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The Newsstand - KIDS FIRST!® News 2006


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The Newsstand

Christine Pollock, Newsletter Editor
"To me, the great hope is that now, with these recorders and stuff coming out, that ... some little girl from Ohio will ...make a beautiful movie ...and for once the so-called professionalism about movies will be destroyed forever and it will really become an art form." -Francis Ford Coppola

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Turning your TV Time into Quality Time
July 4, 2006 Issue #7
Christine L. Pollock, Editor
Ranny Levy, Publisher

1. Letters from the Editor, President, and Readers
2. Web Store Features
4. New Endorsements
5. Festival Titles
6. New Members/Renewing Members
7. Member News
8. Media News
9. Family and Parenting News
10. Purgatory House by Christine L. Pollock
11. Crafts and Activities: Young Children Creating Film from Dr. Toy and "My First Film" Activity
12. Festival City Schedule and Events
13. Special Offers
* Permission to forward or reprint the content herein is granted with complete attribution.

The Significance of Sound - Interview with Jeff Kinder, audio director at Magick Lantern Digital Studio

Beau Bridges, Actor and Father

Jim Jinkins and Fantastic Film Festival Events


New: KIDS FIRST!® logo store
Your purchase of hats, T-shirts, baby jumpers, bibs,
and totes benefit KIDS FIRST!®

Become an Affiliate of the
KIDS FIRST!® Web Store

The Coalition for Quality Children's Media is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1991. Because we believe that media profoundly affect children, our mission is to 1) teach children critical viewing skills and 2) to increase the visibility and availability of quality children's programs.

CQCM Newsletter Archive
2006 Jan 3 / Jan 18 / Feb 7 / Feb 21 / Mar 14/ Mar 28 / Apr 4 / Apr 25 / May 2/ May 16 / June 6
Links to newsletters from 2005 or earlier
may be found at the bottom of this page

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

Dear Friends,

Have you ever gone to a film you thought would be all right, only to leave the theater in a daze because the film was incredibly powerful. A month later, you're still thinking about it and realize that it has changed the way you view life. This happened to me after viewing the KIDS FIRST! festival title, Purgatory House. I viewed it in preparation for the article below, and highly recommend it for parents to watch with their teens. It's a bit controversial, but very thought-provoking, and opens wide doors for discussion. For the younger children, I have to highly recommend Under the Stars and Stripes and the Danger Rangers, Mission 547 The Safety Rules listed in our webstore highlights. The patriotic one is one of the best I've seen of its genre, and the Danger Rangers is a favorite among my children and their friends. They are constantly requesting to watch it, and have learned some great safety tips. As always, I welcome your input. If you have comments on titles we have endorsed; notices of media awards, publications, and products; or suggestions for articles. . . Please drop me a line.

Christine Pollock, Editor

Dear Readers,

Last night my five-year-old grandson and I were driving to the cinema to see "Cars." It was a rainy night, unusual weather for New Mexico. In the distance, a bolt of lightning shot across the sky. Aden said, "Granny Ranny, I see thunder." I replied, "I thought you could *hear* thunder but *see* lightning." Aden replied, "Yeah, I see lightning." I thought he might not like me correcting him but he couldn't care less. He just moved onto the next question and asked, "Let me get this straight. lightning can electrocute you, right? Then what happens? Do you die?" I was surprised by him using the word "electrocute" and also by asking about dying so I asked where he learned about these ideas. "TV." There you go. It's Granny Ranny and Aden talking about television again. I just love hearing about the things he learns from watching television. He knows enough to tell me that certain shows "are not Granny Ranny approved." And, he knows that I am a sucker to be easily convinced to take him to any great kids' movie showing on the big screen because we both agree that it's more fun to watch them on the big screen.

Cars was not a disappointment. We loved every minute of it, including five minutes when we had to evacuate the theater for a false fire alarm. All in all, it was a great evening spent with my grandson. When I got to my office the next day, I checked our database to see if we had endorsed any videos that talk about thunder and lightning. Not surprising at all, I found four, including a fairly recent title called Caillou: Goodbye Winter, Hello Springtime, where Caillou is afraid of the storms, and learns how to count for thunder. Another is an older title called Why is the Sky Blue, from that answers the question: How fast is lightning? and more. I found these by going to our website and doing a search first on the word lightning, which didn't turn up anything and then on the word thunder which found both of these. Try it yourself next time your child or grandchild challenges you. Let me know what you find.

