LA Auditions for KIDS FIRST! Reporters, Birth of a Nation, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Best Halloween Films
October 25, 2016
Hosted by Samantha Alexander, Anthony Aranda, Jailene Aries, Brianna Hope Beaton, Valdi Agaelle Belizaire, Stacy Love Belizaire, Morgan Bertsch, Keefer Blakeslee, Victoria Burns, Adam Chernick, Raven Devanney, Cheyenne Nguyen, Patrick Nguyen, Gerry Orz, Haley Powell, Kayla Powell, Kendyl Powell, Shelby Ronea, Simone Sharrieff, and Justin Storey
Listen in as we interview Ranny Levy, founder of KIDS FIRST!-Coalition for Quality Children’s Media and learn about open auditions for new KIDS FIRST! reporters on November 4 at DreamWorks In LA and also how you can apply online to join our team. In this week’s show, we review Birth of a Nation, the Tim Burton film Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and discuss some of our favorite Halloween films of all time. Hosts Keefer Blakeslee and Brandon Cela are joined by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Willie Jones from Orlando. Before you spend your hard earned dollars at the movies, be sure to listen to what our youth reporters have to say.
KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions
Tuesdays at 1 PM Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Kids Channel
KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions is a weekly radio show hosted by the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics - 24 youth, ages 7 to 16 from across the country. These reporters review the latest films and DVDs, interview celebrities and chat about media related events. They attend premieres and press screenings of just about every new film rated PG-13 or younger and bring you the scoop so you can make informed decisions about what you wish to see. At KIDS FIRST! we believe that "Smart Kids Make Smart Consumers."
KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, a program of the 23-year-old Coalition for Quality Children's Media, is the country's most valued source for reviews of children's media. As a national, nonprofit organization, KIDS FIRST! teaches children critical viewing skills and kids as reporters to help you make informed decisions about what films you select for yourself.
Listen to KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions every Tuesday at 1PM Pacific Time on the Voice America Kids Channel.
Samantha Alexander, Anthony Aranda, Jailene Aries, Brianna Hope Beaton, Valdi Agaelle Belizaire, Stacy Love Belizaire, Morgan Bertsch, Keefer Blakeslee, Victoria Burns, Adam Chernick, Raven Devanney, Cheyenne Nguyen, Patrick Nguyen, Gerry Orz, Haley Powell, Kayla Powell, Kendyl Powell, Shelby Ronea, Simone Sharrieff, and Justin Storey
Eleven-year-old Samantha Alexander lives in New York City with her family. Sammie, as her friends call her, has two older sisters (Lisa, 29 and Maylene, 25). Samantha says that her family enjoys gathering together for dinners, playing board games and going to movies. When she is alone or with friends, she likes to play the WII or go to the park and, of course, face-time on the phone. Like many kids, her favorite foods are pizza, mac 'n cheese and chicken nuggets. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a favorite movie of hers because it was a true story that she finds quite interesting. When she grows up, she would like to become a journalist or police officer. She is most proud of the fact that she was asked to write a speech for the opening of her new school. At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Fox 5 and NY 1 interviewed her and all her friends and family were able to see her on TV that evening. As a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, she looks forward to getting early views of new movies and sharing her opinions with others.
Twelve-year-old Anthony Aranda comes from San Diego, CA where he lives with his parents and two siblings, ages 9 and 7. He has a dog named Patches and, when he's not going to movies, likes to visit Chuck E Cheese and play baseball. He aspires to be a professional baseball player when he grows up. His favorite movies are Ironman 2 and Nanny McPhee. In his free time, Anthony likes to read books and play games such as Four Square. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is his favorite book and Selena Gomez is his favorite actor. Anthony's most proud of getting all As in school and getting into the accelerated classes. The thing he enjoys most about his job as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic: "Interviewing celebrities on the Red Carpet!" He has interviewed Pixar / Disney's Chief Creative Officer, John Lasseter, American Idol finalists, Danny Gokey and Brooke White, and appeared on the red carpet at the Newport Beach Film Festival and at MCAS Miramar.
