Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for January, 2008

New and Renewing KIDS FIRST! Members

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Little Mammoth Media produces children’s programs that really make a difference.NoteAbilitiesBrandon Hill Productions Story GardenLink Entertainment Group produces “The Tails of Abbygail,” the first in a series.WonderWorld Films is a film and video production company specializing in poetry on video.Tot-a-Doodle-Do! (Children’s Creative Programming Partnership, LLC) is a new children’s educational series. Each episode of Tot-a-Doodle-Do! focuses on a theme and contains six elements not currently found in one 30-minute children’s program. Follow-along with them as they entertain and guide your child to use the skills they need in their everyday life such as proper manners, how to prepare nutritious snacks, use their imagination and get their daily exercise through singing and dancing. Geared to children age 3-7.Soaring Star Productions, LLC is a children’s educational media company that produces the award-winning Pocket Snails(R) series for preschoolers.

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Interview With John Dilworth – Producer, Director and Animator

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

He’s funny, blunt, and has a bit of a problem accepting the rules of society. Award-winning animator John Dilworth, creates unique films, which encourage viewers to embrace silliness. With successes such as “Noodles and Ned” and “Courage the Cowardly Dog” in his background, Dilworth has already proven that he’s got what it takes to entertain viewers, and he continues to make people laugh all over the globe with his new films. You can catch several of the in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. Dilworth tells us what he does and how he does it:CP: Could you please give me a brief background of your filmmaking experience?JD: My filmmaking experience began during my university studies in NYC attending the School of Visual Arts. My aspiration was to become a famous animator and make animated films that would be admired. I started drawing intuitively. This is where it all went wrong for me. Right from the start, I should have focused more on the art of storytelling. I would have been more satisfied with my animated films. However, I was ambitious and established a resolve to do the best I was capable of. I sought out any kind of work in animation from production to animating and eventually to directing. This was a tough journey without thrills; I suffer from judgment and do not sit well with criticism. I get through it with a suspicion of tranquility. I was solicitous to influential people, eyeballing hope through favor and talent. Strategies of self-interest are essential to an artist.CP: When you create a film, are you doing it for yourself or your viewers or both?JD: Audience considerations have often been secondary to my intentions in art. However, when I am with corporate contract, I employ a more discriminating effort to prioritize.CP: What do you want viewers to get from your films?JD: I would be content with knowing that viewers felt in their sixth sense that it is okay to be silly and still be engaged in “life.” Silliness is not immaturity. The way I see it, reality is loaded with enough serious stuff to put you in a morgue. One test of an individual is in how one reacts to the surplus stuff of responsibility, obligation, duty. Travel deep into the nonsense and silliness I say. With our obsession with respectability and refinement, where have the “unaffected moments” gone? What happened to our “expressive imperfections?” Can we not pay our monthly bills and add a funny drawing on the check? Being silly does not mean we are swinging out of orbit, rather it is more an earthiness of intention, deliberately purposeful play designed to abstract our “reality.” How’s that for cocktail party philosophy?CP: Your films are really wacky and push the boundaries of what parents deem acceptable for their children, what is your philosophy on film content for children?JD: Thank you. Your question makes me think of the pursuit of Shakespeare, to mold a human being, to become an “individual.” Parents are the custodians of the future of human character. I share with them the same concerns for admirable human qualities: virtue, courage and devotion to the good of all. My characters are obsessed with the pursuit of love as a defining element of their character and this element is not a harmful one. Love is the pressing on the boundaries towards human achievements in aesthetics, morality, spirituality and of the mind’s capacity to expand. Love is a funny thing.CP: What is one of the craziest experiences you have had in your job so far?JD: I was demonstrating to audiences how to do the Noodles & Nedd dance from the film, “Noodles & Nedd” wearing a space suit. It was one of those impossible to predict questions from children. I was returning from “pitching” a cartoon show to an executive wearing the suit and didn’t have time to change.CP: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your career choice?JD: The laughter from audiences. I recall attending a film festival in Bilbao, Spain. My film, “The Dirdy Birdy,” was the last film to screen. I cannot sit through a screening of my own animation. I break out itching myself with my feet. Anxiety puts me in a head lock. I left the auditorium to sit outside alone. Then the audience begins to laugh and laugh and laugh. I was sitting in a empty corridor with laughter bouncing off the walls from invisible lungs. This was something special, a natural moment, authentic like young love, and as impermanent as light.CP: How did you get involved with KIDS FIRST!?JD: As a filmmaker, sending your films to festivals is a requisite to getting your art seen. I sent one of my films to Ranny Levy some time ago and found a sincere supporter over the years.CP: What advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers?JD: Not every night is filled with song, not every day blooming with spring. To keep sane, I rely on my irrational reactions of cartoon behavior, and I am the most sane individual I know.More information about

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A New “The Wheels On The Bus” Hits Shelves Tomorrow

Monday, January 21st, 2008

THE Roger Daltrey returns as the voice of Argon the bus driver in “Wheels on the Bus: Mango’s Big Dog Parade” (33 min), the new title The Wheels on the Bus animated DVD series, which will be released January 22, 2008. The DVD series aims to teach preschoolers early socialization skills through original songs composed by Laura Hall and lyricist Timothy Armstrong. The DVD also comes with a Parent’s Guide as well as a behind the scenes video, a lyric sheet and a short titled Behave Bernard. Produced by Our Happy Child Productions and distributed by PorchLight Home Entertainment.

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National Geographic Kids Entertainment and PBS Kids Team Up

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

They are set to launch an interactive website for the animated preschool series “Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies.” Designed by NDi Media, the site underlines hands-on learning and, like the series, features wildlife videos from the National Geographic and BBC archives. Among the many other features, upon entering each visitor is given an animal egg to care for while on the African savanna that slowly hatches.

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New Backyardigan Happenings From TV to CD to Tours

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008 at 7p., Nickelodeon is set to premiere The Backyardigans in a new primetime TV movie titled, “Tale of the Mighty Knights” (60 min).In “Tale of the Mighty Knights,” royal knights Uniqua and Tyrone are ready to do mighty deeds in service to their King (Pablo). It seems like a pretty simple task until the King asks them to babysit an egg, which grows legs and runs away! A rock opera soundtrack moves the action along as the knights pursue their egg in Goblin Land and encounter a grabbing goblin (Austin), through Fairyland where they meet a tiny and mischievous fairy (Tasha), and finally to Dragon Mountain where they face a mighty baby dragon (Adam Pascal). Will the knights conquer their greatest challenge yet?The premiere of the TV movie will be followed by a new Backyardigans CD release from Nickelodeon/Sony BMG, titled “Born to Play,” on January 22.The third CD from the hit series features 22 new tracks, including six songs from “Tale of the Mighty Knights.” Joining the backyard gang in the studio are celebrity guest artists Alicia Keys, Cyndi Lauper and Adam Pascal. Alicia Keys lends her unique R&B vocals on “Almost Everything is Boinga.” Cyndi Lauper reminds us to think pink on the jazz-tinged “Lady in Pink,” and Adam Pascal powers the Zepellinesque rock-opera ballad “Not an Egg.”Also, “The Backyardigans Live! Tale of the Mighty Knights,” a 50-city live tour, in partnership with Live Nation, kicks off on March 28.

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