How it all began is anybody’s guess, but it probably started with YA author James Kennedy. On a day like any other I received an email from him with a proposal: Why not have a contest where kids created videos of their favorite Newbery books. The catch? All the videos must be 90 seconds or less.
What would that look like? Well, James made a sample video of his own. I bring you . . . The 90-second version of A Wrinkle In Time:
And before you say it, yes Meg isn’t wearing glasses in this video. Aside from that, you have to admit it’s a lot of fun.
Well, obviously I was gonna be on board with James and his plan. So we put our heads together and came up with a plan. Why not have an honest-to-goodness film festival of the kids’ films here at the main branch of New York Public Library as well? Obviously kids from around the country wouldn’t be able to necessarily attend, but maybe some of them would. And certainly the kids here in New York would like to see other kids doing their thing. Heck, James and I could even put up a website with the various submissions! He’s always been good at displaying the art of his book’s fans, after all.
And so it shall be! This fall (date to be determined very soon) we will present the 90-second Film Festival. Know some kids (or a class) interested in participating? In that case, pilfered from James, here are the rules in brief:
1. Your video should be 90 seconds or less. (Okay, okay: if it’s three minutes long but absolute genius, we’ll bend the rules for you. But let’s try to keep them short.)
2. Your video has to be about a Newbery award-winning (or Newbery honor-winning) book. Here’s a list of all the winners.
3. Your video must condense the plot of the book in 90 seconds or less. Again, exceptions will be made for something really ingeniously bonkers, but it has to be related to a Newbery winning book.
4. Upload your videos to YouTube or Vimeo or whatever and send me the link at kennedyjames [at] gmail [dot] com. Make the subject line be “90 SECOND NEWBERY” and please tell me your name, age, where you’re from, and whatever other comments you’d like to include, including whether you’d like me to link to your personal site. You can give an alias if you want; I understand privacy concerns.
5. Sending the link to me grants me (James Kennedy) the right to post it on my blog and to other websites where I sometimes post content (like Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and to share at public readings, school visits—and hopefully the 90-Second Film Festival at the New York Public Library in the Fall of 2011.
6. Deadline is September 15, 2011.
I’ll add in some details of my own. Participants must be between the ages of 0-18. Yes, we will take teenage versions of these books, if they want to participate. Everyone is welcome.
New York Caveat: The film festival will consist of Newbery videos, yes. BUT, New York kids are not restricted to just the Newbery. If your kids want to do one of the books listed on the Children’s Books 2010: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing list, that is a-okay. Equally, if New York teens would like to do any videos you can chose from the Stuff for the Teen Age list. We will present these videos as a secondary party of the film festival. Such submissions, however, should be sent to me rather than James. You can do so by clicking on my name at the beginning of this (or any other) post on this blog and that will take you to my email.
For a series of highly amusing suggestions of how to approach the Newbery part of the contest, head on over to the 90-Second Newbery page and read through Mr. Kennedy’s suggestions. And for those of you working in places where YouTube is blocked, you can see the video at Vimeo too.