Jailene Aries, age 14, lives in Burbank, CA with her parents and three brothers who are 7, 22 and 24 years old. Her nickname is Welches. She enjoys going to the mall with her mom and talking about life. "We spend a lot of time in the car together going to auditions, guitar lessons, gymnastics and other activities." She also enjoys watching films on DVD at home with a bowl of popcorn or ice cream. She loves going out to dinner at a nice restaurant. Her favorite food is spaghetti and meatballs. When she's alone, Jailene might be found playing the guitar, reading books on her Kindle, listening to music or watching her favorite TV shows. Her favorite thing to do with friends is to go to the movies. Jailene's favorite film is Monte Carlo because her favorite actress, Selena Gomez is in it. She also enjoys the love story and the humor. Selena Gomez wins her vote for favorite actress because of her talent and the great work she has done since she was very young. "I also admire her dedication to her career. She is a great actress and an inspiration for other young Latina girls who want to pursue an acting career." The thing that Jailene is most proud of is how she and her family moved from Maryland to California in order for her to pursue a career as an actress. Jailene's favorite film critic is KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Cheyenne Nguyen, one of her best friends, because "she is very energetic and brings so much personality to her reviews." As a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Jailene looks forward to watching amazing films and informing people about them. "I want to educate parents and let them know if the films are appropriate, funny, sad or serious. I want to have fun and go to red carpet events and develop interview techniques that are useful skills no matter what I end up doing in my life."
Fourteen-year-old Brianna Beaton lives in Clermont, FL with her parents. She has a 23-year-old sister who lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her favorite things to do with her parents are play board games, watch TV, and cook. Brianna also likes to read and write stories. You can find Brianna playing tag, swimming and just goofing off with her friends who call her BB. Brianna’s favorite movie is I am Sam. Brianna looks up to actress Drew Barrymore because she started acting young and is the kind of person who doesn’t care what anyone says about her. Brianna wants to be a successful actress and a restaurant owner when she grows up. She also wants to write a fictional novel. She is most proud that she has been performing in theatre plays and won Best Actress, Most Dramatic, and Most Reliable awards in her theatre school. Brianna enjoys sharing and expressing her feelings about films through video and written reviews. KIDS FIRST! gives her many opportunities to write.
Valdi Belizaire, age 12, lives in Los Angeles, CA and has two sisters, Stacy (12) and Bella (5). During family time, she loves to play games, go to the mall and visit the park. When with her friends, Val, as they call her, enjoys playing games, doing projects and says, “We read each other's stories.” Valdi's favorite film is Brave because it shows a lot of bravery and to fight for what you believe in. Her favorite actress is Anne Hathaway since she, “has a lot of passion in the movies that she does.” One of Valdi's greatest accomplishments is that she read 40 books in just a few months. Twenty of the books were in English and twenty were in French. When Valdi grows up she wants to be a actress or a lawyer. As a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic she looks forward to having people watch me and be interested in what I have to say.
Stacy Belizaire, age 11, lives in Los Angeles, CA and has two sisters, Valdi and Bella. During family time, she says that, “We play games, we enjoy each other's company and we love watching movies.” When with her friends “We usually do gymnastics (like mini games), make short movies or commercials.” Her favorite food is pasta (Italian) and salad. Stacy's number one film is Hotel Transylvania because the movie is fun and cool. What grabs me are the voices of Selena Gomez and Ceelo Green. Her favorite actress is Meaghan Martin from Camp Rock. “She is a great actress,” Stacy says, “She has that diva, sass and powder style.” When Stacy grows up, she wants to be a scientist or doctor.. As a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Stacy wants to be able to watch movies, look at the characters and to see different kinds of creations and actions.
Morgan Bertsch, age 9, lives in North Hills, California with her parents. Her parents help her with homework, play ball and go to the movies. Morgan enjoys playing Nintendo DS, films on her DVD player and playing with her dolls. Morgan’s favorite movie is Tangled because of her long hair. Her greatest accomplishment is graduating kindergarten. She is most looking forward to interviewing people and watching the new movies.
