order of oddfish cover

The Order of Oddfish

cap

San Antonio 90-Second Newbery Countdown, Part 2: The Givers

January 19, 2017

The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival is coming to San Antonio this Saturday! It’ll be at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre from 3-5 pm, co-hosted by me and Texas author Nikki Loftin, sponsored by Bexar County’s Digital Library Bibliotech and H-E-B Texas Grocery. Reservations are free, and they’re going fast! Make your reservation here!

Every year with the 90-Second Newbery, one thing always remains the same: I get a lot of adaptations of Lois Lowry’s 1994 Medal winning book The Giver. But that’s just fine, if the adaptations are creative and do interesting things with the text! Yesterday we featured a Claymation version of The Giver from Kingwood, TX; at the top of this post, check out another submission from Kingwood, by Noah, Alyssa, Adam, and Keona of Creekwood Middle School.

As the judges said on the 90-Second Newbery blog, “I love how joyful and fun this adaptation of The Giver feels! The barrage of goofy references to other movies like The Hunger Games, The Terminator, Star Wars, Jaws, etc. was a fun touch. It was clever how you had people just repeating the world ‘rules’ personify the oppressive mass of rules Jonas must live under. The shift from black-and-white to color during the game of catch was well done (along with the final joke about not being able to catch), and when Jonas is enjoying the newly revealed world of color, that look of bliss on his face while colored paper is fluttering around him was aces. I liked the explosion of light special effect you used to denote every time we are entering the world of the Giver’s memory. And nice ‘sled’! I guess when you don’t have snow, you make do with what you have!”

But that’s not the only version of The Giver we’ve received! Here’s one by Spencer, Kim, Rebecca, and Daniel of Green Table Productions in Houston, TX:

As the judges said in the 90-Second Newbery blog, “I liked the combination of live-action and pen drawings you used to tell the story. The narration had a confident tone and told the story very concisely and accurately. The ‘war memory’ scene was bonkers, and the ‘release’ scene was abrupt and hilarious. Good use of the dramatic music and alarm towards the end. And I liked how the baby Gabe is just … a rainbow-colored stuffed triangle? All that said, I think my favorite part might be the sped-up goofball dancing over the credits. Well done!”

This next adaptation is by Catherine, Skye, Austin, and Brigham of Houston, TX:

The judges say, “The beginning is intense and dramatic, hooks the viewer’s interest right away! I like the Katy Perry music throughout, that was a good choice. The voiceover narration worked well. I loved how, when Jonas learns about colors, all the colors are being thrown at him and he flinches in slow-motion. And it’s a nice moment when Jonas’ parents laugh at him when he asks if they love him. As for the ‘release’ scene… pretty gruesome that he kills the baby, puts it in a bag, throws it in the trash can… and then, to add insult to injury, kicks over the trash can! Cold, cold. Also, I liked the Giver’s paper beard! And is that chair being used as a bike at the end? Resourceful! (But don’t you have a bike?)”

Finally, here’s a different take on The Giver by Camille McWhorter of Creekwood Middle School of Kingwood, TX:

The judges said, “This adaptation of The Giver does something radical I’d never seen before in a 90-Second Newbery: it tells the story of what happened before the story in the book! It’s all about Rosemary, the Giver’s daughter and Jonas’ predecessor. Very poetic and well done. It is similar to Jonas’ story in the book, but while in the book Jonas experiences being the Receiver of Memory as a kind of liberation into the world of truth, here Rosemary can’t deal with the truths she learns, and the conclusion is more tragic. I like the contrast that this demonstrates between the pre-Giver Rosemary and the post-Giver Rosemary. The creepy flashlight under the face in the dark room at the end, with the reveal of who she really is, was the perfect conclusion. Great original idea, well executed!”

All of these and more will be shown at the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival screening in San Antonio this Saturday! (I promise they won’t all be The Giver. We have lots of adaptations of other books too!) Again, tickets are free, so get them here!

90-Second Newbery in San Antonio this Saturday!

January 18, 2017

The screenings for the sixth annual 90-Second Newbery Film Festival are starting up! Our first stop is in San Antonio, TX, this Saturday (1/21) at the historic Charline McCombs Empire Theatre at 226 North Saint Mary’s Street. It’ll be hosted by me and Texas author Nikki Loftin (Wish Girl, Nightingale’s Nest). She’s an amazing co-host—check out how we ripped up the stage last year!

Reservations are free, but get in while you can: we’re already up to 600 reservations! Reserve your seat here.

