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The Order of Oddfish

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90-Second Newbery 2018: SALT LAKE CITY and OGDEN, UTAH!

March 5, 2018

Do you want the 90-Second Newbery to continue into next year and beyond? Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to keep us going. We are under the nonprofit fiscal sponsorship of Fractured Atlas.

It’s always exciting starting up the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival in new cities. We’re expanding to new towns every year. This year we’ve added two Utah locations to the tour: Salt Lake City and Ogden!

Even though there was significant snow that weekend, we had big audiences for both screenings. I think we’re going to get even more submissions from Utah next year. This is the start of something big!

This was all due to Michael McClane at Utah Humanities and the Utah Film Center. With Michael’s help, we got Liesl Jacobson’s support to screen the film festival at the Salt Lake City Public Library, and Lynne Goodwin and Kathy Gambles’ support to screen at the Treehouse Museum in Ogden. Thanks so much to all of them and everyone in Utah who came together to pull this off–including Spy Hop, Weber County Book Links, and the King’s English Bookshop, who sold books at the Salt Lake City event.

And thanks to my co-host, Keir Graff, who spearheaded this whole thing from the beginnning! Here we are onstage for the opening song-and-dance:

And of course, thank you to all the kids and teachers and librarians who came together to make the movies, especially the ones from Utah that we featured at the screenings! For instance, we received this great animated paper cutout version of Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia by Seth, Jamison, Justin, and Noah of Entheos Charter School:

As our judges said in part (full review here), here the book is “stripped down to its absolute minimal essentials! The cut-paper animation was beautifully done, very fluid and detailed . . . It was a cool idea to switch from cut-paper animation to shadow-puppets when Jess and Leslie go to the fantasy world of Terabithia. The scissors constantly pursuing them was a clever touch that made us feel the looming menace of death throughout the entire movie.”

We also screened this movie of Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game from C.S. Lewis Academy in Santaquin, Utah:

As the judges said on the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “Breakneck pace, lots of funny details, and many resourceful touches! My two favorite parts are probably the explosion and screams when the one character tries to exit the room (the sudden way he drops to the ground and starts twitching is legitimately alarming!) and the breezy manner of the ‘cool’ doctor who shows up to pronounce the patient dead . . . Moves along with a brisk, bouncy energy.”

We featured four movies from Orem Elementary School in Orem, Utah! The first was A Wrinkle in Time by Ember, Brock, Kristen, and Ryan:

The judges on the 90-Second Newbery website said, (full review here), “A witty, fun retelling of the story! The acting for all the parts was properly melodramatic and goofy . . . The way the crown-brain of IT blows up into a mushroom cloud (after a dramatic flourish of music) via the magic of stock photography was inspired! Fun to watch all the way through.”

Here’s another A Wrinkle in Time from Orem Elementary, by Xander, Jada, Zipporah, and Andru:

The judges on the 90-Second Newbery website said, (full review here), “Such a fun idea to retell A Wrinkle in Time in the style of Harry Potter! . . . Fun Brit accents, and resourceful use of Harry Potter robes and wands!”

Orem Elementary also made two movies of Lois Lowry’s 1994 Medal Winner The Giver. This first version is by Walker, Ivory, Alyssa, Hudson, Ethan, Abby, Olivia, and Rachel:

The judges on the 90-Second Newbery website wrote in part (full review here), “It was an effective choice to use a black-and-white filter up to the Ceremony of Twelve, and then to let a little bit of color show up after Jonas is selected as the Receiver of Memory. I like how the chanting of “Jonas, Jonas” crescendoes into a kind of maniacal freaking-out (especially with “Walker” getting up and bellowing ‘JONAS!’). The ‘release’ video was creatively handled, especially with the baby’s piteous crying and the way it is (hilariously) backwards-flipped over its head into the trash can!”

Here’s one more version of The Giver from Orem Elementary, by Lydia, Elena, Ryan, and Jane:

As the judges said on the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “Stylish from the very start! A creative choice to have the color get ‘taken away’ at the beginning, when the world is being introduced to the audience (and as each detail of the world is revealed, Jonas withers and collapses more and more). . . . The release scene was terrifyingly gruesome (that baby’s scream!) and the war scene was similarly short and effective . . . This felt like a pro job from beginning to end!”

Thanks so much, Salt Lake City and Ogden! We’re looking forward to bringing the film festival back to Utah in 2019. Remember, it’s never too early to start working on your movies for next year! You can find all the information on how to get started at the 90-Second Newbery website (in particular, the video resources page).

And to wrap it up, here’s a montage of the movies we showed at the Salt Lake City screening—a blend of Utah’s submissions this year, plus some of the best movies we’ve received from the past seven years:

See you next year!

Do you want the 90-Second Newbery to continue into next year and beyond? Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to keep us going. We are under the nonprofit fiscal sponsorship of Fractured Atlas.