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The Newsstand - KIDS FIRST!® News 2006


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The Newsstand

Christine Pollock, Newsletter Editor
Anything truly good is going to be partly experimental. -Richard Kazarian

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Turning your TV Time into Quality Time
October 3, 2006 Issue #10
Christine L. Pollock, Editor
Ranny Levy, Publisher

1. Letters from the Editor and President
2. Web Store Features
4. Ann's Avenue Alerts
5. Festival Titles
6. New Members/Renewing Members
7. Member News
8. Media News
9. Family and Parenting News
10. KIDS FIRST!® Best Awards Nominees - Student Producers by Christine L. Pollock
11. Crafts and Activities: KIDS FIRST!® Best Awards by Dr. Toy and Colored Worms
12. Festival City Schedule and Events
13. Special Offers
* Permission to forward or reprint the content herein is granted with complete attribution.

The Female Role in Film - Geena Davis, See Jane, Reel Grrls and Heroic Girlz

Cool Classroom Clips and Give Me a Little Sign - Interview with Maya & Miguel creator, Deborah Forte

Evergreen Film

Why the Famous Do Children's Films - Interviews with Daniel Roebuck and Jim Hanks




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

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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 /June 27
July 4 / July 18 / Aug 1 / Aug 15 / Sept 5 / Sept 19

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,

Happy autumn! As the season changes, things are changing for us, too. We have a treat for you this month. Thanks to Netman, we now offer video clips for many of our titles, and more are coming in every day. Producers, please send us your clips. This complimentary service provides consumers with a glimpse of what we have to offer, and publicizes your films. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Parents and educators, feel free to check out the clips on our website. Or you might want to check out the trailers from the films mentioned in our main article.

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,

Whew, but this is a busy time of year. We just finished our lineup for our fourth quarter festivals and, of the 80 titles that have been accepted, almost half (39 of them), are independent films. Thirteen of those are student films. Go indies! I have to say that this quarter's submissions were better than ever, and I'm just thrilled with the quality of this work. Click here for the complete list, or scroll down to the very end of the newsletter. And don't forget to check our online booking page, to find out what's playing at a venue near you.

Remember that KIDS FIRST! Best Day comes to LA next week featuring a sneak peek of Flicka, a new feature film from 20th Century Fox. We extend a special invitation to all our readers in the LA area to attend our KIDS FIRST! Best Day at the Los Angeles International Children's Film Festival. A selection of preschool films play at 11:30, followed at 1:00 p.m. with Me, Eloise and our KIDS FIRST! Awards Ceremony at 2:30 followed by Flicka.

This truly is a day for kids, with goodie bags and the opportunity to meet special guests such as Keke Palmer, the star of Akeelah and the Bee; Mary Matilyn Mouser, the voice of Eloise, Maya & Miguel, and a newcomer - Tiny from Little Robots. Of course, Ann and I will be there, and we look forward to meeting our LA - based families who attend as well as the many filmmakers who'll be there.

Be sure to check out the other events happening at the festival, which kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday Oct. 6, with the FREE 20th Anniversary Screening of the classic coming-of-age film Stand By Me. The 1986 film, directed by Rob Reiner, is the story of a group of boys who experience an unforgettable summer as they move towards adolescence. Based on a story by Stephen King, the film stars Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Jerry O'Connell, Corey Feldman and Kiefer Sutherland. Rob Reiner will introduce the film and answer questions following the screening. This event is free to the public, with first-come, first-served seating in the 600-seat Bing Theatre. Arrive early! For more information, visit the Los Angeles International Children's Film Festival's webpage.

Much love and to all my fellow Librans, Happy Birthday!

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.



Bumblz: Clubhouse Friends. Bumblz and Slomo want to build a clubhouse, but encounter obstacles along the way. Can their new friends, Fuzzette, Corky and Spinny help them out? See the Bumblz Gang use friendship, cooperation and the power of the imagination to overcome the odds! DVD. 20 min.; $8.79; Ages: 2-5. Bumblz Media


Bumblz Tunes: Songs in the Key of Bee
. This lively music compilation features original songs from the children's animated series, Bumblz. High production values and a variety of musical styles and themes result in a rare Music CD that both children and parents can enjoy together! Audio; $7.99; Age: 2-5. Bumblz Media.

