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90-Second Newbery in San Antonio this Saturday!

January 18, 2017

The screenings for the sixth annual 90-Second Newbery Film Festival are starting up! Our first stop is in San Antonio, TX, this Saturday (1/21) at the historic Charline McCombs Empire Theatre at 226 North Saint Mary’s Street. It’ll be hosted by me and Texas author Nikki Loftin (Wish Girl, Nightingale’s Nest). She’s an amazing co-host—check out how we ripped up the stage last year!

Reservations are free, but get in while you can: we’re already up to 600 reservations! Reserve your seat here.

You’ll see many great movies, like the above animated version of Jacqueline Kelly’s 2010 Newbery Honor Book The Education of Calpurnia Tate, made by Allison Reyna of Alamo Heights High School. As the judges told Allison on the 90-Second Newbery blog, this is an “amazing animatic, very impressive! Calpurnia’s character in particular was very well done. I like how you were able to make her go through so many moods and emotions (for instance, watching her go from gleeful to disappointed when she’s trying to catch the grasshopper!) and yet she still stayed very much herself. The composition was very well done, and I liked how you varied it between close-ups, wide shots, and midshots, especially for the grasshopper-chase scene. You were able to get so much of the story across wordlessly–I love how you showed the difference between Calpurnia’s reaction shots when she is given the book The Origin of the Species vs. her reaction shot when she is given The Science of Housewifery. The part at the end when she wipes off her makeup and starts reading what she wants was very well done.”

But that’s not the only animated entry we received from San Antonio this year that we’ll be featuring at Saturday’s film festival. There is also this adaptation of Louis Sachar 1999 Newbery Medal Winner Holes, created by Mya Prado of Shepard Middle School:

As the judges said on the 90-Second Newbery blog, “This is fantastic! I love this animation you’ve done! I’m really impressed by this! The art is really expressive and tells the story very concisely and effectively. The acting the the voiceover narration were committed, authentic, and accurate.”

That’s not the only kind of animation we are featuring this Saturday. We also have a couple of great Claymation pieces, like this adaptation of Lois Lowry’s 1994 Medal Winner The Giver by Kyle, James, Elaon, and Adam of Kingwood, TX:

On the 90-Second Newbery blog, the judges wrote, “Great use of Claymation to tell the story! I like how you kept it in black and white for most of it, then switched to color at the end when Jonas leaves the community. The music was well-chosen and gave the movie a certain power… for example, the ‘releasing’ scene of the baby was unexpectedly affecting (I like how you switched to pen-and-paper animation for that part, to emphasize that this is something Jonas is viewing). A lot of nice little touches, like the way it looks when Jonas goes down the hallway to escape the town. Baby Gabriel was very cute, too!”

Here’s an adaptation with TWO twists, by Elijah, Vincent, Josselin, and Esteban. It’s of Kate DiCamillo’s 2004 Medal Winner The Tale of Despereaux, and it’s also done in Claymation… but also with a horror-movie twist!

Judges on the 90-Second Newbery blog, take it away: “Inventive and fun! I love the idea of a horror movie version of Tale of Despereaux. I like how the ghosts flew out of the bodies of all Desperaux’s siblings at the beginning (with the ominous parting shot of ‘And you are next!!!’) and I thought it was ingenious for the princess to be a zombie. The music was well-chosen and effective throughout, and the dialogue-bubbles kept the story moving along quickly and clearly. The big castle Desperaux enters was a good prop, the terrifying red-eyed cat in the cage was great, and when he was released from the cage for the final fight, it was legitimately exciting! The goriness of ‘slice! slice!’ and the shot of the decapitated cat in the pool of blood would have been too extreme if done in real life, but somehow in claymation it becomes charming. Classic horror movie ending: ‘The end… or is it?’ I loved every second of this!”

We have one other Claymation that we’ll be showing on Saturday, and it’s of E.B. White’s 1953 Honor Book Charlotte’s Web, as adapted by Hiram and Jason:

As the judges on the 90-Second Newbery blog say, “The stop-motion claymation was so much fun to watch! I liked how this movie used not only clay animals but also paper cut outs of animals. The dialogue bubbles were a good touch too. And I like how Farmer Zuckerman rides Wilbur around as though he’s a horse! You got the story across vividly and entertainingly, and great choice of music.”

Wait! One more! Even though it’s not technically animation, but rather a series of drawings. It’s of Paula Fox’s 1974 Medal Winner The Slave Dancer, by Aaliyah M and Giselle S.:

On the 90-Second Newbery blog, the judges said, “Beautifully drawn! The spoken story is well told by the alternating narrators. The pictures complement the narration very well, not just reinforcing the meaning of what’s spoken, but also augmenting it, showing us the emotions that the characters are feeling. The speech bubbles throughout were a cool touch too. I like the dramatic orchestral smash when the ship crashes. Great work!”

All right! Stay tuned to the blog for more 90-Second Newberys from San Antonio as we approach Saturday. And get your free tickets for Saturday’s screening here!