You’ll see many great movies, like the above animated version of Jacqueline Kelly’s 2010 Newbery Honor Book The Education of Calpurnia Tate, made by Allison Reyna of Alamo Heights High School. As the judges told Allison on the 90-Second Newbery blog, this is an “amazing animatic, very impressive! Calpurnia’s character in particular was very well done. I like how you were able to make her go through so many moods and emotions (for instance, watching her go from gleeful to disappointed when she’s trying to catch the grasshopper!) and yet she still stayed very much herself. The composition was very well done, and I liked how you varied it between close-ups, wide shots, and midshots, especially for the grasshopper-chase scene. You were able to get so much of the story across wordlessly–I love how you showed the difference between Calpurnia’s reaction shots when she is given the book The Origin of the Species vs. her reaction shot when she is given The Science of Housewifery. The part at the end when she wipes off her makeup and starts reading what she wants was very well done.”

But that’s not the only animated entry we received from San Antonio this year that we’ll be featuring at Saturday’s film festival. There is also this adaptation of Louis Sachar 1999 Newbery Medal Winner Holes, created by Mya Prado of Shepard Middle School:

As the judges said on the 90-Second Newbery blog, “This is fantastic! I love this animation you’ve done! I’m really impressed by this! The art is really expressive and tells the story very concisely and effectively. The acting the the voiceover narration were committed, authentic, and accurate.”

That’s not the only kind of animation we are featuring this Saturday. We also have a couple of great Claymation pieces, like this adaptation of Lois Lowry’s 1994 Medal Winner The Giver by Kyle, James, Elaon, and Adam of Kingwood, TX:

On the 90-Second Newbery blog, the judges wrote, “Great use of Claymation to tell the story! I like how you kept it in black and white for most of it, then switched to color at the end when Jonas leaves the community. The music was well-chosen and gave the movie a certain power… for example, the ‘releasing’ scene of the baby was unexpectedly affecting (I like how you switched to pen-and-paper animation for that part, to emphasize that this is something Jonas is viewing). A lot of nice little touches, like the way it looks when Jonas goes down the hallway to escape the town. Baby Gabriel was very cute, too!”

Here’s an adaptation with TWO twists, by Elijah, Vincent, Josselin, and Esteban. It’s of Kate DiCamillo’s 2004 Medal Winner The Tale of Despereaux, and it’s also done in Claymation… but also with a horror-movie twist!

Judges on the 90-Second Newbery blog, take it away: “Inventive and fun! I love the idea of a horror movie version of Tale of Despereaux. I like how the ghosts flew out of the bodies of all Desperaux’s siblings at the beginning (with the ominous parting shot of ‘And you are next!!!’) and I thought it was ingenious for the princess to be a zombie. The music was well-chosen and effective throughout, and the dialogue-bubbles kept the story moving along quickly and clearly. The big castle Desperaux enters was a good prop, the terrifying red-eyed cat in the cage was great, and when he was released from the cage for the final fight, it was legitimately exciting! The goriness of ‘slice! slice!’ and the shot of the decapitated cat in the pool of blood would have been too extreme if done in real life, but somehow in claymation it becomes charming. Classic horror movie ending: ‘The end… or is it?’ I loved every second of this!”

We have one other Claymation that we’ll be showing on Saturday, and it’s of E.B. White’s 1953 Honor Book Charlotte’s Web, as adapted by Hiram and Jason:

As the judges on the 90-Second Newbery blog say, “The stop-motion claymation was so much fun to watch! I liked how this movie used not only clay animals but also paper cut outs of animals. The dialogue bubbles were a good touch too. And I like how Farmer Zuckerman rides Wilbur around as though he’s a horse! You got the story across vividly and entertainingly, and great choice of music.”

Wait! One more! Even though it’s not technically animation, but rather a series of drawings. It’s of Paula Fox’s 1974 Medal Winner The Slave Dancer, by Aaliyah M and Giselle S.:

On the 90-Second Newbery blog, the judges said, “Beautifully drawn! The spoken story is well told by the alternating narrators. The pictures complement the narration very well, not just reinforcing the meaning of what’s spoken, but also augmenting it, showing us the emotions that the characters are feeling. The speech bubbles throughout were a cool touch too. I like the dramatic orchestral smash when the ship crashes. Great work!”

All right! Stay tuned to the blog for more 90-Second Newberys from San Antonio as we approach Saturday. And get your free tickets for Saturday’s screening here!

Screening dates for the SIXTH ANNUAL 90-Second Newbery Film Festival, 2017!

January 12, 2017

It’s time for the screenings of the sixth annual 90-Second Newbery Film Festival! Six years? Has it already been so long?! It seems like just yesterday we were getting this thing off the ground!

