stifling the voices of the young. It reminds us that sometimes, guiding children to follow their dreams while letting them carve their own paths is the healthiest approach. I highly recommend it as a family-friendly movie that can be enjoyed by kids of all ages. Plus, the language is suitable for everyone, making it a perfect choice for family movie nights!

This heartwarming movie champions the power of artistic expression for children, set against the backdrop of a strict Indian school that prioritizes academic achievement. It follows two passionate teachers, Mary and Manoj, who fight against resistance from the school and parents to introduce music and drama into the curriculum. Their determination leads them to stage a production of "The Sound of Music" with the students, but they face numerous challenges like disapproval, a student incident, and even romantic complications. Undeterred, they find creative solutions, gaining support from sympathetic parents, and take the children to a beach town for focused rehearsals. The film ultimately celebrates their triumph - a successful play - highlighting the transformative power of arts education and the indomitable human spirit in the face of adversity. It is from India with dialogue in Hindi and English subtitles.

This 11 song musical is about how the Indian education system and parents put pressure on their children to be competitive in their studies, leaving little time for art or culture. It covers a wide spectrum of situations, ranging from children being raised by parents of various occupations who somehow share something in common - like pushing their children towards a path they deem acceptable and respectable such as being a doctor for Samyukta and being an engineer for Vijay. They dismiss their children's interest in music or acting. It shows how too much pressure on the kids can harm them directly and indirectly and touches on the aspect of love, both the good side and one faced with obstacles. There is also a love triangle between Mary, Mary's past lover and Manoj, the drama teacher. The two men like Mary and she has to make a choice. Parental love is also portrayed in most scenes between the actors. Most children can relate to this film because their parents have set unrealistic expectations for them and put pressure on them to achieve their parents' goals and ambitions rather than achieving their own goals. They are forced into careers they don't want to pursue for their parents' satisfaction. There's also dancing and singing such as when they retreat to Goa to unwind from the curriculum and focus on extracurricular activities.

Imagine this movie as a well-built rollercoaster. It starts off strong with a new music teacher at an institution that doesn't see her as important and she fights to get the administration to take music seriously. She then starts a music school in her apartment and pushes more parents to enroll their children in the dream and is supported by the drama teacher, Manoj. The story flows perfectly, leading you from the beginning to a satisfying ending. It's clear the writers knew exactly where they were taking you. But it's more than just the journey - it's the whole experience! There are funny moments that kept me laughing, and serious themes that made me think. I also related to the characters on a personal level, cheering on Mary and Manoj, the teachers fighting for music and drama, even when everyone's against them. By the end, I was jumping up and down with them, feeling proud and inspired, all thanks to how the movie is scripted.

The movie uses simple words that everyone can understand, even children. It tackles a tough topic of a school system that only focuses on the education sector, forgetting about fun stuff like music and drama but it does it in a way that's clear and interesting. Even though the story takes place in India, it addresses things everyone cares about, like friendship, love, and following your dreams. It's a movie that's both fun to watch and teaches you something new.

The visual quality of the film is commendable, with clear and colorful images that capture the essence of the story. The acting is natural and engaging, with the actors bringing depth and authenticity to their characters. The direction is skillful, guiding the audience through the narrative with a strong sense of pacing and emotion. The costumes and sets show real life in the school environment in Hyderabad and the colorful lively streets and ocean in Goa. Music plays a crucial role in the film, serving as both a narrative device and a means of emotional expression. From the catchy tunes of "The Sound of Music," to original songs composed for the film, the music enhances the storytelling and adds depth to the characters' journey. The background sound effects also put you in the same mood as the actors making the viewer feel like part of the film.

The film supports critical thinking and problem-solving skills by presenting complex situations that require creative solutions. For instance, when faced with opposition from parents and authorities, Mary and Manoj must devise strategies to overcome obstacles and pursue their artistic vision. They do this by arranging an out of town retreat to solely focus on the drama and music practice. This gives time and space for the children to indulge in what they love and unwind from the pressure they get on a daily in school.

It's a great movie to get you thinking and learning about different cultures. Older viewers can appreciate the film's themes and engage in meaningful discussions about education, culture, and personal growth. However, parents might want to watch with younger kids for some light romance and tense moments. The film effectively supports inquiry, investigation, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills while offering valuable cultural insights.

I give Music School 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. By Gloria J., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Music School is a rollercoaster ride of a film, which kept me on the edge of my seat with anticipation. I love the music that is interspersed throughout the film and the performances by the cast. The ending, in particular, is a delightful surprise. It offers a compelling perspective on the consequences of strict parenting and stifling the voices of the young. It reminds us that sometimes, guiding children to follow their dreams while letting them carve their own paths is the healthiest approach. I highly recommend it as a family-friendly movie that can be enjoyed by kids of all ages. Plus, the language is suitable for everyone, making it a perfect choice for family movie nights!

This heartwarming movie champions the power of artistic expression for children, set against the backdrop of a strict Indian school that prioritizes academic achievement. It follows two passionate teachers, Mary and Manoj, who fight against resistance from the school and parents to introduce music and drama into the curriculum. Their determination leads them to stage a production of "The Sound of Music" with the students, but they face numerous challenges like disapproval, a student incident, and even romantic complications. Undeterred, they find creative solutions, gaining support from sympathetic parents, and take the children to a beach town for focused rehearsals. The film ultimately celebrates their triumph - a successful play - highlighting the transformative power of arts education and the indomitable human spirit in the face of adversity. It is from India with dialogue in Hindi and English subtitles.

This 11 song musical is about how the Indian education system and parents put pressure on their children to be competitive in their studies, leaving little time for art or culture. It covers a wide spectrum of situations, ranging from children being raised by parents of various occupations who somehow share something in common - like pushing their children towards a path they deem acceptable and respectable such as being a doctor for Samyukta and being an engineer for Vijay. They dismiss their children's interest in music or acting. It shows how too much pressure on the kids can harm them directly and indirectly and touches on the aspect of love, both the good side and one faced with obstacles. There is also a love triangle between Mary, Mary's past lover and Manoj, the drama teacher. The two men like Mary and she has to make a choice. Parental love is also portrayed in most scenes between the actors. Most children can relate to this film because their parents have set unrealistic expectations for them and put pressure on them to achieve their parents' goals and ambitions rather than achieving their own goals. They are forced into careers they don't want to pursue for their parents' satisfaction. There's also dancing and singing such as when they retreat to Goa to unwind from the curriculum and focus on extracurricular activities.

