Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for November, 2008

Buddha Wild Monk in a Hut

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

Buddha Wild  Monk in a  Hut – the theatrically released feature film  Directed,Produced Written and Presented by Anna Wilding has been gifted to Princess Anne in Person,on her last day in New Zealand by the former Publicity Officer of NZ Save the Children Fund- Judy Wilding.The film has also recently sold to most of the Video Rental Stores in ChCh, including Blockbuster Riccarton,Alice in Videoland, Pannell Discounters Wainoni, Kaipoi Video Ezy and others. Over the next six weeks the title will be available throughout New Zealand.The film played din NZ at Rialto Christchurch and Hollywood Sumner in Christchurch. It may soon be seen in other cinemas in New Zealand.The film, mainly for adults also scooped an award  in Best Feature Documentary Category in the USA for Kids Ages 12-18 .The Award was presented to Miss Wilding in October 2008 at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences- Ms Wilding’s additional responsibilities included cinematography.Music was by Award wining composer Charlse David Denler. The film was shot on location in Christchurch New Zealand.The critically acclaimed feature film,that usually plays to adults, also garnered Critics Pic in LA Weekly and NY Times.   Buddha Wild Monk in a Hut, was  recently selected to launch the Film Center Cinemacafe Film Series in Santa Fe, New Mexico in July 2008 home of the Santa Fe Film Festivlaa. Spokesperson and Program Director for the Film Center Cinemacafe stated at the time,”We are proud to be showing this beautiful and moving film and praise the filmmakers for their incredible work.” Director and Actress Anna Wilding said that she is “honored” Buddha Wild has won a Kids Award. The film was also given the Quality Moniker by the American Coalition of Quality Children’s Media.Ms Wilding stated that “I hope that people will gain a greater insight and understanding into Asian cultures adapting to the West, the lives of monks throughout Asia and the South Pacific and the rest of the world, and a greater understanding of ourselves and a way to living in harmony with the world and environment around us.”The film has been praised by critics for its “well judged mix of seriousness and humor.”The film has been selected for numerous festivals and screenings throughout Canada, India and the USA, including Tibet House NY, Screen Actors Guild Series USA, National Academy of Arts and Sciences USA, the Academy Libraries and formal Oscar qualification ,Calgary Film Series, World Earth Week 2007, Indian International  Festival of  Films on Tribal Arts and Culture,The Kids First Film Festival(sponsered by HBO, Paramount, Universal, Fox, Sony, Discovery, Starz). The film has been selected for mainstream art house releases with more to follow. To date these include Laemmle’s Los Angeles, Santa Fe New Mexico, and Rialto and Hollywood Cinemas New Zealand.The film has been a high seller on Amazon.comAnna Wilding latest feature script,Counterswirl,was recently selected for  the 2008 Atlantic Film Market in Novia Scotia,which took place after Toronto. Ms Wilding has  been invited to speak on many panels and corporate and industry panels throughout the world.Recently Wilding was the guest spotlight speaker on an industry environmental,humanities driven panel at the American Pavillion in Cannes Film Festival 2008. She was also a key note guest speaker for World Earth Week 2007 speaking in the same week long program as Ralph Nader and Dr Kevin Denneher. She recently appeared in the Observer NY Politker section over two days following a succesful debate on foreign policy with Gerneal Wesely Clark and will appear in the biogrpahy on General Wesely Clark by Gordon Suber.Buddha Wild” by Ms Wilding, has been called “beautiful” by Moving Pictures Magazine2008, and “a must see film” by Splash Magazine 2008. It garnered critics pick in LA Weekly Magazine 2007, and Union Jack Newspapers said, “Anna Wilding Captures Our attention.” Moonrise Movies Magazine in Canada said it was “Worth a look. A delightfully sweet and accurate and a fine film for family viewing.”Ms Wilding combined with Rialto Cinemas Australia (New Zealand) to give the proceeds from the first public rough cut screenings to the Tsunami Relief Appeal in Thailand. The film has been welcomed at temples in the USA and elsewhere. The film is in early limited release stages. “Unpretentious,” providing an “affectionate glimpse” and a well-judged mixture of “seriousness and humor” into the cultural and monastic lives of missionary monks, the film explores the tenets of Buddhism, celibacy, politics, the role of women in Asian society, cultural life in the South Pacific, and the day-to-day lives of Theravadin monks. “Buddha Wild” has the tag line “Wild to be one with Nature.” Ms. Wilding’s career spans over a decade in Hollywood, UK and Australia as writer, actress, producer and director. In 2007 Ms Wilding was thanked through her lawyers in New York for her work on all three Lord of the Rings movies by Mark Ordesky, former CEO of New Line

