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The USA Film Festival announces shedule of events

The USA Film Festival
22nd Annual KidFilm® Festival, Dallas
January 21-22, 2006

The USA Film Festival’s 22nd annual KidFilm® Festival announces the schedule of events taking place Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22, 2006 at the Angelika Film Center, 5321 East Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, Texas.

SPECIAL PROGRAMS

Tribute to the Wonderful World of Rosemary Wells

KidFilm pays tribute to one of contemporary children’s literature’s most beloved author/illustrators, Rosemary Wells. For nearly thirty years, with over sixty books, Rosemary Wells has created a magical, gentle world of beautifully illustrated characters and engaging stories that children can identify with and learn from. An active advocate for daily reading to and with young people, Ms. Wells will introduce some of our favorite stories including Emily’s First 100 Days of School, Noisy Nora, Max’s Chocolate Chicken and Morris’s Disappearing Bag, all beautifully brought to life on the big screen courtesy of Weston Woods Studios. Ms. Wells will sign copies of her books following the screening.
(Showtime = Saturday, January 21, 12:30pm.)

Tribute to David Devine

Emmy Award-winning producer/director David Devine will be saluted at this year’s KidFilm for his outstanding contributions to educational, entertaining media for audiences of all ages. Over the past twenty years, Devine has helmed twelve television films and produced twenty more for HBO Original Films, including the award winning “Beethoven Lives Upstairs” and “Edison” as part of Devine Entertainment’s critically acclaimed composers and inventors series. Devine has won five Emmys as well as five Geminis (Canada’s equivalent of the Emmys), and more than 100 other international awards. During KidFilm, Mr. Devine will present his first feature film, Bailey’s Billions, a comedy for all ages.
(Showtime = Saturday, January 21, 2:30pm.)

PROGRAM LISTING (alpha by title)

Akeelah and the Bee Regional Premiere Sunday, January 22, 2:30pm

Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer) is a precocious 11-year-old girl from south Los Angeles with a talent for words. In spite of objections from her mother Wanda (Angela Bassett), Akeelah enters a spelling bee. Subsequently, her gift allows her to compete in the National Spelling Bee, the most famous competition of its kind in the world. Along the way, a forthright, mysterious teacher, Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburne), and a cast of colorful characters from her LA community help Akeelah prepare for her big day. Akeelah’s journey evokes neighborhood pride, as they witness the courage and inspiration of an amazing little girl in this heartwarming, triumph-over-adversity story. 107 minutes. Rated PG for mild language.

Animation Extravaganza Regional Premiere Sunday, January 22, 12:30pm

KidFilm offers something for everyone in this year’s diverse showcase, ranging from book-based shorts for our youngest viewers, to works for all ages. The line-up includes Weston Woods Studios’ adaptation of Laurie Keller’s deliciously hilarious Arnie the Doughnut, a new episode of HIT Entertainment’s wacky penguin Pingu, claymation animation in Red Planet Blues, new animation from Aardman Animations, featuring Planet Sketch episodes, Creature Comforts’ Monarchy Business, the National Film Board of Canada’s Tête à Tête à Tête, and more! 60 minutes. Recommended for ages 3 and up.

Bailey’s Billions / Tribute to David Devine Regional Premiere Saturday, January 21, 2:30pm

A reading of the Last Will can be painful, especially for campy villains Dolores and Caspar Pennington (the hilarious Jennifer Tilly and Tim Curry), who learn they are cut out of their dead aunt’s billion-dollar fortune in favor of her street-wise golden retriever Bailey (voiced by Jon Lovitz). Ted (Dean Cain), an animal behaviorist and the only person who can “talk” to Bailey, is named guardian of the dog and the fortune, along with the Animal Rights and Research Foundation (ARRF), run by Marge, animal activist and single mother of Samantha. When Dolores and Caspar incompetently hatch a plan to regain the fortune by dog-napping Bailey, only 12–year-old friends Max and Samantha (and her faithful dog Tessa) can save the day. 90 minutes. Rated G. Producer/director David Devine in attendance.

