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REDCAT's International Children's Film Festival: Entertainment for All Ages

Posted By: Katie McMurran · 5/2/2013 2:46:00 PM

The Sandpixies: Da Capo George Ralf Kukula, Germany

The concessions at REDCAT will switch from cocktails to milk and goldfish when its 8th International Children's Film Festival opens this weekend.

The festival is a blockbuster every year, eliciting excitement from both children and adults. As REDCAT Executive Director Mark Murphy notes, the festival offers "thoughtfully put together programs that are sensitive in the way they deal with issues of our changing world."

That means parents won't have to worry about shielding the eyes of their young ones, or even their very young ones. The program Short and Sweet is geared toward the 6-and-under set, and clocks in at just 46 minutes, the perfect length for young attention spans. "A lot of these kids are not ready for the Cineplex," Murphy says. "We're not going to hush people like in a library. They talk back to the film, to the characters on screen, and express their delight."

Stompy the Bear Charlotte Blacker, UK

For the last 8 years, festival curator Elizabeth Shepherd has poured through a plethora of animated and live action shorts and handpicked the selections that make up the festival. Murphy says her scope is international; allowing the festival to truly provide a "global lens" for audiences. This year, more than 90 countries are represented. To see some of that diversity, check out the program Continental Hop, which takes viewers on an animated trip around the world, from "Bangladesh to Belize" says Murphy.

Magic Piano Martin Clapp, Poland/China/Norway

Because of the festival's reputation for innovative programming, filmmakers clamor to get work in it.  "It becomes an exciting showcase for fascinating experimental short-format filmmaking," says Murphy. "Some of these films are made by filmmakers early in their career, some are fresh out of school. Some are widely respected veterans. There's a program by Joe Chang: China Fantasia. He uses a combination of traditional Chinese painting techniques as well as cut paper techniques and animation."

China Fantasia
, Joe Chang, China

REDCAT's International Film Festival has become a tradition for many families. Murphy says he even recognizes faces in the crowd. Attendees who were once small, are now teens. "It's a friendly vibe and a friendly place to have kids, and it's also in the Walt Disney Concert Hall, so it's a chance to explore the architecture. Some grown-ups describe it as a jungle gym because you can climb up into the garden. Some families will spend the day - see a screening at noon, take a lunch break, and then explore the building or neighborhood and then come back for a 3 o'clock screening."

REDCAT's 8th International Children's Festival takes place over three weekends starting May 4th. To view a full program, visit

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