Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

A Million Miles Away * An Inspiring Life Story Of Jose Hernandez, The First Migrant Farmworker To Become An Astronaut

Saturday, September 23rd, 2023

This film is a biopic about Jose Hernandez and his path from a farm worker to becoming an engineer and an astronaut. Jose M Hernandez was born in Mexico. While working in the fields, he co-developed the first digital mammography imaging system. He then persevered to become a crew member on Space Shuttle mission STS-128. Tells how it takes perseverance, community and sacrifice to accomplish a seemingly impossible dream.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Daniel S. comments, “A Million Miles Away is full of remarkable acting. Michael Peńa leads as Hernandez with much charisma and dramatic depth. He excellently captures the humble, smart and ambitious astronaut. It’s very difficult not to root for him, as we can all resonate with aspects of his journey.” See his full review and interview below.

A Million Miles Away
By Daniel S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

A Million Miles Away is an absolutely incredible film that is definitely worth watching. The film has great performances, a compelling story and stunning visuals.

The storyline reveals the true life story of Jose Hernandez, the first migrant farmworker to become an astronaut. His journey is filled with incredible perseverance and resilience, as he overcomes numerous obstacles to achieve his dream of reaching the stars.

A Million Miles Away is full of remarkable acting. Michael Peńa leads as Hernandez with much charisma and dramatic depth. He excellently captures the humble, smart and ambitious astronaut. It’s very difficult not to root for him, as we can all resonate with aspects of his journey. Rosa Salazar portrays the strong, supportive, and similarly determined Adela, who marries Hernandez. Salazar’s performance effectively portrays the film’s theme of dreams interfering with reality and one’s struggle to chase their ambitions while concurrently supporting their family.

The way in which Hernandez’s story is told in this film is especially captivating. The film connects his past with his present life, helping us understand how his earlier life influenced who he has become. Throughout the film, watching Jose get closer and closer to becoming an astronaut is incredibly satisfying. The film keeps us engaged and eager to see how his life unfolds – making it a truly memorable viewing experience.

The film’s message is one of aspiration and persistence. Jose’s path is filled with barriers and obstacles, but his unyielding determination drives him to fulfill and pursue his dreams. With Jose Hernandez’s traits, one can reach what previously felt a million miles away.

I give A Million Miles Away 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The film releases on September 15, 2023 on Amazon Prime.

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Wishing you a Happy Holiday

Thursday, December 15th, 2022

All of us at KIDS FIRST! send you our best wishes for a happy holiday season. Whatever holiday you celebrate, this is a time to slow down, spend time with our family and friends and reflect on our past year. As the year rapidly winds down, please consider investing in our shared future.  Even as the nation and world shut down during the 2020 pandemic, the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics persevered, and thrived. We shifted from attending live events to attending online events — screening films, interviewing talent, attending virtual red carpets – without dropping a beat. As challenging as it was, our young reporters rose to the occasion and amazed us all.

As life has returned to a new normal, our team are returning to live events but, online events have claimed a space that makes sense. It levels the playing field for our reporters so that a child living outside of LA or New York City, where live events mostly take place, can still participate.

If you have followed us you have seen our reporters grow and thrive – before, during and after the pandemic. We give them a voice, an audience to share their insights about the media that impacts their lives. Most of our reporters envision a future in the entertainment business as creators; they plan to bring you the type of media they want to see. We are helping them realize those dreams as they are consistently offered opportunities to watch a wide assortment of films from mainstream studios as well as lesser known filmmakers worldwide. We invite you to be part of that process.


As we celebrate our 31st anniversary, we are grateful to supporters like you who help keep this program alive and relevant. Our staff that works with these kids and coaches them with every assignment are the above the line contributors that are invisible to you, but critical to our reporters. Your support is needed to help provide professional assistance by our team.

I recently have had the privilege of meeting with several of our alumni, some of whom you might remember. For example Gerry O., from Los Angeles, is now a senior at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and working for an animation company. Alejandra G., from Miami, recently was hired as a reporter for NBC News in Manhattan. They both talked about how their experience with KIDS FIRST! helped guide them to where they are now. I also visited with from Samantha M. who recently graduated from Cal State San Diego and is thriving on the east coast. Kayla and Kendyl P., both recent college graduates, recently wrote me saying “KIDS FIRST! taught me so much about myself, my craft and the industry. I will cherish those memories forever.”

