Some of you may already know that this fall, I became the executive director of the Providence Children’s Film Festival, and for those unaware of my balancing act, I believe my readers should be informed of this fact before I proceed in telling you how fabulous I think the festival is. I (as Kidoinfo) have supported the fest since it screened its first film, The Secret of Kells, five years ago, because I love film and and community events that bring families together for fun, celebrate the arts, and inspire us (big and small) to think creatively. The festival was conceived of and nurtured by a group of dedicated parents who wanted their kids (and the community at large) to have an opportunity to see films outside the commercial mainstream of fairy tale endings and princesses and lacking their own line of action figure toys. Thanks to them, our kids now have a world of film to watch in Providence and I am honored to be part of the adventure.
The 5th Annual Providence Children’s Film Festival (PCFF) will take place from February 13 to 23, coinciding with the February 2014 School Vacation. The Festival will present the highest quality independent films for ages 3-18, but sure to be loved by all. In addition to the usual line-up of features and shorts, this year’s schedule will include an expanded program of post-film discussions and, over the weekend of February 8 and 9, hands-on, filmmaking workshops for ages 6 to 14.
Bringing the world to Rhode Island and fostering media literacy
In just five years, PCFF has become one of the top five multi-day film festivals in the country dedicated to programming for young audiences, now rivaling children’s film festivals in New York, Chicago, Seattle, and Los Angeles.
This year’s programming is as international as ever and brings to area youth a wide range of storytelling and experiences from around the globe, including Japan, France, The Netherlands, and Uruguay. The program will also include a wide variety of genres and forms–classic cinema, live action, animation, and documentary–paired with an expanded offering of “Film Talks,” PCFF’s own brand of post-screening discussions that aim to deepen understanding of subject matter and foster critical watching skills.
The Festival is especially delighted this year to welcome local Rhode Island film maker Mitty Mirrer to present and discuss her documentary, Gold Star Children, along with many other fabulous films. See full list of films on the website, www.pcffri.org.
Ages 8+ (disciplinary slapping) / India, 2011 / Hindi with English subtitles / Dir. Rajan Khosa / 80 min
A charming and intriguing kids’ film from India, Gattu is about an orphan being raised by a strict Uncle constantly frustrated by his nephew’s inability to focus on work. Gattu is obsessed instead with kite-flying, and in particular with defeating the mysterious Kali, a black kite that rules the skies. To do this, Gattu is prepared to steal, lie, and even go to school! The only problem–he is illiterate. Nonetheless, our hero takes up the challenge, proving anything might be possible when the will is strong enough.
All Ages / France, 2012 / dubbed in English / Dir. Stephan Schesch / 96 min
Bored and all alone in the sky, the Moon Man hitches a ride to Earth on a passing comet. His arrival is mistaken as an attack from outer-space by the Earth’s arrogant president. Meanwhile, the world’s children are unable to sleep without seeing the Moon Man in the night sky, leading our protagonist to enlist a sympathetic scientist to help with his return to his rightful place. Moon Man’s quirkiness and slower pace set it apart from the frenetic energy of so many other animated films. With nods to Rube Goldberg, Picasso, and Escher, and delightful set pieces that use recordings by Louis Armstrong and Iron Butterfly, the picture unfolds with a sense of discovery that will draw young and old alike into the earthbound adventures of its unlikely lunar hero.
ERNEST AND CELESTINE
All Ages / France, 2012 / French with English subtitles / Dir. Stphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Benjamin Renner / 80 min
Great animation from France, Oscar nominated best animated film. A bear and a mouse develop a one of a kind friendship that is challenged by the world they live in. Based on the classic Belgian book series by Gabrielle Vincent, Ernest & Celestine was a winner of the Cesar Award for Best Animated Feature.
Pricing and Locations
As in previous years, the 2014 Providence Children’s Film Festival is affordable–tickets are just $6 for children and $8 for adults. Group discounts are available. Films screen at 3 venues conveniently located within walking distance of one another: Metcalf Auditorium in the RISD Museum Chace Center, 20 North Main Street; Cable Car Cinema, 204 South Main Street, and the RISD Auditorium, 17 Canal Street. As tickets sell out quickly, advance purchase is recommended online at www. pcffri.org. Screenings on February 16, 20, and 23 at RISD Museum’s Metcalf Auditorium are free.
Other news for 2014 in brief
- Festival extended to 3 weekends in February: 1 weekend of filmmaking workshops (Feb. 8-9), followed by 2 weekends (plus!) of film screenings (Feb. 13-23).
- Programming expanded into the evenings at the Cable Car Cinema (February 15-17).
- PCFF joins Providence Gallery Night at the RISD Museum on Thursday, February 20, with a free film screening and Film Talk for Le Tableau, an art-themed animated feature back by popular demand from the 2013 festival.
- More emphasis on the local with a forum for young filmmakers (up to 12th grade) to share their short films with the community.
Grant Funders, sponsors, and community partners for 2014:
Entelco Foundation, Carter Family Charitable Trust, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Rhode Island State Council for the Arts, The Rhode Island Foundation, Providence Tourism Council, PWCVB, Ocean State Charities Trust, Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, The Providence Athenaeum, RISD Museum, RISD, AS220, Providence Children’s Museum, I WAS THERE oral history project, Boys and Girls Clubs of Providence, Bridgewater State University, Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, The Harrington School of Communication and Media at URI, COX, BankRI, Seven Stars Bakery, The Gordon School, Butterfield, Moran Shipping Agencies, Kreatelier, Providence Marriott Downtown, Gardner + Gerrish Landscape Architects LLC, Rag & Bone Bindery, Campus Fine Wines, Flatbread Pizza Company, Kidoinfo, and Providence Media.
Kids are Part of the Jury!
At PCFF, youth have a voice from beginning to end in the selection of films. PCFF’s Junior Jury is composed of young film enthusiasts from age 5 to 13. At most children’s film festivals children only serve on award juries. But PCFF’s Junior Jury gives children a unique opportunity and responsibility: working alongside an adult committee to select the final festival program from among hundreds of films that are submitted each year for consideration.
PCFF offers clear parental guidance
Children’s films are not always appropriate for all ages. PCFF film listings include recommended ages, notes on thematic elements, and descriptions of potentially challenging content to help parents make informed decisions about what their children see. For more information, visit www.pcffri.org.