Film Fest: Next-Gen Weighs In

L.A. Children’s festival holds film review competition

"Meet the Small Potatoes"

Take it from someone who knows: You’re never too young to start dreaming of a future as the next Andrew Sarris or Pauline Kael. In an effort to encourage local tots to flex their filmcritic muscles, the Los Angeles Children’s Film Festival (running April 26-May 5) will hold a review-writing competition recommended for kids ages 5-10.

(From the pages of the April 9 issue of Variety.)

Participants will be invited to attend April 13 screenings of festival entries, including the hourlong musical mockumentary “Meet the Small Potatoes” (pictured above) and a shorts program. Review submissions are due April 20, and can take the form of either a written piece or a videoclip on YouTube. The three winning entrants will be given tickets to festival screenings for their families, and all participants will receive prizes.

Spearheading the competition are the American Cinematheque, which is hosting the festival at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, and Mommy Poppins, a blog network that provides listings for parent-child activities in various cities nationwide.

“As any mom knows, kids will tell you their honest opinion. They pull no punches. So we trust that we’re going to get really honest reviews,” says Anna Fader, founder of Mommy Poppins.

In addition to helping audiences sift through festival offerings, the reviews represent a chance for kids to write about something they feel passionate about, Fader says. “They probably won’t realize it, but it will be an educational, enriching experience for them.”