Much love,

Ranny Levy
Founder and President, KIDS FIRST!®


Concerned about what kids watch? Want to do something about it? Become a KIDS FIRST!® juror. It's easy. Take our online training. It will take you about four hours to complete and we will provide you with your own personal trainer. The $40 fee is 100% reimbursable once you evaluate six titles for KIDS FIRST!® . You may keep any movie you approve. What a wonderful way for teachers, librarians, parents, and daycare providers to build their own quality media library while helping evaluate movies for others. To register or get more information, please visit our KIDS FIRST!® juror's page.



Choose Your Own Adventure: The Abominable Snowman. The first DVD in the Choose Your Own Adventure series, The Abominable Snowman follows three siblings on a quest to rescue their Uncle in the Himalayan region of Nepal. The DVD prompts the child on-screen every 3-7 minutes to make choices about which path to follow. DVD. 65 min.; $11.19; Age: 6-12. Lean Forward Media.




Under the Stars and Stripes. A children's celebration of America, the heart of this production is its emphasis on the commonality of people and the strength to be found in unity, friendship and peace. Provides America's kids a voice. VHS 60 min.; $7.98; Age: 5-12. Golden Films.




The Big Space Shuttle. Explores the behind-the-scenes action at the space shuttle program, including the astronaut training, the crew roles, shuttle maintenance and orbital gravity experiments. DVD. 65 min.; $11.96; Age: 6-10. Little Mammoth Media.




Scrambled States of America...and More Stories to Celebrate Our Country. Carefully adapted stories about the states, based on books and songs by Laurie Keller, Woody Guthrie and Francis Scott Key. The Star Spangled Banner is performed by Aretha Franklin, This Land is Your Land is sung by Arlo Guthrie. DVD. 65 min.; $14.95; Age: 5-18. Scholastic Entertainment.




Round the Campfire. Superior recording of a lovely voice with a lot of range. Folk songs have lots of heritage, texture and history. Imminently listen-able and sing-along-able. Perfect for music programs in Scouts, schools or churches or family singing in the car. Audio. 30 min.; $12.79; Age: 6-18. KT Music Productions, Inc.




Danger Rangers, Mission 547 The Safety Rules. Introducing The Danger Rangers brought to you by an Emmy & Oscar winning creative team headed by Howard Kazanjian (Star Wars). Empowering safety information is taught to children as they are entertained by the lovable animal superheroes' adventures, comedy and songs. DVD. 28 min.; $10.39; Age: 3-9. Educational Adventures.



More New Endorsements can be found at

*** = Titles receiving the highest scores are given a three-star rating.
** = Titles that meet or exceed the criteria receive a two-star rating.
* = Titles that meet the baseline criteria but require some extra consideration on the part of the viewer receive a one-star rating.

Video/DVD-Ages 1-3

** Little Genius Baby: Baby Goes Outside. A fun, educational program that explores animals and nature seen outside designed to be enjoyable for babies. Makes use of live action video, puppets, 3D-animation, still images, sound and words in three languages - English, Spanish, and French. Adult Juror Comments: Enjoyable music, puppets, live action, and visuals. Encourages adult participation and adult-child interaction. Allows time for parents to talk about each image on-screen. Enjoyable music. Well produced. Useful as a tool for children to recollect things they're already learned. Kid Juror Comments: Enjoyed most of it. It didn't hold their attention for very long unless their was active adult participation. They seemed to love the puppets and the penguin. One child kissed a puppet onscreen. One pretended to be an elephant. At times it was too slow. DVD. 29 min.; $9.95; Age: 1-3. SERENITY MEDIA.


Video/DVD-Ages 5-8

* Baby Felix and Friends: His Magic Bag of Tricks. Each episode follows Baby Felix the cat and his magic bag of tricks as he embarks on a journey full of adventures. Also along for the journey are his friends, Baby Kitty, Mimi, Skippy, Mookie and Tattoo. Adult Juror Comments: Seeing cartoon characters from my youth was enjoyable but some of the messages here are not in good taste. There is a lot of emphasis on cheating and misleading. It's all in fun but sends a poor message to viewers. For example, Baby Felix doesn't like how the other team is playing so he starts cheating by stealing bases and blocking pitches to the other team. A member of the other team shows anger by slamming his bat into the ground repeatedly. Kid Juror Comments: It's great. It's fun. Even the kids noticed the poor behavior and commented on it. "They remind me of Grandpa and us when they go fishing. The bulldogs remind me of some of the kids at school who are bullies. Get it? Bull dogs -bullies." "If you could really have a fishing contest, it would be fun." DVD. 110 min.; $14.98; Age: 4-8. FIRST NATIONAL PICTURES.


