Up to date information about children's entertainment – film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

Archive for January, 2009

Oscar Nominees

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Our hearty congratulations to all the 2009 Oscar Nominees but, in partidular to those in the Animated Feature Category: Bolt, Kung-Fu Panda; WALL-E.

All three of these are excellent films for children that KIDS FIRST! has recommended.

WALL-E – After hundreds of lonely years of doing what he was built for, WALL•E (short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) discovers a new purpose in life (besides collecting knick-knacks) when he meets a sleek search robot named EVE. EVE comes to realize that WALL•E has inadvertently stumbled upon the key to the planet’s future, and races back to space to report her findings to the humans (who have been eagerly awaiting word that it is safe to return home). Meanwhile, WALL•E chases EVE across the galaxy and sets into motion one of the most exciting and imaginative comedy adventures ever brought to the big screen. Joining WALL•E on his fantastic journey across a universe of never-before-imagined visions of the future, is a hilarious cast of characters including a pet cockroach, and a heroic team of malfunctioning misfit robots.

Kung-fu Panda – Enthusiastic, big and a little clumsy, Po works in his family’s noodle shop while daydreaming about becoming a Kung Fu master. His dreams soon become reality when he is unexpectedly chosen to join the world of Kung Fu and study alongside his idols-the legendary fighters Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey-under the leadership of their guru, Master Shifu. But before they know it, the vengeful and treacherous snow leopard Tai Lung is headed their way, and it’s up to Po to defend everyone from the oncoming threat. Can he turn his dreams of becoming a Kung Fu hero into reality? Po puts his heart and his girth into the task, and ultimately finds that his greatest weaknesses turn out to be his greatest strengths.

Bolt – From the creator of Cars and Finding Nemo, meet Disney’s newest hero, Bolt and his faithful hamster sidekick Rhino, in the fully awesome comedy adventure event of thee year. As the star of the biggest TV show in Hollywood, Bolt s life if filled with adventure, danger and intrigue. So when the super pup is accidentally shipped to New York City and separated from Penney, his beloved co-star and owner, Bolt immediately springs into action to save her from the forces of evil. But he s not alone, with the help of Rhino, his number one fan and loyal partner, and a crafty alley cat named Mittens, they embark on an extraordinary mission filled with high flying, action packed stunts. Showcasing the vocal talents of John Travolta and teen sensation Miley Cyrus and featuring a never before seen animated short starring the pint sized rolling ball of thunder, Rhino, this movie will have your whole family cheering for the good guys and getting for more.
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V-Me – Exxpands its Spanish Language Programming

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

V-me, America’s fastest growing Hispanic network, expands the best Spanish-language pre-school offer on US television with the addition of NumberJacks: Los Supernúmeros to its daily V-me Ninos block.

Named “Best Educational Program” in both 2007 and 2008 by the prestigious Royal Television Society, and a favorite with kids and parents in over 40 countries, the hit series from Open Mind Studios and the BBC joins V-me’s collection of Emmy, Peabody, and Bafta Award winners. As the exclusive U.S. home for NumberJacks: Los Supernúmeros in Spanish, V-me airs the series weekdays at 12:30pm (ET).

NumberJacks: Los Supernúmeros combines fun, thinking skills, and math concepts in an entertaining package, as a team of young animated superheroes — the numbers 0 through 9 — have adventures and solve problems in the real world. Each program is structured as a scientific investigation, and designed to give young viewers a positive attitude towards math that will last a lifetime. The learning in NumberJacks: Los Supernúmeros covers a wide range of topics: counting, shapes, measurement, movement, positions, patterns and problem solving.

“NumberJacks: Los Supernúmeros is a great addition to V-me’s line-up,” said Guillermo Sierra, V-me’s chief content officer. “It brings solid pre-math education that complements our science, literacy, health and social curriculum — but wrapped in a highly popular and entertaining format, like all our children’s shows.“

Every week, V-me broadcasts more than 36 hours of world-class kid’s programming, with a special family block on weekends. V-me Ninos is the most widely distributed block of children’s programming available on US Spanish TV.

Already reaching over 50% of US Hispanic TV Households, V-me is presented locally by public TV stations in many cities as a digital broadcast and on basic digital cable, and is carried nationally on DIRECTV Ch. 440, DISH Network Ch. 9414 and DISHLatino Ch. 846. For specific local channel information, visit http:www.VmeTV.com

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Calling all ARTHUR fans! Help create a new character.

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Have you ever fancied yourself a TV show producer? Ever wanted to be a part of the creative team? Well, here’s your chance to make a difference, to get involved with one of the top shows on the air!

ARTHUR, the award-winning PBS KIDS GO! television series, and CVS Caremark All Kids Can, a program dedicated to making life easier for kids with disabilities, are teaming up to announce the “ARTHUR/All Kids Can Character Search”!

Beginning February 1, 2009, the “ARTHUR/All Kids Can Character Search” invites children ages 6-12 to send in their ideas for a new character for Arthur. And not just any character–one who can show that having a unique ability, character trait, or disability might make life a little bit different, but not any less fun. Kids can mail in their entries, with a drawing of their character and a description of what makes them special, starting February 1, 2009. The child with the selected idea, along with their character, will be featured in a live-action segment on the ARTHUR show. In addition, he or she will receive a visit from ARTHUR creator and author Marc Brown at the child’s school, local library, or PBS member station.

The character search is designed to educate children about the importance of inclusion and how children of all abilities can play together. It also encourages parents and children to think about what life is like for someone they know who has a disability.

“We’re looking for an exciting new character, who can show the gang in Elwood City that children come in all shapes, sizes and abilities,” said ARTHUR Senior Producer Jacqui Deegan. “Over the years, ARTHUR has helped children to embrace other kids’ unique characteristics as well as their own, and this new character will continue that tradition.”

CVS Caremark All Kids Can supports programs and services that help children with disabilities learn, play, and succeed in life. For over 11 years, ARTHUR has celebrated the importance of friendship and the value of accepting and including kids with different abilities from all walks of life. For instance, Buster shows that kids with asthma can do just about anything, Marina shows her friends what it’s like to be blind, George succeeds as a student with dyslexia, and Carl–in an upcoming season–will share what it’s like to have autism.

“We’re thrilled to partner with ARTHUR,” said Eileen Howard Dunn, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Community Relations at CVS Caremark. “For years, we’ve watched the series become a trusted resource for kids to learn valuable life lessons, by relating to its vibrant, loveable characters. This is a perfect way to further our mission of helping kids develop an understanding and acceptance of disabilities.”

The selected character will be chosen by a panel of judges including the producers of the ARTHUR show, and colleagues from CVS Caremark All Kids Can. The panel includes Tolon Brown from Marc Brown Studios; Terri Mauro, About.com’s Guide to Parenting Special Needs; Matt Cavedon from Boundless Playgrounds; Katy Beh Neas, Vice President of Government Relations for Easter Seals; and Susan Kane, Editor-in-Chief of Parenting magazine’s “School Years” edition. Nine additional finalists will receive prize packages including CVS gift cards and ARTHUR merchandise.

Fans can visit pbskidsgo.org/arthur/allkidscan to download the entry form beginning February 1, 2009. Entries must be postmarked by March 31, 2009.

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Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Children’s PressLine, the not-for-profit organization that teaches kids eight to 18 to be journalists, today announced that 13 of its youth journalists will cover the Inaugural celebrations of President Elect Barak Obama. The team will travel to Washington DC and commence coverage on January 16th. Their work will be published in newspapers across the country.

The young journalists hail from New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC and New Orleans, cities where Children’s PressLine maintains or is growing a presence. Covering the Inaugural celebrations provides an immersion-learning environment as reporters assume real responsibilities in a professional environment and compete for interviews with adult reporters. Each team member will execute all facets of journalistic work, including story development, research, reporting, interviewing and writing articles for Children’s PressLine’s media partners. In this real-world environment, these children will gain a true sense of their capabilities as journalists and their responsibility to cover youth issues for an adult audience.

Children’s PressLine, together with its predecessor organization Children’s Express, has a legacy of political coverage and has reported from every major political convention since 1976. Within the organization, coverage of presidential conventions and inaugurations is recognized as an honor and a privilege of mythical proportion. To date, each youth journalist has met and exceeded the challenge. In fact, at its first convention, a Children’s Express reporter scooped mainstream press, breaking the news that Jimmy Carter was choosing Walter Mondale as his running mate. In 2004, Children’s PressLine was the only youth organization that had convention-credentialed press passes for the RNCC.

At the 2008 Republican and Democratic National conventions, the CPL team interviewed more than 200 elected officials, delegates and local youth, producing 73 pieces of content in print, video and audio formats. This work was published in New York’s Daily News and The Amsterdam News, Metro USA (Boston, Philadelphia and New York editions), Minneapolis Star Tribune, and PBS’ The Online NewsHour, reaching more than 4 million adults and youth. Children’s PressLine was also featured by CBS’s The Early Show, ABC’s News Now, Fox’s Good Day Colorado, ChannelOne, Minneapolis Public Radio, Newsweek, the Oregonian, the Atlanta Journal- Constitution, Jackson (Miss.) Clarion Ledger and Greeley (Colo.) Tribune.

Youth coverage of major political events is vital in a democracy. Through Children’s PressLine, young people, who make up 26% of the population, ask questions directly to politicians and policymakers and provide them with information they need to make educated decisions.

Children’s PressLine is a not-for-profit organization that trains kids aged eight to 18 to be journalists. What sets CPL apart is that our young journalists report and edit stories targeted to adult audiences as well as kids. Major broadcast and print media outlets across the country have aired and printed these stories including The New York Daily News, BBC World Service, Metro New York, New York Amsterdam News, Tweens and Teens News and via syndication through the Scripps Howard News Services.

Children’s PressLine is heir to a 26-year-old tradition of integrating youth perspective into mainstream media. A spin-off of Children’s Express – the only youth-produced news organization to win both Emmy and Peabody Awards – CPL seeks to continue empowering the voice of youth, serving as a window to the hearts and minds of this under-heard and underserved community. The result is an unquestionably authentic, graceful and mature approach to the search for truth. For more information on Children’s PressLine, please visit www.cplmedia.org.

Children’s PressLine
163 Amsterdam Ave #149
New York

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Igor Jan 20

Monday, January 19th, 2009

In a land of mad scientists and diabolical inventions, one lowly lab assistant has a chance to achieve his dreams in IGOR, debuting on DVD and Blu-ray Disc January 20th from MGM Home Entertainment. “Sweet and entertaining” (Bill Zwecker, Chicago Sun-Times), IGOR features a stellar ensemble voice cast including Golden Globeâ nominee John Cusack* (Being John Malkovich, High Fidelity), Academy Award nominee John Cleese** (Shrek The Third, A Fish Called Wanda), Golden Globeâ nominee Steve Buscemi*** (Fargo, The Big Lebowski), Sean Hayes**** (The Bucket List, “Will & Grace”), Emmy Awardâ winner Jay Leno**** (“The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” Ice Age 2: The Meltdown), Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie, “Joey”), Christian Slater, Emmy Awardâ nominee Molly Shannon***** (“Kath And Kim,” “Saturday Night Live”), Emmy Awardâ winner Eddie Izzard****** (“The Riches,” Across The Universe) and Arsenio Hall (“The Arsenio Hall Show”).

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City of Ember Streets Jan 20

Sunday, January 18th, 2009
A heart-thumping, edge-of-your-seat adventure comes to light in this exhilarating family film based on the best-selling novel by Jeanne Duprau. For centuries, the residents of the underground City of Ember have flourished in an amazing world of glittering lights and quiet contentment. But when the City’s massive power generator begins to fail, the street lamps start to fade — along with the hopes and dreams of the townspeople. Now it’s up to two courageous teenagers to follow a trail of clues left by the ancient Builders and find a way out of Ember before their world is plunged into darkness forever!

Featuring an all-star cast and crew of acclaimed talent that will light up any screen, City of Ember was produced by Emmy Award winner* Gary Goetzman (We Stand Alone Together) and Academy AwardÒ-winner** Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump) and stars OscarÒ-winner Tim Robbins (Best Supporting Actor, Mystic River), Golden GlobeÒ-winner Bill Murray (Best Actor, Lost in Translation) and Academy AwardÒ-nominee Saoirse Ronan (Best Supporting Actress, Atonement).

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