Photo courtesy of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival.
90-Second Newbery Film Festival_film example
Wigs and props are just some of the tools students use to condense their Newbery books into 90 seconds.
When a book becomes a movie, fans rejoice—and worry. Will the director do it right? Will they include this scene? Now imagine trying to contain all of that beloved prose in 90 seconds. If it sounds impossible, know that elementary, middle, and high school students do it every year for the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival.
Festival creator James Kennedy will bring a custom screening of this year’s films to Minneapolis on Saturday, Feb. 25. Eleven Minnesota films will be making their regional debut, and author and Minneapolis resident Kelly Barnhill will play co-host. Barnhill’s children’s book, The Girl Who Drank The Moon, was just awarded the 2017 Newbery Medal last month.
“[The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival] requires kids to read much more deeply and to read with an understanding of ‘what this book means to me’ and ‘how can I communicate that to someone?’” says Barnhill. “They’re funny and sometimes bizarre—just very creative and very oddball.”
Who knew A Wrinkle in Time would be portrayed with stop motion clay cats or that an energetic young man portraying Winn Dixie would jump on the librarian with such zeal? (The exact comment from the film judge was, “Is Winn-Dixie just overly affectionate or is there something more terrifying happening?”)
While no one made a 90-second Newbery on The Girl Who Drank the Moon this year, it’s likely shortlisted for 2018. The newest book to be emblazoned with the gold Newbery Medal seal tackles topics where adults and children can meet in the middle, Barnhill says. In her created world of magic and dragons, she explores how family can be defined in many different ways, and how history can change depending on who tells the story.
Should the book receive its own 90-second Newbery, it’ll be interesting to see how those themes are incorporated—and how students portray its poetry-writing swamp monster.
90-Second Newbery Film Festival 2017. 3-5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 25, Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 90secondnewbery.com.