Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for the 'New/Renewing Members' Category

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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New and Renewing KIDS FIRST! Members

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Mary Ann Hall’s Music for Children. Emily and her friends take you on a live action and animated adventure searching for the music in everything on Earth. Through rhythm and rhyme, imaginary play, reading music and dance, your children will learn without even knowing it!

Mary Ann Hall’s Music For Children has produced this, the first DVD in the Earth Boogie series. They took the music education and imaginary play from their classes and made a mystical, magical, musical adventure for children to learn from and enjoy at home. Music For Children has taught over 35,000 children and is considered one of the top early childhood music education programs out there. Combining the rich music plans from the classes with Emily’s Broadway performing experience, Mary Ann, Emily and Bill have created a show combining all their different talents. This show is one to watch over and over again!

To purchase the DVD/CD you can go to Orchestore.com or Amazon.com for “The Music of the Mountains.”

Find out more about Music for Children at http://www.musicforchildren.net


The Signing Safari DVD program was developed by Sharon Said, a certified Child Sign Language Specialist, owner of Parenting Empowerment, and mother of three. Inspired by
the fact that learning sign language at an early age leads to improved family communication, Sharon researched and created a sign language program that is entertaining to learn, easy to implement, and will help reduce the numerous stresses of early childhood. Through her parent training workshops and interactive sign and play classes, Sharon teaches parents how to use American Sign Language to increase communication with their hearing babies, toddlers, and preschoolers lessening the typical stresses of early childhood.

Find more about Signing Safari at http://www.signingsafari.com


Lightning Media is a leading distributor of commercially driven films and programs. They selectively target and acquire rights for theatrical distribution, DVD, television, cable, internet, VOD, PPV, electronic sell-thru and emerging digital platforms in the United States and other markets. Lightning Media is now engaged in multi-platform distributionpartnerships with Anchor Bay Entertainment and Lions Gate Entertainment.

Find more on Lightning Media at http://www.lightning-ent.com


Master Communications, Inc.

WGBH Educational Foundation is a trusted source for educational media and kids-focused programming, providing millions of teachers and parents with resources, tools, and programs that augment classroom curricula; entertain and engage kids in the home; and inspire them to learn and explore the world around them.

Find more on Master Communications at http://www.master-comm.com

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