Film Festivals | Movie Reviews | Submit a Title | Jurors | About Us | Contact Us | Home

The Newsstand - What's Hot!


Go to the KIDS FIRST!®Home Page

The Newsstand -What's Hot

Christine Pollock, Newsletter Editor
"In golf, as in life, it is the follow through that makes the difference."


Subscribe to our monthly E-Zine to stay up to date on KIDS FIRST! initiatives. - FREE -

Your e-mail address:


KidFlix Film Festival in St.Petersburg
Turning your TV Time into Quality Time

CQCM Newsletter Archive:

Issue #1
Issue #2
Issue #3
Issue #4
Issue #5
Issue #6
Issue #7
Issue #8



Kids from our Virgin Islands Film Festival, sponsored by Banco Popular










Turning your TV Time into Quality Time
August 11, 2004 Issue #9
Christine L. Pollock, Editor
Ranny Levy, Publisher
[email protected]

1. Letter from the Editor
Letter from the President
2. New Endorsements
3. Member News
4. Graduates for the Online Juror Training Program
5. Media News
6. Family and Parenting News
7. KID FLIX Film Festival by Christine L. Pollock
8. Ratings Creep
9. Events
* Permission to forward or reprint the content herein is granted with
complete attribution

Welcome to KIDS FIRST!® NEWS. All articles are by Coalition for
Quality Children's Media unless otherwise noted.

"When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." Charles A. Beard

Dear Friends,

This is turning out to be quite a busy summer at KIDS FIRST!® and in my household. As I was working on the article about the KidFlix Film Festival (see below), I showed my ten-year-old some information on the eleven-year-old who had a film in the festival. The next day he borrowed my digital camera and disappeared into his room. One hundred-fifty photos later, he went to my computer and created his first movie. He had taken the pictures after moving his Bionicles very slightly for each shot–similar to a flip book. When he put them in a slide show, it looked like they were moving. A few hours later, he had his brothers posing for a human film.

I am pleased to see the creative streak in my son ignited by this particular aspect of the KidFlix Festival. And I know that was only a hint of what KidFlix actually brought to their community. Their collaboration with KIDS FIRST!® was a great success as families poured in to enjoy the high-quality films. It is very exciting.

Speaking of exciting, did any of you watch Celebrity Poker on Bravo this month? Steve Harris from "The Practice" chose KIDS FIRST!® as his charity and he is making it to the final rounds! I am looking forward to watching it. He picked us as his charity because of how we educate the children.

Recently I talked to several teachers who are very excited about incorporating media literacy in their classrooms. They were very pleased to hear about the resources that KIDS FIRST!® offers. For everyone interested in teaching children to look beyond the blatant message on the screen, I highly recommend the KIDS FIRST!® Facilitator Workshop. Our next Facilitator Workshop training will be held on August 20 at Explora! Science and Children's Museum in Albuquerque, NM. To register, go to

Have a wonderful month!

Christine Pollock, Editor

Dear Readers,
I've just returned from a much-needed vacation in southern Italy, France, and Ireland. As much as I enjoyed the time away, it's good to be home, and great to be back to work! I feel blessed to be able to enjoy doing the work that I do with KIDS FIRST!

In my absence, so much has been accomplished, including the long-awaited start up of the KIDS FIRST! web store! Some of you may remember that we began developing our web store several years ago. We have been close many times, but with all the changes in the dot com industry, we lost not one but three potential fulfillment houses and ended up with a distributor and fulfillment house in our home city of Santa Fe. What could be better than that?

The web store has long been something that our members have identified as one of their top requests from KIDS FIRST!, making it a one-stop shopping place for titles that have already been evaluated and endorsed by our reputable jury system. It certainly makes things easier for busy parents, grandparents, and friends to find cool media - both studio and independent titles - for their kids.

For the initial launch, we are offering our independent producer members' titles. We will be adding new titles from our studio members in the future weeks. Please, visit the store and take a look at titles that you won't find on the shelf at Wal-Mart! Give them a try. I believe you'll enjoy what you find. Go now to Let us know what you think.

The most delightful thing that can happen to anyone in business is to come back to work to an office that hasn't suffered from your not being there. That's what happened to me. My many thanks to Michelle, Ann, Sam, and Chris for keeping things together here. You're the best!

The second most delightful thing to happen is to come home to a garden that's been taken care of. Thanks to Raul for keeping the flowers and grass alive, not an easy task in drought-ridden New Mexico. What isn't killed by lack of water is attacked by rabbits and squirrels.

