Children's Toy & Media Reviews Since 1978

Kid Lit Gets Silly with the 90-Second Newbery Contest

90 Second Newbery Film Festival

If you’re looking for a creative family or school project to fill your fall, considering entering the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival. The contest challenges filmmakers of all ages to condense the plot of a Newbery Medal winning book into a 90-second video.  Because of the short length allowed for each film, entrants are encouraged to have fun, get silly, and use plenty of humor when making their adaptation. Last year’s festival featured a hilarious adaptation, below, of Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.

“A Wrinkle In Time” In 90 Seconds from James Kennedy on Vimeo.

For another great example from last year, watch this musical version of The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois. It is performed by members of Chicago’s Elephant and Worm educational theater company.

The deadline to enter this year’s festival is November 10, 2012. Detailed rules and instructions for submitting finished videos are available on the 90-Second Newbery website. Note that entries should be adaptations of the full book, and they should not be descriptive book trailers. If you need inspiration, read librarian and blogger Betsy Bird’s  excellent recap of last year’s films. Teachers and librarians who wish to participate with students will want to check out this curriculum. It discusses everything from guiding kids through script writing to editing the final product.

The first screening of this year’s films will be on Sunday, December 2nd. The event will be hosted by festival co-creator James Kennedy and by Jon Scieszka, author of The Stinky Cheese Man, and it will take place at Symphony Space in New York City. Other screenings will be held in February 2013 in Chicago and in March 2013 in the St. Louis area.