Bambi II Regional Premiere Saturday, January 21, 12:30pm

One of the silver screen’s most cherished characters makes his triumphant return in Disney’s spectacular new movie, Bambi II. Join Bambi as he reunites with his father, The Great Prince, who must now raise the young fawn and teach him the ways of the forest. But, in the adventure of a lifetime, the proud parent discovers that there is much he can learn from his spirited young son. Thumper, Flower, Owl and other favorite characters return, along with some wonderful new friends. Eleven-year-old actor Alexander Gould (Little Nemo in Finding Nemo) voices Bambi. Illustrated in the breathtaking animation style of the original classic, and bursting with enchanting new songs, Bambi II is truly a wonder to behold. 70 minutes. Rated G. Eleven year old actor Alexander Gould in attendance.

A Bear Named Winnie U.S. Premiere Saturday, January 21, 2:30pm

Director John Kent Harrison (A Wrinkle in Time, KidFilm 2004) brings to the screen the amazing true and touching tale of friendship between a young orphaned bear cub and her newfound owner, Lieutenant Harry Colebourn (Michael Fassbender), as they travel together during World War II. Harry and his veterinarian regiment adopt the young, mischievous bear cub, dubbed Winnie, as their mascot. When Harry’s regiment is sent to fight in France, he finds Winnie a temporary home at the London Zoo, promising to return and take her back to Canada when the war is over. During the long conflict, Winnie becomes the star attraction at the zoo (and ultimately inspires author A.A. Milne to immortalize the bear in his “Winnie the Pooh" stories). For the children of London, living in the shadow of a frightening war, Winnie becomes a symbol of friendship and hope. Also starring David Suchet and Gil Bellows. 90 minutes. Recommended for ages 6 and up. Director John Kent Harrison in attendance.

Curious George Special Advance Screening Sunday, January 22, 2:30pm

From Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment comes an all-new animated adventure based upon the beloved tales that have been enchanting readers for more than sixty years. George, the inquisitive little guy with an insatiable taste for adventure, sets off in a brand new tale for the big screen, where his spunky and fun-loving nature endears him to new friends he meets along the way and (of course) lands him in a series of (mis )adventures. Will Ferrell (Elf, Old School) lends his voice to The Man with the Yellow Hat. Dick Van Dyke, Drew Barrymore, David Cross, Eugene Levy and Joan Plowright are also among the distinguished cast of voices. Original songs are written and performed by Jack Johnson. 80 minutes. Recommended for ages 3 and up.

The Naked Brothers Band Regional Premiere Saturday, January 21, 4:30pm

This witty, silly rock-n-roll musical comedy and rock mock-umentary will delight both kids and adults. We follow pre-teen rockstars Nat and Alex Wolff and their band’s struggle for success and eternal super-stardom. Starring real-life brothers, Nat (age 10) and Alex (age 6), and the real-life band they started in pre-school, the film takes us behind the scenes of the boys’ concerts, rehearsals and private lives, as they deal with growing pains related to love, friendship and fame (not to mention a wicked lemon lime soda habit!). Featuring super-catchy original songs written and performed by Nat and Alex Wolff (respectively) including “Crazy Car" and “That's How It Is," and a ton of cameos by celebrities including Julianne Moore, Cyndi Lauper, Tony Shalhoub and Uma Thurman. The Naked Brothers Band is Polly Draper’s (who is real-life mom to Nat and Alex) directing debut. 90 minutes. Recommended for ages 6 and up. Writer/director Polly Draper, actors/musicians Nat and Alex Wolff in attendance.

Nanny McPhee Special Advance Screening Sunday, January 22, 4:30pm

In this dark and witty fable, Emma Thompson portrays a person of unsettling appearance and magical powers who enters the household of the recently widowed Mr. Brown (Colin Firth) and attempts to tame his seven exceedingly ill-behaved children. The children, led by the oldest boy Simon (Love Actually's Thomas Sangster), have managed to drive away seventeen previous nannies and are certain that they will have no trouble with this new one. But as Nanny McPhee settles in, they begin to notice that their vile behavior now leads swiftly and magically to rather startling consequences. And, as the children's behavior begins to change, Nanny McPhee's arresting face and frame appear to change as well, creating even more questions about this mysterious stranger. 98 minutes. Rated PG.

