New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com
Movie heaven for
tots, tykes & teens
Sunday, February 29th, 2004
If you're looking for alternatives to barf-bag teen comedies,
female-serial-killer dramas and R-rated gore fests about ungodly
2,000-year-old public executions, two children's film festivals bow locally
this coming weekend. Both expose young minds to quality G-rated movies from
all over the world.
Promise: Janet Jackson will not perform.
The BAMkids Film Festival - a selection of live-action, Claymation and
animation for children - runs at the BAM Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Ave.,
Brooklyn from March 6-7. It features 46 international feature-length and
short films from 22 countries.
"This is the sixth year of the BAMkids festival," says Suzanne
Youngerman, education and humanities director at the Brooklyn Academy of
Music. "After we built four movie screening rooms about eight years ago, the
people here decided that since we usually do adult programming, we should
have something for children. So we started this children's film festival and
it's been a near sellout every year since."
Youngerman says that Nicole Dreiske of the Chicago International
Children's Film Festival travels the globe all year and accepts submissions
for that city's October festival. Then she winnows the films down and
programs the BAMkids Festival.
"We get the very top quality because Nicole only gives us what's
already worked in Chicago," says Youngerman.
BAMkids tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for children, which includes
a film program, face painting, a balloon and coloring books with images
from the films. Kid-friendly food will be sold in the BAMcafe, where a live
performance of the Brewery Troupe's "Crowtations," a soul-singing puppet
rhythm revue, costs an additional $3. Programming is broken into age
categories of 2-5, 5-8 and 8-13. "Most of the films for the younger kids are
nonverbal," Youngerman says.
"Professional actors do voice-over translations for foreign films.
Most of the older kids can read the subtitles."
Children also vote BAMy Awards for their favorite films.
In the ripoff world of kid's entertainment, this makes for a fun,
reasonably priced and rewarding family day out.
Disney meets Dali
Also coming to town is the sixth annual New York International
Children's Film Festival. Kicking off this Friday, the NYICFF runs through
May 27. An estimated 18,000 people are expected to attend screening venues
in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.
"Back in December of 1997, my wife, Emily Shapiro, floated this idea,"
says Eric Deckman, founder of the NYICFF. "We looked at the film
entertainment options for young people and saw the $80 million blockbusters
from Disney and DreamWorks and Saturday morning cartoons and that was pretty
They discussed the many independent film options adults have and
realized there was no equivalent for youngsters.
"Kids are not a separate species," says Deckman. "We were angry at the
dumbing-down of children's film in this country."
So they scanned the world for well-made independent films for children
and put together a 100-minute pilot reel that they screened in the Greenwich
It attracted media attention and became a hit. Since then, the NYICFF
has grown every year, becoming a kind of Sundance Film Festival for kids.
(The couple's three children help pick the films.)
Young viewers are able to vote for their favorites, as at BAMkids.
There's also a Parents' Choice Award.
This year about 40 films, chosen from 1,000 entries, will be screened;
ticket prices start at $6.
The NYICFF kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday at the Director's Guild of
America Theater on W. 57th St., with screenings of the English-language
"Porco Rosso" by Oscar-winning animator Hayao Miyazaki ("Spirited Away") and
"Destino," a recently completed version of the long-shelved unfinished 1946
collaboration between surrealist painter Salvador Dali and the Walt Disney
studio. The latter film, 7 minutes long, is in the running for an Oscar
The festival also will present a 3-D screening of 1954's "Creature
From the Black Lagoon" at the Brooklyn Museum of Art (1 and 4 p.m., March
One of the most delightful entries for children age 8 and way beyond
is Francois Truffaut's 1976 "Small Change," which screens at the American
Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria (6:30 p.m., March 6-7).
For BAMkids call (718) 636-4100 or get schedules and make reservations
online at www.bam.org. For the NYICFF schedules, venues, and tickets, call
(212) 349-0330 or go online at www.gkids.com.
Young People's Media Network
European Centre for Media Competence
Tel: +49 234 502480
Mobile: +49 176 23107083
Fax: +49 12 125 125 21981
Mailing list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/youthful-media
The YPMN is supported by UNICEF and hosted by the ECMC.