Imagine this movie as a well-built rollercoaster. It starts off strong with a new music teacher at an institution that doesn't see her as important and she fights to get the administration to take music seriously. She then starts a music school in her apartment and pushes more parents to enroll their children in the dream and is supported by the drama teacher, Manoj. The story flows perfectly, leading you from the beginning to a satisfying ending. It's clear the writers knew exactly where they were taking you. But it's more than just the journey - it's the whole experience! There are funny moments that kept me laughing, and serious themes that made me think. I also related to the characters on a personal level, cheering on Mary and Manoj, the teachers fighting for music and drama, even when everyone's against them. By the end, I was jumping up and down with them, feeling proud and inspired, all thanks to how the movie is scripted.

The movie uses simple words that everyone can understand, even children. It tackles a tough topic of a school system that only focuses on the education sector, forgetting about fun stuff like music and drama but it does it in a way that's clear and interesting. Even though the story takes place in India, it addresses things everyone cares about, like friendship, love, and following your dreams. It's a movie that's both fun to watch and teaches you something new.

The visual quality of the film is commendable, with clear and colorful images that capture the essence of the story. The acting is natural and engaging, with the actors bringing depth and authenticity to their characters. The direction is skillful, guiding the audience through the narrative with a strong sense of pacing and emotion. The costumes and sets show real life in the school environment in Hyderabad and the colorful lively streets and ocean in Goa. Music plays a crucial role in the film, serving as both a narrative device and a means of emotional expression. From the catchy tunes of "The Sound of Music," to original songs composed for the film, the music enhances the storytelling and adds depth to the characters' journey. The background sound effects also put you in the same mood as the actors making the viewer feel like part of the film.

The film supports critical thinking and problem-solving skills by presenting complex situations that require creative solutions. For instance, when faced with opposition from parents and authorities, Mary and Manoj must devise strategies to overcome obstacles and pursue their artistic vision. They do this by arranging an out of town retreat to solely focus on the drama and music practice. This gives time and space for the children to indulge in what they love and unwind from the pressure they get on a daily in school.

It's a great movie to get you thinking and learning about different cultures. Older viewers can appreciate the film's themes and engage in meaningful discussions about education, culture, and personal growth. However, parents might want to watch with younger kids for some light romance and tense moments. The film effectively supports inquiry, investigation, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills while offering valuable cultural insights.

I give Music School 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. By Gloria J., KIDS FIRST!

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


SWITCH UP, THE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


SARIRI

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SARIRI
ESCUELA DE CINE UNIVERSIDAD DE DESARROLLO
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - In a mining town lost in the desert, women live under male rules. Dina, pressured by an unwanted pregnancy, plans to escape to the city. But she cannot leave her sister Sariri, who has just reached menarche. From Chile. Dialogue in Spanish with English subtitles.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really like the film Sariri - its plot is intriguing because it talks about very important issues that happen to us such as how to lead maturely in difficult situations.

The storyline follows a city far away where women have no rights and only men rule, Dina (Catalina Rios) has an unwanted pregnancy and the fear of the consequences makes her want to run away from home. However, she cannot go without taking her younger sister, Sariri (Martina Gonzales).

The film is very good in many ways, including the script, the subject matter, and the production. However, it takes a long time to develop the scenes, which makes it difficult to follow the film, and it becomes a little tiring to watch. Other than that, everything is impeccable. The camera work is outstanding! The scenes look so natural. I could see small details, like in a scene where Sariri is in the dark cave, I could see the cave details very clearly. The background music is very well chosen and well placed. For example, in one moment of tension, the music is chilling and brings complete suspense. The character development is good too. Girls go from being isolated by men to being able to do things independently. Sariri becomes braver throughout the film. Laura Donoso, the director and screenwriter, is to be commended for excellent work. My favorite part is the scene where the sisters look at famous magazines and want to participate in a talent show; in the middle of that, one discovers that she has a different talent than the others.

The film's message is that women have to be more united and should be more recognized for the good work they do. It's a reminder that the challenges that life brings us are make us stronger and more mature. Be aware that the film shows people smoking and drinking alcoholic drinks.

I give Sariri 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. By Anna Clara B., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - really like the film Sariri - its plot is intriguing because it talks about very important issues that happen to us such as how to lead maturely in difficult situations.

The storyline follows a city far away where women have no rights and only men rule, Dina (Catalina Rios) has an unwanted pregnancy and the fear of the consequences makes her want to run away from home. However, she cannot go without taking her younger sister, Sariri (Martina Gonzales).

The film is very good in many ways, including the script, the subject matter, and the production. However, it takes a long time to develop the scenes, which makes it difficult to follow the film, and it becomes a little tiring to watch. Other than that, everything is impeccable. The camera work is outstanding! The scenes look so natural. I could see small details, like in a scene where Sariri is in the dark cave, I could see the cave details very clearly. The background music is very well chosen and well placed. For example, in one moment of tension, the music is chilling and brings complete suspense. The character development is good too. Girls go from being isolated by men to being able to do things independently. Sariri becomes braver throughout the film. Laura Donoso, the director and screenwriter, is to be commended for excellent work. My favorite part is the scene where the sisters look at famous magazines and want to participate in a talent show; in the middle of that, one discovers that she has a different talent than the others.

The film's message is that women have to be more united and should be more recognized for the good work they do. It's a reminder that the challenges that life brings us are make us stronger and more mature. Be aware that the film shows people smoking and drinking alcoholic drinks.

I give Sariri 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. By Anna Clara B., KIDS FIRST!

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


This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
JUAN CRISTIANI
Series: FOREIGN ENVIRONMENTAL SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - "Where Are You From?" combines 3D animation and music creating an immersive cinematic journey, through realism and fantasy conveying the urgency of addressing environmental disasters and their consequences. In just two and a half minutes, it captivates the audience's attention and encourages them to rethink their relationship with the natural world while offering hope for future generations.

"Where Are You From?" premiered at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2023 and has participated in 50 festivals worldwide. Its most recent screenings took place in December at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai, as part of the Art Speaks Out Festival, and at the Show Shorts (Shorts Mexico) Festival within the Ventana Sur Film Market. In February 2024, the film was featured at the Clermont Ferrand Short Film Market, followed by screenings in March at the Amnesty International festival in France and at WonderCon in the Anaheim Convention Center in San Diego. From Uruguay, no dialogue.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This short film really addresses some critical issues relevant to youth in particular, but to adults worldwide. How we treat animals and how we treat our planet are scrutinized and questioned.