Danger Rangers: The Great Race. Excellent for home or preschool road safety awareness. Bright colors and cute characters are very appealing. Contains lots of poignant safety facts including details such as why trucks can't slow down as fast as cars can. DVD. 24 min.; $10.39; Age: 5-8. Educational Adventures.



AdventurePatrol: Totally Rocks
. A wild, weekend long adventure in the red rock mountains of Utah. Zeke, the host, invites kids to accompany him as he learns how to mountain bike, rock climb, and watches pros at these extreme sports while exploring Native American art and dance. DVD. 35 min.; $11.98; Ages: 5-12; Big Bright World, Inc.



Sign Language for PK
. One of Ranny's picks! Includes: Signing Time! Volumes 4, 5, & 6 DVD. 90 min.; $39.99; Ages: 2-5. Coalition for Quality Children's Media.




KIDS FIRST!® and Texas Girls' State Fair at the Texas State Fair, Dallas, Texas, September 29 through October 22

From September 29th through October 22nd this year, KIDS FIRST!® is proud to partner with The Women's Museum to bring a continuous stream of quality media that focuses on the interests and achievements of adolescent girls. This year, The Women's Museum is introducing Texas Girls' State Fair at the Texas State Fair in Dallas and over 200,000 girls, schoolmates and families will visit the Museum during this time.

Every day during the State Fair, great titles such as Me, Eloise, Angelina Ballerina, Heroic Girlz, Pollyworld, Akeelah and the Bee and an all new, never seen before episode from Cyberchase, Designing Mr. Perfect, starring Danica Keller, offer the chance for girls to see themselves just as successful as any of the great women that line the halls of the museum. Please click here for daily schedule

The purpose of Texas Girls' State Fair is to honor, recognize and showcase the achievements and interests of Texas adolescent girls. During the Texas Girls' State Fair, the 70,000 square foot Museum will be transformed into a lively, colorful, and exuberant venue for science and math projects, music, live performances, film, fashion and design that show what girls are doing, thinking about, and achieving today. All events at the Museum are free of charge, with admission to the State Fair.

KIDS FIRST!® continues to offer programming to communities across the United States. From prestigious film festivals and top rated children's museums to your local library or community organization, you can be part of the KIDS FIRST!® mission to make quality children's media available to everyone. Contact Ann Church at KIDS FIRST!® to get started in your community.

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

Going to School in India, Pt 2. L. 32 min. A celebration of what school can be, viewed through the eyes of children who go to school under different circumstances. Highlights India's extreme landscape, also the indomitable spirits of children to conquer there landscapes and go to school. Includes four mini films, each 8 minutes in length. Going to School in a Tribe - The children of the Saura tribe go to school in their village on the hills. They learn to count with sticks and use an abacus made of mud. Going to School on a Boat- Veera Veni, Durga Devi and Dana Laxmi live on a boat in coastal Andhra Pradesh. It's their home, their family lives on it. It's where they cook, eat and sleep. Going to School in the Lake- Zahida lives on an island in the middle of a lake and her school is also in the middle of a lake, in a small village. Everyday Zahida goes to school with her sister Masarat in a Shikara. Going to School on the Streets - Street children living in a shelter in Old Delhi and go to school from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. After school Ramesh goes to a newspaper meeting, where they make newspaper with articles to make street children aware of their rights. Going to School in a Monastery- Lobzang Namgal lives in a monastery in Ladakh, that's where he stays and that's his school too. At school they learn Buddha's teachings along with other subjects and play, too. Ages 5-10. Going to School Fund.


Spookley The Square Pumpkin. L. 45 min. In a world where the only good pumpkins are round pumpkins, Spookley The Square Pumpkin is shunned by the other pumpkins until a mighty storm threatens to destroy the entire patch. As the storm rages Spookley realizes it's find to be round while the weather is fair, but there are times it's better to be a square! Ages 4-8. Lionsgate Family Entertainment.