Keefer Blakeslee, age 13, lives in the greater Los Angeles area, part time. He has three older siblings who are all married. His dad passed away six years ago so he and his Mom are enjoying their life together. They play chess, swim, skate, and watch and critique movies together. Keefer likes riding his bike, cooking, watching Nostalgia Critic on the Internet and reading his favorite book “Life Itself: by Roger Ebert.” Keefer loves so many films it's difficult to pick one. If he had to, it would be The King’s Speech because he could watch it again and again. It has amazing acting and an incredible story. It's also difficult for him to name a favorite actor but Mel Brooks and Jim Carrey would have to be at the top of the list. "They are both funny and great actors that really know how to capture their audience and make them laugh." When he grows up, Keefer wants to be an actor, comedian, critic, director, producer and screen-writer. He is most proud of proving to his mom that he deserved moving to California so he could pursue his career. His favorite film critics were Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. "They were so entertaining. I loved listening to their reasoning and watching them bicker. I read Roger Ebert's film reviews to the day he died." As a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Keefer enjoys being able to speak his own opinion to people who love movies because, "if you're going to pay to watch a movie, it had best be a good one!" He also found out how much he enjoys writing.
Fifteen-year-old Victoria Burns lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her parents and two siblings, ages twenty-two and twenty. They enjoy going to the movies, trips to Barnes and Noble, reading and going out to eat. Victoria enjoys reading, going to the mall and going to movies with her friends. Her favorite movies are The Bourne Trilogy because each movie is as good as the first and leaves you wanting more. Her favorite actor is Denzel Washington because he can convincingly portray different types of characters. When she grows up Victoria wants to be a psychologist. Her greatest accomplishment is learning how to draw still life art. As a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic she enjoys going to movie screenings, interviewing actors and getting to give her opinion on the movies.
Adam Chernick, age 8, hails from Tarzana, CA in the greater LA area. He has two older siblings, Mirabelle and Michael. He enjoys going to the aquarium, the science museum, visiting police and fire stations and going out to eat with his family. With his friends, he plays various games including baseball and soccer. Adam's favorite film is The Artist because he loves how cute and loyal the dog is. George Clooney wins his affection as his favorite actor and ice cream as his favorite food! Adam aspires to be a politician or work in law enforcement when he grows up. Adam is most proud of himself for how he handled changing schools this last year. He was very nervous and scared to go to a brand new school but, it worked out just fine. He also enjoyed appearing on Critics' Choice in 2012 as a mini Paul Scheer where he wore a bald cap. His best friend is KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Morgan Bertsch. Trivia about Adam: He has been stung by a bee four times! Ouch. What he enjoys most as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic is seeing lots of new movies and interviewing people on the red carpet.
Sixteen-year-old Raven Sky Devanney hails from Boulder, CO where she lives with her mom and 9-year-old brother. She has a slight menagerie of pets (3 cats, 2 dogs, 3 birds, and 3 fish: Luna, Mister, Playdough, Lady, Bo, Pickle Pie, Dave, and Peddie Jeffrey Longbottom.) Her favorite movies are Titanic and The Imagination of Doctor Parnassus. In her free time, Raven enjoys watching movies with her family, ice skating, playing basketball or dining on Ethiopian food. You might run into her shopping at the mall with her friends or find her writing, drawing or reading. Among her favorite books are Emily the Strange, The Giver and Skeleton Creek. Johnny Depp wins her heart as her favorite actor. She aspires to become an actress or model. The thing she likes most about her job as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic: "Getting to share my opinions about the films I watch and interviewing people in the entertainment business. It's all very exciting!"
Ten-year-old Cheyenne Nguyen lives in Fountain Valley, California with her mother and two brothers, ages sixteen and nineteen. Cheyenne and her family enjoy going to church, going to movies and going to parties. In her free time, Cheyenne enjoys watching new movie releases with her friends, playing “Dance Central” and singing. Her favorite movie is Despicable Me, because it is very funny. Cheyenne’s favorite actress is Zendaya Coleman from Shake It Up, because she can relate to the character Rocky. When she grows up Cheyenne wants to be a news reporter, actor or singer. Her greatest accomplishment is keeping straight As in school. As a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Cheyenne enjoys meeting all the talent and being able to ask questions.
