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

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Join our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Team

Sunday, February 11th, 2024

Are you passionate about media?
Do you love talking about the latest films or TV shows?
Do you imagine yourself as an entertainment reporter? Look no further. We have a place for you where you can do all that and more!
We invite you to audition for our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Team here: https://www.kidsfirst.org/become-a-juror/

Fill out our online audition form. Along with your personal information (which we do not share), you’ll be asked to submit a sample 200 word written review of a film or TV show and to upload a brief video about yourself to our dropbox folder.
Next, our staff reviews your application and schedule an online audition. Don’t be discouraged; we don’t expect you to get it 100% right the first time. And, we’re looking for kids who are able to be coached.
We will notify you whether you are accepted or if you need to work on your skills a bit more.
Once you are accepted, you’ll be asked to complete our six-week online training course, so you are well prepared before you undertake your first assignment.
Upon successfully completing this course, you’ll be invited to join our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics national team of reporters where you will be assigned films, TV shows and other media to watch and review. You will watch shows before they are released; you will interview celebrities on and off the red carpet; you will attend behind-the-scenes events for new film and digital releases. We ask that you make a one year commitment to working with us. Most kids stay longer than that.

Sound like what you’re looking for!
Go here to for additional information. 


Take a look at what our awesome reporters are doing.

Contact us if you would like additional information

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The KIDS FIRST! Journey And Surprises Along the Way

Monday, October 30th, 2023

Today, one week into our annual year-end fundraising campaign, we’ve reached 20% of our goal, thanks to generous people like you! Please help us reach 100% so we can continue our important work in children’s media, which often changes lives one person at a time.

As we begin our 33rd year, I’ve been reflecting on our journey and our vision for the future. When I co-founded KIDS FIRST! in September 1991, little did I know that it would evolve into my life’s most defining work. A casual conversation with my colleague, Paula Miller, marked a turning point in my life. We, along with a few others from the children’s media industry, had been toying with the idea of creating a service that would help parents choose quality programming for their children. Paula, having recently been laid off, posed a question that forced me to confront my own commitment to this idea. She asked, “Are you serious about doing this?” Her question was a wake-up call. It was time to either fully commit to this idea or let it go.

By the end of our first meeting, we had developed a business plan to start a nonprofit and created a list of potential board members. As she drove away, we literally tore that list in half and began making phone calls. I still remember calling Peggy Charren (Founder, Action for Children’s Television), who grilled me like I was on the witness stand before saying, “Oh sure, you’re fun to talk with. I’m in!” After that, things began to flow pretty smoothly, though we definitely had our ups and downs. We launched the concept at VSDA (some of you remember that conference), where Bruce Apar, Editor of Video Business, approached me and said, “You need me on your board.” We did! Many other critical people joined us along the way and I’ll share some of those stories at a later time.

What I did not know at the beginning is how this organization would grow and become so much more than meets the eye. On the surface, we teach media literacy in action to our team of 65 tween and teen reporters who review the latest films and interview the cast and crew. But KIDS FIRST! is so much more. We have created a community where these young people can engage with media professionals in a dialogue that makes children’s media relevant. We build lifelong friendships for young people with a shared interest in storytelling, filmmaking, and investing in their future. We help them find their purpose and become leaders who impact the lives of others in a meaningful way.

Please help us meet our end of year goal by making a contribution yourself and sharing our story with friends, family and colleagues. Every little bit helps, whether it is $5 or $1500.

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Join our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Team

Monday, October 18th, 2021

Are you a kid who loves film, loves talking about film and loves to be on-camera? If so, we want you on our national KIDS FIRST! Film Critics team! This audition is open to those wishing to be join our national KIDS FIRST! Film Critics team. To audition, click on the link below to apply. Auditions are open tweens and teens, ages 9 to 16. There are three short steps to enter. There is no fee to participate in this program, but there is a fee to take either our quick start course or one of our boot camps.

Go here to for more information: https://www.kidsfirst.org/become-a-juror/

Deadlines to apply: July 23, 2022.

