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Kids Get the Chance to Shine as Film Critics Through KIDS FIRST! Film Critics’ Search

KF Film Critics Search log 1.5Kids who love movies and love to talk about them — universal attributes, right, parents? — are being offered the chance of a lifetime as KIDS FIRST! launches our first annual Film Critics’ Search on August 1. We’d like kids to hear from other kids what they think of a movie, so to start things off we’ve selected seven films for them to choose from to share their thoughts about: Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Furry Vengeance, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, The Secret of Moonacre, Jumping for Joy and The Velveteen Rabbit.

On our website, KIDS FIRST! will have discussion guides available for each of the films and general tips for youth reviewers. Kids aged six to 15 have until October 10 to send us their written review of their chosen film or films. Upon acceptance of their written review, they will be sent instructions for submitting a videotaped review and have until October 20 to submit that. The videotaped reviews will be posted on KIDS FIRST!’s partner site, WonderWorldTV.com, where the public will vote on the reviews and narrow the field to 20 finalists. The five winners will then be chosen by a panel of celebrity judges.

And then they’ll experience life as a film critic for 12 months — being among the first to view new theatrical releases and writing blogs and reviews for KIDS FIRST! and our media partners, and even attending red carpet events and interviewing the celebrities there. Wow! And not only is it fun, it’s educationally sound: Visual media is a pervasive element of contemporary life, and we’ve developed our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics program to encourage an active rather than passive response — a vital visual literacy whereby kids learn to critique as well as write reviews about media they enjoy.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critics’ Search will culminate in a grand finale Film Critics Weekend (November 12 – 14) that will include a KIDS FIRST! first as we attempt to set a world’s record of one million kids “viewing and reviewing” the same film on the same weekend, together with a caring adult. Imagine! A million kids riffing on the same film at the same time. The Velveteen Rabbit has been chosen for this record-breaking event. A discussion guide to help parents and kids explore ideas in the film is available on the KIDS FIRST! website. 

Our sponsors are as enthusiastic about KIDS FIRST! Film Critics’ Search as we are. Feature Films for Families will present a $10,000 scholarship to the best review of their film, The Velveteen Rabbit. Each of the five winners will see their review posted on WonderWorld’s website. Starz Kids & Family Channel will be playing The Velveteen Rabbit throughout the campaign and on the Finale Weekend. DVDs of all the search titles will be available at Toys R Us and online at Amazon.com. Campaign support comes from national nonprofit organizations that include the National Education Association, Reel Fathers, National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Council of Women’s Organizations, with a cumulative 17+ million members. Stepping Stone Media is donating a percentage of The Velveteen Rabbit DVD sales to KIDS FIRST! and to any nonprofit organization that becomes an affiliate of the campaign.

Visit http://www.kidsfirst.org/become-a-juror/FilmCriticsCampaign.html for more information about the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics’ Campaign, discussion guides for each of the seven entry choices, and guides for creating both a written review and a video review (to be available by Aug. 1). Also find information on fundraising opportunities for organizations through the KIDS FIRST! affiliate program.

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