Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

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Remember that Your Donation is Tax Deductible. As the year comes to a close this is a way for you to decide how your hard earned money will be spent.

Thursday, December 28th, 2023

As the year comes to an end, remember that your donation is tax deductible; so, rather than send your hard earned dollars to the government, you can decide how to make a difference in the lives of children nationwide. How can we tell you how much your support means for KIDS FIRST! It really makes a difference because without your support, we would not have a program. We still have just a bit over $3,000 to raise, so please keep spreading the word – we are so close now!

Launched in 2012, KIDS FIRST! Film Critics is the only program that teaching tweens and teens to become entertainment reporters. Their reviews and interviews are shared reviews with other kids, teachers, parents and grandparents. At the same time, they are developing lifelong skills in writing, presentation and on-camera appearances. We are teaching a community of young creatives build skills and develop relationships in the entertainment industry and beyond.

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. 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 a story from Harmony: https://www.kidsfirst.org/about-us/KFFC.Bio.HarmonyMakhfi.html

And one more from Samantha: https://www.kidsfirst.org/about-us/KFFC.Bio.SamanthaMarcus.html

You can donate here: 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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Happy Thanksgiving And Thanks For Your Support

Tuesday, November 21st, 2023

First of all, I want to thank those of you who have already donated to our campaign and I thought you might enjoy today’s alumni story and you might want to pass it on to a potential donor.  This fundraiser won’t last long and we do need your support. As much as we all love what we do here, we do need little love (and funds) to keep the operation in business.

Once a year we ask for support for our year-end campaign. And it’s that time once again. A little goes a long way here so please know that your contribution, no matter how small or how big, will be put to good use.  

Today I have another alumni story to share with you and believe you will find it as inspiring as I have. Harmony Makhfi was a KIDS FIRST! reporter 11 years ago and is now a happy neuroscientist. Here’s her story.

KIDS FIRST! changed my life for the better. I began my time there at the age of 14 and am now 25. I have nothing but great things to say about my time at KIDS FIRST! Through my experience, I developed skills that have truly propelled me in my career as an adult. Looking back at the content I produced (at what now seems like such a young age) makes me really proud. Analyzing media in the way we did really gave me a unique, mature perspective on media – and I am so proud to have that skill set. It has given me a lens to view the world with much more intention. Being a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic allowed me to explore my passion for movies, express my opinions, and engage with a vibrant community of film lovers. Through analyzing and reviewing films, I developed a deeper understanding of storytelling, cinematography, and the power of visual art. 

The structure of the organization is amazing…managing a bunch of kids is no easy feat! I had such an amazing time going to advanced screenings, writing and filming professional reviews, and practicing my public speaking on the recurring radio shows. For children, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of and it gives them a sort of education you can’t get anywhere else.

I’m so thankful for my time at KIDS FIRST! I continued to do reviews into my early college years while deciding to pursue cognitive science – a completely different world! My experience really stood out on my college applications, and later my resume. I am now a happy neuroscientist with a heart in film and an experience I get to brag about to this day. 

We are dedicated to training tweens and teens to act as entertainment professionals – as journalists, as YouTubers, as Influencers – but more importantly we allow them opportunities to express their opinions about entertainment and to learn and grow as young adults.

In order to continue doing the work we do, we need your support.  Our goal is to raise $50,000 in our year-end campaign, which allows us to continue doing the important work we do and will be matched by donations from other sources. We welcome  your donation of any amount — no amount is too small! If every one of our subscribers would donate $5 we would easily hit our goal tomorrow!


Hanadie K. Invite you to the KIDS FIRST! End of Year Campaign @yourfavlambchop

♬ original sound – Kidsfirstmedia

You can donate online here: https://fnd.us/kidsfirst?ref=sh_bCo1e4, through PayPal or Venmo, or simply mail a check to our address in my signature below.

Thank you so much for taking time to read this and for your support. Here’s wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving with your family and friends.


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Become a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and Help Shape the Future of Children’s Media

Thursday, June 29th, 2023

Do you love movies? Do you have a passion for helping other children make good media choices? If so, then you’re invited to audition for a spot on our awesome 65 member team. Register here: https://tinyurl.com/yeywrrxb

Our deadline is July 13, so jump on it now!

KIDS FIRST! is a national educational organization that empowers children to become media-literate consumers. We do this by providing children with the tools and resources they need to critically evaluate the media they consume. One of the ways we do this is through our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics  program.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critics is open to children ages 9 to 15, worldwide – as long as you speak and write in English.  As a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Watch new children’s films before they are released to the public
  • Attend film festivals and industry events
  • Meet and interview filmmakers and actors
  • Write reviews of these films for our website, blog & social media channels
  • Videotape reviews for our YouTube Channel, blog, website & social media

Check out Hanadie K.’s review of the new Disney animated film, The Little Mermaid.

