Children’s Film Festival, Seattle Comes to Columbia

Aug 15, 2015 by Nickelodeon on The Nickelodeon Blog

Films intended for children have a maligned history: Disney is evil, Marvel totalitarian, Pixar just now emerging from a slump, and all other animation studios dumbed-down or crassly amoral imitators of the profiteering Marvel-Disney-Pixar trinity. There has always been an independent reaction to these films though, less hip and more obscure than indie film, and pitched to a younger crowd.

acompetition12_sprout5For ten years now, the Children’s Film Festival in Seattle has showcased short, independent films, both live-action and animated, from ambitious, exuberantly creative filmmakers all over the world. Every film is designed to be understandable to both young children and their chaperones, many of the films entirely non-verbal. As a sort of formalistic corollary, the films at the festival show the possibilities for an absolutely visual filmmaking, stories of pure image and sound, whimsical, unmoored from dialogue and the strict rhythms of narrative film. The 2015 festival program features directors from France, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, South Korea, to the good old US of A, each with vivacious and distinct personality, exploring the boundaries of ageless storytelling.

balloons-sitora-takanaev-1500x430The two programs, each about 90 minutes, are together called “Fantastic Journeys”: in them, children, aliens, flora, and fauna cavort in new worlds, on the cusp of transition and experience. They use cinema to explore the universal stories to which children relate (we all having been children, once), pushing against the limited ideas of childhood and what kids movies can do.

—Mike Opal