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The Order of Oddfish


90-Second Newbery 2017: BOSTON AREA

June 7, 2017

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.

Our final screening of the 2017 season of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival was on April 30 at the Brookline Public Library. It was our first screening in the Boston area, but it won’t be our last!

Big thanks to co-host and friend M.T. Anderson (author of The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Feed, Whales on Stilts!, and his newest, the fantastic graphic novel Yvain). We’ve known each other for years, and it was a real treat to share the musical stage with him at last. Check out our opening skit and musical number at the top of this post, in which we sing the Paul-Bunyan-esque praises of John Newbery himself . . . a giant of a man who “ate every book he ever read,” who “once fashioned a pretty hat out of J.K. Rowling’s skull.” Thanks to Erin Kinney and Simas Phillips of Brookline Interactive Group for videoing the screening.

Our Brookline screening was a mix of the best 90-Second Newbery movies that I’ve received throughout the years, plus some great Boston-area-made movies that I wanted to highlight. One of the most inventive was this movie by Robert Carter and the kids of the Goodnow Library, below.

Everyone remembers Charlotte’s Web, right? But it didn’t win a Newbery Medal in 1953, just a Newbery Honor. Does anyone remember the actual Medal winner of that year, Secret of the Andes? Nobody! Or the other Honor Book, The Bears on Hemlock Mountain? Nope, no one! This movie is about the resentment the other winners from that year must feel:

On the 90-Second Newbery website, the judges said, “I love how the movie is shot in the form of a talk show. The repeated identical clips of the same audience clapping make it even more surreal. I was impressed by Wilbur’s elaborate pig costume and the way he is hot-dogging it from the moment he comes onstage, just like a too-big-for-his-britches star. It’s funny the way all the other characters react to Wilbur: the host with barely-masked impatience, Jonathan from Bears on Hemlock Mountain hilariously deadpan and weird, and Cusi from Secret of the Andes flat-out furious: ‘Where’s my movie! Where are my Snapchat followers!'”

The Brookline Interactive Group were kind enough to film the whole screening on April 30, which you can see here.. They also put on workshops in which young filmmakers could make their own 90-Second Newbery movies! For instance, here’s a movie of Matthew de la Peña’s 2016 Newbery Medal winner Last Stop on Market Street as adapted by Ofri, Dan, Maria, and Camilo:

As the 90-Second Newbery website says in its review, “Ingenious Lego stop-motion animation! Elaborate and well-done. I can tell how much care and time was put into this one. I appreciated the witty blink-and-you-miss-them subtleties, like how Darth Vader is one of the folks who come on the bus. Constructing the bus itself out cardboard and paper was resourceful. Great voiceover narration, clear and engaging. And I like how the soup kitchen pretty much serves nothing but cake!”

Last Stop on Market Street isn’t the only great video we received from Brookline Interactive Group. Actually, they made so many great videos that there isn’t room to feature all of them in this post! But you can check them out in the links below:

Kate DiCamillo’s 2001 Newbery Honor Book Because of Winn-Dixie adapted by Samantha and Anya

Theodore and Gregor’s 1999 Newbery Medal Winner Holes adapted by Theodore and Gregor

Neil Gaiman’s 2009 Newbery Medal Winner The Graveyard Book adapted by Minghao and Rowena

Pam Munoz Ryan’s 2016 Newbery Honor Book Echo adapted by Alex and Brian

E.B. White’s 1953 Newbery Honor Book Charlotte’s Web

Kwame Alexander’s 2015 Newbery Medal Winner The Crossover adapted by David and Andrew

Thanks to everyone who pulled together to make this screening happen. Thanks to Caroline Richardson of the Brookline Public Library for hosting us, and special thanks to Kate Gilbert for being the prime mover in making this screening happen (and for hosting me at her lovely home, and throwing not one but two parties!). Our program was part of ArtWeek Boston, sponsored by Brookline Community Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Brookline Commission for the Arts. Thanks also to Porter Square Books for handling book sales.

Let’s wrap it up with the montage we used to close out the show, below. See you next year!

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.