When you conjure up images of film festivals you don’t really picture a screening room full of children. But that just means you’ve yet to visit New York International Children’s Film Festival which is now celebrating its 20th year of bringing kid-friendly flicks to parents around the city all too glad to see quality family fare they can enjoy alongside their tots.
Featuring films from around the globe, including the Oscar-nominated My Life as a Zucchini as well as Zip & Zap and the Captain’s Island, the sequel to the rollicking adventure Spanish hit based on the Zip & Zap comic books, the festival has something for kids as young as 3 years old. And so, if that Basque-set sequel about a mysterious schoolhouse for children without parents sounds too grown up, there’s plenty to enjoy at the fest, especially in the various short programs. But keep in mind, their lineup is not just for kids.
Watch the English-language trailer below. To see it in Spanish, go here.
For lovers of animation, there’s everything from a body-switching anime flick to a British take on revolting rhymes. But the shorts is where it’s at (and where you’ll find some great Latin American fare). Maribel Suarez’s animated short El agujero (The Hole), for example, is about a little girl who longs for a playmate in the garden and whose efforts eventually take root (literally!). It looks like an adorable children’s coloring sketch come to life and is sure to charm you silly. And Pablo Calvillo, who’s worked on Happy Feet and The Lego Movie is screening his unavoidable timely short The Inksect. The animated project imagines a dystopian world where humans have morphed into illiterate cockroaches and only a select few scientists, writers and artists now in exile underground in New York City remember the power of books.
And for those of you looking for some inspirational media to watch, the “Girls POV” program is not to be missed. There, you’ll find Bomba Estereo’s viral “Soy Yo” video — yes, the one we all fell in love with after seeing it celebrating confident brown girls — fitting in nicely next to an animated version of Storm Reyes’s childhood account of finding in books a respite from her migrant camp work in the 1950s (The Bookmobile). As if that wasn’t enough girl power to rile you up, the program also also includes Paola Mendoza‘s Free like the Birds documentary about the most adorable immigration activist around, Sophie Cruz. Powerful and entertaining stuff for all ages.
New York International Children’s Film Festival runs February 24 – March 19, 2017.