Patrick Nguyen, age 15, is from Westminster, CA where he enjoys watching movies with his family, traveling, eating new foods and partying with his extended family who get together and sing karaoke and play board games. Patrick's favorite foods are tempura sushi, BBQ chicken pizza and tomato pasta. He loves shopping, going to the theater, go-carting and miniature golf. One of Patrick's favorite movies is Hairspray because there are so many known stars, great singing and history. "I enjoy the combination of Zac Efron, Queen Latifah and James Masden. They all have unique voices and the finale song is incredible." One of his favorite actors is Johnny Depp because of his versatility. "From Willy Wonka to Captain Jack Sparrow, all of his characters are well thought out and full of personality." Hugh Jackson is another favorite because of his proficiency in singing, dancing and acting. Patrick aspires to be an actor when he grows up although he realizes there are not a lot of Asian-American actors in this industry. His backup plan is to become a radiologist. One of Patrick's greatest achievements is to have been on Nickelodeon for a commercial called, "The Big Help." "When I was on set, I met so many friends with the same interests. We had a blast and it made me want to work my way up in the industry." Patrick enjoys the funny relationship between Billy and Kit on Access Hollywood. They are full of energy, have great chemistry and interview some of his favorite stars. What Patrick enjoys most as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic is how he's learned to speak on camera, knowing what questions to ask and how to position yourself. He enjoys watching new movies and writing his own reviews and interviewing stars.
Gerry Orz, age 12, comes from Rancho Palos Verdes, CA and has one older sibling, Dennis. He enjoys watching movies and football, cooking and traveling with his family, playing video games and is an avid filmmaker who writes and makes movies with his friends. Gerry's favorite film is Jack and Jill. His favorite actors are Ellen DeGeneres and Adam Sandler. Ellen because she is amazing, funny, smart and so kind. She inspired Gerry to believe in himself and try to make a difference in the world. As a result, he has produced a number of educational movies and created a non-profit organization called Kids Resource. Adam Sandler is his other favorite actor because "he is an amazing actor and comedian, always stays true to himself." Gerry is a huge fan of directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas and he aspires to become a film director, producer and writer. "I want to make movies that will have a positive impact on today's youth and will inspire them to follow my footsteps to a better tomorrow." He is already off to a great start, having produced several films including a short, Day of Silence, that inspired a new bill in CA to proclaim 12/12/12 Bullying Prevention Day. Gerry received many emails thanking him for making that film. "We heard stories where parents believed that my movie saved their child's life." On 12/12/12 at 12 p.m., Gerry had followers in six states and four countries joining in a moment of silence. "I plan to expand in coming years and get more people on board to honor 12/12 and work towards making the world a better place." As a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Gerry enjoys learning more about movies and film making and improving his own movies so they can be included in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival."
Haley Powell, age 11, lives in Burbank, California with her family. She has an older sister (Christin, 25) and an older brother (Jordan, 13). Haley and her entire family enjoy movie nights together and she gets to spend special time with her mom to cook or play games. Haley’s Daddy often takes her out to eat for Daddy date night. Her passion is dancing and she loves to make up dance routines with her cousins or friends. She uses her free time to write stories in her journal and play video games with her brother. Haley's favorite food is noodles, all kinds of noodles, give her oodles and she is happy. One of her favorite films is Akeelah and the Bee because it has to do with spelling bees and Haley loves to spell, write and speak. One of her favorite actresses is Leigh Allyn Baker who plays Amy Duncan on Good Luck Charlie. Haley appreciates her humor and how she is down to earth with her TV family. Haley says the silly things they do in the show remind her of her own family. When she grows up, Haley is interested in pursuing journalism, broadcasting and/or film directing. She eventually would like to write her own films and still find time to become a professional dancer. She is most proud of becoming a voice-over series regular in Fisher Price's Imaginext Adventures webisode and being a part of a voice-over team for the movies 12 Years a Slave and Best Man Holiday as well as doing voice over in the video game Final Fantasy XIII. In addition, she has a re-occurring role in a webisode called First currently airing on Isa Rae Network. Haley is also a FTS Kids News Reporter and a student council member at her school. As a new KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, she looks forward to meeting and interviewing celebrities, reporting from the red carpet at movie premiers, and watching, reviewing and reporting on the films she has seen.