And now, back to work. We're looking at some wonderful new titles to bring you for our fall, winter, and spring festivals and adding to the web store. Stay tuned for more news.

Last, remember our next KIDS FIRST! Junior Film Critics facilitator's training workshop on August 20 at the beautiful Explora! Museum in Albuquerque. There are still openings so if you haven't registered yet, do so right away. We have 10 scholarships left for teachers or parents from New Mexico.

Much love,
Ranny Levy

Video/DVD-Ages 2-5
*** CLIFFORD'S PUPPY DAYS: SOCKS & SNOOZE/KEEPING IT COOL. Meet Clifford when he was just a pup, so small he fit in the palm of Emily Elizabeth's hand. Adult Juror Comments: Wonderful. Full of humor. Geared for preschoolers with messages that are perfect for their level. Good story line, pleasant animation, lots of good role models for cooperating. "I love that Dad does the laundry and there's a male baby sitter." Kid Juror Comments: "We like it." "It's cool, and it's pretty." "It's funny and they're all friendly." "I have a super secret place. I like those places. I like to think about where to hide." Both boys and girls loved it. Video. 28 min.; $19.95; Age: 2-5. SCHOLASTIC ENTERTAINMENT.

*** IS YOUR MAMA A LLAMA? AND MORE STORIES ABOUT GROWING UP. Carefully adapted stories about growing up based on classic children's books by Deborah Guarino, Robert Kraus, Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen, and Molly Bang. Narration by Amy Madigan, Mary Beth Hurt, and Laura Dern. Adult Juror Comments: Anthology of stories using repetition and rhyme in their delivery. Good tool for language development. Good role models. Leo the Late Bloomer is not made fun of when he is slower than they are. Elisabetti helps children deal with the new baby. Kid Juror Comments: Kids identified with these stories. "When Leo was sad, I was sad. Then he was happy and so was I." "The girl, Elisabetti, made a doll out of a rock." "I liked seeing the girl and her mother. "The llama's friends told her that her Mama was a llama, too." DVD. 52 min.; $14.95; Age: 2-7. SCHOLASTIC ENTERTAINMENT.

** ITTY BITTY HEARTBEATS. A series of adventures that helps children solve problems and do things from the heart. Promotes a positive approach to life. Adult Juror Comments: Catchy music. Good themes: sharing, friend moving away, believing in yourself, going to sleep. Characters are sweet and friendly to one another. One theme was too figurative for this age - "holding someone on your heart." Some vocabulary over their heads. Kid Juror Comments: Mixed reactions from kids, no runaway enthusiasm here. "I'd watch it again, but not right now." "It was fun; they helped each other." Most sat and watched the whole show and were pretty positive about it. DVD. 50 min.; $12.99; Age: 2-5. StudioWorks Entertainment.

Video/DVD-Ages 5-8
** WAI LANA'S LITTLE YOGIS, VOL. 1. Introduces the whole family to yoga. Kids stretch and strengthen their growing bodies, sharpen their minds, and improve their balance and coordination. These are healthy habits with life-long benefits. Adult Juror Comments: Very imaginative, relaxing, and fun! Addresses breathing and physiology. Well organized, flows well. Short segments good for this age. Adults enjoyed participating as well. Narrator's voice annoyed some. Simple production. Beautiful Hawaiian setting. Kid Juror Comments: "Fun." "I like to exercise. It's good for your body." "I liked the animal stretches; the beetle & butterfly were my favorites." "I like the songs, especially the snake one." "It's a little slow." Video. 30 min.; $14.95; Age: 5-8. WAI LANA PRODUCTIONS.

Video/DVD-Ages 8-12
** I WROTE THAT: VOLUME ONE. A sketch comedy for kids, by kids. Kids write the source material, we actualize their vision in sketch comedy and musical form. Saturday Night Live for kids, based on works written by children. Adult Juror Comments: Aside from the first story with unnecessary hitting, shows different story styles, written by children. Polished and performed by adults but the kids' efforts are clear. Topics are suitable - having to drink milk, eating mac n'cheese for breakfast. Kid Juror Comments: Funny. "I heard lots of laughter and one boy nearly fell out of his chair." "Awesome music." "It made me think about what I could write about." "Some of the skits were weird." "The humor doesn't come from being mean to others." Video. 38 min.; $14.95; Age: 5-12. IWT PRODUCTIONS.

