by Keridwyn Deller
The Children’s Film Festival Seattle is the West Coast’s largest film festival for kids ages 3 – 16. Now in its 15th year, the Children’s Film Festival Seattle is a cinematic extravaganza that celebrates the best and brightest in international films for children, including animation, feature-length films, short films, and hands-on workshops. Each year, Northwest Film Forum selects children’s films from dozens of countries, reaching more than 10,000 people during festival screenings in Seattle and a subsequent festival tour of 20-25 U.S. cities.
Going to the Children’s Film Festival Seattle has been a tradition in my family for many years now, with my mom and dad taking their youngest granddaughter (who is now 13 and looks forward to this each year) to multiple movies during one of the film fest’s weekends. I invite you to start your own tradition this year, by taking the kiddos in your life (whether it’s your own kids, nieces and nephews, or family friends). Know friends who have kids? Please share this blog post with them to help get the word out about this special festival.
The films from around the world that the Children’s Film Festival Seattle includes in their lineup are both affordable and incredibly memorable.
I asked my mom to send me her thoughts on the film festival. She wrote, “The Children’s Film Festival Seattle is one of those events we never miss. Fun, stimulating, thought-provoking international films that raise awareness and benefit humanity across the globe. The Children’s Film Festival Seattle is our most treasured yearly Christmas gift for our now-teen granddaughter.”
In their own words:
FEATURE FILM HIGHLIGHTS
In addition to live-action features such as “H is for Happiness,” a quirky and funny new drama from Australia, and “Rocca Changes the World,” about a young German girl who will stop at nothing to prove her independence, the following feature film programs are especially of note:
MOVING STORIES (U.S.)
Friday, February 28 – 7:00pm at Northwest Film Forum
Moving Stories, a feature film for ages 9+, tells the story of six diverse dancers from an acclaimed New York dance company, which travels the world working with at-risk youth. The film is a travelogue of world issues, with stops in Romania, South Korea, Iraq, and Israel, but it is also a gripping show-business saga, showing both novice and professional dancers working against the odds to get their performances ready in time for the curtain. The film will be preceded by an interactive and all-ages audience dance experience, leading the audience from our lobby into the theater. WATCH THE TRAILER
TEAM MARCO (U.S.)
West Coast Premiere w/ filmmakers in attendance!
Directed by Julio Vincent Gambuto, Team Marco the story of an 11-year-old boy obsessed with electronics — who discovered the delights of real-time companionship with his father, as he introduces him to the bocce, one of the world’s oldest games.
THE KINGS OF MULBERRY STREET (South Africa)
West Coast Premiere!
This debut feature from South African director Judy Naidoo is a high energy romp through the fictional neighborhood of Sugarhill District, in South Africa. The film’s heroes are two boys of Indian heritage who are in love with Bollywood — and find echoes of that film genre’s dramatic and musical plots in their own lives as they confront a crime boss in their tight-knit neighborhood. WATCH THE TRAILER
ZARA AND THE MAGICAL FOOTBALL BOOTS (The Netherlands)
Presented in partnership with CAIR-WA
A high-energy film that tells the story of Zara, a nine-year-old girl in an asylum seeker’s refugee camp, who discovers an otherworldly way to play soccer like a pro. Outside of its well-known lead actors, the cast is made up of children who live in asylum centers in The Netherlands. WATCH THE TRAILER
MICROPLASTIC MADNESS (U.S.)
A documentary feature that shows the passion of young people to fight climate change and protect the environment. It follows a fifth-grade classroom from Red Hook, New York, as they learn from experts about the threat of microplastics in the world’s oceans, and become dedicated activists working to reverse a very complicated and environmental threat. WATCH THE TRAILER
SHORT FILM PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
23 amazing programs of short animated and live-action films feature bold thematic content that foster dialogue around current issues such as global migration (“Borders, Boundaries and Home”, co-presented with CAIR-WA), the environment ( “For the Planet” and “Earthwise”), and LGBTQ issues and identity (“Rainbow Roar,” co-presented with Gay City). Programs for our youngest festival audiences members will include gentle and often humorous animation in such programs as “Icing on the Cake,” “Caleidoscope,” promoting the ideals of friendship, empathy and understanding.