By Beachcomber Staff
Undimmed by the pandemic, Children’s Film Festival Seattle at Northwest Film Forum will return Feb. 18 to 28 with 16 short film programs that showcase the best and brightest in visual storytelling for children, and uplifting and action-packed feature films from Brazil, Norway, Poland and the UK.
The theme of this year’s festival is “Love and Light” — a window into the selection process of the festival which focused on uplifting content and happy endings.
The international film festival has island connections.
Through the years, content from the festival has played in special “Best of the Fest” presentations at Vashon Theatre. Numerous youth from Vashon have served on the festival’s youth juries. Musicians including island harpist Leslie McMichael and bluesman John Browne have been creating music for festival films and events. Students from The Harbor School have taken field trips to the festival, and many island families have attended screenings and taken part in many other youth programs at Northwest Film Forum.
And (full disclosure) Elizabeth Shepherd, a reporter for the Vashon Beachcomber, has also worked as the festival’s director for the past 16 years.
This year’s all-virtual festival will include 134 animated, live-action and documentary films from 27 nations, all centered on the experiences, joy and challenges of childhood. In this time of continued staying safe at home, the programs provide families and youth an expansive window to the greater world, inspiring empathy, understanding, and global awareness.
“The content of this year’s festival has a special meaning that can provide hope to kids and families,” said Shepherd. “What better way to see the world right now than through the lens of international films that invite kids to use their imaginations and dream of ways to make the world a better place?”
All screenings will be held via NWFF’s Eventive platform, and many screenings will come with bonus activities — including coloring pages and links to filmmaking resources — to build upon the topics and fun found in the films. Workshops, where youth can experiment with animation, and telling their own stories will take place during and around the festival with partners The Henry, Interbay Cinema Society, and Art of Me.
“We really look forward to welcoming both young and old to our online festival,” said Shepherd. “We’re aiming to provide screen time’s finest hour with these delightful short film programs and feature films.”
Feature films will include the world premiere of the Brazilian family road-trip film, “Young Warriors,” a rollicking whodunit from Poland, “Triple Trouble,” the North American premiere of the animated film “Louisa: An Amazing Adventure,” and a tale about courageous siblings, “Sisters: The Summer We Found Our Superpowers,” from Norway.
Sixteen blocks of short animated and live-action films, carefully curated for different age groups, will feature thematic content that celebrates the ideals of friendship, empathy, and understanding, with gentle, colorful animation for the festival’s youngest viewers. Some of the blocks will foster dialogue around current issues including the environment, LGBTQ and other stories of identity, documentaries about kids around the world, and films showing the creativity of youth during the pandemic.
Three additional shorts blocks are for native speakers and language learners of Spanish, French and German.
For more information about Children’s Film Festival Seattle and to purchase sliding scale tickets or event passes, visit childrensfilmfestivalseattle.org.