Special Return to “Fraggle Rock” screenings presented by Dave Goelz
Celebrating The Jim Henson Company’s 50th Anniversary & Remembering Co-Creator Jerry Juhl

Who can forget the musical, magical Fraggles, Doozers and Gorgs!? When the show debuted on HBO in 1983, Jim Henson was at the height of his creative powers and this wonderfully inventive show was designed to entertain while celebrating and encouraging diversity. The happy, singing, furry, subterranean creatures garnered millions of fans, and the show featured 100 original songs with 96 total episodes seen in more than ninety countries around the world. In a special, rare appearance, long-time Henson collaborator and master puppeteer (he’s Boober Fraggle and The Great Gonzo, to name a few!) Dave Goelz will be in attendance to present three very special screenings of some of our favorite episodes featuring Red, Gobo, Wembley, Boober and Mokey. This program is dedicated to the late Jerry Juhl – co-creator and head writer of the Fraggle Rock series. 90 minutes total program. Recommended for audiences of all ages. (Showtime = Sunday, January 22, 12:30pm.)


Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory Sunday, January 22, 4:30pm
Special Sing-A-Long Version celebrating the eternal classic’s 35th Anniversary

It’s Wonka-mania! In the world’s first Sing-A-Long version created especially for KidFilm, audiences of all ages can revisit this timeless classic – on the BIG SCREEN – in all its musical glory. Come and sing-a-long with the Oompa Loompas (We’re putting the lyrics on the screen for those who do not know them by heart) and enjoy watching the bratty Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, Augustus Gloop and Mike TeeVee all get their just desserts – literally! With its perfect blend of sweet and sour, memorable Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley lyrics and music, and the incomparable Gene Wilder in a performance to savor, it’s no wonder that audiences of all ages want to enjoy this classic over and over again. "Doompa de do!" 100 minutes. Rated G.


Wonder Dogs World Premiere Saturday, January 21, 4:30pm

What do you get when you cross two stolen dogs with magical healing powers, an unhappy boy (Dustin Evans), an overworked single mom (North Texas’s own Janine Turner), a handsome doctor (Patrick Muldoon), a super nutty nurse (Lesley Ann Warren), and a wise old codger (Charles Durning)? A charming comedy for the whole family with heroism, family values and the message to believe in yourself. When ten-year-old Zach discovers a pair of abandoned dogs in the woods who seem to have magical healing powers, he wants to keep them, but worries that somewhere, the real owners of the stolen dogs are searching for their lost pets. With the pair of young misfits who stole the miracle dogs on his tail, Zach seeks advice from an old man at the end of his life, begins to see his own life and family in a new light, and along the way learns how to be a real hero. Filmed in and around Grapevine, Texas. 85 Minutes. Rated G. Producer Steve Austin, actors Dustin Evans and Casey Evans, and other guests in attendance, including the Wonder Dogs!

Alexander Gould – Bambi II
Eleven-year-old actor Alexander Gould is probably best known as the voice of Little Nemo from Finding Nemo. Providing voice work for Bambi II, Gould has also made guest appearances in television’s “Malcom in the Middle” and “Weeds,” and had a recurring role on “American Dreams.” He is currently filming How to Eat Fried Worms.

Rosemary Wells – Tribute to the Wonderful World of Rosemary Wells
For more than thirty years, with over sixty books, author and illustrator Rosemary Wells has inspired and enlightened generations of children with some of the most charming characters in children’s literature, including Max and Ruby, Noisy Nora and Yoko. The child of a Russian dancer and a playwright/actor, Wells was challenged to be creative from an early age, penning her first illustrations at age two. Wells attended Boston Museum School and began her career working as a designer at Macmillan in New York where she published her first book, an illustrated edition of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “I Have a Song to Sing-O.” Wells prefers to draw animals rather than children because, through them, she can convey a broader range of action and emotion. Wells is often quoted as saying, “It’s a writer’s job to have ideas. Authors are accomplished eavesdroppers, and have a wonderful selective memory.” Some of Ms. Wells most popular titles include Goodnight Max, Bunny Cakes, Ruby’s Beauty Shop, Yoko’s Paper Cranes, Max Cleans Up and the Voyage to the Bunny Planet trilogy.
[Additional biographical information available, along with complete listing of book titles.]

David Devine – Bailey’s Billions / Tribute to David Devine
Emmy Award-winning producer/director David Devine presents his first feature film, Bailey’s Billions. Over the past twenty years, David Devine has been at the helm of twelve television films and produced twenty more for HBO Original Films, including Beethoven Lives Upstairs and Edison which are part of Devine Entertainment’s critically-acclaimed The Artists Specials (featuring Degas, Rembrandt, and Monet) and The Composers Specials (featuring Handel, Bach and Strauss). Devine has won five Emmys as well as five Geminis (Canada’s equivalent of the Emmys), and more than 100 other international awards. The mission of his company, Devine Entertainment – to introduce science and the arts to young audiences in magical and creative ways – has made him a leading figure in quality media for audiences of all ages.
[Additional biographical information available upon request, including complete filmmograph.]