Before applying, please familiarize yourself with our program by visiting our website https://www.kidsfirst.org/ where you can watch and read our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics’ reviews. Visit our “about us” page to read more about the organization. https://www.kidsfirst.org/about-us/#kf

Watch our sizzle reel to see a sample of our youth reporters on assignment.

Questions: Email us at [email protected] or call 505.989.8076. We look forward to hearing from you.

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KIDS FIRST! Partners with Xerb.tv to Launch Family Streaming Service

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

KIDS FIRST! and Xerb.tv launched a new, ad-free digital streaming service for high quality children’s programming earlier this spring. The content is curated from filmmakers from all around the world and the bulk of the revenue from the channel will go directly to the filmmakers. The rapidly growing Xerb.tb is providing KIDS FIRST! a platform to deliver a collection of family-friendly content that is inspirational, enriching and motivational.

“What the KIDS FIRST! Digital Channel (https://xerb.tv/channel/kidsfirst) offers families is engaging, informative and fun content with pro-social values that both kids and parents love,” comments Ranny Levy, founder and president of KIDS FIRST! “It’s not so easy to find programming like this in the jungle of digital channels, but KIDS FIRST! has 28 years experience in doing just that.”

The partnership came about when Levy met Xerb.tv founder, Eric Streeper, at a film event in Santa Fe, NM, where both companies are headquartered. Streeper, a Santa Fe native, spent eight years working in tech/entertainment in Los Angeles. The idea to create Xerb.tv came after working for a wildly popular YouTube star who, despite having a very large audience, wasn’t generating very much revenue from the platform. Streeper saw an opportunity to help filmmakers take control of their work and develop an audience to support it. While visiting his hometown two years ago, the creative and entrepreneurial energy there impressed Streeper and he realized it was the ideal place to launch his new media company. “Our goal is to level the playing field for creators,” Streeper proclaims, “and help them access the same resources that the big entertainment companies have.” When he met Levy he thought, “What a great way to give families access to programming that has been vetted by parents and kids reviewers alike through their extensive review process.”

KIDS FIRST! has a team of more than 100 kids and adults that review and recommend films with no algorithms involved. The KIDS FIRST! reviewers go through extensive training to assure continuity in film selection. The films on the channel represent the diversity of the filmmakers who made them –  from a documentary following the first Roma/Gipsy youth soccer team in Italy to one about educating girls in India. A high school student has created an animated series about the Mars Rovers. A Spanish film follows a 9-year-old boy dealing with loss. Another short is about a girl and her pet pig. A music video tells what it’s like to be an engineer. A feature film explores a changing mother/son dynamic and another one reveals the true story of an 11-year-old foster child with brittle bone disease who overcame his problems and directs his first musical. For a quick overview of the channel, check out the trailer at https://bit.ly/2T5LL1fLinks

KIDS FIRST! Channel: https://xerb.tv/channel/kidsfirst
KIDS FIRST! website: https://www.kidsfirst.org
Xerb website: https://xerb.tv
KIDS FIRST! and Xerb assets: https://landing.xerb.tv/assets

Number of films: 129
Number of filmmakers: 50
Number of countries: 17
Number of languages: 13
Price: $5.99/month

ABOUT KIDS FIRST! KIDS FIRST! Digital Channel is project of the 28-year-old national nonprofit (501-c-3) Coalition for Quality Children’s Media whose mission is to teach children critical viewing skills and to increase the visibility and availability of quality children’s media. KIDS FIRST! Digital Channel is an online space where kids and families can watch movies that both inspire and teach – and where parents don’t have to worry about what their kids are watching. A former educator, Levy created an award-winning PBS show, produced an ACE-nominated television show and managed an independent film production and distribution company in the mid 80s. In 1991, Levy founded the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media and its KIDS FIRST! program. The KIDS FIRST! Digital Channel features original animated programming, music videos, feature length films and international programming from 17 different countries, teaching about people and cultures world-wide. You can access the channel at https://xerb.tv/channel/kidsfirst