This is a perfect film for KIDS FIRST! It has a great message that is timely and relevant to young people The production values are outstanding, a blend of animated images of animals, people and locations, all look very realistic. The background music is terrific and really enhances the film's impact without being intrusive. I love the ending shot with the girl surrounded by animals. Kudos to Juan Cristiani for creating a beautiful film.

The film's message is plain and simple - how are you treating your planet (our planet).

I give Where Are You From 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This short film really addresses some critical issues relevant to youth in particular, but to adults worldwide. How we treat animals and how we treat our planet are scrutinized and questioned.

This is a perfect film for KIDS FIRST! It has a great message that is timely and relevant to young people The production values are outstanding, a blend of animated images of animals, people and locations, all look very realistic. The background music is terrific and really enhances the film's impact without being intrusive. I love the ending shot with the girl surrounded by animals. Kudos to Juan Cristiani for creating a beautiful film.

The film's message is plain and simple - how are you treating your planet (our planet).

I give Where Are You From 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 3 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
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


FALL GUY, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FALL GUY, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - After leaving the business one year earlier, battle-scarred stuntman Colt Seavers springs back into action when the star of a big studio movie suddenly disappears. As the mystery surrounding the missing actor deepens, Colt soon finds himself ensnared in a sinister plot that pushes him to the edge of a fall more dangerous than any stunt.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Fall Guy contains all the elements necessary in a wonderful movie such as comedy, romance, mystery, and most of all: action. With something for lovers of every movie genre, The Fall Guy is a great film to go watch.

The story follows Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling), a retired stuntman who has come out of hiding to work on a movie in hopes of rekindling a year-old love story with the director Jody (Emily Blunt). After discovering Jody has left their relationship in the past, Colt is told that the lead actor Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) has been involved with bad people and is sent on a mission by Tom's producer, Gail (Hannah Waddingham), to find him and, although it won't be easy, he can hopefully save Jody's movie, while getting her to fall back in love with him.

All aspects of this movie are fantastic - something that really stands out to me is the music. Part of the reason it's noticeable is because of the iconic tracks on this film. Viewers of all ages will recognize some of their favorite tunes while watching The Fall Guy. Not only is the music popular, but the use of these songs is unexpected while being perfect at the same time. An example of this is Kiss' "I Was Made For Lovin' You," which can be heard throughout the movie. It's used in many different situations and you can tell the people behind the film knew what they were doing, choosing this as the main track for the film, because it goes so smoothly with the love story behind the mystery and comedy parts of The Fall Guy. The multi-genre part of this movie is also fantastic. Every type of movie lover can find something to enjoy while watching. Ryan Gosling's laidback comedic personality really shines in his performance of Colt Seavers. Throughout the movie the audience will watch moments that are especially hysterical due to Gosling's acting. Gosling and Blunt's quirky, but loving chemistry is so entertaining. Every scene they are in together left me viewers laughing, crying, and swooning. My favorite scene includes a cameo with some Taylor Swift music when Colt replays his relationship with Jody in his head in a little highlight reel to "All Too Well." Jody sees him crying in his car and goes to check on him. Obviously, Colt denies the accusations.

The message of this film is that there's always more than meets the eye. This message can be applied to many different situations, both in life and in the film. Colt talks about how stunt people are the ones who take the falls for the actors and the actors are the ones who win awards and get to be in advertisements. Somebody watching the film would never notice a stuntman because that's his job, to go unnoticed. One reason that Gosling made this film is to appeal to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to establish an award for stunt people.

I give The Fall Guy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. It releases in theaters May 3, 2024.

The Fall Guy is an absolute blast of film-- incredible on the technical side, with great stunt work and action set pieces.

A big-screen remake of the 1980's television series of the same name, The Fall Guy follows Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling), a stuntman who retires after a near-fatal accident. After being encouraged to return to the job for his ex-girlfriend's new film by big time producer Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddingham), he accepts. Little does he know, he is tasked with solving the disappearance of the lead actor he doubles for, Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). If he wants any chance of rekindling his love with director Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt), Colt must unravel Tom's sudden vanishing so that production can continue.

The Fall Guy's story unfortunately falls a bit flat, due to its overused story beats, and predictable twists. The story itself is completely distinct, but it consists of so much that is all too familiar. Some of the situations and surprises--down to even some lines of dialogue--feel unoriginal and foreseeable. The love story between Colt and Jody is especially stereotypical. The movie is mostly style over substance, but does it work? Answer: it does! The Fall Guy was made as a love letter to the dedication, hard work, and talent of all the regularly overlooked stunt workers in Hollywood. The film highlights stunt doubles, stunt coordinators, and more, in a self-aware commentary about audiences'--and even Hollywood's--neglect of stunt people. It's only fitting that The Fall Guy itself contains exceptionally impressive stunt work. Every fight scene is brilliantly choreographed, and the car stunts are astonishing. We get a peek behind the curtain at the true care that goes into this art. Speaking of car stunts, much of the action in this film involves characters in, or on, racing cars. These action scenes are so well executed--they feel grand in scope and adrenaline-inducing, and just so much fun. They are explosive, and encapsulate the true entertainment value of the action genre.

Although The Fall Guy's story is somewhat of a letdown, it is an enjoyable blast due to its stunts and action. With a great love story, action, cast, and message of respect for stunt teams. The Fall Guy has something for everyone. Parents should be aware that the film contains violence and profanity.

I give The Fall Guy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Catch The Fall Guy in theaters on May 3, 2024.

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

The Fall Guy is an action packed blockbuster, filled with intensity and suspense. I really like this film because, despite the thrill, it is comedic and romantic all at the same time. There is a little bit of each genre, which makes it extremely enjoyable and helped keep my attention the entire time.

The Fall Guy is a film that highlights Stunt doubles, and brings them their much deserved attention. In this movie, Colt (Ryan Gosling) is known as one of the top stuntmen in the industry, but unfortunately he suffers a severe accident. After a year off, he is asked to join the set of a big studio movie, when the leading actor goes missing. Colt is thrown with numerous obstacles, and is put on a crazy journey, but in the end would do anything for its director and his ex-love Jody (Emily Blunt).

