When most people see films about diving giraffes, walking houses and misfit toys they think silly and funny, these films also tell deep and profound stories. Each year in March, Free First Saturday hosts a Kids’ Film Festival featuring films from around the world. This is a once a year chance to expose families to different cultures and artists through short and feature films that are not widely accessible on a big screen.
Preparing for this event always begins with a visit to the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. Last fall as I watched all types of children’s films in a screening room, I thought about connecting films to themes in art and exhibitions while also considering what kids and adults will enjoy. It is interesting how filmmakers are able to address identity, relationships, politics and the human condition in a way that is accessible to all. After watching over a hundred films I had the daunting task of selecting just a few to screen for families at the Walker.
I am really looking forward to sharing the films chosen and listening to the audience reactions. I hope you enjoy this year’s Kids’ Film Festival as much as I enjoyed creating it.
5 Mètres, 80
A herd of giraffes launches into a sequence of acrobatic dives in a deserted swimming pool.
Directed by Nicolas Deveaux, France, 2012, 5 minutes.
An old bear goes out every day to a busy street corner, where he sets up and presents a special puppet show.
Directed by Gabriel Osorio, Chile, 2014, 10 minutes.
In a fantastical story about the town of Copacao, an imaginary tree grows and grows to the point of taking over the whole planet.
Directed by Carciova Adrian, Romania, 2013, 3 minutes.
Home Sweet Home
Tired of its neighborhood, a house in Detroit breaks free from its foundation and sets out on an adventure.
Directed by Alejandro Diaz, Pierre Clenet, Romain Mazevet, and Stéphane Paccolat, France, 2013, 10 minutes.
Sheep parents are bewildered by their little lamb whose style sets it apart from the herd.
Directed by Gottfried Mentor, Germany, 2013, 5 minutes.
A matryoshka family, wary of strangers, takes shelter in solitude but the curiosity of its youngest member soon leads them on a life-changing adventure.
Directed by Serin Inan and Tolga Yildiz, Turkey, 2014, 9 minutes.
Two defective toys discarded from a factory go on a hunt to find a new home that appreciates them for their uniqueness.
Directed by Joel Simon, Northern Ireland, 2012, 7 minutes.
In her quest to help her mother, a little girl unlocks the hidden secrets that make the world turn.
Directed by Wouter Bongaerts, Belgium, 2013, 9 minutes.
The Dam Keeper
A small town’s survival is solely due to a large windmill that acts as a fan to keep out poisonous clouds. Its operator, Pig, works tirelessly to keep the sails spinning, despite bullying from classmates. When a new student joins his class, everything begins to change.
Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
Directed by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutusmi, USA, 2013, 18 minutes.
In a world where there is no alphabet and only numbers, a group of friends sets out to devise a new way to communicate.
Directed by William Joyce & Brandon Oldenburg, USA, 2013, 12 minutes.
Song of the Sea
From the creators of the Academy Award-nominated The Secret of Kells comes a hand-drawn masterpiece. Based on the Irish legend of the Selkies, Song of the Sea tells the story of a seal-child and her brother who go on an epic journey to save the world of magic.
Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Film.
Directed by Tomm Moore, Ireland/Luxembourg/Belgium/France/Denmark, 2014, 93 minutes.
Join us for an exciting day of kids’ films from around the world! Enjoy free gallery admission and family fun on March 7 from 10 am-3 pm. Activities designed for kids ages 6 to 12.