Kayla Powell, age 12, lives in Burbank, CA with her parents, her brother KJ and her twin sister Kendyl. When Kayla is with her parents, she likes to play games, watch movies, ride her bikes and practice acting. Her friends call her by her given name Kayla or the shortened version, Kay. When she is with her friends or alone, she likes to create dance routines, play games and style hair. Kayla's favorite movie is Frozen. In her opinion, it is hilarious and has a great message. She enjoys watching movies with a good message. Kayla's favorite actress is Zendaya Coleman because she is "an amazing actress and also a triple threat." Kayla enjoys eating different types of food but, her favorites are cheeseburgers and sushi. (Hopefully not together.) When Kayla grows up she would like to be an actress, orthodontist or both. She is very proud of the fact that by the age of 11 she was in Debbie Allen's, Hot Chocolate Nutcracker; has been in 2 movies; booked a national commercial, as well as a pilot; and is working with her brother KJ and sister Kendyl.
Kendyl Powell, age 12, lives in Burbank, CA with her parents, brother KJ and sister Kayla. When Kendyl is with her parents she likes to watch movies, play board games, ride her bike and talk. Her friends call her Kendi. When she is with her friends, she likes to tell jokes, swim, act and be creative by creating crazy loom bracelets. Kendyl's favorite movie is Rise of the Guardians because "it has a lot of funny parts in it, while still being full of action." Kendyl's favorite actress is Raven-Simone. She enjoys watching the diverse emotions that Raven-Simone emanates while she is acting, especially when she is being comical. Kendyl is inspired by Raven-Simone's passion for acting. Kendyl loves eating different types of food, but her absolute favorite is lasagna. As a new KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Kendyl looks forward to watching new films, sharing her thoughts/opinions with others, and is excited to meet new people. When Kendyl grows up she would like to be an actress or dancer. She is very proud of the fact that by the age of 11 she was in Debbie Allen's, Hot Chocolate Nutcracker; has booked a pilot; and is able to play the French horn.
Shelby Ronea, age 15, lives happily as an only child in Tampa Bay, Florida. It is clear that Shelby has a strong interest in films as shown by the many nicknames her friends have given her - Ms. Star, Film Queen, Ms. Drama. With her family, she enjoys doing aerobics, shopping, traveling and - surprise - watching films. She works with her friends to improvise games and skits or takes walks on the beach. When alone, Shelby enjoys knitting. Her favorite foods are Italian and seafood. Shelby's favorite film is Diary of a Wimpy Kid because the humor of the main character keeps her laughing throughout the film. Her favorite actress is Meryl Streep. In each performance, Shelby has noticed how Streep transforms herself into the character she is playing. Shelby says she would love to interview her. When she grows up, Shelby hopes to become an Oscar-winning actress. She is on her way as she has visited Paramount Pictures in LA and held an actual Oscar trophy and has completed her first support role in a movie starring Haley Joel Osment in September 2013. Shelby hopes that as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic she will be able to assist her readers to understand the intentions of the director and the motivations of the actors.
Simone Sharrieff, age 13, lives in Clermont, FL with an older brother, Kerry, age 28 and a younger sister, Layla, age 10. Family time is spent going to the movies, bowling and going to church. With her friends, Simone also enjoys going to the movies, making silly videos and playing in her school's symphonic and jazz bands. Alone, she loves to write in her journal and edit videos - as evidenced in her video reviews. Simone's favorite film is Princess Diaries because it stars two of her favorite actresses - Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews. "It makes me believe that I could grow up and become a real princess. It's such a feel good flick!" When she grows up, Simone plans to attend film school and become a film director. Her greatest accomplishment so far is her academic performance. "I've made the all A or A/B honor roll every year since kindergarten. Being successful in academics is very important to me." She admires Leonard Maltin as a film critic and, as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, she looks forward to meeting and learning about all kinds of people.
Justin Storey, age 16, lives in Orlando, Florida. Ever since he was a young boy he loved being the center of attention. Justin enjoyed sitting in front of the TV with his mom watching the news. He would hold his brush and mimic the reporter he saw on TV. When Justin got older he became interested in reporting and also acting. He got his first acting experience in school and church plays. Today, Justin has been appeared in commercials for brands such a Nissan, Carnival Cruise line, Disney World and many others. Along with commercials, Justin has recently appeared in television shows and films. Justin has a big future ahead and hopes to continue pursuing his passion of acting. When he's not in front of a camera he is busy writing his own films. He enjoys film-making and video-editing. Recently, Justin joined the KIDS FIRST! Film Critic team and hopes to gain more exposure and experience in reporting and journalism.