Major standouts in this film are the stunts. Ryan Gosling and his stunt doubles perform extremely high demanding stunts that completely elevate this film. The risk of each one had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The car flip stunt, specifically, is extremely entertaining. It really helps show what the character, Colt, is capable of, and just how impressive his skills really are. I also enjoyed the locations. The big studio movie takes place in Australia so viewers get to experience the beautiful architecture of Sydney, as well as the desert and mountain sides. The major scenes take place in the sand dunes, and it's really cool to see the behind the scenes aspect of a film with that large of a production. Lastly, I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline. It is creative and one of its kind. Stuntmen are rarely discussed in films, and definitely don't get the appreciation they deserve. This movie brings the spotlight onto them, and does this in such a unique way. Witnessing their work up close, and just how demanding it is, has brought me a new found respect for this talent.

The message of The Fall Guy is to always put yourself first, and that you can't always trust the people you think that you can. You should be aware that one reason Gosling made this film is to get the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to add a category for stunt people.

I give The Fall Guy 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The Fall Guy opens in theaters on May 3, 2024.

Mikella G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, age 17

The Fall Guy is a love letter to the overlooked art of stunt work. While it may not be anything groundbreaking, the explosive mix of practical effects, comedy, and romance makes this an old-school summer blockbuster that I loved. This is a crowd-pleasing film that never takes itself too seriously.

This storyline follows down-and-out stuntman Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) after he's enlisted by his ex-girlfriend Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt) to find the missing star of her directorial debut. On one side, lies his quest to win back his ex after abandoning her following a traumatic stunt mishap, but on the other lies a more urgent quest to find his colleague and lead actor Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) amidst a criminal conspiracy. Equipped with only brains and brawn, Colt must rise to the occasion for a new chance in life. Can he win back his ex and find the star of the movie? There's only one jump to find out. The cast is full of mainstream talents that carry the screen with their comedic and physical prowess. Ryan Gosling, as Colt Seavers, cements that he's more than just a stoic and silent figure. Just like he did as Ken in Barbie, Gosling showcases a natural sense of humor that he's truly grown into. All the while, he impresses with his stunts with each fall - his success is a big part of the film's charm. Still, it's his love story with Emily Blunt, as Jody Moreno, that is the heart of the film. This helps cover for some of the film's opening jokes that don't stick their landing so well. It starts out a bit slow, but thankfully kicks into high gear quickly with an effective blend of action and comedy. The criminal conspiracy overtakes the second half of the film presenting real and raw stakes; however, the mystery surrounding Aaron Taylor-Johnson, as Tom Ryder, is met with his bizarrely comedic presence. He might just be the highlight here as he hams the role up without ever seeming artificial. I didn't know whether to be concerned by his mysterious notes on his fridge or laugh. These characters are nicely rounded out by a terrific supporting cast. Winston Duke, as Dan, provides a true friend for Colt as well as an encyclopedic knowledge of iconic film references. Stephanie Hsu, as Alma, helps Colt on his quest with her adorable dog. Hannah Waddingham, as Gail, weaves her real-life experience as a television presenter with her character's larger-than-life screen presence. Lastly, a surprise cameo makes the cast come full circle in an unexpectedly hilarious manner. David Leitch helms the direction with fluid stunts that flow like water. They embody the feeling of being on a rollercoaster on a nice summer day. In particular, one sequence stands out where Colt is attacked by gun-toting henchmen. It's a man versus a system as he employs creative use of his mobility and surroundings to evade bullets and manipulate their guns against each other.

The film's message is that true love prevails. Although Colt estranged himself from Jody, it's their communication that binds his mistakes and his regrets push forward his asking for another chance. It shows that anyone can make mistakes in love, but mistakes can be forgiven with a genuine attempt to change. After all, love is not a game; instead, it's a poetic act that can face and overcome any obstacles. Despite the film's playfulness, be aware that there is lots of violence, strong language, and infrequent drug content.

I give The Fall Guy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The film releases on May 3, 2024 in theaters. Be sure to check it out in theaters.

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

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


HARD MILES

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
HARD MILES       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
BLUE FOX ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Hard Miles tells the uplifting true story of the bicycling team at Rite of Passage's RidgeView Academy, a medium-security correctional school in Colorado. The film follows beleaguered coach Greg Townsend (Matthew Modine) as he rounds up an unlikely crew of incarcerated students for a seemingly impossible bike ride from Denver to the Grand Canyon.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really love the film Hard Miles because it is very inspiring, touching, and has a funny twist to it.

The story follows four teenage convicts who have lost hope for a "normal future" and are trying to get their "second chance" by showing their motivation to be better. The prison social worker (Matthew Modine) takes them on a 1,000 mile bike riding journey to the Grand Canyon. This journey is not easy, but it makes them discover who they are, what they are made of, and the importance of friendship and teamwork.

All in all, this film is great for family movie night. Hard Miles is very inspiring - it features violent teenagers that have had a tough life and they learn how to work together as a team and to cross hundreds of miles on a self-made bike. While I was watching, all I wanted to do was to get out into the sweet, cool, fresh air and ride my bike. There is also a side story regarding a father-son relationship that adds to the complexity of their story and contributes to a very heartfelt scene at the end of the film. I found this movie to be very funny. For example, a scene that made me laugh out loud, was when the teenagers, who were willing to do practically anything not to return back home and move to another school, pop the wheels of the van that was supposed to take them back. After a staff member finally fixes it, she finds another "nice surprise" waiting for her in the van. Scenes like this happen throughout the film. In addition, knowing this movie is based on a true story really made me excited and appreciate bicycles. The scenery really stands out and makes it feel like you're riding with them. The costumes go great with the storyline and even contribute to the movie's antagonists' turning point.

The film's message is "never stop something until you finish it." There are many more life lessons and messages all to be learned by watching this film. Be forewarned that this film has a little violence and some profanity.

I give Hard Miles 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It will be released in theaters April 19, 2024.

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

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
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


DROUGHT

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
DROUGHT
ZOE BROWN
Series: MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - One raindrop embarks on a journey to save the drought on earth.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I love, love, love the creativity behind this fun and informative rainmaker! What a fun animated short and a cute story. Hope we continue to see more from this director and animator who is currently in middle school!

The story follows one raindrop, Dew (Finnegan Collins), that strives to save the drought on earth. Through his creative scheme he motivates the other raindrops to assist him and save the day.

Short, fun and funny. I love the creativity behind this story and the different characters. The animation is simple but effective. I especially enjoyed the stereotyped personalities for each character. The backgrounds suit the story, especially for the cloud scenes and at the Commander's office. I The music, especially at the beginning, is a little too quiet. The character's voices are clear and the sound level is good throughout and easy to understand. There are no visual effects other than the animation for the lightning character. The characters are all well scripted and each plays an important part and stereotype. I really enjoyed the voiceover of each character, even those not mentioned in the key cast. Finnegan Collins is believable in his role as Dew and I enjoyed his interaction with both the Commander (Paul Petersen) and Violet (Anne Nichols Brown). I have to commend director/writer/animator Zoe Marie Brown for very clever writing and concept. My favorite part is the rainmaking dance party.

