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90-Second Newbery: Looking Back at 2017, Looking Ahead to 2018!

July 7, 2017

Want to support us? Please donate the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival! We are a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization.

The 6th Annual 90-Second Newbery Film Festival season is over, but let’s look back on what a great year this was. We screened in an unprecedented twelve cities, with nine stellar co-hosts . . .

Including this year’s Newbery Medal winner, our old friend Kelly Barnhill (The Girl Who Drank The Moon)! The stars ain’t gonna align like that every year! Above, check out a video of Kelly, fellow co-host Keir Graff (The Matchstick Castle), and me performing this year’s opening skit. (The premise: an expose of the fact that so many Newbery-winning books feature an animal getting hurt or killed. Then it pivots into a tweaked version of the opening number of Hamilton. Watch it—Kelly and Keir really rip up the stage!

Mark your calendar for next year’s screenings

We’re already putting together the schedule for 2018. Some of the screening dates have already been confirmed (San Antonio (2/3), Minneapolis (2/10), Salt Lake City and Ogden, UT (2/23-24), Chicago (3/11), Oakland, CA (3/17), San Francisco (3/18). I’ll update again in the fall when we have a full lineup confirmed.

Want to bring the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival to your town? Want me to speak about or screen the film festival at your school or library, or even teach seminars on how to make your own 90-Second Newbery? Contact me at james@90secondnewbery.com. Let’s do it!

Make a movie for next year!

It’s never too early to start working on your 90-Second Newbery movies for next year. The deadline is January 12, 2018, but of course you can work on and submit your movies at any time.

Want to make a movie, but are having a hard time getting started? Here are lots of filmmaking resources, including a helpful step-by-step guide. Want to watch some of the best 90-Second Newbery videos to get inspired? Here are 25 of the most popular videos we’ve received.

Some highlights from 2017

Speaking of popular videos, let’s review some standout entries from this year. From coast to coast, everyone loved Fuzzy Pizza’s adaptation of Elizabeth George Speare’s 1984 Honor Book Sign of the Beaver (full review here):



Portland Claymation sorceress Anya Schooler blew everyone’s minds with her masterful stop-motion clay adaptation of Mary and Conrad Buff’s 1952 Honor Book The Apple and the Arrow (full review here):



The students From Williamston Explorer Elementary School of Mason Public Library in Mason, Michigan made this ebullient, crowd-pleasing adaptation of Victoria Jamieson’s 2016 Honor Book Roller Girl (full review here):



One of the best creative twists I saw this year was Charlie of Highland Park, IL’s adaptation of Gary Paulsen’s 1988 Honor Book Hatchet. It takes the survival story of the book and tells it in the style of a virtual reality video game (full review here):



Another satisfyingly out-of-left-field adaptation was San Francisco’s Felix Milionis’ version of Arnold Lobel’s 1999 Honor Book Frog and Toad Together, done in the style of a Tarantino-esque hitman movie (full review here):



We also got some fantastic animation this year! Check out Mya Prado’s prizewinning adaptation of Louis Sachar’s 1999 Medal Winner Holes (full review here):


All in all, one of the best years ever for the 90-Second Newbery. I can’t wait to see what we get next year!

Want to look back on the memories of how the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival came to your town this year? Here are links to of all my recaps of the various 90-Second Newbery shows, organized by date and city:

January 21, 2017: San Antonio, TX with Nikki Loftin
February 11, 2017: Tacoma, WA with Doug Mackey and Keir Graff
February 12, 2017: Portland, OR with Dale Basye and Keir Graff 
February 17, 2017: Oakland, CA with Marcus Ewert and Keir Graff
February 18, 2017: San Francisco, CA with Marcus Ewert and Keir Graff
February 25, 2017: Minneapolis, MN with Kelly Barnhill and Keir Graff 
March 11, 2017: New York City with Keir Graff
March 12, 2017: Brooklyn, NY with Keir Graff
March 19: Rochester, NY with Charles Benoit
April 1, 2017: Chicago, IL with Keir Graff
April 22, 2017: Asheville, NC with Alan Gratz
April 30, 2017: Brookline, MA with M.T. Anderson

Thanks for all the great times in 2017. Looking forward to 2018!

The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival relies on your donations! Want to support what we’re doing? Please donate the 90-Second Newbery here! We are a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization.