Archive for the 'Film Festivals' Category

This week’s film festival spotlight is on two feature films, Jake’s Corner and The Magistical

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

jakescorner2.jpgJake’s Corner is the story of an ex-football star, Johnny Dunn, who walked away from the game early in his career to live a relatively secluded life far from the spotlight in a small desert town he owns, called Jake’s Corner. Johnny’s quiet life is altered dramatically when he is forced to care for his young nephew, Spence.


The story flows well and stars Richard Tyson as Johnny Dunn, Diane Ladd as Fran and Danny Trejo as Clint. If, as a kid, you ever fantasized about going to live with your favorite uncle or aunt, who is slightly unconventional, this gives you an ideal of what it might be like. We aged it up due to the story taking place in a bar that the uncle owns and the fact that the parents’ death is hidden from the child.

Jake’s Corner. Live Action. 97 minutes. Recommended Age 10-15 


magistical2.jpgIn the tale of The Magistical, an evil draken, an eccentric emperor, a corpulent king, a war, a mess of midgeons and a friend in need must be saved by one small boy who must leave to believe.


This beautifully animated feature weaves a tale about learning to believe in yourself and expresses themes of friendship and love. The animation quality is simply outstanding and beautiful. The storyline takes a while to take off, then wanders a bit but pulls it together in the end. I watched this with an 8-year-old who wiggled around for the first 15 to 20 minutes but after that, stayed with it, even explaining to me at times what was going on.


The Magistical. Animated. 99 minutes. Recommended Age 8-12 

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El Salon Mexico and Un Duelo – Shorts to Watch!

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

elsalon2.jpgOne of the perks of this job is watching great films. Two animated, non-narrative films in the KIDS FIRST!  line up are El Salon Mexico, which is about the culture of fiestas in Mexico and Un Duelo, from Garage Post in Mexico City.

Running Time:13 minutes
KIDS FIRST!® Paul and TamarindJuror Recommended Age: 8-12
Two talented people, Paul Glickman and Tamarind King collaborated to create a short animated film based on Aaron Copeland’s musical composition, El Salon Mexico. Tamarind and Paul met in 2002 when a mutual friend suggested to the then thirteen year old Albuquerque resident with an interest in animation that she might find a mentor in Paul, a retired film maker up in Santa Fe.

El Salon Mexico is an animated fantasy, set in Mexico in the 1800’s and woven into the musical composition by Aaron Copland. It is the story of a very young campesiño who, along with his burro and rooster, sneaks out of the house one night to see a fiesta for the very first time. The animation is wonderful and enhances the lovely store. The characters are quite fanciful as is the action. If Diego Rivera had made animation, this is what it would look like. Absolutely fun and lovely.  A must for your film festival.

Running Time: 3 minutes
KIDS FIRST!® Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
You know those crazy humming birds that just do not share well with each other? Well, in this animated, non-narrative short, two hummingbirds engage in a senseless but sometimes funny battle. There is a moral to the story, but actually it is just fun!

Un Duelo comes from Garage Post in Mexico City and we hope to have more from them.

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Finn on the Fly is Back!

Friday, January 15th, 2010

finn.jpgOne of my all time indie favorites, Finn on the Fly is back in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival for 2010. This wacky story about a dog turned into a boy has all the funny, silly humor you might anticipate (think of where dogs drink when in the house) but also a great story about friendship and loyalty. And he plays a mean game of Frisbee! This is one not to miss. 
Finn on the Fly is a story about friendship, loyalty and learning to trust your instincts. Finn, a cool, life-loving’, Frisbee-playing dog, and his owner, shy 13-year-old Ben, suddenly find their lives changed when Finn is accidentally transformed into a human being when Dr. Madeline Madsen’s experiment goes wrong. Once on two legs, Finn teaches Ben to feel the wind in his fur, catch Frisbees like a dog and, ultimately, to find his own pack. Starring Ana Gasteyer (The Women, Saturday Night Live, What Women Want), Matthew Knight, Ryan Belleville, Brendon Firla and David Milchard. Directed by Mark Jean (Homecoming)

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Just one week left to win a trip to Orlando!