The Wind in the Willows - The Complete First Season. L. 260 min. Kenneth Grahame's classic adventures continue as Toad, Mole, Rat, and Badger do their best to maintain the simple pleasures of life, even as the pesky weasels lurk nearby. Filled with music and song -- and plenty of tea and jam -- our gentlemanly quartet always finds a way to traverse life's ups and downs with aplomb. Peter Sallis (Wallace) plays the voice of Ratty. Ages 5-12. A&E Home Video, C/O New Video Group.



Backyardigans, The: Mission to Mars. L. 100. The main episode takes the Backyardigans to outer space and an underground Martian city. Includes four episodes. Also features the voice of Grammy award-winning singer Alicia Keys as Mommy Martian. Alicia Keys also sings one song titled "Boinga" on the main episode. Ages 2-5. Paramount Home Entertainment.


Dora the Explorer: Dora’s World Adventures
. L. 100 min. Pull out your passport and grab your backpack as you join Dora and friends on their first-ever worldwide adventure. This adventure follows Dora and Swiper as they travel to China, France, Tanzania and Russia in search of friendship bracelets in order to save Friendship Day, the worldwide celebration of friendship and peace. Ages 2-5. Paramount Home Entertainment.





Diary of a Spider. L. 8 min. This is the diary of a spider who's a lot like you! He goes to school, but he also spins sticky webs and takes wind-catching lessons. From the creators of the best-selling Diary of a Worm, this portrait of an upside-down web world will have kids wishing they could be spiders too! Directed by Gene Deitch, and narrated by Angus T. Jones, with music by Zdenek Zdenek. Based on the book by Doreen Cronin. Ages 3-8. Weston Woods Series.



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

The Magic of Martial Arts. This DVD mixes music, comedy and magic tricks with interactive self-defense instruction. The award-winning live-action production keeps kids safe by encouraging non-violent problem-solving, walking away from trouble, controlling anger and feeling like a winner inside. Kids learn how to use karate...and when NOT to use it.

NEST Family Entertainment. NEST Family Entertainment is a leading producer and distributor of award-winning, animated films, interactive DVDs, audio collections, and Resource & Activity books. Used by countless families and in more than 100,000 churches, schools, and libraries, the NEST Complete Learning System uses media as a positive resource to help teach children in a way that is both entertaining and life-changing. For more than 15 years, NEST Family Entertainment has received numerous awards and recognition for its children's educational and Bible videos, including the prestigious Dove Seal of Approval.

One Wee World. Enchant your children and enrich their lives by using our content-rich, interactive films specifically designed to help them learn about exotic world cultures through artwork, language, colorful dress, traditional foods, music, dance, games, and so much more! Their mission is to end racism, ignorance, and fear of others. They want to help each child cultivate a deep respect and appreciation for cultures different than their own. They will celebrate diversity.

Pacific Entertainment Corp specializes in creating quality children’s entertainment brands and unique music programs for mass and specialty retailers.

Reel Girls Media Inc. Reel Girls Media mission statement: Fostering a deeper understanding of the world and the human spirit through television and new media.

Turtles in Ties. a division of Kristin Harris Design, Inc. Turtles in Ties produces animated bilingual media for preschool children. Their focus is creating media that respects the innate intelligence of young children and tickles their fancy."Bees Buzz & Lions Roar/Las abejas zumban y los leones rugen" is the first in the A World of Animal for You series and features over 50 animals from all over the world. The content is available in either English or Spanish. They believe that exposure to a second language at a young age helps children's cognitive development.

Two Little Hands Productions. Signing Time is a sign language video series for hearing infants and children that teaches them basic American Sign Language (ASL) in a fun and memorable way. Big kids and grown-ups love it, too!

WonderVisions. has been producing programs for 25 years, adult & children programs."The Friendly Gray Whales" won a silver apple-for junior high students."Alaska's Coolest Birds" - a submission to KIDS FIRST! is a collaboration with, who has produced several award winning children's programs.