The mother of a current reporter, Hanadie K., recently wrote me saying, “Thank you again for the life-changing opportunities you create for these children. You are a true gem and your work is going to leave a legacy and imprint on the hearts of so many.”  

We believe in these kids.
They are the Creatives Of Tomorrow.  

As we approach the end of 2022, we invite you to help us make an impact on the future of children’s entertainment by helping support these young people that we work with today. Contributions from individual donors like you help us meet our annual fundraising goals and provide critical funding that  supports all the back-end work at our office – our coaches and editors, our IT and promotion team, our podcast producer and weekly e-zine editor.

At this time, we invite you to join millions around the world in supporting the causes they care about. Now more than ever, we need your support to keep our film critics program alive and well. No gift is too small or large. Every dollar counts. You have the power to shape the entertainment industry and transform young people’s lives by supporting this program.

KIDS FIRST! is a project of the national 501(c)(3) Coalition for Quality Children’s Media. Your donation is tax deductible to the degree allowed by law.

Support The Creatives of Tomorrow


A contribution of any amount is meaningful. Here are some ideas of what different amounts sponsor:  

$ 20 Sponsors a youth filmmaker wanting to submit a film to our festival

$ 120 Sponsors one tween or teen at film critics Boot Camp

$ 2000 Sponsors a mini film critics boot camp at a local film festival

$ 5000 Supports a youth film critic for one year

For more details, visit out GoFundMe page. Thanks in advance for your help.


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Conversation with Air Bud Entertainment’s Execs about NFT Collectible Launch

Thursday, June 16th, 2022

Recently KIDS FIRST! Film Critics had the opportunity to chat with the team at Air Bud Entertainment to learn more about the Air Bud Entertainment Collectible NFTs. As long time fans of the Air Bud Entertainment films, we were excited to learn more about this expansion into the word of NFTs.

When interviewing Air Bud Entertainment’s Robert Vince (CEO), Eric Vince (VP Business Development) and Anna McRoberts (President) we learned that the focus of these collectibles is to give the owner exclusive access to the Air Bud a community and how each one features a package of unique and exclusive content, including limited-edition video content, interactive games and physical merchandise.   Most importantly, the content and characters celebrate important themes such as friendship, teamwork and family, and, as part of the Air Bud community, members are connected to a group of like-minded parents and kids who share these values — and who want to collect and engage with Air Bud Entertainment content together.

Take a look at the interviews below by our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics with Air Bud’s C-Suite executives who talked about things you are probably curious about as well. And, just because our KIDS FIRST! Followers are so awesome, ABE is offering our followers $5 off on their first purchase. Use this code for the discount: ABKids5. The offer ends July 1, 2022.

Eshaan M., Samantha P. and Zoe C. interview Robert and Eric Vince about Air Bud Entertainment’s NFT launch. Questions include:

  • What am I really getting when I get an NFT?
  • How does the process of building a collection of NFT’s work?
  • What’s the connection between NFTs and cryptocurrency?

Ashleigh C., Katie F. and Calee N. interview Robert and Eric Vince about Air Bud Entertainment’s NFT launch. Questions include:

  • Can you explain what an NFT is?
  • What was the beginning thought process of creating an Air Bud NFT?
  • Are NFTs the future of art and collectables?

What comes first? The initial NFT comes from the immersive new Genesis collection and features a collectible coin from ABE’s newest series Super PupZ, plus a Zeta video. For a limited time, this NFT includes a free air drop of one of the Super PupZ trading cards. Super PupZ is streaming now on Netflix. More information at: https://nft.airbud.com

Let’s look at two more interviews by our
KIDS FIRST! Film Critics.

Heather S. and Ethan P. interview Anna McRoberts & Eric Vince about Air Bud Entertainment’s NFT launch. Questions include:

  • NFTs have become so popular; even younger kids know about them. What advice do you have for future young collectors?
  • When will the Air Bud NFTs be available for the public?
  • How has your life been different after collecting NFTs yourself?