* I WROTE THAT: VOLUME TWO. A sketch comedy for kids, by kids. Kids write the source material, we actualize their vision in sketch comedy and musical form. Saturday Night Live for kids, based on works written by children. Adult Juror Comments: Fun program, makes you want to write your own stories and music. Topics include fables and myths. Too much unnecessary hitting in one story. Good music and images. Positive role models, good relationships shown. Kid Juror Comments: Mixed responses, from "weird costumes on adults acting like kids" to "my kids enjoyed the skits." "I liked the fact that kids wrote these stories." "Some stories had hitting, kicking and throwing a spitball at a girl." Video. 38 min.; $14.95; Age: 5-12. IWT PRODUCTIONS.

IWT Productions is currently seeking distribution for it's I Wrote That! titles. If interested, please contact Sandy Watson at [email protected] or 323-953-9525.

Sherri La Monica-"I am a Christian, a stay-at-home Mom, and a Mary Kay Consultant. We seriously limit the programs our children watch, and I was so happy to find there are groups who evaluate the appropriateness of programs for our children. And now I am thrilled to be a part of that process."

Stations Not Providing Adequate Programming For Kids
A new analysis finds that stations are not meeting the weekly requirements for kids programming.

East Meets West with George Lucas
Lucas has joined with Singapore to set up an animation studio with plans to develop a new type of animation where east meets west.

"Manhunt" Game Pulled After Murder
The game was pulled off the shelves in the UK after the victim's parents blamed the game:

Convention Coverage
Did the quality make up for the lack of quantity?

Kids Cover the Democratic Convention
Ready with cameras and questions, the Children's PressLine covered the Democratic gathering in Boston:

Peaceful Tomorrows "Stonewalk"
The September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, an organization founded by family members of those who died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, is holding a walk which started out in Boston and will end in NY City on September 2. During this walk volunteers from Peaceful Tomorrows will pull a 1400-pound granite memorial inscribed with the words "Unknown Civilians Killed in War." More information can be found at:

"Share a Story"-A Victim of Budget Cuts
Due to "declining return on [National Program Service] investments," PBS has cut many programs including "Share a Story."

TV Linked to Smoking and Obesity
The British Journal, "The Lancet" reports that children who watch more than two hours a day are more likely to become obese and are more likely to smoke:

Shalom (Sholly) Fisch's latest academic book on educational television is hot off the press from social science's publisher Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. "Children's Learning from Educational Television: Sesame Street and Beyond" pulls together over 30 years of research documenting kids' learning from numerous TV series. Information on the book can be found at:

KID FLIX Film Festival partners with KIDS FIRST!
by Christine L. Pollock

Forty-four movies in four days! The St. Petersburg Times presented the KidFlix Florida International Children's Film Festival June 16 - 19 with a highly successful offering of films and media workshops for the entire family. Muvico, the Fort Lauderdale-based movie chain, hosted the festival.

KidFlix partnered with KIDS FIRST!® to create a diverse lineup of films that included animated titles, documentaries, feature films, and student-made films representing seven countries. Even a film created by an eleven-year-old film maker from Philadelphia made it into the line-up. Some titles were shown in both English and Spanish. The studio titles from MGM and Disney gave credibility to the independent titles which are virtually unknown.

Without a doubt, the best loved independent film was "Jumping for Joy," a story set in the mid-60s of a tomboy who joins a boys' basketball team under false pretenses – posing as a boy. She becomes a leader of the team before a court order places her on the side lines, but that doesn't defeat her – she has the "heart of a champion." As one attendee pointed out, "People really were ‘jumping for joy' as they left. The film was uplifting and showed areas where we are taking great strides in the country in the equality for women."

Overall, the KidFlix Festival received "unbelievable positive exposure, and lots of publicity thanks to our partner, the St. Petersberg Times," according to Irene Pierpont, KidFlix Director. "I thought it was an enriching experience for kids and parents with the combination of studio titles, independent titles, and kid-produced titles. We hope to continue this for a long time."


Study Finds "Ratings Creep": Movie Ratings Categories Contain More Violence, Sex, Profanity than Decade Ago. Today's PG 13 approaches 1992's R; development of standardized, universal rating system urged. Violence, sex, and profanity increased significantly in movies between 1992 and 2003 according to a study by researchers from the Kids Risk Project at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The study appears July 13 in Medscape General Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal (available free at

Kimberly Thompson, Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at HSPH and Director of the Kids Risk Project said, "The findings demonstrate that ratings creep has occurred over the last decade and that today's movies contain significantly more violence, sex, and profanity on average than movies of the same rating a decade ago." Full article at:

HR 4586, The Family Movie Act of 2004, goes to the House Floor for debate in early September. The bill makes it clearly legal for families to filter out unwanted content, such as graphic violence, sex and profanity, from DVD movies viewed in the home.

