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Annual KidFilm® Festival turns 25

The USA Film Festival’s 25th annual KidFilm® Festival announces the schedule of events taking place Saturday, January 24 and Sunday, January 25, 2009 at the Angelika Film Center, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, Texas.

KidFilm is the oldest and largest children’s film festival in the United States, featuring an entertaining, educational, and diverse line-up of new and classic films and videos for both children and adults, along with free books and DVDs (at certain screenings). Whether your favorite film is about dancing on the stage, training a wolf, saving the family farm by riding to victory on a mule, defying convention in a horse-jumping competition, landing a coveted record deal, journeying to far-away lands, rooting for the underdog, or returning to Kansas after you discover “there’s no place like home,” KidFilm has something for viewers of all ages.


SPECIAL PROGRAMS

A Tribute to Bob Barner

KidFilm is pleased to pay tribute to Bob Barner with an educational and fanciful presentation of short films based on his books. Bring your imagination as we travel back in time, journey through space, play with bugs, and dance with skeletons! Award-winning author/illustrator Bob Barner will be our honored guest to present this special program, featuring some of his favorite stories come to life on the big screen! The line-up of whimsical works (lovingly adapted for the screen by Weston Woods Studios) includes adaptations of “Stars! Stars! Stars!,” “Dem Bones,” “Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!,” and “Dinosaur Bones,” and will be followed by a book signing with parents and kids. Children will receive a free book!
(Showtime = Saturday, January 24, 2:30pm.)

Salute to Kay Panabaker

Eighteen-year-old award-winning actress Kay Panabaker will be in attendance to introduce her new film, Moondance Alexander. Kay has been seen on TV shows including “Summerland,” “CSI,” and “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody,” and in films such as Nancy Drew and The Prince & the Pauper (which played at last year’s KidFilm). But it might be Kay’s work away from the spotlight that makes her so extraordinary. Kay graduated as valedictorian of her high school at age thirteen and went on the graduate from UCLA just four short years later, all while working as an actress. Kay also volunteers with several charities including children’s hospitals, Starlight Starbright, Young Storytellers Foundation, and others. Kay recently accepted a position on the National Board of the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media. KidFilm is proud to salute Kay Panabaker’s burgeoning career, academic excellence, and community involvement.
(Showtime = Saturday, January 24, 4:30pm, screening of Moondance Alexander.)


Meet Zeeter

Zeeter is a top-notch pilot for the Zula Patrol. She’s the best – and she knows it! Zeeter’s also a no-nonsense, feisty kind of girl. She loves exploring all aspects of science and astronomy, as do the other members of the Zula Patrol. They encourage children to discover through doing, try new and different things, and learn through trial and error. Following the screening of The Zula Patrol: Animal Adventures in Space!, kids can have their picture taken with Zeeter, the wildest girl in the Zulaverse!
(Showtime = Sunday, January 25, 4:30pm.)

30th Anniversary Screening of Banjo the Woodpile Cat -- Newly Remastered

Thirty years after its limited theatrical release, the film that ushered in the Second Golden Age of Animation receives a digital remastering courtesy of Don Bluth Films, and Banjo never looked better! Begun while Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, and John Pomeroy were still animators at Disney, this famous short film (made in their garage studio) has never been available on DVD and has rarely been seen in theaters. KidFilm is proud to present this timeless family classic on the big screen in a beautiful remastered format. Banjo is your average, playful young cat, with major growing pains. When one of his many pranks backfires, Banjo decides to run away from home instead of facing his punishment. He winds up in the big city where he meets cool cats Crazy Legs and Zazu. Yet the good times and the bad times only make Banjo realize everything he has left behind. With the help of his new friends, he sets off to find his way back to where he really belongs – home with his family. Featuring charming original music and songs, this heartwarming animated tale is fun for the entire family.
(Film screens during the “Animation Showcase” on Saturday, January 24, 2:30pm.)

World Premiere of Locally-Produced Film Jackie A.

KidFilm is pleased to premiere the locally-produced film Jackie A. Tommy Braxton’s newly single mother struggles to keep the family farm afloat. One day, Tommy stumbles across an unusual friend – a mule... that talks! Driven by the possibility of winning money to help his mom, Tommy ignores the snickers and insults from older kids and trains on his new mule friend, Jackie A., for a prize at the big county stock show. Bucking the odds, Tommy and Jackie A. display keen resolve and determination, but will that be enough? Starring Kevin Sorbo and a great local cast including Grant Barker and Matthew Tompkins. The North-Texas based cast and crew will be in attendance for the screening.
Showtime = Saturday January 24, 12:30pm.)


KIDFILM HONORARY CHAIRMAN 2009

Scott Murray, Community Hero. This year’s KidFilm Honorary Chairman is former NBC Television Anchor Scott Murray. For close to a quarter century, Mr. Murray was the popular and award-winning Sports Director and Anchor at NBC 5, Dallas/Ft. Worth. Mr. Murray now operates his own full service video/HD production company, Murray Media. He is a published author, a sought-after keynote and motivational speaker, a television commentator and radio talk show host, and a commercial spokesperson. Mr. Murray is active in the community as a volunteer, serving on the board or advisory board of several civic, charitable, and non-profit organizations, including his own “Scott Murray Foundation: Lifting Spirits... Building Dreams.” The Festival is proud to salute Scott Murray for his achievements in the media arts and for his philanthropic work in our community.


