Title: Facets Kids
Compatibility: iPad // iOS N/A
Description: There are many apps that offer the ability to watch kids music videos and/or TV episodes. But if you're looking for a more curated experience, at least as it relates to brief videos, your selection has been, well, lacking.
The folks at Facets, the art-house film distribution group and film education non-profit, also run the Chicago International Children's Film Festival, and they bring a curated list of independent short films from around the world through this new app, which is not run through the iTunes Store. Instead, it appears to be a web-app that only works on iPads (though more platforms are under development
The interface is fairly simple, as it needs to be for this target audience. It allows the user to choose individual movies from specific categories (e.g., "Brand New," "Animation Antics") or moods (e.g., "Happy," "Think"). The selections are mix of live-action and animation, from a range of countries, silent and dialogue-d. The movies I've watched have all been interesting, the movie equivalent of kindie. Tapping the screen while it's playing will allow the user to fast-forward, go back 30 seconds, and even change subtitle preferences. Users can rate each movie. The downside is that the user needs to have internet access in order to use the app, though it seems like offline viewing would be expensive, both technically and rights-wise.
This is a well-thought-out app that fills an unserved niche. Families looking for the movie equivalent of kindie may just have their new favorite app.
Age Range: 3 through 12
Price: Free (though donations are appreciated)