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The Order of Oddfish


90-Second Newbery 2017: Thanks, New York!

March 14, 2017

The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival relies on your support to survive! Want us to keep doing this? Make a tax-deductible donation here.

This past weekend Keir Graff (author of The Matchstick Castle) and I co-hosted back-to-back screenings of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival at the New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library. We had great crowds at both venues! This year we got much more participation than usual from the New York area. Above is a collage of screenshots of some of the movies we received from New York this year.

A video of the opening musical skit exists, but unfortunately the sound quality wasn’t as crisp as it was for the Minneapolis screening. If you want to see a good version of the opening skit, check out the Minneapolis version here, starring me, Keir, and this year’s Newbery Medal winner Kelly Barnhill.

The opening skit was all about how odd it is that so many animals die in Newbery-winning books. As the skit goes on, Keir and I come upon a “Newbery-matic 7000” contraption that produces Newbery-winning manuscripts, but at a price: a live animal must be sacrificed! And so we end up murdering the pet of a child in the audience. In Minneapolis, that child was played by a girl named Hadley; in New York, the part was played by one of our filmmakers, Violet.

Violet did a fantastic job, and on super-short notice! This isn’t Violet’s first year involved with the 90-Second Newbery, either. Last year, Violet and her partner-in-crime Ocean adapted Carl Hiaasen’s 2003 Honor Book Hoot with stop-motion Legos; this year, they made an adaptation of Tomie dePaola’s 2000 Honor Book 26 Fairmount Avenue, entirely with stop-motion Playmobil figures:

The 90-Second Newbery website said of this video, “an accomplished and impressive feat of stop-motion animation . . . So much detail and love went into this! It’s fantastic!”

It was great fun to show off movies from other 90-Second Newbery veterans too, like Jillian and Joseph Parrino. Check out Jillian’s submission this year, an adaptation of Victoria Jamieson’s Roller Girl in the style of Hamilton:

As the judges said at the 90-Second Newbery website, “Flat-brilliant . . . the songs were cleverly shortened and edited to make a smooth flow. It’s a smart concept that fits with unexpected serendipity with the source material.”

Jillian’s brother Joseph made a first-rate video too, of Marion Dane Bauer’s 1987 Honor Book On My Honor . . . with a cast entirely of fruit! You can check it out here, along with the judges’ praise! Both movies killed at the screening!

Here are Keir and I with Jillian and Joseph after the show. I look forward to getting their movies every year!

I can’t include every movie that we featured on Saturday and Sunday in this post, or the post would go on forever. But I did want to draw attention to this strange and original adaptation of Katherine Applegate’s 2013 Medal Winner The One and Only Ivan by Milo and Levi of the Carroll Gardens branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. It’s done entirely with sampled clips from all over the Internet:

A new way to do 90-Second Newberys! The judges said this one is “original, goofy, and entertaining… original and extremely enjoyable!”

There are a lot more great entries where those came from! Click on these below to see other local entries featured at the screenings at the New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library:

The War That Saved My Life by Brooklyn Friends School
Frog and Toad Together by Jada and Tatayana of the Brooklyn Public Library
Last Stop on Market Street by the Clarendon branch of the Brooklyn Public Library
Last Stop on Market Street by the Cortelyou branch of the Brooklyn Public Library
Charlotte’s Web by the Bedford Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library
When You Reach Me by Kenzie and Hannah of Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
El Deafo by Emi and Mamie of Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
Courage of Sarah Noble by Celia and Sarah, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by the Gravesend branch of the Brooklyn Public Library
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Mohana of New York, NY (not available online yet)

After the show, we invited just the filmmakers onstage. Here are Keir and I with some of the young filmmakers who came to the New York Public Library screening:

And here we are with some of the moviemakers who made it to the Brooklyn screening:

It takes a lot of people working together to put on these shows. At the New York Public Library, thanks to to Tali Stolzenberg-Myers, Aisha Ahmad-Post, Caitlyn Colman-McGaw, Emily Nichols, and Emily Krell… as well as the folks at the Andreas Dracopolous Endowment for Young Audiences. Thanks also to Paquita Campoverde, Brandon Graham, and everyone at the Brooklyn Public Library who helped out. Thanks to the Crosswicks Foundation and Penguin Young Readers. Thanks to my co-host Keir Graff, and of course thanks to all the young filmmakers and the teachers, family, and facilitators who help them make these great movies!

To wrap up, here’s the closing montage we played at the New York Public Library:

And the closing montage at the Brooklyn Public Library:

See you next year, New York!

The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival relies on your support to survive! Want us to keep doing this? Make a tax-deductible donation here.