About Xerb.tv Xerb.tv is a streaming service, similar to Netflix, but different. Xerb.tv allows independent filmmakers and organizations to create tailored subscription channels and share them with a devoted fan-base. Xerb.tv is  changing how creators get paid online, how they build their audience, and how they collaborate with each other — all in an incredibly simple way. The future of content is independent. Are you a content creator, or want to run a channel? If you want to engage directly with an audience that loves your work and build a sustainable business around what you’re passionate about, we want to hear from you! Send us a message and come join our beta partner program. Xerb.tv is built for you.

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Submit to KIDS FIRST! Film Festival Now! It’s like submitting to 50 festivals all at once!

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

We are accepting submissions for KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. If you have a great film for kids and families that you wish to get played at venues all across the country, this is your opportunity to submit it. We have more than 50 venue affiliates who use the KIDS FIRST! vetted programming for their youth and family programs. Each KIDS FIRST! venue partner offers awards and prizes, and may cover your travel expense to attend. There is a plethora of potential awards awaiting you. Just think, for one entry fee, you have 50 venues considering your film. That makes our application fee dirt cheap! Upcoming deadlines are:

April 6, 2019: Early Bird Deadline
May 18, 2019: Regular Deadline
June 89, 2019 : Late Deadline

The KIDS FIRST! Film Festival showcases new and classic children’s films, TV programs and DVDs from studios, independent producers and youth producers. Please read our festival description carefully and do not submit if your film does meet our baseline criteria. This is a great way to spread your promotional budget by submitting once to KIDS FIRST!, you reach 50 venues. That does not mean all 50 festivals will play yours, but it will be considered.

Please be sure to note that KIDS FIRST! Film Festival partners do not pay licensing fees. The films that are played at their events are offered for FREE. There is no individual admission charged, although there may be an overall festival admission fee.

Each KIDS FIRST! venue partner offers their own awards and prizes. KIDS FIRST! does not award prizes or awards. Accepted feature films will get a First Look opportunity for distribution by Engine 15 Media Group and Soundview Media Partners. We are looking for indie and student productions, short, features and documentaries. We have special categories for Faith Based programs, Spanish language programs, environmental programs and episodic titles.

  • NO gratuitous violence or abuse
  • NO inappropriate sexual behavior
  • NO bias in terms of race, gender, culture or religion
  • NO condescension toward children
  • NO replicable unsafe behavior

To enter, go here.

For more information, go to http://www.kidsfirst.org/submit-a-title/

To see the latest films added to our festival, go here: https://www.kidsfirst.org/filmfestival/selections.html

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Calling All Miami Based Youth Film Buffs! June 18-22 @ Doral Academy

Monday, March 26th, 2018

There are still a few spots left for KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp Miami – June 18-22. If you are a a youth, age 12-16 who

Loves, really love films…

Loves talking about the latest films…

Would love to interview celebrities on the Red Carpet…

We have a camp for you! Register now to attend camps in the following cities at the dates listed below.


KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp teaches critical thinking and viewing skills. On a daily basis, campers watch and review the latest films, in written and video format. Kids  work collaboratively in small teams as they learn on-camera and behind the camera skills. They develop and practice interviewing skills and talk with media professionals, in person and on Skype. The camp prepares kids to join the national KIDS FIRST! Film Critics team, if they so wish. Whether or not they select to do join the team, their take away is a week filled with learning experiences that prepare them for college and will last a lifetime. Here’s story by ABC Eyewitness News Entertainment Reporter Sandy Kenyon about our 2017 New York City camp. http://abc7ny.com/entertainment/movie-critics-of-the-future-learn-craft-in-brooklyn/2264053/

Note: Some partial scholarships are available. Please note application deadlines. Apply here: https://goo.gl/forms/DN4iDFURen28dkLZ2

For more details, go to http://www.kidsfirst.org/become-a-juror/2018.BootCamp.html

Take a look at our 2017 Camp!



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