Arts and Entertainment

Two family-friendly programs light up the screen at Vashon Theatre

A weekend of celluloid family fun is coming up at Vashon Theatre, with a survey of international children’s short films and the presentation of a new harp score for the silent film “A Little Princess.”

A disclaimer: I’m boosting the film presentations not only because I’m a film buff, but also because I had a big hand in creating them. In my off hours from The Beachcomber, I work at the Northwest Film Forum in Seattle, where the programs first sprang to life on the silver screen.


Set sail ‘Around the World’

The first program, “Around the World,” slated for 1:30 p.m. Saturday boasts a menu of short animated and live action films that won prizes and captured audience members’ hearts at the Children’s Film Festival Seattle, held at the Northwest Film Forum in January. The festival, directed by yours truly, is the largest competitive event of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.

Filled with shorts from Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, France and the United States, “Around the World” is an international potpourri featuring snowmen, sleepwalking marmots and a boy and a cat flying in a knitted red plane.

Three films have subtitles, but all are easily understandable by both readers and non-readers. The program is for all ages.

The screening will also include a bonus premiere of a new 18-minute video made by Vashon’s “Just Kidding” comedy troupe, an ensemble of pre-teens and middle school students who have gotten together for the past year to dream up and film comedy routines at Ober Park.

The group, led by Islander Pam Hotchkiss, plans to produce several more videos and upload them to their own YouTube channel. The first video can be seen in its entirety on the group’s YouTube channel, justkiddingus. It is also being broadcast on Voice of Vashon’s Comcast 21 channel.

Tickets to the show are $7 for all ages.


New score for ‘A Little Princess’

Sunday’s show at the theater will transport audiences back in time to the glory days of the silent film era, with a 4 p.m. screening of “A Little Princess,” featuring live harp accompaniment on Celtic, electric and concert harp by Islander Leslie McMichael.

This 1917 movie was the very first film treatment of the beloved children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, with Mary Pickford cast in the role of the poor little rich girl Sara Crewe.

Harpist-composer McMichael debuted her original harp score for “A Little Princess” at the 2011 Children’s Film Festival in Seattle, and as with her first silent film score for “Peter Pan,” also commissioned by Northwest Film Forum, she has toured and played live accompaniment for the Pickford film since its premiere.

In May, she will travel to the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre near Washington, D.C., where both silent films will receive screenings with her original harp composition played live.

For tickets, $10 for all ages or $35 for a family of four, call the Vashon Theatre at 463-6845 or drop by the box office.


More fun for kids at the Blue Heron

In celebration of all things Dr. Seuss, Vashon Allied Arts’ Family Series will present “The Lorax & The Sneetches and Other Stories,” performed by Book-It Theatre at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Blue Heron.

The show features Book-It’s actors leading audiences on a whimsical journey that explores themes of responsibility to the environment, kindness and respect. In “The Lorax,” Dr. Seuss implores us to take care of our planet. During “The Sneetches and Other Stories,” audiences can laugh while learning about the pointlessness of prejudice. The show is for children in kindergarten through sixth grades.

Tickets, $5 (12 and under), $7 (VAA members/seniors) and $10 general, are on sale at the Blue Heron, Heron’s Nest, Vashon Bookshop and www.brownpapertickets.


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