PROGRAM LISTING (alpha by title)

Animation Showcase Saturday, January 24, 2:30pm

This compilation of hilarious and entertaining animated short films has something for viewers of every age. Enjoy the colorful and zany adaptations of Patrick McDonnell’s Art and Laurie Keller’s Do Unto Otters, A Book About Manners from Weston Woods Studios. Can color bring happiness to an angry and monotone imaginary world in the surreal Crank Balls? Get into trouble with Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! And from our friends at Aardman Animations – Does the farmer have any hope of outsmarting mischievous and adventurous Shaun the Sheep? And meet the new superheroes of Chop Socky Chooks – Chick P, K-O Joe, and Chuckie Chan – as they save their wild world! Plus a very special 30th Anniversary screening of the beloved classic Banjo the Woodpile Cat – newly remastered! 107 minutes. Recommended for ages 3 and up.

Ballet Shoes Sunday, January 24, 2:30pm

Emma Watson (Hermione in the Harry Potter series) stars as Pauline in this charming, very British adaptation of the beloved Noel Steatfield book. Pauline, Petrova, and Posy are three orphans rescued by their eccentric Great Uncle Matthew and brought up together as the Fossil Sisters in 1930s London. Each of the girls has her own dreams – Pauline wants to act, Petrova yearns to be a pilot, and Posy is meant to dance. Despite their modest circumstances, the three orphans make a promise, “We three Fossils vow to put our name in the history books.” With the help of a colorful array of eccentric friends, they set out to do just that. Co-starring Emilia Fox, Marc Warren, Gemma Jones, Victoria Wood, and Richard Griffiths. FREE screening. 84 minutes. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

A Tribute to Bob Barner Saturday, January 24, 2:30pm

Bring your imagination as we travel back in time, journey through space, play with bugs, and dance with skeletons! Award-winning author/illustrator Bob Barner will be our honored guest to present this special program, featuring some of his favorite stories come to life on the big screen! The line-up of whimsical works (lovingly adapted for the screen by Weston Woods Studios) includes adaptations of “Stars! Stars! Stars!,” “Dem Bones,” “Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!,” and “Dinosaur Bones,” and will be followed by a book signing with parents and kids. Children will receive a free book. Recommended for ages 3 and up. Children’s book author/illustrator Bob Barner in attendance.

Call of the Wild Saturday, January 24, 4:30pm

In this modern-day adaptation of Jack London’s classic, nine-year-old city-girl Ryan visits her grandfather in a small Montana town, and she doesn’t like it at all – It’s cold, the people are “crazy,” and there’s no mall! But that changes when she finds a wounded wild dog in her grandfather’s garage whom she dubs “Buck.” With some new friends, Ryan helps to train Buck to compete in the town’s upcoming sled race, but she ends up learning more about life, love, and loyalty than she bargained for. Director Richard Gabai’s captivating, multigenerational family film features outstanding performances from a terrific cast including Christopher Lloyd, Ariel Gade, Wes Studi, and Veronica Cartwright. 86 minutes total program length. Recommended for ages 6 and up. (Warning: Some adult themes)


Finn on the Fly Saturday, January 24, 12:30pm

Frisbee-loving canine Finn has the perfect life. His thirteen-year-old owner Ben is the nicest boy a dog could ask for, he has lots of doggie friends, and his favorite Frisbee is perfectly contoured to his teeth. Until one day, that is, during a routine cat chase when Finn stumbles into the lab of mad-scientist Dr. Madsen (Ana Gasteyer), and laps up an experimental transformation elixir. Finn wakes up the next morning a very confused human who still thinks he’s a dog. It’s one zany adventure after another as Ben tries to help Finn adjust to life as a human and keep him out of the clutches of Dr. Madsen and her henchman. In turn, Finn teaches Ben a thing or two about friendship, respect, and learning to trust your instincts. 101 minutes. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Goldilocks & the Three Bears Show Sunday, January 25, 2:30pm

What happens when a classic fairy tale collides with modern Hollywood? The Goldilocks and the 3 Bears Show, of course! In an effort to boost her career, Goldilocks, a spoiled, ambitious TV star, moves in with the three bears to be filmed 24/7 for a “Big Brother”-type reality show. As the bears start to succumb to the joys of fame, and egos begin to grow too big to be contained in one house, we experience all the hilarious backstabbing, ulterior motives, and “Confessionals” parodied in this fresh spin on one of the most famous fables of all time. Featuring the voices of Brooke Shields, Tom Arnold, and Jamie Lynn Spears. Each family will receive a free DVD from Unstable Fables! 80 minutes. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Jackie A. Saturday, January 24, 12:30pm

Tommy Braxton’s newly single mother struggles to keep the family farm afloat. One day, Tommy stumbles across an unusual friend – a mule... that talks! Driven by the possibility of winning money to help his mom, Tommy ignores the snickers and insults from older kids and trains on his new mule friend, Jackie A., for a prize at the big county stock show. Bucking the odds, Tommy and Jackie A. display keen resolve and determination, but will that be enough? Starring Kevin Sorbo and a great local cast including Grant Barker and Matthew Tompkins. 93 minutes. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Local cast and crew in attendance.