Congratulations Danger Rangers
This KIDS FIRST!® endorsed, animated action/adventure series focused on kid safety, is set to premiere on PBS member stations in major markets this month, coinciding with National Fire Safety month. Danger Rangers is produced by Educational Adventures.



Activision and Nickelodeon Agreement
Nickelodeon and Activision Value Publishing, Inc. have entered into a distribution agreement, under which Activision will be the exclusive distributor of three new Nick Jr. PC CD-ROM titles, Dora The Explorer, The Backyardigans and Go, Diego, Go! The three titles will be released in later this month.

ReelTime Rental's, Inc. Enters Agreement with PorchLight Entertainment
PorchLight's family and kid's movies and TV programs, as well as some content from its non-fiction and music division, will be offered via ReelTime Rental's online broadband network, on a non-exclusive basis. A number of the kid's properties initially offered on will make their way to ReelTime Kids when the online kid's channel is launched in 2007. ReelTime launched the second week of September.

A big congratulations to all the independent producers whose titles were accepted for the KIDS FIRST! Film and Video Festival Fourth Quarter 2006

Veggie Tales: Sheerluck Holmes and the Golden Ruler - Big Idea, Inc.
Little Blue: Live the Dream - Bob Svihovec
Bumblz: The Pirate's Treasure - Bumblz Media
Magic Cellar - Chocolate Moose Media, Inc.
The Happy Cricket - Clever Image Studios
The Ordinary Boy - David Ariniello
Up in the Attic: The Search for Snow - David Zaremba
Worst Day Ever - Keenan Quick-Jones
Groms: Surf - El Porto Productions
BJ Teddy Bear's Club and Bible Stories, Vol 1 & 2 - First Look Studioes
Emmanuel's Gift - First Look Studioes
Loopy Sloop - Flexitoon
Going to School in India, Pt. 2 - Going to School Fund
Gidgie and Philly - Katie Marin
Art Chins - Children's Media Project/Listen Up
Cultivate - Perpich Center for Art Education/Listen Up
Face - Perpich Center for Art Education/Listen Up
A Girl Like Me - Reel Works Teen Filmmaking/Listen Up
Help Me Please - Youth Sounds/Listen Up
Inner City Blues - Ghetto Film School/Listen Up
Mother Superior - Spy Hop Productions/Listen Up
No Education No Life - Wide Angle Community Media/Listen Up
Pencilmation = Light House/Listen Up
Skin - TRUCE/Listen Up
What if - TRUCE/Listen Up
Mr. Christmas - Luminous Films
Families of Canada - Master Communications
The Cat's Tale - Melee
Chanuka at Bubbe's - Monterey Media
Nobelity - Monterey Media
Little Heroes (Giborim Ktanim) - NOA - International Film Marketing
My Backyard Was A Mountain - Palmavejo Films
Mr. Marty Show - Rhythm and Rhyme Tyme
Bally Vaughan Story - Sara Pocock
A Gift from Santa - Suzanne Hensler
Hermie & Friends: Stanley the Stinkbug - Tommy Nelson Inc.
Firefighter Frank - Toon Studios


Sesame Street Adresses Adoption
Original episodes are set to air on PBS Kids, November 6 and November 7 (check your local listings) to coincide with the launch of ‘National Adoption Month. The Sesame Street family will get a new addition when Gina, the resident veterinarian becomes a single mother when she adopts a baby boy, Marco, from Guatemala. The original episodes help explain what it means to adopt a baby and how it impacts not just the parent or parents, but those closest to them. Launches Internet Safety Campaign
Dedicated to informing parents and educators, the guides lay out how MySpace works, answers questions about social networks and the internet in general and underlines both the company's safety practices and the challenges and information for kid/student safety on the Internet The Parents' Guide is available for download from MySpace in the Tips for Parents section, and will be distributed to public school administrators.


