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90-Second Newbery Film Festival Open for Submissions

CHICAGO, IL — The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival—an annual celebration of kids’ creativity in which young filmmakers create short movies telling the entire stories of Newbery Medal and Newbery Honor books in roughly 90 seconds—is now open for submissions for its sixth year. The deadline for entries is January 7, 2017 (special deadlines for San Antonio, TX (12/2/2016) and Asheville, NC (2/8/2017)).

The film festival was founded by children’s author James Kennedy (The Order of Odd-Fish) and screens every year to packed houses at libraries and theaters in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Boston, Portland, Minneapolis, San Antonio, and other cities.

Ever since 1922, the American Library Association’s Newbery Medal has been recognized as the most prestigious award in children’s literature. Standout honorees include Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Louis Sachar’s Holes, and Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia. But according to Kennedy, “it turns out that any book, no matter how worthy and somber, becomes hilarious when it’s compressed to only 90 seconds.”

The goal, says Kennedy, is not for kids to create mere book trailers or video book reports. The challenge is to compress the entire plot of the book in under two minutes, often with a transformative twist. Past entries include Beverly Cleary’s Ramona and Her Father done in the style of a James Bond movie and E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web reimagined as a horror movie. Kids use many other styles as well, including claymation, puppet shows, musicals, silent films, and Minecraft. Filmmakers may adapt any Medal– or Honor–winning book. Participants should be under 21, but help from enthusiastic adults is allowed.

For the past six years, the best 90-Second Newbery movies have been shownat special-event screenings at venues such as the New York Public Library, San Francisco Public Library, Minneapolis Public Library, and elsewhere. These screenings are co-hosted by Kennedy and other children’s authors. This year, James will be joined at many screenings by Keir Graff, whose latest middle-grade novel, The Matchstick Castle, publishes on January 10. Graff, the Executive Editor of Booklist, is a frequent 90-Second Newbery co-host and collaborator.

The Chicago screening will be April 1, 2017 at 3pm at the Vittum Theater (1012 N. Noble).

More details may be found at www.90secondnewbery.com. The website features many of the videos received throughout the last five years, as well as further resources for teachers and filmmakers. To receive more information, or to schedule an interview with James Kennedy, call James Kennedy at 773-351-7452 or email him at kennedyjames@gmail.com.


Updates to this schedule will be posted at http://90secondnewbery.com/events

January 21, 2017 – SAN ANTONIO, TX
Hosted by James Kennedy and Nikki Loftin (Wish Girl). At the Charlene McCombs Empire Theatre (224 E. Houston St., San Antonio, TX). 3 pm.

February 11, 2017 – TACOMA, WA
Hosted by James Kennedy, Doug Mackey, and Keir Graff. At the Tacoma Public Library (1102 Tacoma Ave S). 3-5 pm.

February 12, 2017 – PORTLAND, OR
Hosted by James Kennedy, Keir Graff, and Dale Basye (Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go series). At the Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd.). Sponsored by Portland Community Media. 4:30 pm.

February 17, 2017 – OAKLAND, CA
Hosted by James Kennedy, Keir Graff, and Marcus Ewert (Mummy Cat). At Rockridge Branch of the Oakland Public Library (5366 College Ave, Oakland, CA). 7 pm.

February 18, 2017 – SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Hosted by James Kennedy, Keir Graff, and Marcus Ewert (Mummy Cat). At the San Francisco Public Library main branch (100 Larkin Street) in the Koret Auditorium. 4-6 pm.

February 25, 2017 – MINNEAPOLIS, MN
Hosted by James Kennedy, Keir Graff, and Kelly Barnhill (The Witch’s Boy). At the Minneapolis Central Library (300 Nicollet Mall) in Pohlad Hall. 3-5 pm.

March 11, 2017 – NEW YORK, NY
Hosted by James Kennedy, Keir Graff, and a co-host TBA. At the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (5th Ave at 42nd St., New York, NY) in the Bartos Forum. 3-5 pm.

March 12, 2017 – BROOKLYN, NY
Hosted by James Kennedy, Keir Graff, and a co-host TBA. At Central Library (10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY) in the Dweck Auditorium. 2-4 pm.

March 19, 2017 – ROCHESTER, NY
Hosted by James Kennedy and Charles Benoit (Snow Job). At the Dryden Theatre at the Eastman Museum (900 East Ave, Rochester, NY). 2-4 pm.

April 1, 2017 – CHICAGO, IL
Hosted by James Kennedy and Keir Graff. At the Vittum Theater (1012 N Noble St.). 3-5 pm.

April 22, 2017 – ASHEVILLE, NC
Hosted by James Kennedy and Alan Gratz (The League of Seven series). At the Pack Memorial Library (67 Haywood St., Asheville, NC). 1-3 pm.

April 30, 2017 – BOSTON AREA
Hosted by James Kennedy and M.T. Anderson (Feed, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing) and Jack Gantos (Dead End in Norvelt, Joey Pigza Loses Control). At the Brookline Public Library (361 Washington Street, Brookline, MA). 2-4 pm.

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