We are looking for children who are passionate about movies, who are articulate and have a strong desire to learn more about the entertainment business. If you think you have what it takes to be a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, then we encourage you to audition for a spot among our 65 worldwide team. That’s right, you can join from anyplace in the world, as long as you speak and write in English.

Our audition deadline is July 13. But don’t despair. If you can’t make this one, we’ll have another one later this summer.

In addition to the information above, here are some additional reasons why you should consider becoming a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic:

  • It’s a great way to learn about the film industry and how movies are made.
  • You will get to see new films before they are released to the public.
  • You will have the opportunity to meet and interview filmmakers and actors.
  • You will be able to share your thoughts and opinions about movies with other children.
  • You will be helping to shape the future of children’s media.

To learn more about the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics program and how to apply on our website: https://www.kidsfirst.org.

Call to Action:

Check out Zoe C.’s interview with the stars of the new Pixar / Disney film Elemental.

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Nuisance Bear * Helps Us Realize That People Are The Real Nuisance, Not The Bears

Sunday, January 15th, 2023

Nuisance Bear is a Canadian short documentary film, directed by Jack Weisman and Gabriela Osio Vanden and released in 2021. The film is a portrait of the polar bears in and around the town of Churchill, Manitoba.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “Nuisance Bear has glorious cinematography and superb storytelling that drive home its important message of peaceful coexistence with nature. It’s a terrific film for all those who love the great outdoors, as well as for budding filmmakers… Nuisance Bear promotes respecting nature and ensuring you don’t disrupt other beings endemic to your area. The film helps us realize that people are the real nuisance, not the bears.” See his full review below.

Nuisance Bear
by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 16

Nuisance Bear has glorious cinematography and superb storytelling that drive home its important message of peaceful coexistence with nature. It’s a terrific film for all those who love the great outdoors, as well as for budding filmmakers.

Nuisance Bear follows a polar bear migrating across the town of Churchill in the Canadian province of Manitoba. People congregate to take pictures and videos, and the bear begins to clash with the locals. That is when the bear’s journey takes a dramatic turn, and “nuisance bear” removal forces enter the scene.

Nuisance Bear is a documentarian’s documentary. With no voiceover or speaking at all, the New Yorker team behind the film lets the images and captured video do the talking. And it’s supremely effective. I especially love the way the wildlife forces’ pickup truck is shot like it’s the predator, not the bear; it approaches menacingly with high beams on and then veers to the side as the bear makes its escape. It’s absolutely scintillating. In many scenes, there isn’t even any background music, so all you hear is the soft stepping of the bear and the rumbling engines of the wildlife forces. Hat’s off to directors Jack Weisman and Gabriela Osio Vanden for creating such a masterful piece of visual storytelling.

Nuisance Bear promotes respecting nature and ensuring you don’t disrupt other beings endemic to your area. The film helps us realize that people are the real nuisance, not the bears.

I give Nuisance Bear 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. The film is available to watch on the New Yorker YouTube channel now.

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KIDS FIRST! Joins Kenn Viselman & MeteoHeroes To Create The Most Comprehensive Climate Education Initiative Ever In America

Wednesday, July 20th, 2022

Children’s and Family Entertainment mega-hit maker and producer Kenn Viselman, known for some of the most ground-breaking and successful children’s TV series of all time (Thomas the Tank Engine, Teletubbies & more), is mad as hell and can’t take it anymore. Now he needs YOUR help, through a new GoFundME campaign, to establish The Most Comprehensive Climate Education Initiative EVER in the US, with plans to extend around the world.

Whether or not you personally believe in Climate Change, our children are gravely concerned about it. According to a recent study by Bath University, 84% of kids worldwide are “worried” to “extremely worried” about climate change and fear that the world will not be here when they grow up.

Viselman is executive producing the incredibly timely and imperative new children’s series, MeteoHeroes, the definitive series about Climate Education, already airing in 145 countries. 

The MeteoHeroes are a group of pint-sized superheroes, each of whom represents the seven continents and different natural elements. Working in tandem to fight climate change disasters, our fearless heroes go to battle using their unique superhuman abilities to save our planet. With humor and respect for its audience, the MeteoHeroes make the viewer part of the solution to the devastation they are seeing around them.

Even with the award-winning MeteoHeroes’ Special airing on PBS stations and record-breaking ratings around the globe Viselman has been unable to get anyone in government to act on the issue of climate education, no matter how loudly he yelled from the rooftops… “Our kids are freaking out… Our kids are freaking out!FED UP WITH GOVERNMENT INACTION THEY LAUNCH A GOFUNDME CAMPAIGN


This Climate Education Initiative helps children feel hopeful and realize that they have the power to change the world… with a global message to kids – “you don’t need to wear a cape to be a superhero.”  Because EVERY child in America and around the world is entitled to climate education.

