Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Los Angeles Children's Film Festival Offers Kid-Sized Cinema


The Los Angeles International Children's Film Festival kicked off this past weekend in Santa Monica, and CC and I nabbed front-row seats. Well, actually, I opted for one of the back rows because, when you have a 3-year-old, you never know when you might need to make a quick exit.

Sampling a selection of sometimes funny, sometimes silly short films from around the world, CC served as an ever-curious participant in the film-watching process. She asked questions throughout the hour-long first program of three, wondering aloud why characters were doing what they were doing ("Are the cat and dog flying on an umbrella, Mommy?" Why, yes, they are, Sweetheart).

While I expected there to be more of a crowd -- the Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium was far from packed -- it was nice to sit with CC in a relaxed atmosphere and listen to her muse about what she was watching onscreen. (And no shushing from other audience members was also a kid-friendly bonus.)

Among her favorites was an animated short from Brazil called "Chubbie & Cheesy -- A Very Special Umbrella," directed by Frederico Pinto. Although all the characters spoke in Portuguese, CC still loved watching the little dog and homeless cat fly to a far-away farm in search of, what else, better food.

But her favorite of the roughly 10 shorts was a claymation film from Canada called "The Little Things," (pictured right) directed by Kayla Cooper, who also was in the audience. Telling the story of a little girl who didn't want to share, "The Little Things" really appealed to CC and her sense of right and wrong. When the little girl refuses to offer her ice cream to other kids who are hungry, CC immediately said, "That's not nice."

I was actually a little surprised that the message of sharing would resonate so much with her. Maybe I have her preschool teachers to thank for that. Or maybe I should be taking her to more film festivals. After all, this is L.A.

The film festival will continue Dec. 18-19 and Jan. 29. Check the Los Angeles International Children's Film Festival website for more details.

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