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The Order of Oddfish

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90-Second Newbery Film Festival in NEW YORK CITY this Saturday!

March 21, 2014

Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, Tacoma . . . and now at last we come to the final screening, in New York City, of the third annual 90-Second Newbery Film Festival! It will be this Saturday, March 22 at the New York Public Library, 3-5 pm (details). I’m co-hosting it with the stupendous author Libba Bray! It’s sold out, but there are always no-shows, so even if you don’t have a ticket . . . you might want to take your chances and come on down anyway?

The screenings change from city to city, as I try to emphasize local entries. Let’s check out some entries I’ve received from the New York area.

That first movie above? Louis Sachar’s 1999 Medal winner Holes . . . but reimagined as a zombie apocalypse by the Write Stuff Writing Class of Metuchen, New Jersey! From the opening titles I knew this would be a goodie. It was a clever idea to replace the poisonous lizards of Holes with zombies. Sam’s repeated “I can fix that” followed by “I can’t fix that” was funny. And I love how passionately Kissin’ Kate yelled “goddang it, Timmy, ya brat!” The “Thriller” reference at the end was just icing on the cake. Thanks, Write Stuff!

Next up, Crunchable Sheep of Spencerport, NY is back with their adaptation of Arthur Bowie Chrisman’s 1926 Medal winner Shen of the Sea:

I really appreciate that they made a movie of an older, more obscure Newbery winner this year. I liked the touches of Chinese, and chuckled at the “Bye, Daddy!” “Yeah, just go” and the way she says “We are at war” and the four generals sagely nod. A fleetfooted adaptation! Good job!

Next, Patricia Reilly Giff’s 1998 Honor Book Lily’s Crossing as adapted by Nina and Celia of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York:

Nina and Celia wrote and sang the song in the opening and closing credits! The script really efficiently sums up the story, and the shots are clearly well-planned. Albert’s accent is hilarious (“Rrrrruth got the measles!”) and I love the occasional asides to the camera from Lily. It’s a challenge to convincingly simulate water but they make it believable with the sound effects and the resourcefully-deployed sheet. And I laughed when Albert falls off the boat/sled . . .

Next, also from Hastings-on-Hudson, but this time by Luisa, Kate, and Ella, we have Kate DiCamillo’s 2001 Honor Book Because of Winn-Dixie:

Energetic and delightfully bonkers! I enjoyed the Southern accents and admired the brave choice to do the whole thing in one shot, without moving the camera, in the bedroom, with just three people playing all the parts.

And finally, speaking of Newbery winners about animals, here’s another adaptation of E.B. White’s 1953 Honor Book Charlotte’s Web, this time from Tredyffrin Public Library in Wayne, PA:

Great puppets and masks, a tight script, and I liked the creative camera work! Thanks, Tredyffrin Public Library!

Looking forward to seeing the filmmakers, and everyone else, this Saturday at the library! (And it’s never too early to get working on your 90-Second Newbery for next year’s FOURTH 90-Second Newbery Film Festival. The deadline is December 20, 2014!)