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TV & Digital

New York City’s First Boot Camp for Young Film Critics Makes it to Prime Time

August 26, 2016

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Sandy Kenyon, ABC Entertainment Reporter and movie critic visits the camp for young film critics!

Sandy Kenyon, ABC Entertainment Reporter and movie critic visits the camp for young film critics!

Brooklyn, NY – For the second consecutive year, the HITN-TV / KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp has graduated another class of future movie critics. And in the coming months, many of these new graduates will start critiquing major motion pictures – but they’ll have to finish their homework first since these up-and-coming film reviewers are all school-age!

In early August, a group of young participants were invited to the studios of HITN-TV – which are located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard – to learn the art of writing and videotaping their film reviews, to develop critical thinking skills and to practice on-camera interview skills. Once the young participants complete the week-long camp, they have the opportunity to join the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics team. This group of national youth reporters attend press screenings, interview talent on the red carpet, and review new film releases rated PG-13 and younger. These young film critics – ages 8 to 18 – and their reviews are seen, read or listened to by more than 7 million people every month.

The weeklong camp is designed and administered by KIDS FIRST!, the developer of the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics program. Many of the campers this year were awarded a scholarship by HITN-TV to cover the full cost participating in the camp. At the completion of the Boot Camp, participants will have developed their critical writing skills, learned advanced communications skills and explored media as a career option. The Film Critics Boot Camp is a first of its kind in New York City and is the result of partnership between HITN-TV and KIDS FIRST!.

After a successful inaugural year, the HITN-TV / KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp added a second week-long camp designed for youth who have already participated as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic or have extensive media experience. As part of the camp activities, the students meet with special guests from the entertainment industry including actors, film critics and producers. This year Sandy Kenyon, the venerable Entertainment Reporter and movie critic for ABC Eyewitness News in New York City visited the camp. Mr. Kenyon spoke to the group about entertainment reporting and offered tips such as the importance of not becoming friends with famous celebrities since that makes its harder to later critique their role in a film. Mr. Kenyon also graciously invited the group to tour ABC Studios in Manhattan and to appear on-air as guest film critics the same day he reviewed the amazing reboot of Disney’s cherished family film, Pete’s Dragon.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp is a project of the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, a national, nonprofit (501-c-3) organization founded in 1991 whose mission is to teach children critical viewing skills and to increase the visibility and availability of quality children’s media. For more information, visit

About HITN

HITN-TV is the largest non-commercial Hispanic network in the United States, offering educational and cultural programming for the whole family. It reaches more than 44 million viewers in the US and Puerto Rico via DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse TV, Verizon FiOS TV, Comcast, Charter Spectrum, Frontier Mediacom, CenturyLink Prism, and Cablevision. For more information, please visit