Do you have a budding Steven Spielberg at home? Do you have trouble keeping your video camera away from your kid? If so, the KidFilm Festival is looking for you.

The 14th annual KidFilm Festival is accepting entries for “Kids in the Director’s Chair,” a video contest just for kids. KidFilm, the largest and oldest children’s film festival in the United States, is sponsored by the USA Film Festival, our homegrown showcase for new films. Last year more than 23,000 children, parents and educators attended the festival.

Along with contemporary and classic children’s films from around the world, the festival will screen the winning videos produced by kids 15 and under at the event to be held Jan. 17-18.

KidFilm’s Alonso Duralde encourages young people who enjoy film to become part of the creative process by competing.

“Last year we had about 50 entries, and we hope to have even more this year,” Duralde says. “The three first-place winners, plus other videos the judges think have particular merit, will be screened for the audience along with the professional films.

“It’s a great way to encourage interest in the filmmaking process at an early age.”

Neighborhood resident Evan Daugherty, 15, is certainly proof of that. Evan – with the help of his sister, Linn, and several friends – submitted three features last year, winning first prize in the 12-15 age group for “Tales from the Script.” He and his crew of regulars also will be competing this year.

Evan, who directs the features and also does some script-writing, hopes to attend a film-oriented university in New York or California.

“This is kind of something I’ve always wanted to do. All the editing and work we do, it never seems like hard work.”

One frequent concern about the competition: “What if your video camera is a dinosaur compared to some of the new, smaller models with all the latest gadgets? Can your child still compete?

“Absolutely,” Duralde says. “The contest is more about creativity, problem-solving and use of imagination than technical capabilities.

“It’s not about who has the most expensive camera or the most sophisticated editing tools.”

The contest is divided into three categories: ages 11 and under, which allows some adult supervision; 12-15, in which all work should be done by the young filmmaker; and classroom/workshop, which features group projects made under the supervision of an instructor or counselor.

The deadline for KidFilm video entries is Jan. 5. For more information, call the USA Film Festival at 214-821-NEWS or visit on the World Wide Web.