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Barbie in A Christmas Carol

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Here’s an interview where Barbie gives us the scoop behind the scenes of her latest DVD release.1. What was your approach in making this film so it was different from all the “Scrooge” stories out there?No other classic “scrooge” story stars a singing diva played by Barbie®! This movie takes the classic Charles Dickens story and retells the it with fabulous fashions and lots of laughs. As any of my friends know, I always bring a special, unapologetically all-girl approach to everything I do.2. What can viewers look forward to in this film that is unique from the rest of the Barbie films?This movie is very special to me because it is my first holiday DVD! In addition, this is the first story which I get to sing my own versions of classic holiday songs!3. Please tell me a bit about the animation and why you chose that style?I can always count on the awesome behind-the-scenes team to ensure that the animation style is vibrant and high-quality. The movie’s animation worked perfectly to enhance my gorgeous, sparkling gown and winter wonderland scenery.4. Please tell me a bit about the music. Why did you choose those particular songs and styles?The music of the film consists of upbeat twists of some of my favorite Holiday classics such as “Jingle Bells”.  I wanted to incorporate Christmas songs that every girl and her family could dance to and sing along with. Families can expect a great time with songs sung by me, my co-stars and even a bonus music video with the hilarious, Chuzzlewit, the cat!5. What was something interesting you learned through this filmmaking process?I never fail to learn something new and exciting with each new movie. Through filming “Barbie™ In A Christmas Carol” I was reminded of the importance of giving and helping others – not only during the holiday season, but every day. The holidays mean different things to different people, but we all need to take the time to give. And, giving comes in all shapes and sizes- from a simple smile or sharing a laugh to donating food or toys. While the holidays are a great time of year to give, you can keep on giving throughout the rest of the year too.6. Please give me an anecdote of something unique that happened while you were making the film that affected the final production.From day one, our star cat in the film, Chuzzlewit, refused to wear what he considered the “silly” costume designed for his character. “Cats don’t need to wear anything but fur,” he protested. On a blustery day in London, we were caught in a huge snow storm that took the entire cast and crew by surprise! As you can imagine, he had no problems embracing the hats and jackets after the storm. Silly Chuzzlewit.7. Is there anything you would like to add?One of my favorite parts in the making of this film was the beautiful, shimmering white satin and silvery gown I wore. I want every girl to know that they can enjoy the beauty of my gown in real-life with the magical 2008 Holiday™ Barbie® Doll, whose beautiful outfit is the same as the one I wear in the movie.8.Could you please send me a current image?Yes, attached are images of myself as Eden from the movie and shots of the DVD’s cover.

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Curious George Celebrates Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Turkey, potatoes, squash…bananas? Be sure to keep America’s favorite little monkey in mind when making your to do list this Thanksgiving. Curious George, the Man with the Yellow Hat and their friends bring a hearty serving of (mis)-adventures to the PBS KIDS Thanksgiving week marathon “Feast of Favorites” beginning Wednesday, November 26 (check local listings for days and times).The marathon features the broadcast premiere of two CURIOUS GEORGE episodes from the series’ all-new Earth Science-themed third season: “The Man with the Monkey Hands / Whistlepig Wednesday,” and “George Digs Worms / Everything Old is New Again.” While the turkey is roasting and the pie is baking, kids can watch George and his friends compete in a recycling contest, explore weather patterns, dig for worms, and learn which leaves to stay away from in the backyard.EPISODE 6The Man with Monkey Hands – After warning George about the poison ivy lurking in the park, the Man with the Yellow Hat loses his balance and lands hands first in a brush of the itchy, poisonous leaves! With his hands bandaged, he’ll need help with everyday tasks such as brushing his teeth, making dinner, even typing a letter.  So being a clever little monkey, George invents some ingenious ways to make the Man’s life seem normal – like wearing swim fins to assist in picking apples off the floor and taping salad forks to his arms to act as temporary hands.  But George’s creations are put to the ultimate test when the Man has to present Professor Wiseman’s newest invention to the science board, salad forks and all!Whistlepig Wednesday – Mr. Glass’ unique version of Groundhog Day is an annual city tradition of predicting when winter will start. Every year on the last Wednesday of August, Sherry the Whistlepig emerges from her burrow.  If she sees her shadow, it means cold weather is coming.  But what makes Sherry’s shadow so special? To find out, George and his animal friends camp out at Sherry’s burrow, but fall asleep while waiting for her to wake up.  At the shadow ceremony, Mr. Glass mistakes a sleeping George and each one of his friends for a whistlepig and presents them for the world to see.  But does a monkey, dog, cat, or pigeon shadow count?EPISODE 7George Digs Worms – Why is Bill yelling at a mound of dirt? He’s worm racing!  George turns to a pile of decomposed leaves to find his own prize worm and challenges Bill’s “Fast Freddy” to a race.  Pretty soon, the entire countryside catches worm-racing fever and watch as George’s worm, named “Ooh Ooh Ahh Ahh,” races its way to the championship.  But when Mr. Quint takes the wrong lunchbox on his fishing trip, George’s worm farm is in danger of becoming fish bait!  Can George save his slimy friends in time for the championship race?Everything Old is New Again – The city is awarding the “Golden Arrows Award” to the building that collects the most recycling.  George is eager to help-once he learns what recycling actually is, of course. The building’s Doorwoman next door turns out to be tough competition, so George hunts down recycling materials from everywhere he can think of. The only problem is, he doesn’t know that he only recycle products after they’ve been used!  Will the tenants with the missing recyclables forgive a monkey who’s not just trying to win a contest, but also save the environment?