The film's message is to work hard toward your goals, create a plan and engage your team to get much further than you can alone.

I give Drought 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. By Selene W., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love, love, love the creativity behind this fun and informative rainmaker! What a fun animated short and a cute story. Hope we continue to see more from this director and animator who is currently in middle school!

The story follows one raindrop, Dew (Finnegan Collins), that strives to save the drought on earth. Through his creative scheme he motivates the other raindrops to assist him and save the day.

Short, fun and funny. I love the creativity behind this story and the different characters. The animation is simple but effective. I especially enjoyed the stereotyped personalities for each character. The backgrounds suit the story, especially for the cloud scenes and at the Commander's office. I The music, especially at the beginning, is a little too quiet. The character's voices are clear and the sound level is good throughout and easy to understand. There are no visual effects other than the animation for the lightning character. The characters are all well scripted and each plays an important part and stereotype. I really enjoyed the voiceover of each character, even those not mentioned in the key cast. Finnegan Collins is believable in his role as Dew and I enjoyed his interaction with both the Commander (Paul Petersen) and Violet (Anne Nichols Brown). I have to commend director/writer/animator Zoe Marie Brown for very clever writing and concept. My favorite part is the rainmaking dance party.

The film's message is to work hard toward your goals, create a plan and engage your team to get much further than you can alone.

I give Drought 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. By Selene W., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
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


GREATEST HITS, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GREATEST HITS, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Harriet (Lucy Boynton) finds art imitating life when she discovers certain songs can transport her back in time -- literally. While she relives the past through romantic memories of her former boyfriend (David Corenswet), her time traveling collides with a burgeoning new love interest in the present (Justin H. Min). As she takes her journey through the hypnotic connection between music and memory, she wonders -- even if she could change the past, should she?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Greatest Hits is an emotional comedy, drama, and fantasy film that highlights the impact of music. The cute yet sentimental storyline is unique, and I especially love how this film uses music as a metaphor to depict grief, and the stages people go through processing it.

The film introduces Harriet (Lucy Boynton) who loses her boyfriend in a car accident. The tragedy leaves Harriet with trauma and also the ability to go back in time. When she hears a song that's connected with a memory, the ability to time travel is triggered, and Harriet goes back to that time. Harriet tries to bring Max back, and faces many life-challenge obstacles that don't allow her to recover from his death. Two years later, Harriet remembers the accident like it happened yesterday--she visits a support group where she meets David (Justin H. Min). And so Harriet must "face the music" and make some very tough decisions.

This film is authentic, heartbreaking, and very relatable. I love the soundtrack and connected with it so much as I constantly listen to music, and I love how music symbolizes different stages of life. Throughout the film, Harriet is desperately looking for ways to bring Max back. While this makes Harriet relatable, I also found this to be the film's biggest flaw. That being said I did find the plot to be very cute and romantic. The story is about overcoming grief, and I like how the film represents what that means to Harriet. However, the acting and script aren't as strong as I wished. Lucy Boynton does deliver a very good performance as she shows how grief can harshly impact one's life. And I liked Austin Crute's performance as Harriet's best friend--their chemistry is refreshing as he supports Harriet through her grieving process. Finally, I enjoy the aesthetic of this film--the warm cinematography is pleasing to the eye.

The message of this film is that sometimes we need to let go of the past to move forward with the present.

I give The Greatest Hits 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The Greatest Hits debuts in limited release in theaters on April 5, 2024 and on Hulu April 23, 2024.

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

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


FOOD, INC 2

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FOOD, INC 2       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
MAGNOLIA PICTURES
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Food, Inc. 2 is a timely and urgent follow-up to the Oscar�-nominated documentary from directors Robert Kenner and Melissa Robledo. In the sequel, Kenner and Robledo reunite with investigative authors Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) and Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) to take a fresh look at our vulnerable food system. The groundbreaking Food, Inc. ignited a cultural conversation about the multinational corporations that control our food system at enormous cost to our planet, workforce, and health. FOOD, INC. 2 comes "back for seconds" to reveal how corporate consolidation has gone unchecked by our government, leaving us with a highly efficient yet shockingly vulnerable food system dedicated only towards increasing profits. Seeking solutions, the film introduces innovative farmers, food producers, workers' rights activists, and prominent legislators such as U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Jon Tester, who are facing these companies head-on and fighting to create a more sustainable future.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Our lives depend on healthy food. I believe it's imperative to watch the new documentary Food, Inc. 2 to learn about our food supply system one bite at a time by watching this informative and thought provoking film. You and your family can move forward by making choices to work toward a healthier future which is certainly my goal.

Food, Inc. 2 is an update to 2008's Food, Inc. which was a groundbreaking Oscar�-nominated expose on the multinational corporations that control our food supply. There has been more consolidation in the food industry since 2008 and Food, Inc. 2 explores how our values should impact our food choices. This documentary emphasizes the anti-trust and monopoly issues encountered in our agricultural system. It highlights the profits of capitalism versus the sustainability of nature and how this directly affects the quality and nutrition of our food. In addition, the movie makes the point that the agricultural labor force is essential, but is often treated as disposable.

Corporate profits have risen at the expense of both consumers and rural America's farming communities. There are definitely concerns for future soil and water quality which impact our food's nutritional value as well as the effect they have on individuals and our communities. I value the information shared by Senators Cory Booker and Jon Tester as they work to improve access to healthy food and to support our farmers. The documentary is also interesting when it chronicles the food additives which affect our taste and metabolism. Most other countries don't have so many highly processed foods and the multinational corporations are looking to change that in their zeal to increase corporate profits. Perhaps there will be added cooperation with international partners on finding ways to improve nutrition and agriculture globally in the future. I really enjoyed learning about the innovative farmers working to improve our food supply from the ground up or, in the case of a kelp farmer, by charting a new course in food supply. I learned a great deal from all of the interviews and contributors to this project and hope that, in the future, there will be more information available to us concerning the impact on health and our healthcare system tied to nutritional and environmental concerns.

Food, Inc. was released the year I was born and this new documentary, Food, Inc. 2 will hopefully provide further food for thought for a new generation or for those who missed the original film. There may be some viewers who feel that there is not enough differentiation between the original documentary and the new update but this makes it palatable for those of us who haven't watched the original to understand the overview of the food industry and to inspire us so that hopefully our food supply can improve by replicating better standards and not from further consolidation.