We started out screening in just three cities. This year we will screen in TWELVE cities, from New York to San Francisco, from Chicago to San Antonio! And we have two new cities this year: Cambridge, Massachusetts and Asheville, North Carolina! Complete showtimes and locations below. Thanks especially to my co-hosts this year: authors M.T. Anderson, Alan Gratz, Keir Graff, Nikki Loftin, Kelly Barnhill, Charles Benoit, Dale Basye, Marcus Ewert, and Doug Mackey.

(Wait, what is the 90-Second Newbery? It’s an annual video contest in which kid filmmakers create movies that tell the entire stories of Newbery-winning books in about 90 seconds. Complete information about the 90-Second Newbery here.)

Here are the screening dates for 2017. (Want to bring the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival to your city? Every year we expand into more cities! Drop me a line at kennedyjames@gmail.com.)

90-Second Newbery 2016 Schedule
All screenings are free.

Saturday, January 21, 2017
The SAN ANTONIO screening, co-hosted by me and author Nikki Loftin (Wish Girl, Nightingale’s Nest). At the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre (224 E Houston St, San Antonio, TX). 3 pm. Make your free reservation here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017
SPECIAL DEADLINE for submissions to the Asheville, NC screening of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival!

Saturday, February 11, 2017
The TACOMA, WA screening, co-hosted by me and author Keir Graff (Matchstick Castle) and Tacoma’s own hilarious Doug Mackey. At the Tacoma Public Library (1102 Tacoma Ave S). 3-5 pm, but come early for the 2:15 reception! Make your free reservation here.

Sunday, February 12, 2017
The PORTLAND, OR screening, co-hosted by me and author Keir Graff (Matchstick Castle) and Dale Basye (Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go). At the Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland, OR). Organized in conjunction with the fine folks at Portland Community Media. 4:30 pm. Make your free reservation here.

Friday, February 17, 2017
The OAKLAND, CA screening, co-hosted by me and authors Keir Graff (Matchstick Castle) and Marcus Ewert (Mummy Cat). At the Rockridge Branch of the Oakland Public Library (5366 College Ave, Oakland, CA). 7 pm. Make your free reservation here.

Saturday, February 18, 2017
The SAN FRANCISCO screening, co-hosted by me and authors Keir Graff (Matchstick Castle) and Marcus Ewert (Mummy Cat). At the San Francisco Public Library main branch (100 Larkin Street) in the Koret Auditorium. 4-6 pm. Make your free reservation here.

Saturday, February 25, 2017
The MINNEAPOLIS screening, co-hosted by me and authors Keir Graff (Matchstick Castle) and Kelly Barnhill (The Witch’s Boy). At the Minneapolis Central Library (300 Nicollet Mall) in Pohlad Hall. 3-5 pm. Make your free reservation here.

Saturday, March 11, 2017
The NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY screening, hosted by me and author Keir Graff (Matchstick Castle). At the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (5th Ave at 42nd St, New York, NY) in the Bartos Forum. 3-5 pm. Make your free reservation here.

Sunday, March 12, 2017
The BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY screening, co-hosted by me and author Keir Graff (Matchstick Castle). At the Central Library (10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY) in the Dweck Auditorium. 2-4 pm. Make your free reservation here.

Saturday, March 18, 2017
A special screening of the “Best of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival” as part of the Read-A-Thon for Rochester’s Teen Book Festival. Hosted by me and Charles Benoit (Snow Job). At the Barnes & Noble in Pittsford Plaza (3349 Monroe Avenue, Rochester, NY). 3-4 pm.

Sunday, March 19, 2017
The ROCHESTER, NY screening, co-hosted by me and Charles Benoit (Snow Job). At the Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman Museum (900 East Ave, Rochester, NY). 2-4 pm. Make your free reservation here.

Saturday, April 1, 2017
The CHICAGO screening, co-hosted by me and author Keir Graff (The Matchstick Castle). At the Vittum Theater (1012 N Noble St, Chicago, 773-342-4141). 3-5 pm. Make your free reservation here.

Saturday, April 22, 2017
The ASHEVILLE, NC screening, co-hosted by me and Alan Gratz (The League of Seven series). At the Pack Memorial Library (67 Haywood St., Asheville, NC). (NOTE: Special deadline for Asheville entries is February 8, 2017.) 1-3 pm. Make your free reservation here.

Sunday, April 30, 2017
The BOSTON AREA screening, co-hosted by me and National Book Award winner M.T. Anderson (Feed, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, and Symphony for the City of the Dead). At the Brookline Public Library (361 Washington Street, Brookline, MA). 2-4 pm. Make your free reservation here.

Previous Post