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What to know: An interesting spin by a college student filmmaker based on the story, The Wizard of Oz.
WIZARD OF OZCAR, THE is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 8-12
21 minutes
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This is an interesting take on the original movie "The Wizard of Oz."

It is about a young boy named Knicknack, played by Barry James Montoya II, who finds a book, "The Wizard of Oz," but, he doesn't know how to read. He lives in a gypsy camp with his uncle Ozcar, played by Eliezer Ortiz, who tells people's fortunes for a living.

The opening of the film starts with the flipping of pages in an old parchment like book. The illustrations are interesting and draw the viewer into the characters and story line. There are two narrators reading the pages of the book aloud to us and the narrators also talk to each other on the side, which is amusing. At various times, the pages stop and the illustrations fade into color film. This is a great technique and interlaces the story with live action, which made me want to see more.

My favorite scene is shot outdoors in the gypsy camp. The camera travels through the camp and shows us all the interesting and colorful gypsies from Knicknack's point-of-view. We see dancers, jugglers and musicians as Knicknack walks through the camp lined with gypsy tents.

I also love the original music in this film, especially the theme song, "No Other Place" performed by Epilome the One. I think the music goes well with the setting of the story and it changes with different scenes.

In the film, Knicknack learns to accept and appreciate his lot in life. He has to come to terms with the realization that his mother has left him and he needs to help his uncle by earning some money to help support them. However, Knicknack finds this difficult, because he does not want to tell lies like his uncle does.

I recommend this short film for ages 9 to 18. Knicknack learns that he doesn't want to lie but, more importantly, he learns to appreciate his family even when they are not the best role models. It's a tricky lesson and younger kids probably would not grasp it.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars for great costumes, good music and an interesting twist on an old tale. You can find it at the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. Reviewed by Katie G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12.

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This is a magical story which takes place in a gypsy camp where nobody knows how to read. But one day, a little gypsy boy, Knicknack finds a book, The Wizard of Oz, and that book changes his life forever.
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