Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Wow!! You Blew US Away On Giving Tuesday – Thank you so very very much. We’re now at 30% Of Our Goal!

This week we celebrated Giving Tuesday–the biggest day of the year for showing your generosity and support for the causes you care about. And you, our happy followers, came through for us once again. However, we still have a ways to go, so please keep spreading the word.

Launched in 2012, our program is the first-of-its-kind in teaching tweens and teens how to critique media and share their reviews with their peers, teachers, parents and grandparents. Our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics’ reviews and interviews are just the tip of the iceberg. We’re creating a community of young creatives, helping them build lifelong skills and relationships within the entertainment industry.

Our alumni have shared how their experience as KIDS FIRST! reporters affected them in college and as young professionals. Check out Keefer Carteen‘s story below. Keefer was a member of our team from 2013 to 2021, is a 2022 college graduate and now fully employed in the entertainment business.

If you were to make a “statement of support” about what you gained from your KIDS FIRST! experience, something that you would like to tell potential benefactors or media industry professionals, what would that look like?

I learned how to express my passion for films in a clear and concise way through my video reviews. As a writer, they pushed me to analyze what makes a good film and how media influences our youth. KIDS FIRST! gave me a voice when I felt my opinion as a kid didn’t matter.

My time at KIDS FIRST! was the most influential period of my life. I joined when I was 13 with a speech impediment and no experience in the film industry. Thankfully, Ranny Levy took me under her wing. From exciting private screenings to unforgettable red carpet events, KIDS FIRST! gave me opportunities that I could only dream of. Under the tutelage of Ranny Levy, I learned how to be a professional presenter and a conscientious writer. My education at KIDS FIRST! was intensive but never patronizing because Ranny sees the limitless potential in children and pushes them to be the best they can be. 

What are you currently doing related to school, film, media and/or the entertainment business?

I recently earned my BA in Practical Filmmaking at MET Film School in Ealing, London. Still residing in London, I’m pursuing a career as a director/writer/producer. I’ve worked on feature films, high end commercials and award winning short films. My most recent accomplishment was being a Production Manager for the Short Film Last Call Starring Tom Holland and Lindsay Duncan which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival.  With every project I still use the same communication skills that KIDS FIRST! equipped me with. 

Can you share one or more memories of your experience as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic that you fondly remember and something that affected your life – in terms of your college experience, your professional work or just your own self esteem?

My fondest memory in my life was because of KIDS FIRST! Mel Brooks is my comedy hero and when he was presented his AFI Life Achievement award, it was Ranny Levy that gave me the chance to interview my hero. On the red carpet Mr. Brooks came forward and shook my hand. His warm smile and energetic nature overwhelmed me. I was able to ask him one question about why he wanted to be a filmmaker. He listed off the comedy legends that inspired him; Marx Brothers, Ritz Brothers, etc. and he said “Comedy, that’s the way to go kid! To this day I keep that memory in my heart. Writing this made me very nostalgic. I truly miss you. 

Cruising memory lane, here’s one of my favorite reviews of Keefer’s:

At KIDS FIRST!, we strive to give the young people we work with the best possible experience as we introduce them not just the latest films, but to key players in the entertainment business. And, as much as they benefit from this, they also impact millions of people who read and watch their reviews and interviews as well – making them more conscientious media users.

Additionally, their help in curating films for our KIDS FIRST! Film Festivals has reached new heights this year as live film festivals return and virtual ones remain robust. This fall we programmed for 5 festivals – 3 in the US, one in Pakistan and one in Ukraine. The Ukraine event was particularly uplifting as educators there wanted to provide positive activities for kids who are living in a country that is at war. We couldn’t do this work without the valuable contribution of our young reporters as festival jurors.

That’s why we are asking you to continue to support KIDS FIRST! with a donation of any amount you are comfortable with. Our goal is to raise $15,000 with this campaign. We have several pending grant applications currently that require at least a $15,000 match from donors so that is our goal. Every penny will go to support the KIDS FIRST! program so we can share their authentic film reviews with the world and positively affect the way kids and families absorb media.

Here’s the link to our campaign: https://fnd.us/kidsfirst?ref=sh_bCo1e4 or, you can mail us a check.

Thank you in advance for your generosity,

Ranny and the KIDS FIRST! team

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