boot camp

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Kevin Costner, Gerry Orz
Kevin Costner with Gerry Orz
at McFarland premiere

Camp Description

Basic Film Critics Camp

  • Create criteria for evaluating media.
  • Watch, Discuss and Debate Films
  • Examine behind-the-scenes contributors (directors to editors)
  • Create written and videotaped reviews.
  • Learn interviewing techniques.
  • Meet working actors, writers, producers, film critics, etc.
  • Tour a broadcast control room

Advanced Film Critics Camp (Pre-requisite: Basic Film Critic Camp or Enrolled in Performing Arts Program)

  • Develop in-depth analyzing skills.
  • Learn how to improve written presentations.
  • One on one coaching to refine on-camera performance.
  • Work collaboratively with other KIDS FIRST! Film Critics.
  • Improve interviewing skills.
  • Refine camera skills.
  • Meet and receive feedback from working professionals.

Intro to Digital Media Production & Post-Production

  • Explore the field of digital media, career options, industry trends
  • Experiment and implement modes of content publishing for social networks and streaming technology.
  • Become familiar with design and authoring tools.
  • Discover ways to create "green screen" and video effects that can be used at home.
  • Learn about lighting, editing digital video, embedding images, text and motion graphics.
  • Visit and tour state of the art post production facility and meet with working professionals.

Parent Digital Media Literacy Day (For Basic Film Critics Campers & Parents0

  • Bring your own Device and learn how to use it.
  • Learn strategies to encourage and support your child as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Team Member.
  • Explore various devices, (e.g. camera, hand held microphone, tripod / monopod, etc.) needed to record, edit and upload reviews and interviews.

Morgan Freeman, Gerry Orz, Keefer BlakesleeMorgan Freeman with Gerry and Keefer
at The Lego Movie premiere


My son Rami absolutely loved the 2015 Brooklyn Boot Camp. He says "it was challenging, but exciting. We got to watch movies and review them in both written and video format. It taught me a lot about the film industry. I would rate it 5 out of 5."

Jack Black with Nathaniel
at Goosebumps press event

Steven Spielberg, Gabriella Chu
Steven Spielberg with Gabriella
at 100 Foot Journey premiereGeorge Clooney, Gerry Orz
George Clooney with Gerry Orz
at Tomorrowland premiere

My son Will took the KIDS FIRST! Boot Camp at Reel Kids in Superior, Colorado. We feel unbelievably fortunate to have had this opportunity for Will. Will learned a lot about the vocabulary and language of being a film critic, critical writing and analyzing a film, presentation and on camera skills. He gained self confidence and got a lot more clarity on where he might fit in the film world. We are extremely thankful to Ranny and KIDS FIRST! for this learning opportunity. Monica Augustine, Colorado, 2015

Cheyenne Nguyen with Nick Cannon
at Kids Choice Awards

Mel Brooks with Keefer Blakeslee
at AFI Event honoring Mr. Brooks


If you have any questions about any of this, please contact our office at 505-989-8076 or email us here.


This workshop does not in any way guarantee the participant employment in the entertainment industry.

This event is subject to cancellation if inadequate registration is not received or other unexpected circumstances make it impossible to take place.

All camps have limited enrollment and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.


Do You ...

  • Love, really love films?
  • Love talking about the latest films?
  • Envision yourself talking on the Red Carpet?

Spend a Week ...

  • Watching the latest films.
  • Learning to write film reviews.
  • Learning to talk about films on camera.
  • Meeting guest film critics, producers and actors.
  • Learning interview techniques.
  • Improving your on-camera skills.
  • Being coached by seasoned professionals.
Parents ...

Kids love movies.
It’s part of their socializing experience.
They love being on-camera and are comfortable there.
At the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp we put what kids love to good use and make learning fun!

During this one-week day-camp, now in its third year, your child will learn to...

View and review - watch films and write about them.
Discuss and debate - live and on-camera.
Look critically at different elements that make a film a film from directing and acting to cinematography, writing and art direction.

Remember parents...
Your kids are not just "talking about film" they are learning life skills that will "last a lifetime."

2017 Dates & Locations - Coming Soon

All camps are one week day camps that meet Monday through Friday. Parents are invited to join the camp on the afternoon of the last day to observe our mock "Red Carpet" event.

  • All camps have a limited enrollment and will be filled on a first come/first served basis.
  • There are full and partial scholarships available in select cities for local participants primarily. Download the scholarship application for details.
  • All camps meet for 5 days, Monday through Friday.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camps!

