Providence Children’s Film Festival Bigger Than Ever For 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013


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A still from Le Tableau (The Painting) from France, one of the featured films showing at this year's Providence Children's Film Festival.

The Fourth Annual Providence Children’s Film Festival (PCFF), the only international film festival in New England dedicated to showing films for children, teens and families, is coming back bigger and better than ever for President’s Day Weekend, February 14-19, 2013 at three locations in downtown Providence.

The festival is 6 big days of high-quality non-commercial films geared to children and youth ages 3-18. The festival includes Q&A and filmmaker discussions as well as filmmaking workshops. A rigorous jury of both adults and kids selects films, insuring that the lineup appeals to young viewers and at the same time receives parental approval. Each year, the festival showcases an exciting array of international independent features, live-action, animation and documentaries that cover a wide swath of cultural themes and global perspectives, opening the door for stimulating conversations and discussions. A new event for parents has been added to help them talk to their kids about films.

A labor of love

The festival is indeed a labor of love, organized by volunteers including artists, educators, librarians, and nonprofit administrators, who see value in introducing children to film and animation as a way to help them make connections to both their own and other cultures. To this end, the festival has presented an alternative to what the marketplace offers – international, independent films, unlike the mainstream offerings that are tied to corporate merchandising or distribution deals.

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The result is a festival for young minds, showing films with themes that are frank, creative, often thought-provoking and inspiring. The children in the audiences are as excited by subtitled movies and silent films as they are by shorts, documentaries, and non-formulaic styled animation included in the schedule.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth since we started our festival,” said Brenda Shannon, Executive Director, PCFF. “In just four years we’ve grown into an event that parents and kids anticipate as part of their February school vacation activities. We’re tremendously proud of this success and that our commitment to offering intelligent, engaging movies does, indeed, excite and impact young people.” Since its inception, PCFF audiences have increased by 25 percent each year, with an estimated 4,000 in attendance in 2012.

Selecting the films

The selection process of the films is done by an adult committee and a jury comprised of youth between ages 5-13, who view and score each of the hundreds of films submitted and solicited by the Festival based on multiple criteria.

All films are identified according to age appropriateness. “Unlike other children’s film festivals, the ‘junior jury’ plays an integral role in deciding the films that make it into the festival,” said Eric Bilodeau, PCFF’s Director of Programming. “We depend on the children scoring the films as much as the adults. With such a wide range of input it helps us program a very strong festival line-up.“

PCFF is affordable – tickets are just $5.00 for children and $7.50 for adults, with family discount passes available. The venues in which films are shown are: Metcalf Auditorium in the RISD Museum of Art Chace Center, 20 North Main Street; Cable Car Cinema, 204 South Main Street, and the Rhode Island School of Design Auditorium, 17 Canal Street. Metcalf Auditorium at the Rhode Island School of Design offers free admission for films and events on Saturday and Sunday. As tickets sell out quickly, advance purchase is recommended online at www.

Films scheduled to appear

Films being shown in the 2013 festival to date include:

Kauwboy, a multiple award-winning feature and official Academy Award entry from The Netherlands;

Le Tableau (The Painting), from France, an imaginative animated film in French (and subtitled) that features fantasy worlds depicted through colorful tableaus that refer back to the work of Matisse, Bonnard and Derain;

Head Games, a documentary about the timely subject of concussions in sports activities, by Steve James, known for his award-winning film, Hoop Dreams.

Wunderkinder, a German film that follows three young friends unwillingly pulled into the origins of the Holocaust and whose story explains that only a Wunderkinder would have had chance to survive. The film is dedicated to the 1.5 million Jewish children who died in the Holocaust but there’s very little violence and bloodshed.  Additionally, as part of its mission to introduce today’s generation of new-young audiences to masters of films from the past, PCFF will show Charlie Chaplin’s timeless classic, Modern Times, which was deemed as “culturally significant” by the library of Congress in 1989 and was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry. A full schedule of films will be released closer to the opening of the festival.

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