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The Order of Oddfish


“90-Second Newbery” Film Festival at the Chicago Public Library, November 16!

August 4, 2011

The “90-Second Newbery” Film Festival is spreading! For those of you who don’t know: the “90-Second Newbery” is a video contest in which participants are challenged to create 90-second films of Newbery award-winning books. No book trailers! The idea is to compress the entire plot of the book in 90 seconds or less. Complete details here.

The film festival will premiere on November 5 at the New York Public Library.

But that’s not all!

We’ve added another screening of the 90-Second Newberys in Chicago! It will be at the Harold Washington Library on November 16, from 6pm-8pm. Chicagoans . . . RISE!

In celebration, let’s feature some super 90-Second Newbery videos I’ve been receiving lately. Above, a 90-second version of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, sent to me by Alice McKee-Smith, the same lady in Portland who helped make the definitive Witch of Blackbird Pond I received a couple weeks ago. With that as a precedent, my expectations were high!

And I wasn’t disappointed! This is a great Frankweiler. I love the girl playing the “angel” statue. The “mother always said I came from heaven” scene was very well played. Good acting all around! Especially the girl who played Frankweiler herself―she does “stern dowager” well. Most importantly, we get Frankweiler’s tart letter to Saxonberg. I always liked poor Saxonberg. He’s the Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern of children’s literature.

Hey, here’s an idea for a movie: a version of The Mixed-Up Files done entirely from the point of view of Saxonberg . . .

Moving on, here’s another standout 90-Second Newbery I’ve received, for A Bridge to Terabithia:

This one is by the multitalented Orion DeYoe. He’s fifteen years old, and self-described as a game engineer and beekeeper. Add filmmaker to that list!

Orion did well in nailing every significant detail about Terabithia in a super-short format. Not easy! I like how Jesse’s subjectivity changes the scene―how everything turns blue when Leslie reads about scuba diving, or the sound of clanging swords when he and Leslie are playing with sword-sticks. Seemingly small details like that make a movie zip. The scene where Jesse learns Leslie dead was handled well. Excellent job!

Let’s wind up today’s post with nine different 90-second versions of The Giver. Whaaaaaat, you say? NINE versions of The Giver?

Yup. They’re by the sixth graders at Worcester Preparatory School in Berlin, MD. You can see all nine versions of The Giver here, but here’s one of them to whet your appetite.

Good acting, and I thought the way they handled the flashes of memories at beginning was particularly deft, especially using a first-person shooter to illustrate “war.” The use of the paper airplane, with the subtitles and freeze-frame, was very resourceful and clever! Thanks, Worcester Prep! Again, you can see all nine of the versions of The Giver here.

Thanks so much for all these videos! Keep them coming in. The deadline is October 17!