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Scholarships Available for Film Critics Boot Camps in Silver Spring and Martha’s Vineyard

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

KFCA.2014_1.jpgIf your child loves films, loves to talk about them and loves to be on camera, we have a camp for you! This “opportunity of a lifetime” experience offers learning and fun all in one. One of our sponsors just made available two partial scholarships for our camp in Silver Spring, MD next week (July 14-18) and another has made two FULL SCHOLARSHIPS available in Martha’s Vineyard for our camp August 11-15. If you can take advantage of these opportunities, don’t delay, do it today!
The camp is open to boys and girls, ages 10 to 15. This unique boot camp helps build self confidence and explores the behind-the-scenes aspects of the film industry while kids critique the latest films, learn to write reviews, practice interview techniques, improve on-camera skills, visit with industry professionals and are coached by seasoned professionals. All campers will have the opportunity to join the KIDS FIRST! Film Critic team of reporters afterwards.

The KIDS FIRST! Film Critic’s program, now in its fourth year, has received acclaim from publishers and educators alike. The reviews, both written and videotaped, by the team of youth reporters reach an audience of more than 7 million monthly through affiliations with broadcast, print and online publishers including Huffington Post, YouTube, Voice America Kids Network, Kidsville News, Working Woman, Kidzworld.com, HDnet Movies KidScene, LA Parent, Westchester Parent and many more.

Leading the KIDS FIRST! teaching team is Ranny Levy, founder and president of KIDS FIRST! / Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, a former television producer, educator and long-time children’s media advocate. With a life-long interest in film and children’s use of film, Carol Darcy, with an EdD in Education Leadership and Curriculum Development (Boston University) has taught kindergarten, undergraduate and graduate students. She designed a professional development course called Being a Pro-Active Media Literacy Advocate. Carol joins the KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Boot Camp staff this summer on Martha’s Vineyard.

The week-long boot camps meet Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Silver Spring and 9 a.m to 2:00 p.m. at Martha’s Vineyard. Locations include:

  • July 14 – 18:  Silver Spring, MD, Discovery Communications (DCE World Headquarters)
  • Aug 11 – Aug 15: Martha’s Vineyard, Martha’s Vineyard Film Center

For more information and to register, go to http://www.kidsfirst.org. Please act soon, because space is limited. Tuition: $459. The partial scholarships in Silver Springs brings the camp down to $225 per child! There are two full scholarships available for kids at the Martha’s Vineyard Camp. For more information visit http://www.kidsfirst.org/become-a-juror/2014.BootCamp.html

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Boot Camp is a program of the 23-year-old, national, nonprofit organization,  Coalition for Quality Children’s Media  whose mission is to teach children critical viewing skills and to increase the visibility and availability of quality children’s media. For more information visit http://www.kidsfirst.org.

“Your efforts to make media a more valuable part of students’ lives is critically important,” John Wilson, Executive Director, National Education Association.

Enter, Vote and Support KIDS FIRST!

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012


SUPPORT KIDS FIRST! We know that Holiday Time is the #1 time for making tax-deductible donations to your favorite nonprofits. Please keep us in mind in your annual giving and consider making a contribution to KIDS FIRST!

TIME TO ENTER AND VOTE! KIDS FIRST! needs your help to choose the next group of Film Critics. 2013 will be the third year we welcome new faces to represent KIDS FIRST! to review tons of new feature films, DVDs and old classics. Our youth critics also attend Red Carpet Events and host our very own radio show, KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions on Voice America Kids. We are so excited to welcome these new faces – but don’t worry, you will still see many of our 2011 and 2012 critics next year!

There is still time to enter. If you haven’t entered yet, there’s still plenty of time to do it. Auditions are being accepted from any child ages 7-14. To enter, you will need to watch one of our search titles: Big Top Scooby-Doo!, E.T. : The Extra-Terrestrial, 30th Anniversary, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, Princess Bride, 25th Anniversary or Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups  (if you have a group that would like to have an event and enter, please contact us so we can help.)

Next, complete the entry form and submit your written review. After that, you will upload your review and get out the vote. For full rules, instructions and links to the entry form and upload information, visit the 2013 KIDS FIRST! Film Critic landing page. There are also great tips and short online webinars to help to increase your chances of winning a Film Critic spot for next year.

