Children's Film Festival Seattle has important mission to inspire kids to change the world
Northwest Film Forum is getting ready to roll out the red carpet for its 12th edition of Children's Film Festival Seattle — the largest and most respected film festival of its kind west of the Mississippi.
The festival will stretch out over 12 days, from its opening night on January 26to its awards ceremony on February 11, 2017, with all screenings at Northwest Film Forum, in the bustling heart of Capitol Hill.
The family-friendly extravaganza celebrates the best and brightest in international cinema made for children and young people, and will include 186 films from 52 countries, spanning the globe from North to South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Events will include animation, features, shorts and hands-on filmmaking workshops, all crafted with care to appeal to a wide range of age groups.
The programming is particularly important in this era of social upheaval. Festival director Elizabeth Shepherd says the films in the festival are aimed to empower younger viewers.
“We believe it is more important than ever to champion the ideas of social inclusion, diversity, global awarenes, teamwork, empathy, environmentalism, and human rights, kindness and love, says festival director Elizabeth Shepherd. "We want children to come to the festival not only to be entertained by funny and fantastic films, but also to discover common ground, to build empathy and celebrate our shared humanity.”
OPENING WEEKEND & SPECIAL EVENTS
Festival opening night is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26. This evening’s program will be a celebration of CFFS’s new partnership with the PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival — a joint initiative between the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the International Organization for Migration. The New York-based festival showcases films made by young people around the world on the themes of migration, diversity and social inclusion. The opening night program of CFFS will be a special program of prizewinning films from PLURAL+, made by movie makers ages 25 and younger in Canada, Ghana, Lebanon, France, Yemen, Malaysia, Indonesia, Slovenia and the US.
The second Saturday morning of the festival will mark a longtime tradition: an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at 9:30 a.m.Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption,at 1804 13th Avenue. After the breakfast, at 10:30 and 11 a.m., there will be showings of “Friends are Forever,” a program of live action and animated shorts, at Northwest Film Forum.
Hands-on workshops for kids will roll out both weekends of the festival, with a two-day animation workshop by British animator Charlotte Blacker on January 28 and 29, and a one-day mobile filmmaking (with IPads) workshop taught by Northwest Film Forum education and equipment manager Jonah Kozlowski on February 4.
Seattle animators and filmmakers will also have a portfolio review of their work and learn more about opportunities to create content for Sesame Workshop, at a talk by Sesame Workshop Director of Creative Development, Jordan Geary. Geary’s presentation will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday, January 28, at Northwest Film Forum.
Festival highlights in 2017 will include several insightful documentaries for families with older children and young teens. “Mussa,” from Israel, tells the poignant story of a young Ethiopian boy who is a refugee in Israel. “Boxing for Freedom,” by Spanish filmmakers Juan Antonio Moreno and Silvia Venegas, tells the uplifting story of a teenaged girl in Afghanistan who is determined to fight for Olympic gold in boxing. “Jeffrey,” from the Dominican Republic, is a hybrid documentary/narrative film that follows a 12-year-old boy, who washes car windows on the streets of Santo Domingo to support his family, all the while dreaming of becoming a reggaeton singing star.
Narrative features include the Seattle premieres of four German films “Heidi,” “At Eye Level,” “Fortune Favors the Brave,” and “Nelly’s Adventures.” The features lineup also includes “My Parrot Mom,” from Argentina, “Mr. Frog,” from The Netherlands, and “Jill and Joy’s Winter,” from Finland. “Molly Monster,” a delightfully animated feature film in English for ages 2 and older, will ensure that all ages can enjoy watching features at CFFS. A new film from Seattle, "The Boy Who Lived Before," by local filmmaker Stephen Anunson, will also be a part of the festival lineup.
Perhaps most notably, a slew of 17 amazing programs of short animated and live action films will also be included in the festival, with thematic content telegraphed in the program titles, including “No Bullying Allowed,” “Gotta Be Me,” “Save the Earth,” “Friends are Forever,” “Dreaming of a Better World” and “Destination.”
As in previous years, kids will also be important decision-makers and VIPS at the festival — this year’s Children’s Jury, made up of 25 Seattle-area youth ages 9 to 15, will be led once again by a group of seven teenaged jury graduates, and award coveted prizes in numerous categories. Every audience member will also have an opportunity to vote for the festival’s coveted audience awards given in several categories.
School field trip groups, as well as the public, are welcome at the festival. This year, the festival is expanding to not only offer weekday field trip screenings at Northwest Film Forum, but two special screenings at Rainier Arts Center, in the Columbia City neighborhood.
- Jordan Geary, Director of Creative Development of Sesame Workshop in New York
- British animator Charlotte Blacker, creator of the festival graphics and trailer, will join us to present a great animation workshop for kids, "Animate the 'Me' Machine"
- Dominick Wessely, the director of the German languages feature Nelly's Adventure
- Katrin Milhahn, German screenwriter of Fortune Favors the Brave
- Anthony Orkin, director of the short film Sammy's Measle
- Cynthia Pepper, director of the short film Polka Dott
- Lisa Cohen, Seattle director of the film Confessions of a Former Bully, will be in attendance at both screenings of her film in the "No Bullies Allowed" program
- Erin Shea, Los Angeles animator, director of the short film Ampersand(in "Save the Earth" program)
- Peter Marcias, Italian animator, director of the short film My Dog’s Name is Wind (in "Friends Are Forever" program)
- Daria Kopiec, Polish animator, director of the film Bobo’s Metamorphoses (in "Pure Imagination" program)
ABOUT NORTHWEST FILM FORUM
Northwest Film Forum's mission is to discover and champion the work of visionary filmmakers, and to engage the general public and artists alike in deeper exploration of the cinematic arts. The Film Forum is Seattle’s premier film arts organization, screening over 200 independently made and classic films annually, offering a year-round schedule of filmmaking classes (including summer camps for young people), and supporting filmmakers at all stages of their careers. nwfilmforum.org