ClearPlay Inc. recently joined with RCA to introduce a DVD player that enables family filtering of regular DVD's. However, ClearPlay, along with other companies, was sued by Hollywood studios and the Directors Guild of America for copyright and trademark infringement. The Register of U.S. Copyrights has testified that, in her opinion, ClearPlay does not infringe on studio copyrights. The Consumer Electronics Association has voiced their support for the bill, as have numerous parenting and family organizations.

September will be the key month to getting the bill passed this year. If you're interested, go to ClearPlay's website to contact Congress and learn more.

KIDS FIRST!® Film Club Program Schedule
Children's Museum of Boston (with the Coolidge Theater) Boston, MA (monthly)
Children's Museum of La Crosse, WI (monthly)
Children's Museum of Richmond, Richmond, VA (monthly)
Coolidge Corner Theater Brookline, MA
Denver Film Society, Denver, CO (monthly)
Forest Theater Portland, OR (monthly)
Houston Children's Museum, TX (monthly)
Kiggins Theater Vancouver, WA (monthly)
The Prince Theater w/ the Philadelphia Film Commission Philadelphia, PA (monthly)
The Coolidge Theater w/ Boston Children's Museum Boston, MA (monthly)

Special Events:
August 7: Oklahoma City Art Museum, Oklahoma, OK

KIDS FIRST! Film and Video Festival touring schedule: (check back often as dates may change)
October 9-10: New Orleans Film Festival, New Orleans, LA
November 12: Fort Wayne Cinema Center, Fort Wayne, IN
December 10: United Nations and UN School, New York, NY
February 1, 2005: Otero County Film Commission, Alamogordo, NM
February 3, 2005: City of Wilmington, Wilmington, DE
March 5, 2005: Parenting Services Center, Tyler, TX
April 1, 2005: Children's Museum, La Crosse, WI
tba Santa Barbara Film Festival, Santa Barbara, CA
tba KIDS FIRST!® Film Festival, Santa Fe, NM

The KIDS FIRST!® Mall Tour in collaboration with the Just Play Games Festival is temporarily on hold. Stay tuned for more information regarding dates and venues.
Other Events:

October 14-16: Ryerson University, Toronto. The Fourth Interdisciplinary Conference on The Evolution of World Order addresses high-priority global issues. More details at

October 21-22: KIDS FIRST!® Annual Meeting
We're inviting the CQCM Board, Trustees, Members and Sponsors to attend this meeting. We'd like to invite you to share your expertise with this high-level audience. We're seeking session proposals that describe industry trends and issues in-depth, describe up-to-date research in children's media, and successful strategies for fulfilling the mission of the CQCM.



Become a Coalition for Quality Children's Media Member *** If you've found our e-zine and web site helpful, please consider becoming a member of KIDS FIRST!® Members help underwrite the various projects of this organization and are a critical component of our success. The Coalition for Quality Children's Media's relies on the generous support of its members and donors to support its programs. An individual/family membership is only $25/year. An independent producer membership is $200. For more information, visit our website or contact our office at 505.989.8076.

VISIT OUR MEMBERS' SITES ******************
Because this list has become so long, please go to our website for an up-to-date listing by clicking here:



This newsletter may be reprinted with permission. Write to: [email protected] Copyright 2002 by Coalition for Quality Children's Media,

**************ABOUT CQCM AND KIDS FIRST!® ***************

KIDS FIRST!® is the not-for-profit Coalition for Quality Children's Media's initiative that evaluates and rates children's media -videotapes, CD-ROMs, and television - using a highly acclaimed method that has been praised by parents and educators alike. It utilizes professionally designed criteria and evaluation tools and engages a volunteer jury comprising child development professionals, teachers and parents nationwide and children of diverse geographic, socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds. KIDS FIRST!® endorsed titles appeal to people around the world and include many programs on topics important to children's development. KIDS FIRST!®-endorsed titles are available on CQCM's award-winning Internet site, in the KIDS FIRST! Film and Video Festival, and in reviews we provide to more than 75 publications.

CQCM evaluates feature films, television programs, videos, CD-ROM, DVDs, and audio recordings. For an application form and application deadlines, visit our website at, call our office (505.989.8076)
Coalition for Quality Children's Media, 112 W. San Francisco St., Suite 305A, Santa Fe, NM 87501.


Subscribe to KIDS FIRST! free monthly e-zine for news and specials: