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

Archive for May, 2013

Space Warriors airs on the Hallmark Channel on May 31 at 7E/8C.

Friday, May 31st, 2013

The film, the second original installment of the new weekly Walden Family Theater  franchise debuts this Friday (May 31) at 8:00 PM ET on Hallmark Channel. Space Warriors tells the story of six highly-skilled teenagers hand-picked to be part of a summer space camp competition at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The kids find themselves in a race against time when an urgent crisis aboard the International Space Station (some 200 miles above the Earth) leads them to utilize all their problem-solving skills to come up with a plan to save the lives of the American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts aboard. The all-star cast includes Academy Award Winner Mira Sorvino, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Lucas, Danny Glover  and Thomas Horn (who garnered positive attention as the son of Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close).

ARC Entertainment partnered with Walden Media and Hallmark Channel to produce the film for Walden Family Theater which is made possible through the sponsorship of  P&G and Walmart (which will exclusively sell the DVD at its stores). Those tuning into the Hallmark premiere will be given the opportunity for a  real-life family space camp vacation. Details here.

Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/faithmediaandculture/2013/05/hallmark-channel-walden-media-and-arc-entertainment-chiefs-talk-about-space-warriors-and-their-commitment-family-tv.html#ixzz2UtvIlIjp

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Win two tickets to see “After Earth.” Tell Your Teens to Enter the XPRISE AFTER EARTH Competition.

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Win two tickets to see “After Earth” by telling us what you love about XPRIZE. (Click through here)

Calling all teens: Take part in the XPRIZE After Earth Challenge, an educational competition open to students ages 13-17 (with one adult captain).  In the first phase of the challenge, teams simply upload a video to http://xprizeafterearth.com discussing how they are promoting environmental sustainability in their communities (to avoid an After Earth like scenario where we are forced to evacuate the planet) and describing the mission they would design to send an unmanned rover to explore a potential site for humanity’s next settlement.

The top ten teams will receive a LEGO MINDSTORMS kit to use for their mission and a Full HD Sony Handycam to document their experience.  The grand prize winner, as determined by a panel of judges, will be featured on the Blu-ray release of After Earth. Registration for Phase One will remain open until June 7th.

Win a LEGO MINDSTORMS robotics kit, a Sony Handycam, and a chance to appear on the DVD of the Will Smith & Jaden Smith film, After Earth!

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Remembering my Mother this Mother’s Day.

Friday, May 10th, 2013

My mom came  from a completely different world than I grew up in. She grew up during the great Depression and became a wife and mother during World War II. I’m a Baby Boomer. I grew up in a pretty stable world, all things considered. I had a much easier childhood than my Mother and a more optimistic outlook on life. She gave me the courage to try things my Mother would never have considered doing herself. I was fortunate to have such a secure childhood that, as a parent, I explored new ideas in raising my own children. My children were invited to be part of the decision making process rather than simply being told what to do. I lived through the civil rights movement, the assassinations of John Kennedy, his brother, Bobby and Martin Luther King Jr., through Watergate and the Vietnam War. I remember the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, watching American Bandstand every week, trying communal living and being a vegetarian for 20 years.

My mom thought that doctors were God! I look for herbal remedies before heading to the doctor’s office. My mother was a smoker and I remember how her car reeked of cigarette smoke. Thanks to her, I never took up smoking. My mom was an avid pianist and sang in the church choir. I played the clarinet, saxophone and twirled the baton and swam with the synchronized swim team. I avoided the church choir. My mom was a reader. Her down time was usually spent reading a book of some sort, even if it was the Readers’ Digest Condensed Book-of-the-Month. My mom didn’t disagree. Instead, she held in her anger and every once in a while, exploded like a volcano. My siblings and I would all run to our rooms to hide until the lava cooled. My mom aged gracefully. She was a beautiful young woman and just as beautiful as she aged. My sister gave her a “Glamor photo shoot” for her 65th birthday and she is stunning in that photo.

My Mom was frugal. Oh, was she frugal. Even though my father was a successful businessman, my mother made every penny count. She would buy us flannel pajamas in July when they were on sale and wonder why we didn’t wear them until December. My father held my mother on a pedestal; rarely have I known someone to love anyone more. I once cussed at my mother and my dad picked me up and threw me against the wall, reminding me that “I would never speak that way to my mother again.” My mom wasn’t a terrible cook but she was English. Vegetables from her kitchen came out of a can and were reheated until they were steamy and soggy. The only fresh vegetables she ever served were fresh tomatoes and those Michigan tomatoes were so sweet that we would suck the juice right out of them. They also made the best darn BLTs you ever tasted.

My mom passed away 10 years ago and I still think about her almost every day. I loved my mom and appreciate her complete commitment to mothering. The things we shared in common were teaching our children to be inquisitive learners, to be resilient and to love our children unconditionally.Thanks Mom, for everything! 

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Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

PBS Distribution today announced it is releasing “FRONTLINE: THE ECONOMIC MELTDOWN” on DVD. This DVD set includes five fascinating FRONTLINE programs about one of the worst economic crises in America’s history. From what caused the meltdown to the government’s plan to stabilize and fix the economy, these programs offer compelling behind-the-scenes insights. “THE ECONOMIC MELTDOWN” will be available on DVD beginning June 4, 2013. The combined run time of all five programs is 300 minutes. The programs come on two discs. The programs included in this collection are detailed below.