Now it is time to vote! Whether you or one of your friends has auditioned, or if you just want to have a say about who will be the next KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, you will need to help get out the vote. Visit the 2013 Film Critic Search website and click on the tab “Browse & Vote Here.”  Scroll through the pages and watch the reviews. If you like a video, choose the star rating you think is appropriate and click on it (you will have to hover your mouse over the stars beneath the video to choose your rating.)

Vote for all your favorites, tell all your friends, post it to your social media sites and do it often. Voting closes on December 31, 2012 at midnight. Winners will be announced shortly after.

Please support of our Film Critics Program. Every little bit helps! Even if you can only contribute $5, we need your support. Your donation to KIDS FIRST! is always tax deductible, so help us to help kids. At KIDS FIRST! we believe that Smart Kids Make Smart Consumers. Please visit our fundraising page, or contact us directly, if you can help.

KIDS FIRST! Kids Shine at the ‘Winnie the Pooh’ Premiere

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Premiere_1.jpgWith flash bulbs popping and microphones extended to talent whose voices were, perhaps, more recognizable than their faces, the lucky kids at KIDS FIRST! Boot Camp plied their media skills at the pre-camp special event: Walt Disney Studios’ red carpet celebration for the new Winnie the Pooh movie opening this Friday (which gets an all-star rating from KIDS FIRST!).

Reviewing the film a thte screening that followed the red carpet appearances were seasoned KIDS FIRST! film critics Anthony Aranda (age 8), Makai Colvin (age 9) and Raven Devanney (age 13). Be sure to check out their reviews.

With the live set of Christopher Robin’s room in the background, Boot Camp-ers mingled with co-director Stephen Anderson and many of the actors whose voices give life to the beloved characters – Tom Kenny (Rabbit), Craig Ferguson (Owl), Jim Cummings (dual role of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger) — and some of the often unsung talent of the wonderful animation, like Andreas Deja, supervising animator of Tigger. Then, taking with them all the behind-the-scenes insights from these conversations, Boot Camp-ers headed to Disney’s theater — and all the excitement culminated with the premiere of the movie itself.

Disney’s Animation Studio

KIDS FIRST! July 2010 News

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Last Chance to Sign up for the LA and NY Boot Camps

Janet DavidsonAct quickly if you haven’t already. You have until July 1, 2010, to sign up for an exciting week of hands-on media evaluation projects in either New York or Los Angeles. Janet Davidson shares some ideas of what parents can expect for their children during the week. First of all, expect a lot of fun. Davidson knows the ins and outs of filmmaking from her experiences as an actor and director in Hollywood. She is looking forward to merging her film experiences and her teaching experiences (she has taught acting classes in Santa Fe as well as Drama and Film Studies) to make film come alive for day campers.

Davidson feels that parents of children attending the Boot Camp might appreciate the fact that it will give children material to use and build on in the future. It could give them a motivation towards a career. No matter what career choice a child has, it’s important to be analytical about anything in life, and that’s what this camp is about.. it will help children analyze material and come forward with their beliefs. With increased verbal skills, the children learn to have the courage to talk to adults and share their opinions. It encourages curiosity.

During the course of the camp, children will learn to interview actors and directors one on one and for a red carpet experience. They will learn why it’s important to judge films, and learn about all the components involved in making a good film from directing to acting to lighting and storytelling. The kids will learn about teamwork as they experience a mock film set and make their own movies. This will teach them firsthand what it’s like to be an actor and producer. They will come to understand the process and realize that all the pieces work together, and they can pull apart, or mesh to create a powerful film. At the end of the day, they will critique their own work. Campers will also have the opportunity to visit a real filmmaking or animation studio.

To make sure your children don’t miss out on this fabulous opportunity, check out the KIDS FIRST! Boot Camp webpage and sign up. But act soon because the July 1 deadline is just around the corner.


Join the KIDS FIRST! Facebook Page

KIDS FIRST! has a Facebook Fan page where you can share information about children’s media. To participate, go to the KIDS FIRST! Facebook Page and click on “Like.”