Video/DVD-Ages 9-13

** From Girl To Woman. Explores multicultural coming of age rites and traditions, providing a new paradigm in reproductive health education that is designed to inspire girls to cherish their bodies, develop a positive self image, and make empowered choices. Adult Juror Comments: Very open and informative discussion about menstruation. Probably best watched with an adult. Points out how every girl is unique in terms of timing and physical atttributes, gives proper names for anatomical parts, and offers a look at rites of passage ceremonies worldwide. Doesn't discuss conception of a baby at all. Sticks to topic on hand. Kid Juror Comments: Definitely a topic kids are sensitive about. Eleven-year-old girls commented: "It shows what to expect when I get my first period. I'm not as fearful or confused now. It's a normal part of becoming a woman." They enjoyed seeing how other cultures celebrate this rite of passage, and loved seeing how Indian girls are feasted and given gifts in their honor. DVD. 50 min.; $24.95; Age: 9-13. WOMAN WISDOM CORP.


For a complete list of all Festival titles currently being shown, visit our website.

Dora the Explorer: Animal Adventures. A. 99 min.
Save Diego is the latest Dora the Explorer home video title that introduces Diego, Dora's cousin, who is an animal rescuer. The main episode takes place in Diego's rainforest as Dora and her friends come to his rescue. Includes two main episodes, one of which is a never-before-seen and two bonus episodes. Ages 2-5. Paramount Home Entertainment.


Spongebob Squarepants: Karate Island
. A. 83 min.
Consists of 7 brand new episodes from season 4, each approximately 11 minutes in length. These episodes follow the enthusiastic SpongeBob and his pals as SpongeBob's enthusiasm continuously get him into trouble. Ages 5-12. Paramount Home Entertainment.




Care Bears: Hearts at Sea. A. 88 min.
Set sail with the Care Bears for heartwarming, high-seas adventure. When you join the Care Bears, you'll learn that with enough caring you'll always find smooth sailing. Includes seven episodes: Hearts at Sea, Cheer Bear's Chance, A Hungry Little Guy, The Thing That Came to Stay, A Day Without Tugs, The Fabulous Care Bears' Safety Game and A Rhyme in Time. Ages 2-5. Lionsgate Family Entertainment.


Clifford Puppy Days: Puppy Sports Spectacular
. A. 90 min.
Clifford enjoys fun and games with his puppy pals in eight larger-than-life adventures. They play everything from basketball to hopscotch, and even make up their own games like the wacky Wall-Hit-Ball. Not only does Clifford find tons of sporting action, but he also discovers the value of teamwork and good friends. The whole family will learn that it truly doesn't matter who wins the game - it's how you play with your pals that makes you a bigger and better dog. Includes 8 episodes. English and Spanish dubbed. Ages. 2-5. Lionsgate Family Entertainment.


Jimmy Timmy Power Hour 3. A. 119 min.
Jimmy and Timmy are together again and boy, are they in trouble! Join Jimmy Neutron (The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius) and Timmy Turner (The Fairly OddParents) in their third adventure together as they discover how powerful they can be when they mix science and magic. Includes four bonus episodes: Fairly OddParents "Odd, Odd West" and "That's Life" and Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius "Ultra Sheen" and The Feud." Spanish and English. Ages 5-8. Paramount Home Entertainment.

A School of their Own. A. 59 min.
What is the power of education to create democracy? The Riverside School is a unique educational environment in remote Nepal that educates low-caste and tribal children, half of whom are girls. But the school - and many schools in Nepal -are threatened by a bloody 7-year civil war in which children are caught in the middle. In 'A School of Their Own,' we follow the struggle of these children to learn and how it intersects with the struggle of the country to find its way to democracy. Ages 12-18. Rabble Rouser Productions.

Please welcome these new or renewing members and visit their web sites.

Amalgamated Puppetworks, LLC. Amalgamated Puppetworks was established in 2004 with the goal of bringing the best in puppets and puppetry to family entertainment. After more than a decade of original, live shows, we now offer FIFTEEN MINUTES, a fresh, funny DVD series that's fit for the world at large.

Dancing From the Heart
In March, Dancing from the Heart, which is especially appropriate for highschool students, as well as adults, screened very successfully for the Youth Interns and public at the Explora! Children's Museum in Albuquerque, NM, as a part of the nationwide KIDS FIRST! Film and Video Festival. Andrew Garcia and Marilyn Hunt attended, for a lively interchange with the young people. In July, "Dancing from the Heart" will be shown in tandem with appearances by Andrew Garcia and dancers and Marilyn Hunt at the Living Ritual: World Indigenous Dance Festival [ ], to be held at the Woodland Cultural Centre (Brantford, Ontario) and York University (Toronto), July 14-16.