“Inside the Meltdown” – FRONTLINE investigates how the economy went so bad, so fast, and what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson didn’t see, couldn’t stop, and weren’t able to fix.

“Ten Trillion and Counting” – All of the measures by the feds to stem the tide in the financial meltdown have added hundreds of billions of dollars to our national debt. FRONTLINE tracks the politics behind America’s mountain of debt.

“Breaking the Bank” – FRONTLINE draws on high-profile interviews with key players to reveal the story of two banks (Merrill Lynch and Bank of America) at the heart of the financial crisis.

“The Warning” – In the aftermath of the economic meltdown, FRONTLINE looks for clues about why it happened and examines moments when it might have gone much differently.

“Cliffhanger” – FRONTLINE goes inside the epic political battle responsible for America’s fiscal cliff and debt ceiling crisis.

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Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Disney announced the 12 finalists in the Marvel’s IRON MAN 3: Inventor and InnovatOR Fair, a nationwide science competition held in conjunction with the release of “Iron Man 3”, sponsored by Discovery Science Center, Broadcom Foundation and Marvel Studios, along with Visa Signature and the famous El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood., On the evening of May 3rd, at the 4:30pm screening of Marvel’s “Iron Man 3,” Grand Prize winners will receive their awards in a special ceremony onstage at the El Capitan Theatre, hosted by Asa Kalama,  a Walt Disney Imagineer. All 12 Inventor and InnovatOR Fair finalists will have their projects on display at the El Capitan from May 3rd – June 19th.

Like Iron Man’s alter ego, Tony Stark, these young geniuses are discovering and creating the world for tomorrow.  And getting to be a finalist hasn’t been easy.  Sixth through ninth-grade girls and boys across the nation were invited to participate in MARVEL’S IRON MAN 3: INVENTOR and INNOVATOR FAIR and asked to produce innovative, inventive projects based on STEM themes from “Iron Man 3” — STEM: (science, technology, engineering and math).   The competition encouraged students to submit projects that aligned with the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) Grand Challenges for Engineering™.

Earlier this month, after judges reviewed over 300 science projects from all over the country, 30 semi-finalists were chosen. From the 30 semi-finalists, the panel of judges chose 12 finalists, who will compete for the grand prize awards.

Following are the 12 finalists and their winning projects:

Anin Sayana, Cupertino, Calif.  – “A Novel Configuration of Carbon Nanotubes to Inhibit ABCG2 and Selectively Target Chemotherapy-Resistant Cancer Stem Cells
Arjun Dhawan, Newburgh, Ind. – “Walking with Sensors”
Audrey Harris, Nokomis, Fla. – “Opening New Opportunities”
Cassie Drury, Louisville, Ky. – “Exploring Cell Signaling in Wound Healing”
Chase Lewis, Chapel Hill, N.C. – “Rescue Travois- Saving Lives”
Emma Christensen, Greenville, N.C. – “Saved by the Bug”
Galen Lee, Cottondale, Ala. – “Solar Funnel Cooler”
Justin Abrahim – Pittsburgh, Pa. – “Ouch! Helmets and Concussions”
Maya Patel, The Woodlands, Texas – “Gauging Inferno Sprawl”
Megan Swintosky, Hatfield, Pa. – “Novel Mutations in the FLCN Gene in Cases of Familial Spontaneous Pneumothoraces”
Shixuan Justin Li, Lynn Haven, Fla. – “No Mo Squites”
Stephen Coyne, Knoxville, Md. – “Robotic Prosthetics: A Hand Prototype”

Grand Prize judges for the Marvel’s IRON MAN 3: Inventor and InnovatOR Fair will be Dr. Henry Samueli, Chairman of the Board, Broadcom Corporation; Joe Adams, President, Discovery Science Center; Janet Yamaguchi, Vice President of Education, Discovery Science Center; Dr. Yannis Yortsos, Dean of the Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California; and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Chairman and CEO, NantWorks, LLC.

The 12 finalists of the Marvel’s IRON MAN 3: Inventor and InnovatOR Fair won a trip to Southern California, provided by Visa Signature. The trip includes a meeting with Disney Imagineers, a trip to Disneyland, a visit to Discovery Science Center, a special experience at Broadcom Foundation, and more.

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Thanks to Our Donors to our Smart Kids Make Smart Consumers Campaign

Monday, May 6th, 2013

A million thank yous go out to every one of our donors to this campaign which supports our highly successful KIDS FIRST! Film Critics program and provide you, our readers, with access to reviews created by our youth film critics who review all the latest films rated PG-13 and younger.
Our goal was to raise $30,000 in 150 days and we raised $32,565! This program engages youth, teaches them invaluable writing and oral communication skills and gives them a voice. Our youth critics’ film reviews are seen by more than 20 million people a month through our TV, radio, print and online partners.
Parents have told us how much their kids have gotten out of the program. “With the KIDS FIRST! thorough training, our daughter now has real tools to help her formulate her opinions, communicate her thoughts and inspire others to evaluate what they are being offered in the medium,” says one parent. Another added, “This experience has definitely helped my daughter with her confidence level and has enhanced her critical thinking skills.”
Help us help kids. No couch potatoes on our watch; these kids are active media users.
KIDS FIRST! Film Critics is a project of the 21-year-old national nonprofit, Coalition for Quality Children’s Media – a 501-c-3 organization. Your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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