KIDS FIRST!® Best Awards Nominees - Student Producers by Christine L. Pollock

A few years ago my film-buff friend raved about a particular title. When I asked what was so good about the film, he answered, "They had a huge budget…” that led to the question, does a film need a large budget to make it enjoyable for public viewing? The young students who are nominees for KIDS FIRST!® Best Awards found that budget doesn't limit creativity or audience enthusiasm.

Brett Rutland, creator of Past Whispers, encourages new producers with the following suggestions: A good thing to do is stick to topics you are familiar with and passionate about. Surround yourself with people or friends that can help in the process. Educating yourself and exposing yourself to as much film and animation as possible is also a good start. If you are strongly influenced by Miyazaki for example, then learn from the best, and watch his films. As with any artist you can learn many techniques by studying their work.

Rutland practices what he preaches. Past Whispers follows the adventures of three siblings who open a portal into a world of magical skies and menacing landscapes. The film was based on Rutland’s own childhood experiences with his brother and sister. Although the film took four and a half years to make, he "wouldn't have done anything differently." Rutland stresses that the film you create needs to mean something to you or it will “drive you nuts.” The story is also extremely important. Past Whispers is a hit among kids perhaps because they enjoy going on the imaginative journey, too. The children bring their own stories to the film.

Peter Gundling, eight-year-old creator of Toys: the Homemaker’s Tale (see trailer on our site), asserts that the story is definitely the most important part of a film. In his eight-minute video, the Homemaker family, a set a plastic toys, does not fit in with the other toys in Toy Town. They are forced to leave but return to confront the problems they faced. Gundling began to play with stop-motion animation when a friend gave him a toy Gumby for his birthday. He was fascinated with movement. While reading The Ultimate Lego Book, a treasure he found in the school library, Gundling decided to create a film starring little Lego people. Precision and patience are key when making animated film. Gundling feels that his films have an edge over films by other children his age because he takes the time to make it smooth. According to Gundling, “Lots of kids my age do crazy performing in front of a camera. If they do animation, it is choppy, not lots of shots. I do ten pictures for every second.” It took him 8 months to make Toys: A Homemaker’s Tale. However, it was worth the effort. Peter won the Chicago Classroom Television Outstanding Chicago Production award at the Future Filmmakers Festival, was invited to meet Mr. Spielberg at the Gala, and is now a KIDS FIRST!® Best Award nominee.

Both Gundling and Rutland are proud to be nominees, but being part of the KIDS FIRST!® team is even more than that, Rutland discloses. It’s about what KIDS FIRST!® is doing with and for kids. It gets kids together and exposes them to new films and producers. Parents can be confident in the content -- that it will build imagination, understanding of the world, and friendships. As kids get older, perhaps they, too, will be inspired to create media with quality content.


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

KIDS FIRST!® Best Awards. Hard to believe another year has passed and it's awards time again. KIDS FIRST!® offers so many titles addressing challenging issues--keeping our minds, body and spirit intact and healthy can be a challenge. Thank goodness we have the great resources available at KIDS FIRST!® and from videos of all kinds that support health and well being, learning and creating, drama and entertainment and much more.

Activity - Colored Worms - Great Play Dough Recipe

When Gundling started his animation, he used clay "worms." This is a great recipe for play dough, which can get children's imaginations soaring.

Materials: 2 c. flour, 2 tablespoons oil, 4 teaspoons cream of tartar, 2 c, water, 1 c. salt, food coloring

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:

October 12. CA. The Animation Guild is holding a forum for members to hear about their research and hear perspectives from panelists in animation.

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 4. Seneca Falls, NY. Heroic Girlz is playing at the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Women's Rights Convention National Park.

November 5, 2006. Lake Lily Park, 701 Lake Lily Drive Maitland, FL. . Take a Day to Play and enjoy carnival rides and games, Nickelodeon character visits, and live children’s music. Hot Peas ‘n Butter and Justin Roberts, both of whom are featured on the NOGGIN’s Jack’s Big Music Show, will join local favorites on stage for a six-hour concert. Admission to the concert is FREE, and tickets for the carnival can be purchased at the event. For more information, call the Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando at 407-645-0923 or visit

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.

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:


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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