Food, Inc. 2 gets 4.5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This documentary releases in theaters for special screenings on April 9, 2024 and will then be available on digital April 12, 2024.

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

Food, Inc. 2 expands on the original Food, Inc. ideas of encouraging consumers to change the food system. Its interesting facts opened my eyes to the corrupt system that exists currently. I like that the film inspires people to solve these problems. It doesn't scare the viewer but provides hope for alternative solutions. It's a topic that I resonate with.

The film follows Michael Pollan, who is known for his books that explore the socio-cultural impact of food such as The Botany of Desire and The Omnivore's Dilemma, This documentary investigates the food industry and shows the not-so-pretty parts. Pollan interviews experts as well as people who are involved with food production and distribution personally including farmers, scientists, and entrepreneurs.

Michael Pollan narrates the film. As an author and an investigative journalist he shows people and places that demonstrate how corporate food companies are hurting small businesses and the environment. Another claim he makes is that animals are not being treated humanely in food production. He brings in various people to speak about their personal experiences in the food business including Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, US Senators Cory Booker and Jon Tester and Pat Brown, a former Stanford professor who is the founder of Impossible Foods. He states that, if we replaced cows, it could give us 30 more years before greenhouse gases rise further. At times, there is some creative animation that demonstrates what he is discussing, but most of the film is shot in typical documentary style with lots of voice-overs and interviews. The film's directors, Robert Kenner and Melissa Robledo, are wonderful at displaying various aspects of the food industry, including beautiful shots of sustainable farms and labs. On the other hand, farm workers are shown with less pleasing shots. My favorite part of the film is a new invention that allows goats and pigs to eat plants in a small space. I was truly shocked by the alarming facts about the food industry that are presented here. For example, a third of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world come from the food industry. That's a lot! This is just one of many startling facts in this film.

The film's message is that we can work together to transform the food system. The film encourages viewers to abolish factory farms, prioritize healthy foods and sustainable farms, and end cruelty to the environment.

Food, Inc. 2 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Food, Inc. 2 releases in select cities April 9, 2024, and will be available on digital platforms beginning April 12, 2024.

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

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


EVIL FAIRY QUEEN, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
EVIL FAIRY QUEEN, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Elemental spirits have held power over the human world since its inception. The relationship, however, is symbiotic. Elfame is a fairy kingdom ruled by Melisandria and it is dying, the required ritual sacrifice is late. Elspeth Moore's family is bound to Elfame, every generation a child has been offered for sacrifice to renew Elfame's magical energy. When Kate Richards receives a letter from her estranged great-aunt Elspeth offering a place to stay when they need it most, they gratefully accept not realizing they are being lured towards their demise.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Evil Fairy Queen is a tale of mischief and deception. It combines important lessons with an engaging storyline.

The story revolves around a family of four who move into the mother's great aunt's old farmhouse. However the house is not quite what it seems to be when they discover that a group of fairies live in the area - a group of evil fairies who need to complete an oath. Throughout the film, the mother has to protect her family from getting sacrificed by this evil clan of fairies.

This film has so many distinct fun features. One of my favorite parts is how the beginning of the film has a short animated intro that quickly transitions into the live-action film. The film is based on old European folklore rather than American fairy tales which allows the fairies to be evil and adds an interesting new element to the film. One of the coolest parts of this film is the young lead, Violet (Kitty Sudbery), who has many different scenes and she performs in all of them very beautifully and powerfully. The final thing I noticed is that the group of evil fairies is really just one big family that is looking for a way to survive - they're just doing what's necessary for their survival. The film was produced in the United Kingdom and therefore they use many words such as bloke, mate and mummy, which may be unfamiliar to American audiences.

The film's messages are that not everything is always as it seems and be careful who you trust.

I give The Evil Fairy Queen 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch it on VOD on April 16, 2024.

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

I thoroughly enjoyed The Evil Fairy Queen for its gripping storyline and immersive atmosphere.

The film's portrayal of the evil fairies and their sinister motives kept me on the edge of my seat.

The story unfolds as a family is lured to a remote farmhouse by a deceitful relative, only to fall victim to malevolent fairies that require sacrifices to renew their magical life force. As tensions escalate and the family's plight becomes increasingly dire, they must confront the dark forces that threaten their very existence.

What impresses me the most about this film is its masterful blending of horror and fantasy elements. The film's eerie setting and chilling portrayal of the fairy creatures creates a palpable sense of dread that lingers long after the credits roll. Additionally, the strong performances from the cast, especially Julia Czartoryski, who plays Kate Richards, add depth and emotional resonance to the story. The special effects used to bring the evil fairies to life are impressive, adding a layer of visual richness to the film. However, there are a few moments where the CGI looks slightly unpolished and detracts from the overall immersion of the viewing experience. Nonetheless, the film's strong narrative and compelling performances overshadow any shortcomings in the visual effects department.

The film's message is that everything is not always as it seems.

I give The Evil Fairy Queen, 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 through 18. This film releases April 16, 2024. Be sure to check it out.

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

The Evil Fairy Queen is an exciting movie with a very unexpected take on fairies. This film, directed by Simon Wells, is a fantasy with elements of a horror movie and plenty of surprises!

When the Richards family receives a call from great aunt Elspeth inviting them to move to her farmhouse, Kate Richards (Julia Czartoryski) believes it could be a new beginning. But a world of danger is lurking in the woodlands surrounding the farm with sinister ties to Kate's past. The youngest daughter, Violet (Kitty Sudbery), innocently befriends Melisandria (Hannah Harris), the Evil Fairy Queen, who wants to sacrifice Violet and Kate to preserve her reign. With help from Dillon (Luke Hunter), Kate tries to save Violet and herself from the evil clutches of Melisandria and her evil fairy sidekicks.

I like how the story is presented throughout this film! There is a good mix of mystery, horror and suspense to keep the plot moving forward. The Evil Fairy Queen delivers a combination of horror mixed with fantasy. The woodland fairies are very different from those in most childhood stories as they prefer the taste of human flesh. Fortunately, the well-lit scenes and cinematography keep the dark subject matter from feeling too scary. Kitty Sudbery is double-cast as both Violet and a younger Kate, which I found mildly distracting, yet this movie still is enjoyable to watch. The relationships between the Richards' family members are interesting and the subplot is that they overcome a family tragedy.

The message of The Evil Fairy Queen is to be careful who you trust as things are not always what they seem.