Polly Draper – The Naked Brothers Band
Emmy nominated (television’s “thirtysomething”) actress Polly Draper is one of the most creative and versatile actors working today. She has won Obies for her stage work in “Top Girls” and “Rum Coke” and critical praise for her film work as writer on The Tic Code. The Naked Brothers Band, which she also wrote, marks Draper’s feature film directing debut. She is real-life mom to Nat and Alex Wolff, and is married to respected composer/arranger Michael Wolff, who also appears in The Naked Brothers Band.

Nat Wolff – The Naked Brothers Band
Ten-year-old actor Nat is an accomplished singer-songwriter-keyboardist with more than 150 songs to his credit. His proudest achievement is writing the song, “Firefighters” after 9/11 for Local Squad 18, which lost half of their company. Nat’s band raised $46,000 for the children of the lost firefighters. His is also regularly performing at The Improv Comedy Club and he recently wrote, directed and produced his first short film.

Alex Wolff – The Naked Brothers Band
Six-year-old actor Alex started playing the saxophone when he was two years old, but switched to the drums at age four. He now play drums in his brother’s band The Silver Boulders. The Naked Brothers Band marks his acting debut.

John Kent Harrison – A Bear Named Winnie
John Kent Harrison’s directing credits include television movies for TNT, CBS and Showtime. He won a CableACE for Best International Movie for The Sound and the Silence and Best Feature Film at Toronto’s International Children’s Film Festival for A Wrinkle in Time. His most recent film is “Pope John Paul II.”



Steve Austin – Wonder Dogs
Producer Steve Austin is Chairman and CEO of TAG Entertainment, a company dedicated to the development and production of high quality family-oriented feature films for worldwide distribution.

Dustin Evans – Wonder Dogs
Fourteen-year-old actor Dustin Evans is a native Texan and resident of Flower Mound whose screen credits include “The Legend of William Tell,” Wonder Dogs and The Last Mustang.

Casey Evans – Wonder Dogs
Sixteen-year-old actor Casey Evans is a native Texan and resident of Flower Mound whose screen credits include Wonder Dogs, The Last Mustang and Ned Declassified.

Honored guest Master Puppeteer Dave Goelz presents a special Return to “Fraggle Rock”
For over thirty years, Dave Goelz worked with The Jim Henson Company to create some of the puppet kingdom’s most memorable and beloved characters, including the Muppet Show’s The Great Gonzo, Zoot, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beauregard. And who better to introduce the special KidFilm “Return to Fraggle Rock” program than Boober Fraggle? (Goelz was also Traveling Matt and Philo from the show.) Goelz’s film credits include The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Dark Crystal (where he performed Skeksis General and Fizzgig), Labyrinth (where he performed several strange objects), The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island and Muppets From Space (Gonzo’s first lead role). Goelz’s television credits include “The Muppet Show,” “Fraggle Rock,” “The Jim Henson Hour,” “It’s a Very Muppet Christmas Movie” and many other memorable programs. Goelz will introduce three special episodes from the “Fraggle Rock” series, including one of his personal favorites, an international episode and a specially-selected episode to honor the late “Fraggle Rock” co-creator Jerry Juhl.

Remembering Jerry Juhl – With this special presentation, KidFilm is proud to pay tribute to the great Jerry Juhl, head writer and creative producer for five seasons of television’s notable “Fraggle Rock.” Working with Jim Henson since the early 1960s, Juhl became an essential contributor to the style and voice of many of the characters and projects that would follow. Following his initial work as puppeteer and writer, Juhl worked closely with Jim Henson to develop many of the sketches performed on various variety shows such as “The Mike Douglas Show” and “The Ed Sullivan Show,” eventually turning exclusively to writing. When the landmark “Sesame Street” program debuted in 1969, Juhl spent six seasons as writer on the show garnering two Emmy Awards. As head writer for “The Muppet Show,” Juhl received numerous awards and critical praise while attracting countless celebrities and other famous faces to appear on the popular program. For the big screen, Juhl co-wrote The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island and Muppets From Space. Juhl passed away in September 2005, but his legacy lives on through his magical contributions to timeless classic programs for future generations to enjoy.

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