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Mike DeVitto and “Ribert and Robert”

Monday, November 17th, 2008

“Ribert & Robert” is taking off! Since our interview with actor James Bondy, the duo has continued to capture children’s hearts with its simple stories with gentle morals and appealing graphics. Mike DeVitto, President and CEO of Deos Animation Studios, tells us what inspired the series and also shares the secret behind the cost-effective production process behind it.CP: Please tell me a bit about your background including what inspired you to start Deos Animation Studios.MD: I have a technology background in system design and software development. When my daughter Jennifer was growing up I was disappointed in what the media offered her. I was determined to take the technology and knowledge I had to build entertainment and educational programs that would be beneficial to children.CP: What are your goals with the productions you work with?MD: Our main goal and driving force is to teach children everywhere to love to learn and learn to love and follow their heart in everything thing they do.CP: Please tell me about your SAM methods and how you think this is revolutionizing/will revolutionize the industry.MD: I had a dream to do children’s entertainment and when I found out how much it would cost I knew we would have to come up with an alternative method. That’s when my team and I dug deep into our system development background and we found SAM. SAM allows us to do high quality at a lower cost and faster speed. I think that’s what helped us win our awards with “Ribert & Robert.”CP: Please tell me a bit about your journey with “Ribert & Robert,” including where you think this is all going.MD: I’ve always thought that the media platform for TV was not being used well for children. There was never enough value being provided to parents and children. My idea for “Ribert & Robert” actually came the night of 9/11. On that day, I saw my daughter Jennifer cry and I hadn’t seen her cry in a very long time. I couldn’t help but ask myself that day what how world events are impacting our children. That night I went to bed and I had a dream about R&R.I envisioned Robert as a human and was a nice person but constantly made mistakes. Ribert I imaged to have a heart of gold and innocent like a child. The overall message behind “Ribert & Robert” is for children to listen to their heart and to follow it. That’s what “Ribert & Robert” is trying to convey.The next day I wrote a script and took it to public television but quickly realized that I didn’t have the money to make my dream a reality and that’s when I developed SAM and put together my assembly line.Anyone who’s watched the show knows that we’ve always called the children “Power Pals.” That’s really my dream – to build a worldwide organization of “Power Pals” on the Internet. The idea is to use our technology to develop the first fully immerse virtual world for children on the World Wide Web and use our TV program to get kids to go there.CP: What is the most important message you would like to get out to/could offer independent producers?

MD: Start with something you believe in and stay focused.

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“Postcard From Buster Goes Global on PBS KIDS”

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Guess who has your passport to adventure this fall? Buster Baxter, and he’s back in new special episodes of the hit PBS KIDS GO! series POSTCARDS FROM BUSTER. Buster is globe trotting overseas in international specials that chronicle his adventures in China and Egypt. The half-hour episodes will air Fridays during the regular Arthur timeslot starting on PBS KIDS GO! (check local listings for times).”At a time when it’s more important than ever for kids to develop an understanding of the world around them, we’re thrilled to present our POSTCARDS FROM BUSTER international specials,” said Executive Producer Pierre Valette. “Through his lens, Buster has the invaluable ability to introduce kids to new faces, rich cultures, and the exciting ways that ancient traditions are interwoven into the modern lives of kids around the globe.”On the heels of the 2008 summer Olympics, Buster travels to China in “Buster in Beijing” (premiering November 14, 2008) where he sees that a rapidly modernizing China is merging the new and the old. Buster learns that in the midst of the towering skyscrapers of modern Beijing, the age-old traditions of tai chi, ribbon-dancing, pigeon-racing, and noodle-making continue to thrive. On his adventures, Buster meets Chen Xi, a 9-year old who heads her neighborhood’s recycling initiative – and Yiyi, an 11-year old skating champion who runs a foundation for kids with cancer. From them, Buster learns that being a global citizen means caring for the earth and the people in your community.Lastly, in “Buster’s Egyptian Adventure” (November 21, 2008), Buster discovers (much to his surprise!) that there are more minarets and mosques than mummies and mythology in Egypt today. In addition to exploring the bustling markets of Cairo, discovering the Great Pyramids, and taking a camel ride to the Sphinx, Buster also learns what it’s like to be a Muslim kid in modern Egypt. His adventures continue up the Nile River where Nubian children take him on a Felucca ride to Isis’ temple, invite him to a wedding, and introduce him to their pet crocodile. From the fertile valleys to the desert expanses Egypt is an eye-opening discovery at every turn.POSTCARDS FROM BUSTER pioneers a format that seamlessly blends animation with live-action documentary footage to tell Buster’s stories from around the world. The series also crosses media platforms, taking Buster’s television travels to the Internet. Kids can check out Buster’s personal blog, interactive games, video clips, maps, and original songs at pbskidsgo.org/buster. Additionally, companion books by Marc Brown (published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), and educational materials support and extend the series into classrooms and libraries nationwide.

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