I give The Evil Fairy Queen 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The film releases in theaters on April 16, 2024.

By Kira O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The Evil Fairy Queen is an engaging fantasy film that combines real and fantasy elements, as it transports us into a world of fairies!

The Evil Fairy Queen follows a family that moved from a suburban town to a large, seemingly normal house in a rural area. However, this house and the family's experiences there are anything but normal. Something seems off from the day they arrive, when a neighbor creepily warns them of the house's dangers. The younger daughter, Violet (Kitty Sudbery), discovers the fairy queen but doesn't realize the dangers of keeping it a secret. Eventually, the rest of the family figures out what's going on, but not until it's too late and the entire family is in grave danger.

This film has strong, relatable characters that pulled me in and allowed me to connect with the storyline. The older daughter, Adelaide (Aniela Leyland), is a typical teenager while the younger daughter is still an innocent, sweet, explorative little girl. This contrast is typical for siblings, no matter what the age difference or similarity in interests. The dynamics between the family members make the film relevant and also demonstrates the character motives in the more suspenseful parts. Because this film includes many fantastical aspects, it's important that viewers can relate to the characters, even if their situation is a bit unrealistic. With all that said, the story has some issues - there are some unclear parts of the fantasy world and various things are never explained. That makes some parts of the film slightly confusing and diminishes its overall suspense. However, the concept of the fantasy world is interesting and it's a wonderful idea.

The film's message is to trust your loved ones and support them if they're struggling. Violet, the youngest daughter, feels that her family is uninterested in her passion for fairies and is aware that no one believes what she's experiencing. The family's refusal to believe her ends up wasting time that could have been spent trying to get out before the real danger occurs.

I give The Evil Fairy Queen 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. You can watch The Evil Fairy Queen on video on demand beginning April 16, 2024.

By Kyla C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

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


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


GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - In Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, the Spengler family returns to where it all started - the iconic New York City firehouse - to team up with the original Ghostbusters, who've developed a top-secret research lab to take busting ghosts to the next level. But when the discovery of an ancient artifact unleashes an army of ghosts that casts a death chill upon the city, Ghostbusters new and old must join forces to protect their home and save the world from a second Ice Age.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is the second movie in the franchise and it is so much fun! This time, new and old Ghostbusters team up to battle an ancient demon that wants to freeze Manhattan. The special effects are mind-blowing, especially when they're chasing the icy ghosts. Also, this movie is really funny and features cool new ghostbusting gadgets and special appearances by some of the original cast members.

The film is set in New York City where Phoebe Spenglar (Mckenna Grace) and her family have moved, and they are busting ghosts in the original firehouse. Ray Stantz (Dan Ackroyd) runs an occult book and antique shop. When Ray buys a strange, ancient orb that contains a dangerous and ancient spirit, the two stories collide and the old and new Ghostbusters team up to save the city.

There are a ton of great things in this movie. The CGI ghosts and scenes of frozen New York City are amazing and very creative. The story is really fun because of many unexpected twists, new ghostly friends and lots of comedy. One of my favorite things about this film is that many of the original characters make appearances like when Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) tests out some new ghost-catching gadgets from his secret lab.

The film's message is that it's important to work together to overcome challenges and that family can give us strength and the ability to be brave. Viewers should know it has scary moments, and that there is some light swearing.

I give Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can see it in theaters on Friday, March 22, 2024.

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

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire works as an extension of the adventures of the Ghostbusters. It has a developing plot that surprised me since it's pretty creative. However, it's not something to call "out of this world."

This film follows the Spenglers who reunite with beloved former Ghostbusters to fight an ancient icy evil that threatens all of humanity. Will their skills match up to this cold villain, or will they all freeze to death?

The main characters are Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), Mr. Grooerson (Paul Rudd), Callie (Carrie Coon), Ray (Dan Aykroyd), Winston (Ernie Hudson, Lucky (Celeste O'Connor), Podcast (Logan Kim), Janine (Annie Potts), and Venkman (Bill Murray). It's interesting to see the new and old Ghostbusters collaborate to fight Garraka, the ancient ice god. This film offers a reunion the fans have wanted, and the filmmakers responded to that. I recommend watching the previous Ghostbusters movies. However, keep in mind that the original Ghostbusters do not have much involvement in this film -- they are merely there to watch, which is extremely disappointing. During the ending fight scene, they just stand there. On the other hand, the plot is engaging and I never found myself bored during the film. It starts off with the Spengler family on a mission to capture a ghost. Therefore, it has a quick start as it kicks into the storyline. I do not care for the direction of this movie. It feels off. For example, when the ghost betrays Phoebe it happens all of a sudden, without much context, especially since the two of them don't have that much of a bond. Also, the characters don't really stand out from each other, besides barely knowing their backstories. I also did not like the special effects. They could be playing homage to the original movies, but the special effects of the ghosts are not realistic in any way. On a higher note, my favorite parts of the film are the mini Stay-Puft Marshmallow Men. They are adorable and hilarious. If you remember, in the original film the marshmallow man is huge. Also, the character Nadeem is extremely amusing. He is supposed to be the Fireman that saves them all from Garraka, which is a great addition to the storyline. That's something new I like about the movie because they don't stick with just ghosts, which gets boring after a few movies. In the end, the film makes a good addition to the adventures of the Ghostbusters, but it isn't something to rave about or call extraordinary.

The film's message is that family matters most. Phoebe is banned from Ghostbusting and she gets into more trouble later on. However, in the end, her and her parents forgive each other because they realize the importance of family. You should be aware there are mature conversations and violence in the film, with a hint of profanity.

I give Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire releases in theaters March 22, 2024.

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

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


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


TREMOLO

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TREMOLO
LAURA K�HLER
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - After a long time a deaf boy meets his father again, who's a musician and does not speak sign language. Over a long weekend father and son realize they speak a common language through music. From Germany with dialogue in German; English subtitles
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really like Tremolo. It's a very interesting film about a topic that needs to be talked about more. The plot is great and I especially love the acting by Thomas Jansen who portrays Georg, Aron's father.

A deaf boy named Aron (Ben Kermer) goes to stay with his father (Thomas Jansen)) for a week. His father doesn't know sign language so the two of them find it very difficult to communicate or come to some kind of understanding. Georg is a musician and has a music room in his house. When Aron explores the room, the two of them discover that they share a love of music.