Knowing that Governor Newsom was a huge supporter of climate education for America’s youth, Viselman’s team arranged with officials in San Bernardino for funding to be included in the most recent California fiscal budget and was devastated to learn that the line item had been secretly and anonymously eliminated by someone who he believes is in Newsom’s administration and was either to undermine the governor or because they were clandestinely a climate denier.

Knowing the urgency of the situation as children are continuing to suffer and that it could take as much as another year to get the line item reinstated, Viselman felt he had no choice but to act now.


This initiative, the largest of its kind, will include in-school, age graded educational materials for children 4 to10 years old, onscreen education with online educational materials for children and their families, plus broad community outreach and more.


Frustrated as “heck,” Viselman had enough and recruited Coalition for Quality Children’s Media / KIDS FIRST! to be the fiduciary of the GoFundMe campaign. Along with KIDS FIRST! The following companies have already committed to bringing this climate education initiative to all corners of the earth.

The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company’s producing partner, Mondo TV Studios S.A., one of the largest producers of animation in Europe, and Luigi Latini’s Meteo Experts, a global team of renowned meteorologists who have been studying the climate since 1995, together with Adventure 2 Learning, the educational platform created and curated to support active learning in pre-K through 8th grade, will put this climate education initiative into 30,000 schools across the country with an age-graded curriculum for kids ages 4 to 10. This alone will impact 15,000,000+ US students and millions more in at least the twenty other countries A2L services across the globe.  

KVIE PBS will be the “presenting station” and is working with many PBS stations across the country for them to broadcast and/or stream MeteoHeroes in conjunction with an original companion series, Real Superheroes Don’t Wear Capes, to be produced in cooperation with KIDS FIRST! The initiative will implement both on-screen and online educational materials, and create opportunities for PBS stations to be active partners in their communities.

Wherever MeteoHeroes is watched, Viselman and Mondo TV Studios S.A. will offer elements of this education initiative. The age-graded curriculum will be available to any media partner of the series, to be shared with their audiences, both broadcast and on-line.


The team behind this initiative are committed to starting work on the various elements as soon as funding becomes available. The campaign will start immediately and initial funds will be used for the development of age-graded curriculum materials and other production costs. The plan is for Adventure 2 Learning to have access to distribute MeteoHeroes in the 2022-23 school years.


The campaign goal is to raise 10 million dollars. All donations, whether $10 or $10,000 go to KIDS FIRST!, are tax deductible and extremely meaningful.  And for every donation, regardless of the amount, MeteoHeroes will plant a tree in honor of the donation in one of the MeteoHeroes’ forest across the globe.

Viselman’s hope is to use the power of storytelling to change the world… with your help that dream will become reality.  If we don’t help our children…  who will? Learn more directly from Kenn Viselman https://youtu.be/Qg9vinKDNBI

KIDS FIRST! – KIDS FIRST! is a project of the 31-year-old non-profit (501-c-3) Coalition for Quality Children’s Media that evaluates, rates and endorses children’s feature films, digital media, audio recordings and television shows. KIDS FIRST!’s goal is to empower children to make wise media choices and to promote quality media products that enrich their lives. The KIDS FIRST! stamp of approval assures you the programming contains no gratuitous violence, no inappropriate sexual behavior, and no bias in terms of race, gender, culture or religion. For more information, please visit: www.kidsfirst.org

About Adventure 2 Learning – Adventure 2 Learning believes that every meaningful learning experience is an adventure. The educational platform offers a rich selection of video-centered resources, specially created and curated to support active learning in pre-kindergarten through 8th grade. Adventure 2 Learning’s programs are used in over 30,000 schools, providing educational experiences that are engaging, impactful, and fun. For more information, visit https://www.adventure2learning.com/.

About Mondo TV Studios – Mondo TV Studios is part of the Mondo TV Group, a leading European company in the production and distribution of audio-visual content. Mondo TV Studios operates in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Latin America and the Spanish-speaking markets of the United States. Mondo TV Studios’ animation services range from animation for children and fiction for adolescents, families and adults, to forays into new segments such as video games.  Mondo TV Studios is a company that has been listed on the BME Growth Market since 2016 under the ticker MONI. For information: www.mondotvstudios.com

About The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company – With over 25 Billion dollars in commercial success, Kenn Viselman’s itsy bitsy Entertainment, is one of the world’s most successful and admired independent children’s entertainment companies. Committed to changing the world through storytelling, his brands have become wildly efficacious both on and off the screen including award winning television series as well as top-selling toys, books, videos, clothing and numerous other ancillary products. TibECo is committed to engaging, entertaining, enlightening wonderfilled family entertainment both on and off the screen which emphasize the message of empathy and LOVE. itsy bitsy Entertainment… works for Families! ™

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