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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!