Monday, March 28, 2011

Raves for REDCAT Children's Film Festival

Taking our seats in a theater packed with parents, grandparents and kiddos, CC and I settled in for an eclectic assortment of short films Saturday at the sixth annual REDCAT International Children's Film Festival downtown.

While there were three different sections that first day, focused on varying themes and ages, I opted for the first, "Tally Ho: Films That Fly High," an adventurous group of eight films appropriate for all ages.

Featuring short movies from countries such as Latvia, Germany, as well as the United States, the section offered a sometimes fun, sometimes poignant international flavor on screen.

Only one film, "Stoneflies," had foreign-language dialogue, in this case German with English subtitles. Although that was a challenge for CC, who doesn't yet read, the story was still accessible. She also didn't hesitate to ask me what was going on in the film. The other films were either narrated in English or featured music only.

The first entry, "Wonderful Day," a Latvian clay-mation film directed by Nils Skapans, set a whimsical tone, as a magical woman and her cat turn an ordinary day into a delightful one.

When I asked CC which film was her favorite, she was diplomatic and said, "All of them." And while I know she did enjoy each of the entries, there were some clear favorites -- judging from how much she talked about them after the 76-minute screening.

"Mobile," directed by Verena Fels from Germany, was the clear winner for the kiddo (see above video). The gorgeously animated short tells a simple story of a lonely cow stuck on one end of a child's mobile who takes matters into her own hands (hooves?) in order to connect with the animals on the other side. The film is both funny and touching, as the animals get tossed around in a laughable adventure that eventually succeeds in bringing friends together.

CC was also a fan of "Lost and Found," by Philip Hunt from the U.K. (see below video). This film, about the accidental friendship between a little boy and a penguin, was the perfect capper for the screening. It's an adorable tale, based on the book by Oliver Jeffers, that reminds kids and parents alike of what it means to be a friend -- even when you don't really set out to be one.

We had a great time -- it was just enough to hold CC's attention without being too overwhelming. Of course she's ready for more. Luckily, there are still three more weekends left in the festival.

For more information, click here. For the 2011 REDCAT International Children's Film Festival YouTube channel, complete with trailers, click here.

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