Buena Vista International Television InksMulti-year, Multi-genre agreement with Turkish Broadcaster TRT
Some of the Disney/Pixar animated features to make their Turkish TV debut include Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo and A Bug's Life in addition to Walt Disney Pictures' Pocahontas and Brother Bear. TRT picked up Disney animated TV series including American Dragon: Jake Long, Disney's Recess, Disney's Aladdin, The Series and 101 Dalmatians (The Animated Series) as well as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Little Einsteins.


Bush Bill Hikes Indecency Fines
The U.S. Congress on Wednesday sent President George W. Bush a bill to boost fines tenfold to $325,000 on broadcast television and radio stations that violate decency standards, a victory for conservative groups. Read More

Sesame Street's Elmo, Grover and Cookie Monster Highlight Healthy Eating
Beginning September 2006, Del Monte vegetables featuring Elmo (green beans), Grover (sweet peas) and Cookie Monster (corn) on packaging, along with on-pack activities, will be available at grocery stores (four-packs) and club retailers (eight-packs). The new Del Monte products support Sesame Workshop's Healthy Habits for Life initiative, which aims to help kids/families lead healthier lives through better nutrition, physical activity, and hygiene.

Purgatory House by Christine L. Pollock

I don't know which impressed me most--the thought-provoking content of Purgatory House, one of the KIDS FIRST! film festival titles, or the fact that the film was written by a fourteen-year-old. Either way, the movie has a powerful message, which has the potential of saving lives. Purgatory House begins where most stories end, chronicling the afterlife journey of a lonely teenage girl who has committed suicide, abandoning her life of turmoil and drug addiction in search of unconditional love. Told in nonlinear fashion, this stylistic dark-comedy/fantasy offers a quirky, uncensored glimpse into the mind of today's American youth.

Cindy Baer, producer/director of Purgatory House, met Celeste Davis, screenwriter and lead actor, through a Big Sister program when Davis was 11 years old. Around the time Davis turned 12, she had lost interest in school and was struggling with her home life and friendships. Davis began writing as an outlet to express herself. She began to write a story called Purgatory House, which paralleled her own life in certain ways: her search to fit in, her efforts to deal with the teen drug culture surrounding her, to find meaning for her life, and to connect with a Higher Power. When she turned 13, and landed herself in a teen shelter, Baer felt scared for her. She told Davis they'd make her story into a 5-minute short film that she could star in. Baer believes that acting saved her own life as a child, and knowing that Davis had written a piece about suicide, Baer was hoping to give Davis something exciting to turn her feelings of despair into something positive. After Baer typed what Davis had written, and read it, she realized that it was almost feature length, and that Davis's insightful story had to be told in its entirety.

Davis made her screen debut as Silver Strand, a character she based on her own life. Baer found visual effects artists and sound design team on the Internet. Famous actors and musicians such as Jim Hanks, Johnny Pacer, John Devin Witt, Natalie Merchant, Eric Bazilian, and Larisa Stow joined the low-budget team because they believed in the film's message. Their participation, as well as others, taught Baer that when you do good in the world, people rush to support you.

According to Baer, this is such an exciting time to be alive if you are an aspiring filmmaker. 3-chip digital video cameras (like the Canon XL2) are professional quality and yet priced at a consumer level. You can even edit your movie on your home computer with simple-to- use software programs. She just completed a short film called Morbid Curiosity, and the total cost to make it was about $300! Many high schools and even churches or recreation centers have cameras that they make available to young people.

Baer gives some great advice: Tell a compelling story. Watch movies. Study the classics. Take your time. Learn about movies. Create quality. Turn your angst into something creative. Art is about honesty. Dare to dream, and work hard to make your dreams into reality.

Davis continues to have all kinds of ideas, and Baer looks forward to seeing what her creative mind will come up with next. Baer hopes that Davis' movie can be an inspiration to other young writers. In addition to winning many awards (see website for details), Purgatory House has been picked up for DVD distribution by Image Entertainment. Through the KIDS FIRST! film festival and in schools or at home, Baer hopes that kids and parents all across the country will watch this movie together, and have some important conversations about spirituality, and positive ways to cope with the challenges of life.


Dr. Toy's Tips on Use of Video by Stevanne Auerbach, PhD. /Dr.Toy Smart Play /Smart Toys (

Young Children Creating Film - Children have great creative ability to express themselves in different ways. The challenge as parents and teachers is to provide as many varied choices as possible so they can learn and discover what they are capable of. What they enjoy, they will return to explore more deeply. Some children might like to use drawing or film to express themselves. Those interested in exploring this further might be interested in DVD Home Moviemaking: A Beginners Guide.

