The Dryden Kids Series at the George Eastman Museum served up a double helping of time-traveling fun this past Sunday, kicking off with one of the historic treasures from their vault, Charlie Chaplin’s The Immigrant. Chaplin’s comic treatment of the plight of foreigners arriving to this country in the early 1900’s was accompanied by the brilliant music of the renowned Philip Carli who, by the way, uses NO sheet music when he performs, yet manages to hit every comedic moment exactly and capture the film’s shifting moods and moments superbly.

Then James Kennedy took to the stage for the first Rochester-based screening of the  Fifth Annual 90-Second Newbery film festival, featuring submissions from across the country as well as ten submissions created by local kidsy and teens. When Kennedy does a screening, he puts on a SHOW! As his time-traveling co-host, Linda Sue Park comes back from the future to reveal that James Kennedy and his spectacularly-successful 90-Second Newbery Film Festival is the reason kids aren’t reading anymore! The battle and song that ensue are SNL-uproarious!

Then the two take us on a rollicking ride through close to twenty 90-Second Newbery submissions based on Newbery Medal and Honor books, as well as one or two that were – horror of horrors! – only Newbery-wannabes. From clever claymations to sultry soap operas and from animated medieval Lego lands to mansions in a tree, the works plumbed the depths of the filmmakers’ creativity.  When you see works as innovative as that of a one-man (excuse me, one-boy) production whose limited budget forces him to tell the story of Shiloh, using only a bagel as his canine friend (with hilarious results, I might add), you almost wish you could travel forward in time to see where the creativity of these kids will take them in ten or twenty years.

In the midst of the laughter, enter, a distracted and musical Mr. Loops, who is the perfect song-singing, selfie-taking foil to Kennedy and his capers.

Wish you’d been there to enjoy the fun? You can catch a slightly-abridged broadcast of it on RCTV shortly!

Our thanks to the one and only James Kennedy, the fabulous Linda Sue Park, the amazing Mr. Loops, to our fantastic Partners George Eastman Museum, and Writers & Books, to our awesome Sponsors Delta Airlines and Friends & Foundation of the Rochester Public Library, and of course, to our amazingly talented young filmmakers!

The 90-Second Newbery Film Fest, An Adventure in Time Travel | RCTV Media Center