Enjoy Tiana S., Dominic D. and Keila V’s. interview with Anna McRoberts and Eric Vince about Air Bud Entertainment’s NFT launch. Questions include:

  • Why did you choose to promote this show using NFT’s?
  • I want to be able to learn as much as possible about this technology. Will there be ways for us to communicate and share ideas catered to our interests regarding the Air Bud NFTs?
  • Why did you pick NFTs as a way to turn your fan base into a more interactive and connected community and how will Air Bud Entertainment look at the success of this NFT project after the upcoming launch?

Some things to know:

Zeta, Super PutZ from Air Bud Entertainment. Streaming on Netflix now.
  • When you join the ABE Collectibles community, you will receive the original NFT token, free NFTs and more. It’s an ongoing community where collecting is made easy as there is no requirement to own cryptocurrency.
  • You do not need to use cryptocurrency for ABE Collectibles. They have partnered with Shopify where you can purchase a membership and NFTs using the most conventional payment methods like credit cards, Apple Pay, and similar.
  • NFTs are assets that you own. You can keep, trade or sell them on the ABE Collectibles website with other community members all around the globe. The secondary trading will begin in 90 days.
  • The Air Bud Entertainment (ABE) community is a closed, safe, exclusive community. This means the community website is the only place where you can view and purchase their exclusive content. When you log onto NFT.AirBud.com, you are guaranteed not to be redirected to any other website.
  • New NFTs will be dropped weekly from the extensive ABE library of 22 movies and four series with hundreds of unique characters. A new portal will be opened every 60 to 90 days — the first from the new family Netflix series Super PupZ followed by Pup Academy. Each portal will have its own unique world offerings of branded content to own. The ABE community can keep or trade on NFT.AirBud.com.

Our last two groups might touch on some questions that you haven’t had answered yet. Take a look:

Enjoy Nathalia J., Mars R. and Sariah R.’s interview with Anna McRoberts & Eric Vince about Air Bud Entertainment’s NFT launch. Questions include:

  • What are the hopes you have with introducing kids to the world of Non-Transferable Tokens (NFTs)?
  • How did your team come up with the design for the NFTs and who designed it? 
  • For fans of the Super Buddies and Super PupZ, what can we expect to see in the future from Air Bud Entertainment and how will that be reflected in future releases of NFTs?

Benjamin P., Anna Clara B. and Carlee S. interview Anna McRoberts & Eric Vince about Air Bud Entertainment’s NFTs.

  • So you think these NFTs can be enjoyed by the whole family?
  • Why do NFTs feel right for Air Bud?
  • Can you talk about the different Key Pillars of Air Bud Entertainment collectibles and why you chose them?
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Wednesday, February 16th, 2022

The UH KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, presented by Outreach College, continues with FREE virtual screenings — plus coming up this weekend, live stream interview/Q&A sessions with filmmakers and crew. Programs focus on climate change and the environment, space and technology, social justice and tolerance, arts and culture…and just plain fun.

All films stream free of charge. Click on the “Reserve Tickets” button for an All Access Pass to the festival. To reserve tickets for thematic film blocks/individual films, go directly to the Virtual Festival Catalog. Be sure to check out our live streaming interviews and Q&A’s this weekend.
For free tickets to all live streams and virtual screenings, visit kidsfirsthawaii.eventive.org


Films available for viewing from Feb 16, 12am – Feb 21, 11:45pm

You Do You No Matter Who – Part 1 • 9 films

With artistry and humor, short films about building bridges and finding common ground across differences. Positive messages: never give up, resist giving in to social pressures, celebrate who you are.



Films available for viewing from Feb 17, 12am – Feb 21, 11:45pm

Music Moves • 2 films

Pops is Tops is a musical journey through the home and life of Louis Armstrong.

Quaranteened: A Virtual Musical, from The Theatre Bug in partnership with MA2LA, was written by teen writers, recorded from home, and produced remotely.



Films available for viewing from Feb 18, 12am – Feb 21, 11:45pm

All Kine Kids • 9 films

Delightful tales of kids being kids everywhere — from the school room to the stage to the reindeer roundup — from the US, Canada, Belgium, Iran, and Mongolia.


MORE TO COME! The Festival continues through February 21 with streaming films & live stream events with film creatives.