Moondance Alexander Saturday, January 24, 4:30pm

Moondance Alexander (Kay Panabaker) just doesn’t fit in. With her awkward name, “unique” fashion sense, and hippie mother, Moondance is, unsurprisingly, friendless and picked on by the popular girls. Facing a lonely summer, a lost pinto pony literally jumps into her life. Moondance locates the rightful owner, the gruff and mysterious Dante Longpre (Don Johnson), and spends the summer working at his horse barn to convince him to let her ride and train. Can Moondance and the lowly Pinto give the snotty girls and their fancy rides a run for their money in the Hunter/Jumper riding competition? Come along for the ride as Moondance discovers that perseverance and a big heart are the best course to the winner’s circle. Co-starring Lori Laughlin and figure-skating champion Sasha Cohen. 87 minutes. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Actress Kay Panabaker in attendance.

The Snow Queen Sunday, January 25, 12:30pm

Based on the story by Hans Christian Anderson, this haunting film mixes live action and computer animation with an evocative score. A wicked magician has constructed a mirror that twists all that is good into ugliness and distortion. When he tries to hoist the mirror into heaven, it shatters into a million pieces, some of which affect the hearts of little boys and girls on earth. One such boy is Kay, who, with his best friend Gerda, is a happy, kind child. But the fragment of mirror bends him to the will of the evil Snow Queen and she easily persuades him to ride with her to her frozen palace in the North. Gerda, unable to accept the sudden disappearance of her friend, embarks on a magical journey through diverse lands to rescue Kay. Featuring Sydney White, Tiffany Knight, and the voice of Patrick Stewart. 56 minutes. Recommended for ages 6 and up.


Spectacular! Sunday, January 25, 12:30pm

When Nikko’s ejected from his band for playing by his own rules, he needs quick cash to record a solo demo. Courtney grabs the opportunity to recruit the wannabe rock star as lead singer for her floundering show choir group, Spectacular. Though a stickler for the rules, Courtney slips Nikko into the key spot vacated by Royce (Simon Curtis, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat), who has defected to rival group, Ta-Da. Nikko is wary at first of the glitzy group – dazzling attire courtesy of Oscar-winning costume designer Angus Strathie (Moulin Rouge) – but he’s also desperate to jump-start his solo career, and the potential prize money is a magnet. Fueling the competition further, Royce's gorgeous new girlfriend Tammi (Victoria Justice, Zoey 101) leads Ta-Da. Will Courtney find a way to adapt to Nikko’s style? Can Nikko learn teamwork and can Courtney learn to “feel the music?” Can Spectacular compete with juggernaut Ta-Da? And above all, will Nikko remain loyal while his solo rock career waits in the wings? Featuring fantastic performances by a talented young cast, with lots of singing and dancing. Starring Nolan Gerard Funk, Tammin Sursok, Simon Curtis, and Victoria Justice. 93 minutes. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

KidFilm Classics Presents The Wizard of Oz Sunday, January 25, 4:30pm
Celebrating the 70th Anniversary in a Special Sing-A-Long Version created for kids of all ages.

Back by popular demand in celebration of its 70th Anniversary – one of the greatest films of all time! If you’ve only ever seen Dorothy and Toto skip down the Yellow Brick Road on a TV screen, then you haven’t REALLY seen The Wizard of Oz. Experience all the hair-raising, hilarious, colorful, dynamic, poignant moments from this beloved classic on the BIG screen. Bring the whole family to sing-a-long (we’re putting the lyrics on the screen for those who don’t know them by heart) and journey to the Emerald City with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. And make sure to watch out for flying monkeys! Kids are encouraged to come in costume as their favorite character! 101 minutes. Recommended for audiences of all ages.

The Zula Patrol: Animal Adventures in Space! Sunday, January 25, 4:30pm

The galactic fact-finders are back in brand new episodes to pursue their never-ending quest for knowledge. It’s another job for The Zula Patrol when an alien invasion is headed for planet Zula. But the invaders are in for a surprise – None of Zula’s inhabitants will help them take over the planet because they’re all too grateful to The Zula Patrol! Join Bula, Zeeter, Multo, Gorga, Wizzy, and Wigg on their ecological adventures as they search for stolen frog eggs, help restore life in a canyon on Zula, solve the mystery of the missing honey, and tunnel through the dirt with their new worm boot camp comrades to save their little ecosystem. And don’t be surprised if you learn something new about the importance of plants and animals in our own environment along the way. Kids can have their picture taken with Zeeter after the show. 60 minutes. Recommended for all ages. Zeeter in attendance.



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