2017 Dates To Be Announced Soon for Brooklyn - Los Angeles - Miami

Hispanic Information and Technology NetworkSession 1
Basic Film Critic Camp

Session 2
Advanced Film Critic Camp
Production Skills Camp

9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily

Age: 9 - 15
Includes breakfast and lunch daily

Parent Digital Media Workshop
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For parent of Boot Camper from Session 1 accompanied by their child

Hispanic Information and Technology Network (HITN)
63 Flushing Avenue
Building 292, Suite 211
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Apply here
Application Deadline

Apply for Scholarship here.
Scholarship deadline

Boot Camp Tuition $459
Parent Workshop $49
(No charge for youth boot camper at parent workshop)
Full & Partial Scholarships Available

Fees include all materials. Breakfast and lunch are provided.
Full and partial scholarships are available. See above for link to apply.

payhere Pay Here

KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp Registration, Summer, 2017
Name of camper


Ranny.Gerry.KeeferRANNY LEVY
The invasive impact of media on children became the impetus, in 1991, for Levy to create KIDS FIRST! / Coalition for Quality Children's Media, dedicated to promoting and nurturing quality children's media as a vehicle for social change. A former educator, Levy designed an award-winning television series, Kidnetics, for PBS Affiliate, WNIT-TV, produced an ACE-nominated television show (Cable Magazine), and managed an independent film production and distribution company, OneWest Media, selling to national and international markets including PBS, the Discovery Channel and Showtime. Ranny has written two books, "The New York Times / KIDS FIRST Guide to The Best Children's Videos" and "A Parent's Guide to the Best Children's Videos, DVDs and CD-ROMs" and is a frequent speaker at conferences about children's media.

Ed Greene serves as VP for Partnerships and Community Development at the Hispanic Information Television Network (HITN), Brooklyn, NY. Prior to his work at HITN, Ed worked as director of educational outreach for a U.S. Department of Education Ready to Learn Transmedia project.  He has been an instructional leadership coach for principals and  PreK-2 teachers in Detroit Public Schools for Teachscape. Ed was a senior adviser and consultant to Cito USA and its Piramide Approach to Early Learning and director of global outreach for Sesame Workshop. Over his forty-year career, Ed has worked directly with infants, toddlers, preschool children, adolescents and families, as well as in a variety of roles and capacities in the philanthropic, private, public sectors and higher education.  He is a former board member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation and currently serves on the Boards of the Council for Professional Recognition and the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media.

Philomena is an artist, educator and advocate of child well-being. Philomena studied Media Technology at Jack Yates High School in Houston, Texas and earned a BA in Moving Image Arts from the Santa Fe University of Art & Design. Philomena has worked directly for the betterment of children since 2007 when she worked as a production assistant and juror for KIDS FIRST! She has worked with children of all ages in preschools, summer camps, museums and juvenile correctional facilities where she teaches video production, photography, theatre, painting and graffiti art, poetry and graphic novels. Philomena is the founder of the non-profit organization, Unlocked Minds, Inc., a programming resource that provides creative outlets, goal-oriented mentorship and professional networks to incarcerated and at-risk youth. Currently, Ms. Salem teaches at the Santa Fe Art Institute, Golden Acorns Camp of Living Arts & Culture, the Garcia Street Club Preschool and a certified instructor for the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp.

Terry Solowey has a wide range of expertise in early childhood / elementary education and children’s media. She is a writer and developer of print and multimedia programs with a focus on outreach, curriculum and content development. Ms. Solowey served as Assistant Director of the Sesame Street Preschool Educational Program, as Manager of Outreach for Thirteen/WNET and Program Director for KIDS FIRST! where she continues to serve on the Advisory Board and works with the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Program. Terry is a certified instructor for the KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Boot Camp.


Cynthia started at the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network (HITN) working for the Early Learning Collaborative (ELC), a federal Ready to Learn grantee. Soon after starting at ELC, Cynthia transitioned into the role of Project Manager for HITN. Her role as Project Manager ranges from editing video, accounting and office management, including continuing to work with ELC on their family engagement outreach. Prior to joining HITN, Ms. Rivera worked as a parent coordinator for an elementary school for the NYC Department of Education, a freelance film editor for an independent production company, as well as extensive experience working in city government.


With a life-long interest in film and children's use of film, Carol Darcy, with an EdD in Education Leadership and Curriculum Development (Boston University) was instrumental in creating an annual film festival for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)'s annual conference which includes programming from the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. As a media literacy expert, Carol provides opportunities for educators to learn from media experts, view and respond to a variety of films and discuss ways to provide substantive film and media experiences children from pre-school through primary school. She has taught kindergarten, undergraduate and graduate students and has supervised pre-service teachers. She designed a professional development course called Being a Pro-Active Media Literacy Advocate. Carol is a certified instructor for the KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Boot Camp.

Blanca Vasquez has been working in nonprofits for the last 20 years and has made many strides and connections in the television and theater scene. She also has a background in children’s theater and voiceover as a bilingual actress. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Theatre from Marist College and has worked in numerous non-for-profit organizations including Sesame Workshop, HITN- TV, The Apollo Theater, The New Victory Theater and Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors. Blanca has worked as performing an arts director, education director, membership coordinator, casting assistant and administrative assistant. Simultaneously, she has worked as a performer and teaching artist. Blanca is a member of SAG-AFTRA and formerly a member of Children’s Media Association. She has extensive experience as a volunteer, fundraiser and producer. She has been written about as an up and coming voiceover actress because of her little boy voices. For more information visit

KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp is a project of the Coalition for Quality Children's Media, a national, 24-year-old, nonprofit (501-c-3) organization whose mission is to teach children to become critical media users.

*This workshop does not in any way guarantee the participant employment in the entertainment industry

** A $150 non-refundable deposit is required when registering to hold your place. Final payment is due no later than 30 days prior to the start date of the camp. Because of the limited registration, there are no refunds. Please be sure to check any scheduling conflicts before registering your child.

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