Goodnight Moon Comes to DVD With American Sign Language as an Integral Part of the Story

Good Night Moon & More Great Bedtime Stories – the American Sign Language version from New Video is a fantastic DVD on so many levels. Good Night Moon takes a classic, simple story and makes it come alive through gentle animation. As the story is read aloud, the words to the story show up on the screen, encouraging children to read. While it’s read, a woman signs the story using American Sign Language (ASL).

This title makes it fun to learn to read and to sign at the same time. It’s perfect for children with Down’s Syndrome or children who are hearing impaired, and can encourage other children to learn ASL so they can communicate with children who sign. It can promote discussion on different means of communication.

Bonus Features include an area where children can take a quiz to see what they remember about the story. Another feature is a quiz section that has children testing their knowledge of sign language and signing letters. If you have Internet access, a third Bonus Feature allows you to download activities related to ASL and the story. KIDS FIRST! Child Juror Comments: Kids liked copying the signs. They liked seeing one of their favorite books on the screen. They enjoyed the rhyming. They thought their friends would like it because they do sign language even though they aren’t good yet. Find this wonderful title in stores beginning on July 27th, or pre-order the title on Amazon.

Are You a Winner? These DVDs Want to be Yours

Enter our July sweepstakes chance to win a free copy of one of the following fantastic KIDS FIRST! titles: Veggie Tales; Sweetpea Beauty, Goodnight Moon, To Save a Life, The 13 Ghosts of Schooby-Doo, Sesame Street: 20 Years and Still Counting and Jackie Chan’s The Spy Next Door (with one special copy autographed by Jackie Chan).

Congratulations to our May winners: Chris, Melissa, Sheila, Christina, Gilda, Shana, Cindy, Leslie, Michelle, Nancy, MaryGrace, Charice, Peter, Cathy, Marilyn, Denise, Eddy, Elizabeth, Erica, Christina, Dania, Bonnie, James , Valerie and Pat.


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Imp in the City: Part Deux

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

When “Imp in the City” hit the KIDS FIRST! screen, the only negative critique was that it was too short, and people wanted to see more. Now they have their chance. Young Marc Carrizo and producer Dawn Westlake recently released “Imp in the City: Part Deux” to the film festival circuit.
Behind the Scenes:

In the original “The Imp in the City”, 15-yr-old Marc Carrizo choreographed

and performed his dances in his Sarria neighborhood of Barcelona on Dec. 6th, 2009.
He had just lost his mother to inoperable lung cancer on Nov. 21st, 2009. This film is
dedicated to her.

Marc’s mother and a child psychologist suggested that Marc get into some form of dance when it was discovered that he couldn’t read or write at age 11! Both his mom and the psychologist had been reading about how crawling for long periods helps toddlers read earlier than “non-crawlers” and about how dance can help older children learn to read. He took to breakdancing immediately, going from his first lesson into a troupe with older kids! Soon, he was reading and writing (with just a few spelling mistakes), and now he teaches break to elementary school kids at Varium in Barcelona, the premiere school there for movement, as well as choreographing and performing professionally with the Brodas Bros. troupe, and with a troupe he co-founded called Lakasitos.

About the Director

Dawn Westlake is the President of Ron de Cana Prods., Inc. in Los Angeles. She’s made 11 films in the US, Portugal, France and Spain since 2000 which have played on all seven continents and won 42 awards. Dawn is also an actress/writer/producer, and she’s judged film festivals in Italy and France. She is fluent in English and Spanish and proficient in Italian and Portuguese. www.dawnwestlake.com.

About the Music:

Gregory Johnson moved to Los Angeles from his native Philadelphia after winning a screenplay award for his feature script Shredding Steel in late 2001. Completely self-taught, Greg is one of a new breed of finger-style guitar players that have been redefining the acoustic guitar–how it’s played and the sounds it can make. Greg is
now enjoying a career in both film composition and screenwriting. Currently, he is splitting his time between Los Angeles and Sydney, Australia where he is writing an animation project and several feature projects with FX directors for Warner Bros. He won the award for Best Score on Dawn Westlake’s A Life of Death at the Inventaunfilm
Festival, Lenola, Italy in May 2006.
To hear more samples of Greg’s music: www.youtube.com/acousticlabs

Kid movie news & Free DVDs:
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