Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for the 'New/Renewing Members' Category

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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Wishing You a Happy New Year

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023

As we open the doors to a brand new, fresh-start in the new year, all of our KIDS FIRST! team send your our very best wishes for a remarkable and joyous new year. May it be filled with wonder and love. And, of course when you’re looking for that special film to see with your kids and family, remember that our team is here to help you make a suitable selection.

We are still just a few coins short of our end of year / start of year fund-raising goal, so if you are able to make a contribution to help us reach that goal, we would be very grateful. We look forward to sharing more reviews from our team of tween and teen reporters, plus interviews with the talent behind the screen. Check out Katherine S.’s review of Avatar: The Way of Water:

Or, perhaps you would enjoy Dominic D.’s review of the newly releases documentary, Wildcat. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Dominic D., comments, “Prepare to be inspired by a new documentary, Wildcat, directed and produced by Melissa Lesh and Trevor Beck Frost, leaves viewers in a whirlwind of emotions and can turn your heart from empty to full at the drop of a dime.” See his full review below.


The astute 11-year-old Giana N. shares her comment about the new series, Sonic Prime: “Sonic Prime is an entertaining eight episode series with a lot of adventures, including traveling through different universes and meeting different versions of Sonic’s friends. If you are a Sonic the Hedgehog fan or are looking for an enjoyable show to watch, check this out.”

Hanadie K. adds, “Video game fanatics, does Netflix have a treat for you. If you value nostalgia in the form of binge spree TV series, sit back and prepare to catch some as Sonic rings in this new adventure-filled, action-packed, family-fun animated series.” Check out her interview with Devan Mack, the voice of Sonic and Logan McPherson, SVP of Creative Animated Productions at Wildbrain Studios.

With the 2022 NFL playoffs scheduled to begin on January 14–16, 2023 football is very much in the news, so you might enjoy Maica N.’s review of Fantasy Football.

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

As we start the new year, 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.

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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Gary Gutierrez, Animator, Title Designer, SFX Supervisor And So Much More!

Friday, April 17th, 2020

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Gary Gutierrez, an exceptionally talented animator, title designer, SFX supervisor and more. From his start as an animator on Sesame Street, to his work as the SFX supervisor on The Right Stuff, Gary has watched the industry rapidly transform from cell animation and optical printers to CGI and digital compositing.

Originally, films used glass matte paintings to create environments impossible to do in real life. For example, the original 1933 King Kong used many layers of etched glass to give the effect of a massive gorilla in a lush forest. The film then used a technique called “rear projection” to put the actors’ performances inside it. Since then, techniques have changed with films such as Back to the Future, using a combination of robotic camera movements, blue screens and miniature models to create a futuristic society. While matte paintings still exist to this day, matte painters use computer software such as Adobe Photoshop or Foundry Nuke, far from the layered glass planes filmmakers used nearly a century ago. 

Despite this revolution in techniques, Gary states that the principles haven’t changed. No matter the method, compositional rules and understanding how light works still play a major role in creating realistic effects that fit a scene. For that reason, Gary suggests learning how to draw instead of only learning how to use modern computer software. 

Skilled drawers still have great importance in the modern film industry. Animation takes so long to do, that virtually every animated film will “storyboard” before beginning. Storyboarding involves rough sketches of every frame of the film, allowing animators to easily replicate the design of characters, worlds and framing of every shot in the film. Live-action films use storyboards as well, especially when planning complicated and expensive scenes. For example, Gary did the storyboard for Black Stallion, a live-action film. In a certain scene, the filmmakers had to use a horse, a child actor, a camera on a helicopter and a large racetrack. A storyboard allows every person on the production team to know what to do and keeps the entire production organized. Even outside storyboarding, drawing gives creators the ability to clarify precisely their vision of what a shot should look like. 

While the medium of cinema will keep transforming, thanks to the rapid evolution of technology, Gary’s career and wisdom demonstrate just how important it shall always be to maintain learning the elements that make cinema – lights, camera and action. Thanks Gary for your remarkable contribution to filmmaking.

By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Author’s Page – Amazon
World According to G

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There’s still time to support KIDS FIRST!

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

2015_is_coming_at_the_beach.jpgAs 2014 winds down, we wish to thank all of our generous supporters for their kindness. And, for those of you who haven’t yet made a donation, might we remind you that this is the perfect time to make a contribution to KIDS FIRST! Your donation is tax deductible so, in essence it doesn’t really cost you anything.

Did you know that 15% of KIDS FIRST!’s revenue comes from donations from individuals such as you? We need your support now more than ever!

With the end of 2014 quickly approaching, you can still make a donation by December 31st for 2014 tax credits.

Click here to make an online donation. For more information regarding KIDS FIRST! and its Film Critics program go to. 

What makes KIDS FIRST! so special? We are the only nonprofit media evaluator that give youth themselves “a voice!” Check out their video reviews to hear the kids current film reviews.

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New KIDS FIRST! Member

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Big Bad Boo Productions has joined the KIDS FIRST! team. With offices in LA, NY and Vancouver, Big Bad Boo is an animation company providing production services and production services for partners around the world. Some of its popular titles include Animaniacs, Tiny Toons, Bat Man, Being Ian and Yvonne of the Yukon.

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