Looking through film schedules in newspapers four years ago, Eric Beckman noticed few listings for children's films, but hundreds for independent films.
Seeing a niche, he and friend Emily Shapiro founded the New York International Children's Film Festival in 1997. Their goal was to show that children can appreciate and crave different kinds of movies than the cartoons and light comedies that Hollywood tends to offer.
It began with an audience of 600 people; last year, the audience was about 10,000. This year's festival opened Friday and will run through Sunday at various New York City venues.
The festival features 44 films, many of them U.S. premieres. The festival includes animated shorts and feature-length pieces.
Such notable films as the feature-length "Tainah, An Amazon Adventure," above, had its North American premieres at the festival. The Brazilian movie, which features colorful wildlife photography, tells the story of an orphaned girl who tries to scuttle poachers' plans to trap endangered animals.
Site shows the fun, science in farming
City children far removed from the rural life have a new way to learn about growing crops, thanks to a Kansas State University scientist.
Jim Shroyer, a crops specialist with K-State Research and Extension, has launched Kids' Field Day, a Web site with illustrations, photos and child-appropriate text that covers everything from soil to farmers' use of satellites to computers that increase production.
"Agriculture is more than just a person sitting on the tractor chewing on a wheat stalk," Shroyer said. "I'm hoping that teachers, students and anyone who wants to learn more about the sciences of agriculture will learn from visiting the site."
You could already be a winner
Field & Stream magazine is seeking entries for its Young Writers Contest. The contest is open to young men and women between the ages of 13 and 18 who best capture the theme "How Hunting/Fishing Has Influenced My Life."
Essays must be from 600 to 1,000 words, and be typed and double-spaced on 8 1/2-inch-by-11-inch paper. They must include the writer's name, address, telephone number and proof of age (copy of birth certificate, driver's license or passport). Each entry must be an original, nonpublished work.
Entries need to be postmarked by Sept. 1. Send to Field & Stream Young Writers Contest, 2 Park Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016.