Ella Fitzgerald once said, "Music is the universal language... it brings people closer together." While I won't assume that Tremolo was based on this quote, I think the quote correlates really well with this film. Georg and Aron can't communicate because of their language barrier. Aron can't hear any spoken language and Georg doesn't know any sign language. But, believing that music is the universal language, Georg and Aron share a common language and I really love the way the film portrays their journey in understanding that.

The cinematography and camera work are very good -- all quality work and smart use of angles and focus. There is a small glitch around 15:34 so, if the film is accepted to the festival, a copy without that glitch would need to be provided. The setting at the dad's house is a house that looks like a typical middle class person's house. The music room looks like a music room might and suits the story. I really like that the film constantly switches between what a hearing person would hear to what a deaf person would hear. When Aron's parents are talking, we can hear them but Aron can't. When Aron bangs on drums or on pianos in the middle of the night, he hears muffled sounds while Aron's dad wakes up from all the loud discordant noise. It's as if Aron can hear what he's supposed to be hearing but he can't actually hear the sounds like a person with normal hearing can. He can hear a sound but it's muffled; he can't discern the finer points of the sounds. I absolutely love the scene where Aron's father realizes why Aron loves music so much. His face softens in a way that I immediately thought, "Wow, that's good acting." Of course it's not just the acting, the cinematography is very important in this scene. But I really am very impressed by Thomas Jansen. His performance is stunning. The screenplay is also very good and delivers a wonderful story. Aron loves music so much because music is that it's not just something you hear, music is something that makes you feel. It's something you CAN feel. You don't have to know what a song is about. The beat tells you that it's a slow song, or it's rock n' roll or jazz, that it's a sad song or a happy song. Even though Aron's deaf, he can feel the beat - he can feel the music through its vibrations. He can hear rock songs blaring through the speakers not through his ears but through the vibrations going up his body when he puts his hand to the speaker. Aron's father is a man with a deaf kid; he doesn't know sign language and is a musician. When Aron's father realizes that Aron likes music just like he does, it's an incredibly heartwarming scene. Originally, Aron's father thought that he would never get to share his passion with his son. But he can. True! Aron can't hear the music, but he can feel it. That's more important with music anyway. We all know there's a difference between listening to something and hearing something. I absolutely love this scene because it's the first time that Aron and his father truly bond. They do so over their shared love of music. They love it in different ways but it's something they have in common. It's an understanding. And that's beautiful to me.

I learned a lot about the deaf community from watching this film. I had never thought of an alarm clock that flashes lights instead of sounds. I never knew that deaf people can hear music. I remember playing Would You Rather with my friends and when we do that and someone says that they would rather be deaf than be blind, there's always someone that goes "yeah, but you would never be able to hear music again." This film made me rethink that; that deaf people can still feel the music, still feel beats, feel rhythms. This film opened my mind to a world I didn't know.

The film's message is to give insight into a world that hearing viewers are unaware of. The film makes us more aware of people with deafness and what they go through, what they feel or don't feel. This film spreads awareness, understanding, and insight into the world of people with hearing disabilities.

I give Tremolo 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Alma K., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really like Tremolo. It's a very interesting film about a topic that needs to be talked about more. The plot is great and I especially love the acting by Thomas Jansen who portrays Georg, Aron's father.

A deaf boy named Aron (Ben Kermer) goes to stay with his father (Thomas Jansen)) for a week. His father doesn't know sign language so the two of them find it very difficult to communicate or come to some kind of understanding. Georg is a musician and has a music room in his house. When Aron explores the room, the two of them discover that they share a love of music.

Ella Fitzgerald once said, "Music is the universal language... it brings people closer together." While I won't assume that Tremolo was based on this quote, I think the quote correlates really well with this film. Georg and Aron can't communicate because of their language barrier. Aron can't hear any spoken language and Georg doesn't know any sign language. But, believing that music is the universal language, Georg and Aron share a common language and I really love the way the film portrays their journey in understanding that.

The cinematography and camera work are very good -- all quality work and smart use of angles and focus. There is a small glitch around 15:34 so, if the film is accepted to the festival, a copy without that glitch would need to be provided. The setting at the dad's house is a house that looks like a typical middle class person's house. The music room looks like a music room might and suits the story. I really like that the film constantly switches between what a hearing person would hear to what a deaf person would hear. When Aron's parents are talking, we can hear them but Aron can't. When Aron bangs on drums or on pianos in the middle of the night, he hears muffled sounds while Aron's dad wakes up from all the loud discordant noise. It's as if Aron can hear what he's supposed to be hearing but he can't actually hear the sounds like a person with normal hearing can. He can hear a sound but it's muffled; he can't discern the finer points of the sounds. I absolutely love the scene where Aron's father realizes why Aron loves music so much. His face softens in a way that I immediately thought, "Wow, that's good acting." Of course it's not just the acting, the cinematography is very important in this scene. But I really am very impressed by Thomas Jansen. His performance is stunning. The screenplay is also very good and delivers a wonderful story. Aron loves music so much because music is that it's not just something you hear, music is something that makes you feel. It's something you CAN feel. You don't have to know what a song is about. The beat tells you that it's a slow song, or it's rock n' roll or jazz, that it's a sad song or a happy song. Even though Aron's deaf, he can feel the beat - he can feel the music through its vibrations. He can hear rock songs blaring through the speakers not through his ears but through the vibrations going up his body when he puts his hand to the speaker. Aron's father is a man with a deaf kid; he doesn't know sign language and is a musician. When Aron's father realizes that Aron likes music just like he does, it's an incredibly heartwarming scene. Originally, Aron's father thought that he would never get to share his passion with his son. But he can. True! Aron can't hear the music, but he can feel it. That's more important with music anyway. We all know there's a difference between listening to something and hearing something. I absolutely love this scene because it's the first time that Aron and his father truly bond. They do so over their shared love of music. They love it in different ways but it's something they have in common. It's an understanding. And that's beautiful to me.

I learned a lot about the deaf community from watching this film. I had never thought of an alarm clock that flashes lights instead of sounds. I never knew that deaf people can hear music. I remember playing Would You Rather with my friends and when we do that and someone says that they would rather be deaf than be blind, there's always someone that goes "yeah, but you would never be able to hear music again." This film made me rethink that; that deaf people can still feel the music, still feel beats, feel rhythms. This film opened my mind to a world I didn't know.

The film's message is to give insight into a world that hearing viewers are unaware of. The film makes us more aware of people with deafness and what they go through, what they feel or don't feel. This film spreads awareness, understanding, and insight into the world of people with hearing disabilities.

I give Tremolo 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Alma K., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 21 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
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



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