Horror Movies and Kids: A Scary Combination — Betsy Bozdech, with Brandy McDonnell, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow and Liz Whittemore

Back in 2017, a CableTV survey about horror movies revealed, among other things, that the average age at which the (presumably adult) respondents saw their first horror movie was 7.2 years old. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that today’s kids are in the same boat, we’ve all noticed members of the PG crowd at decidedly R-rated movies. What is the level of fear they experience during these movies and how does onscreen blood and gore influence their social expectations.?

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ON THE COME UP – Review by Betsy Bozdech

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself thinking about The Hate U Give while watching actor Sanaa Lathan’s feature directorial debut On the Come Up. Both films are based on best-selling YA novels by Angie Thomas, both are set in Thomas’ fictional Garden Heights neighborhood, and both center the stories of Black teen girls who must decide when and how to speak up for what they believe in. But On the Come Up stands on its own merits as a compelling look at what it means to be authentic and true to yourself as an artist.

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AWFJ Presents: SIGN PAINTERS – Review by Betsy Bozdech

You’ve likely heard of artisanal bread, heirloom vegetables, and bespoke clothing — but odds are you’ve rarely given a thought to another carefully crafted legacy product: hand-painted advertising signs. Once a fixture of Main Streets and shop windows everywhere, they’ve been knocked out of the mainstream by cheap, fast printing technology. But as Faythe Levine and Sam Macon’s engrossing documentary Sign Painters makes clear, this is an art that still has a passionate following. Levine and Macon interview many of the sign-painting faithful, capturing their enthusiasm for color palettes, their passion for precision, and their firm belief that theirs is a skill far superior to anything a computer can produce. Anyone who finds niche subcultures interesting will be fascinated by this group of dedicated artists. Some of them are rough, some are gruff, many are unassuming while others are brashly outspoken, but they all love what they do.

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Horror Movies and Kids: A Scary Combination — Betsy Bozdech, Brandy McDonnell, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow and Liz Whittemore comment

Research shows that, on average, kids see horror movies as young as 7 years old. And we’ve all noticed members of the PG crowd at decidedly R-rated movies — in fact, when my daughter was in the second grade, she had multiple classmates who’d seen “It.” It’s not realistic to expect that we can shield kids from scary or gory content forever. And, in fact, it can be counterproductive to prevent children from seeing any kind of conflict, loss, or trauma on screen. Far better to use these moments, when they come, as opportunities to help them through hard stuff in a safe place.

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CINDERELLA – Review by Katie M. (Guest Post)

Because Cinderella is likely to be seen by legions of youngsters around the globe, we wondered how kiddos would interpret this latest screen adaptation of the classic fairy tale. We asked Betsy Bozdech McNab’s daughter, Katie, a savvy tweenager who knows a lot of fairy tales and sees a lot of movies, to review Kay Cannon’s musical live action production. Here’s Katie’s take on the show:

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One Thing Movie Studios Can Do to Support Diversity in Media Criticism – Betsy Bozdech comments

If studios and filmmakers truly believe in fostering diversity — behind the scenes, on camera, and in the dark rooms where writers who care passionately about film and media engage with their work — then it’s time to help make access to those films as equitable as possible. And that means continuing to make screeners available regularly so that reviewers everywhere, from every demographic, have the chance to make their perspectives heard. Equitable access to media screeners will give more voice to reviewers everywhere.

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Linda Goldstein Knowlton on WE ARE RADICAL MONARCHS – Betsy Bozdech interviews

Emmy-nominated filmmaker Linda Goldstein Knowlton’s latest film, We Are the Radical Monarchs, is a documentary that tells the uplifting, fist-pumping story of a new kind of scouting troop for young girls. After a successful tour of film festivals, We Are the Radical Monarchs will reach a wider audience on PBS. The film underlines the importance of inclusion, representation, and activism in today’s world.

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Amy Goldstein and Anouchka van Riel on KATE NASH: UNDERESTIMATE THE GIRL- Betsy Bozdech interviews

Since graduating from NYU film school, Amy Goldstein has spent her career behind the camera directing everything from music videos to critically acclaimed shorts and award-winning features. Her most recent project is a documentary that tracks the roller coaster career of British rocker Kate Nash, who first shot to fame in the MySpace era and now co-stars on Netflix’s hit series GLOW.

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Bentonville Film Fest and Coca-Cola Fund Female Filmmakers – Betsy Bozdech reports

Bentonville Film Festival and the Coca-Cola Foundation are partnering to support female filmmakers with the brand-new “See It, Be It Filmmaker Fellowship.” The program is specifically intended to support filmmakers from historically underrepresented communities and is fully aligned with the BFF’s “Include” approach to diversifying film from the ground up.

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Horror Movies and Kids: A Scary Combination — Betsy Bozdech, Brandy McDonnell, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow and Liz Whittemore comment

Research shows that, on average, kids see horror movies as young as 7 years old. And we’ve all noticed members of the PG crowd at decidedly R-rated movies — in fact, when my daughter was in the second grade, she had multiple classmates who’d seen “It.” And that’s a problem. While research indicates that media violence doesn’t directly make kids who are exposed to it more aggressive, some studies do suggest that, combined with other risk factors — including things like substance abuse and conflict at home — media violence can contribute to violent behavior.

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