For free tickets to all live streams and virtual screenings, visit kidsfirsthawaii.eventive.org

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KIDS FIRST!/IN THE LOOP Film Festival Free Pass to enjoy on our last day – September 26

Sunday, September 26th, 2021

Our 30th Anniversary Celebration wraps up this afternoon, September 26 with a fantastic group of films from the creatives of tomorrow. Celebrating Student Filmmakers features: THE DOG WHO BROUGHT HOME THE SUN, DEEP FEARS, DELIVERING SUNSHINE, INTERFACE, RABBITS UNDER THE SHED, RED JUNIOR AND THE WOLF, LILLY GOES TO THE DOGS, THINGS TO REMEMBER, THE IMPOSSIBLE WAY, LONELY WOODS, DEREK AND HIS BRICK and GROWING PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST. Following the screening is a panel discussion with the filmmakers moderated by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan Mani. You can watch the films beginning at 5:00PM Eastern time online at https://watch.eventive.org/intheloopkfff/play/612ff49053d63e005b9ee85b and you can access the panel beginning at 6:15 PM Eastern time at https://watch.eventive.org/intheloopkfff/play/612ff49053d63e005b9ee85b/613b9c415568e700bc677e43

The cool thing is that since today is our last day, you can watch all of the films from the festival until 11:55 PM Eastern time tonight. So, grab a bowl of popcorn and log on to see some terrific indie and student films for youth and families.

Watch a film on us. Here’s a link you can use for a free pass for today: https://intheloopkfff.eventive.org/passes/buy/friends_of_kids_first

As a reminder, here are some of the films we have played throughout the festival: QUARANTEENED: THE MUSICAL – the story we can all relate to about life during the age of COVID-19 – from the experience of a talented group of teens. The film is documented through photos, chats, Zoom calls and lots of great music! Quaranteened was written by all teen writers and recorded entirely from home and produced remotely. The show features the intertwined stories of a group of teenagers trying to stay connected in a world asking them to isolate themselves. This is followed by a Q&A with the film’s creator, Cori Anne Laemmel. Watch it here: https://watch.eventive.org/intheloopkfff/play/61241c47bf831b009c178de3

Life as it Happens! A collection of films telling stories about relationships and dealing with set-backs, food insecurity, and fitting in. Films include GAMING & LIFE, ROOMMATES, COPYCATS, ROCKLAND RELAY, MILK, TURTLE, MY OTHER SON and A BOY’S JOURNEY: CROSSING THE ALENUIHAHA.

75 DEGREES WEST – a student feature film exploring the fall of civilization after a prolonged pandemic as two brothers wander through a post-pandemic world, trying to survive as they travel across the US countryside. They journey toward 75° West, surviving as best they can on what they can find as they try to avoid human dangers along the way.

Foreign Exchange. A collection of films from filmmakers worldwide indlucing RED, YUANYUAN, CORONA DEV, JAADOO (THEMAGIC), WALK WALK WALK: THE STORY OF STAND PROUD AND DRONYA’S ARTIFICES.

Race Relations in a Diversifying World. Films include BLACK LIVES MATTER, BREATHE, HUMAN RACE ISM, LAST WORDS, LOVE IS LOVE, THE TRUTH OF BEAUTY and JOE BUFFALO. This is followed by a moderated panel discussion with the film creators.

The Outsiders – kids trying to fit in in some way, shape or form. Films include CHARLIE SURFER, HOPE, GIVE CHANGE, THE MISSFITS, RAINSHADOW and INSIDE OUT.


Kids are Saving the World features films about kids and their take on global environmental issues – KIDS WHO SAVE THE WORLD: UPCYCLING, REAL WORLD, BLUE GOLD ANIJAM, MAGGIE MAE: AN ENVIRONMENTAL STORY, GREAT WHITE SHARKS, THE IMPOSSIBLE WAY and more!


Of course all of these films have been vetted by our youth and adult jurors so you are assured that they all meet or exceed our baseline criteria of no gratuitous violence, no bias in terms of race, gender or culture, no replicable unsafe behavior, no inappropriate sexual behavior – plus, they must have an uplifting message. And, we have identified the audience age for each film so you can select one appropriate for yourself or your child.

Watch tonight for free and if you like what you see, consider making a donation to KIDS FIRST! to support all that we do for youth and families. Here’s a link you can use for a free pass for today: https://intheloopkfff.eventive.org/passes/buy/friends_of_kids_first

View the entire line-up of films here:  https://intheloopkfff.eventive.org/films

We’ll see you at the movies – online!

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