Monday, January 4th, 2010

omms_2l_visitorl.jpgIn a unique partnership, KIDS FIRST!, the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. and the Florida Film Festival are hosting a very special call for entries – a short film competition with just one theme and two winners.

The theme, “Orlando Makes Me Smile,” is about fostering family relationships and the joyful experiences that can be found in Orlando. 

The filmmaker should depict how the Orlando experience proves the axiom, “smile and the whole world smiles with you” or show how Orlando makes you smile.

Two winning short films will be selected in the categories of Best Indie Short and Best Student Short. The student competition is open to all students ages 13 to 18. The indie competition is open to filmmakers ages 19 and up. 

This is a short film competition, live action or animation, three minutes or less. Winners will be included as an official selection of both the Florida Film Festival and the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival.  
Both winners will receive a family vacation for four in Orlando, complete with airfare, lodging, theme park tickets and all access filmmaker passes for the Florida Film Festival, April 9 through 18, 2010. 
The competition opens October 15, 2009 and all entries must be postmarked by January 11, 2010. Winners will be selected February 2010 and the winning films will premiere at the Florida Film Festival.

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Special Awards Given to Middle School Production at the KIDS FIRST! Awards Ceremony

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

rudkin.jpgStudio execs get lunch with Mallory Lewis and Lamb Chop, but the independent filmmakers attended the Santa Fe Film Festival to celebrate and receive their 2009 KIDS FIRST! Best Awards. Ninety three awards in 32 categories were given to indie and student filmmakers and writers at the Awards Ceremony, opened by Lisa Strout, Director of the New Mexico Film Commission.

Jeff Rudkin from Lora Batchelor Middle School in Bloomington, Indiana accepted the award for Best Middle School production on behalf of his students, Caleb Baechtold, Criss Beyers, Kiel Perez, and Carl Sonnefeld who produced the documentary In Search of Captain Kid.

Jeff Rudkin also accepted the Ribby Award from WonderWorld Entertainment for In Search of Captain Kid. This title received over 139,900 votes on the kid talent site, KIDS FIRST! posted the middle school and high school productions on this site and In Search of Captain Kid was the first film to win the $100 daily prize.

If you have a short film or exceptional talent, check out This site is just for kids with talent and you will definitely be blown away.

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Filmmakers – Ready to win a trip to Orlando for you and your family?

Monday, October 5th, 2009

omms_2l_visitorl.jpgYou’ve heard of it. You watch it on YouTube, but the ad industry has pooh poohed this advertising medium for a long time. “For most of its brief history, CGA has consisted of shabbily produced, usually pointless and typically self-referential imitations of the very professional advertising it seeks to replace.” This quote is from Bob Garfield’s latest column in Advertising Age. He does go on to admit, “But suddenly we are obliged to re-evaluate, thanks to” 


Granted, the incredible site for handmade goods, has really cute 30 second ads made by “amateurs,” but what about Doritos and their Crash the Super Bowl Contest? Doritos once again have launched the Crash the Super Bowl Contest with prizes ranging from $25,000 to $1,000,000. 


Now KIDS FIRST! introduces their own CGA contest in partnership with the Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Filmmakers are invited to submit their three minute short with the theme “Orlando Makes Me Smile.” There will be two winners in two categories, with both receiving trips to Orlando for 4 people, including airfare, lodging, rental car and theme park tickets. The two categories are Short Indie Film and Short Student Film. Student filmmakers must be between the ages of 13-18. 


Winning film will be premiered at the Florida Film Festival in April and filmmakers receive 4 filmmaker passes to this great festival. The Winners will also be screened in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. 


The film festival submission process launches Oct. 15th and information will be available then at



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KIDS FIRST! and Final IronKids Programs this Fall!

