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New York International Children’s Film Festival 2024 recap

The 27th annual New York International Children’s Film Festival is back again running from March 2nd, 2024 to March 17th, 2024. NYICFF hosted a wide array of thought provoking international films for children, adolescents, and adults. The festival increased the number of films/shorts being offered. The top films highlights were Robot Dreams, Chicken for Linda and Dounia, they also brought back a crowd favorite in Moominvalley. Like most film festivals they also invited quite a few directors for Q&A sessions, as NYICFF was their premiere to this region of audience. NYICFF is a splendid event I love returning to every year, and they deliver on their mission of bringing amazing films to children.

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Robot Dreams

France, Spain | Oscar® Nominee!

Animation, Pablo Berger, 2023, 103 min

Pablo Berger’s Robot Dreams is a film about the adventure of Dog while capturing the essence of New York City. The penguins hanging out on the East Village apartment ledge and the straphangers waiting on the First Ave subway brought the NYC charm. An incredible representation of city life. Based on the book Sara Varon, Dog captivates what we all wonder late at night watching infomercials. Do I buy it? Would my life be better? Tugging on Dog’s loneliness, he decides to order a robot in hope of being his friend. Their friendship blossoms until they become separated at the beach. Would they ever reunite? A robot can only dream. 

A touching movie that reflected on one’s childhood and how friendships are grown and lost in life. We yearned for what it could have been. We feared what it had become. Ultimately we witness both Robot and Dog come to the realization of their situation. A film that young audience members and adults can all relate to.


Chicken for Linda  (Linda veut du poulet!)

France | East Coast Premiere

Animation, Chiara Malta & Sébastien Laudenbach, 2023, 73 mins

Ever crave for a certain dish? After an initial argument between Linda and her mom over a misplaced ring, Linda has a request for being wrongly accused of being a liar. To make up for calling Linda a liar the mom asks if she can make it up to her somehow. Linda’s request for chicken with peppers unknowingly takes on an adventure and meaning behind the meal. Just as she makes the request, France goes on strike closing everything. 

A spontaneous fun film with very colourful animation, and catchy musical pieces. The story takes on unexpected turns as it is quite the challenge to find a chicken when the supermarket is closed. What does Paulette (Linda’s mom) suppose to do when she isn’t quite the cook? She ends up stealing a live chicken. This sets up a wild chicken chase, with police, her sister, a deliveryman, and the whole community getting involved. A heartwarming ending as we learn that the chicken with pepper is her late father’s recipe. A delight of a film that highlights the resilience of children. Time and time again, Linda utilizes her connection/friendships to push through a challenge. A thoughtful film that shows that children could be right in a room of adults. 


Kung Fu Lion (Kung Fu Leeuw)

China, Netherlands | North American Premiere

Live Action, Froukje Tan, 2023, 85 mins

Kung Fu Lion takes place in Rotterdam, Netherland centering around two young martial artists with very different cultural upbringing. Jimmy and Li Jie have two different styles of Kung Fu. Both students get in trouble with their sifu (martial arts master). Jimmy gets into fights in the street. Li Jie is always late. As Jimmy and Li Jie are paired up to perform a lion dance, tension clashes. 

One of the best movies that highlights the historical meaning behind a lion dance, with light hearted comedy. A dazzling performance showing the physical challenge of performing a lion dance and the partnership required. Upon discovering that they both have more in common than differences, they are finally able to come together to deliver a performance to their sifu as a way to make up for the trouble that they caused.


Moominvalley

Finland, United Kingdom | North American Theatrical Premiere

Animation, Jay Grace, Darren Robbie, 2022, 66 mins

Moominvalley is simply a crowd favorite. The film returns to New York International Children’s Film Festival with 3 unseen episodes (Homecoming, Inventing Snork, Moominmama’s Flying Dream). 

In ‘Homecoming’, the Moomin family return to find that their community is not the way they left it. It takes the Moomin trolls to figure out what happened and restore the peace. 

In ‘Inventing Snork’, a new character ‘Snork’ was introduced to the storyline. Snork is an engineer who always speaks his mind and has some difficulties picking up social cues. Snork provides an extra dimension to the storyline where the Moomin trolls are able to solve their problems. Snork’s contribution can be seen in the episode ‘Moominmama’s Flying Dream’. Moominmama’s once dreamed of traveling, but her hot air balloon is broken. Snork was able to rebuild the basket and the Moomins trolls were able to take a trip. 

Moominvalley will continue to be a delight for all ages. Snork is a wonderful addition to the storyline. It brings a deal of excitement for future Moominvalley episodes.


Were you at NYICFF? Have you seen any of the films above? Feel free to leave a comment below or chat with us on Twitter/X at @TheConCollectve, Threads at @theconventioncollective, or Bluesky at @theconcollective.bsky.social

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