Activity - "My First Film."

Materials: 3x5 cards, pencil with eraser

For instructions, go to craft page.

KIDS FIRST!® Film and Video Festival Schedule
Join us as we travel around the country with film festivals. Find out when we will be in a town near you. For details read here.

Other Events:

July 10-14. Media Literacy Summer Institute (Project LookSharp) Ithaca NY.

July 12-15. Wheelock College. Boston, MA. Media Literacy In A Violent Society Institute. For more info: [email protected]

July 15, 2006. Deadline. As we finalize all of our KIDS FIRST! programming for the next quarter, which will begin playing July 15, the deadline for producers to submit their films to us for our fourth quarter festivals is also July 15. You can easily use our online form to submit your titles or submit through As always, if you have any questions about how to submit your title, please contact our office.

July 16, 2006. Brooklyn Children's Museum. Pinky Dinky Doo East Coast Tour with Jim Jinkins.

July 16 - 21, 2006. Los Angeles, CA. American Indian Summer Institute. Presented by the FOX Entertainment Group Diversity Development Department in association with the Native Media and Technology Network for 18-25-year-old American Indian participants. The Institute covers 100% of the cost of the program and related expenses, including lodging and meals. Round-trip travel to Los Angeles is not included as part of these expenses. Native American participants can apply for up to $500 for airfare through NAPT's Producer Opportunity Fund. Information at

July 17-21. Appalachian State University, Boone NC. Digital Media In The Classroom, week long course. Details:

July 24-27, 2006. Albuquerque, NM. New Mexico Media Literacy Project. Summer 2006 Catalyst Institute, an intensive four-day training experience in media literacy concepts and skills. NMMLP staff and guest speakers lead participants in workshops, exercises, video screenings and discussions designed to deepen understanding of media issues and provide a solid foundation for media activism.

August 15, 2006. Deadline. Call for Submissions: Current TV, in partnership with the Third Millennium Foundation, launches Seeds of Tolerance initiative encouraging viewers to submit short videos that tell a story of tolerance. The grand prize is $100,000. Guest judges for the summer-long contest are Paul Haggis, Edward Norton, Melissa Etheridge and Margaret Cho, plus others. Submissions can be accepted at Current's web site at

September 27-October 1, 2006 The Phoenix East/Mesa Hilton, Tucson, AZ. The 28th National Media Market. The National Media Market presents an exceptional opportunity for media professionals who purchase for public libraries, universities, media/technology centers and educational broadcasting to screen the newest and best quality motion media from 55 prominent producers and distributors. Professional Development sessions, workshops and roundtable discussions further enhance the Market experience.

October 27-28 Boston, MA. 5th Annual Summit of the Coalition for a Commercial-Free Childhood. Consuming Kids: Marketing in Schools and Beyond. The summit will "bring together distinguished scholars, activists, parents, and educators to discuss how marketing undermines children’s health and well-being and what we can do about it. The 2006 summit features a special focus on marketing in schools."

November 19-24 Canada's National Media Education Week. The first of its kind in Canada, this week will highlight the importance of media literacy and Web literacy as key learning areas in the information age. Read More.


Through the combined efforts of Corporations for Character, KIDS FIRST!® , and your generous donation, we can fulfill our mission to provide positive, encouraging movies into each of more than one million children's hospital beds. This effort will provide entertainment for children while they are confined in a hospital. To support KIDS FIRST!® Cares, click here. All credit card transactions are secure.

For Homeschoolers
The Old Schoolhouse is the must have magazine for homeschoolers and right now they are offering a deal that is hard to pass up. With your 2- year subscription you will get approximately $300 in FREE homeschool materials - 19 complete gifts - and FREE shipping. Click here or call TOS at 1-888-718-HOME. The Old Schoolhouse is the magazine for homeschoolers. Please call today as gift inventory is limited to the first 5000 new subscribers.

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. The Coalition for Quality Children's Media relies on the generous support of its members and donors to support its programs. An individual/family membership is only $25/year. An organizational membership is $100/year. An independent producer membership is $200. To join, go to: or contact our office at 505.989.8076 or KIDS FIRST!.

VISIT OUR MEMBERS' SITES ******************
Please visit our website for an up-to-date list of Coalition members by clicking here:


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This newsletter may be reprinted with permission.
Copyright 2002 by Coalition for Quality Children's Media,

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, socioeconomic 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.

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