90-Second Newbery Film Festival at The City Library


Feb 24, 2018, 2:00 pm

Come discover the next Steven Spielberg at this celebration of young filmmakers! Kids all over the country from kindergarten through grade 12 were invited to create short film adaptations of Newbery Medal-winning books. Watch these classics reimagined with hilarious twists by national and local winners at this film festival hosted by award-winning authors for young readers.

The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival is 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.

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 New York, Chicago, 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. 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.

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

This event was made possible with support from The City Library, Utah Humanities, and SpyHop.

Salt Lake City Public Library

210 E 400 S
Salt Lake City , UT 84111-2804
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