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The Order of Oddfish

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2016 90-Second Newbery: Thanks, San Antonio!

January 17, 2016

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Last week we did the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival in San Antonio, Texas! This was one of the best screenings we’ve had yet, sponsored in grand style by BiblioTech, San Antonio’s digital library, and H-E-B Read 3, HEB Texas Grocery’s literacy program. Thanks to the kids for the fantastic movies they made—and the audience who came out in full force, packing the Tobin Center for Performing Arts with 300+ people! (Indeed, we got a nice write-up in the San Antonio Express-News.)

And special thanks to my co-host, author Nikki Loftin (The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, Wish Girl and Nightingale’s Nest), who knocked it out of the park as a co-host. She sang! She danced! She cracked wise! (And she saved the show when I almost skipped a movie and she gracefully got me back on track.)

Here Nikki and I introduce the show and perform the opening song, which I cribbed from the 2014 90-Second Newbery screenings . . . it’s “What Would John Newbery Do?” (apologies to South Park’s “What Would Brian Boitano Do?”) in which we reveal the superheroic, terrifying exploits of the man for whom the Newbery Medal is named:

Thanks to Irene Kistler for taking the video!

And a HUGE thanks to Laura Cole of BiblioTech and Christa Aldrich of HEB, who did all the hard work of bringing the 90-Second Newbery to town: landing a venue, spreading the word, making the screening into a red-carpet gala event with snacks and a photographer, all kinds of logistics—Laura and Christa and the Bibliotech staff worked overtime to build the 90-Second Newbery up in San Antonio. And thanks to Judge Nelson Wolff for supporting this project from the very beginning.

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Usually at these 90-Second Newbery screenings, I show a mix of movies: local entries side-by-side with ringers from around the country. But we had so many entries from Texas this year, we had enough to make the entire screening 100% Texas-made! We also decided to award prizes for the best videos. The first prize went to the Texas Underdogs’ impressive adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, which I’ve already featured on my blog here. The second prize went to Ryan and Rudy’s stop-motion Lego adaptation of Louis Sachar’s 1999 Holes, which I’ve previously featured here. Third place went to this adaptation of Margi Preus’ 2011 Honor Book Heart of a Samurai, as adapted by Camryn L. and Eugene V., which I present to you now:

Good visual storytelling all the way through, with great use of sound effects and music (especially for the “‘MURICA!” part). I like the way this movie shows the boat and the whale in the pool, and intercut that with the three boys in the actual boat (resourceful, getting that!) Spraying the crew of the boat with a hose seemed fun—also jumping into the pool too! The story is told effectively with nothing but images and subtitles. I like the anachronism that Manjiro can read “The Fault in Our Stars” back in the 1800s . . . and that when Manjiro finally becomes a samurai, he is fighting EVIL TREES. Thanks, Camryn and Eugene!

And thanks to everyone who came out for the film festival in San Antonio! Here are a few more pictures to give you an idea of what it was like:

And now, the final montage of all the movies we showed in the San Antonio 2015 screening. Enjoy! And it’s never too early to get cracking on movies for next year! And remember you can keep up with all things 90-Second Newbery by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.

And now, time to take the 90-Second Newbery to Chicago! And San Francisco, Oakland, New York, Portland, Tacoma, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Rochester NY . . .