The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival is an annual video contest in which young filmmakers create short movies that tell the entire story of a Newbery winning (or Newbery Honor) book--all in about a minute and a half!


Reserve Your Seat

  • Reserve your seat for the 2023 90-Second Newbery Film Festival by clicking here

The Mission

  • Entice students to read and discuss Newbery books (especially older, forgotten titles)
  • Encourage the close reading necessary to write a script that creatively sums up a book in 90 seconds
  • Give students opportunities to use new technologies, such as video equipment and editing software, in a creative way that promotes literacy

The Rules:

  • Films must be student-driven.
  • Films should be about 90 seconds long.
  • Films must be about a Newbery award-winning or Newbery Honor book.
  • No book trailers! No video book reports! We're looking for full-on dramatizations, with mostly child actors, that manage to tell the entire story of the book in 90 seconds.
    • Please don't use Powtoon!
  • Be creative! Change the genre! Use your imagination!
  • Submit your video by March 3, 2023.

The Prizes:

  • Middle School - High School: Best Film Award 1st Prize = $1500, Honorable Mention = $1000
  • Grade School: Best Film Award 1st Prize = $1500, Honorable Mention = $1000
  • Prize money will be awarded towards a literacy initiative, school library, or non-profit organization of the winner's choice.


Get started on your 90-Second Newbery video today!

How to Start:

  • Round up a group of friends and choose a Newbery award-winning or Newbery Honor book to read. Looking for something more extensive? Check out this list of Newbery Award Winners dating back to 1922! 
  • Read the book.
  • Check out our Tips & Tricks post. James Kennedy, the contest founder, also recently gave some tips specifically for creating a 90-Second Newbery video during a pandemic.
  • Write a script for a 90-second long retelling of the book.
  • Film your movie. (Be creative! Have fun!)
  • Upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo and then fill out this form to ENTER THE CONTEST by our March 3, 2023 deadline! 
  • We will contact you before our 2023 90-Second Newbery Film Festival at the Will Naylor Smith River Walk Plaza on the river side entrance of the Tobin Center to let you know if we will be showing your film, but everyone is welcome to come to the film festival and celebrate!

*For handy tips from the creator of the 90-Second Newbery contest, check out

Submit Your Video:

Finished filming your amazing take on a Newbery Award Winning or Newbery Honor Book? Great! Here's how to submit it to our contest:

STEP ONE: Upload the video to YouTube or Vimeo

STEP TWO: Fill out THIS FORM to let us know who you are and where your video is (in the form, you'll give us the URL of your video)

Questions? Please let us know.



Need some inspiration? Check out these amazing films from the 2022 90-Second Newbery San Antonio winners! James Kennedy's also has a collection of some of the best 90-Second Newbery videos of all time on his website. You can also view a quick recap of our 2022 90-Second Newbery Film Festival below!

Middle - High School Grand Prize Winner

Adaptation of Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes (2018 Newbery Honor winner)

Adapted by Juarez E. from Advanced Learning Academy in SAISD

Grade School Grand Prize Winner

Adaptation of Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (1953 Newbery Honor winner)

Adapted by Alleiah R. from Madison Elementary GATE in SAISD