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

dragonhunters.jpgThis coming weekend in Avon, Colorado, IronKids will hold its next event of the season, drawing youth ranging from 6 to 15 years of age for a full weekend of triathlon and a sports expo.
Athlete on-site registration and packet pick-up, expo, race start, transition and finish will all take place at Harry A. Nottingham Park in the heart of Avon, 1 Lake Street, next to the Avon Recreation Center. 
Friday night at 8:00 pm, enjoy the free outdoor family film, Dragon Hunters. The IronFlix series presented by KIDS FIRST! continues on Saturday with
Adventure Patrol: Snow Daze
Flying Chick
Kids Guides: Certified Sea Kids Camp Curacao
Michael, Michael Motorcycle
The triathlon, supported by local partners including the City of Avon begins at Sunday.  Families will also be encouraged to take part in the interactive elements of event weekend, such as the Expo and IronFlix, both of which are free to the public.
Distances for the IronKids Race will vary, depending on the age of participants:
–           Junior (ages 6 to 8): 50-yard swim, 2-mile bike and 500-yard run
–           Intermediate (ages 9 to 11): 150-yard swim, 4-mile bike and 1-mile run
–           Senior (ages 12 to 15): 300-yard swim, 8-mile bike and 2-mile run
The next IronKids event is September 13 at Alpharetta, GA and the finals are October 3-4 in Tucson.
To register

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KIDS FIRST! Titles Take Awards at the Oxford International Film Festival

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

happyduckling_blog.jpgThe 3rd Annual Oxford International Film Festival was held July 24-30th in West Chester, Ohio and three KIDS FIRST! titles came home with awards! Etienne!, directed by Jeff Mizushima won Best Narrative Feature. The Happy Duckling, directed by Gili Dolev won Best Animated Film and La Lune, directed by Kelly Kyung-Hee Shon was runner up for the Audience Award, Best Animated Short. Congratulations to the filmmakers and to Oxford for another great festival.



Starting this week the Lone Star Film Society begins a three week kids film series at The Modern Museum of Art in Ft. Worth. The highlight of the series is a special advance screening of “Shorts,” on Saturday, August 15th, the new Robert Rodriquez/Warner Bros. feature that opens in theater August 21st. 

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KIDS FIRST! “The Drama Kids” takes home Best Student Film

Friday, July 24th, 2009

dramakids209061-1.jpgKIDS FIRST! is proud to announce “The Drama Kids” took home the Best Student Film Award at the Long Island International Film Expo.  Over 170 films screened from all over the world, including Germany, France, Spain, and Dubai.  Congrats to all who were involved in the making of this film. 

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KIDS FIRST! partners with IronKids to produce IronFlix!

Monday, June 1st, 2009

unstablefablestortoise_small.jpgThis coming weekend at The Pier in St. Petersburg, IronKids will hold its second event of the season, drawing youth ranging from 6 to 15 years of age. Friday night at 7:30 pm at Straub Park, enjoy the free family film from The Henson Company, Tortoise vs. Hare. The IronFlix series, presented by KIDS FIRST! continues on Saturday, 10 am at The Pier.

The IronFlix lineup
Friday, June 5, 7:30pm, Straub Park, St. Petersburg
Firefly and the Stars (short film)
From The Jim Henson Company,  Unstable Fables: Tortoise vs. Hare
Saturday, June 6, starts at 10am
The Pier Community Room
10am: Stuart Little: Going for the Gold
12 Noon: Adventure Patrol: Totally Rocks
12:30pm: Kid Guides: Certified Kids Camp Curacao
12:55pm: Michael, Michael Motorcycle
3:30pm: Emmanuel’s Gift

The triathlon, supported by local partners including the City of St. Petersburg and Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater, is Sunday and begins at 8:00 am at Spa Beach located alongside The Pier.  Families will also be encouraged to take part in the interactive elements of event weekend, such as the Expo and IronFlix, both of which are free to the public.

“St. Petersburg is thrilled to host the IronKids Triathlon this summer,” said Mayor Rick Baker.  “I applaud the IronKids mission and am thankful that they have chosen St. Petersburg for their Florida event.  It will give kids throughout the region an opportunity to not only compete, but to learn about fitness and have fun while they’re doing it.”

Distances for the IronKids Race will vary, depending on the age of participants:
–           Junior (ages 6 to 8): 50-yard swim, 2-mile bike and 500-yard run
–           Intermediate (ages 9 to 11): 150-yard swim, 4-mile bike and 1-mile run
–           Senior (ages 12 to 15): 300-yard swim, 8-mile bike and 2-mile run

To register
Download the film flyer here

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