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New York International Children’s Film Festival Recap

One must be curious about the stories of children around the world. What adventures and stories envisioned by the filmmakers that will spark our children to watch and listen. At the 25th New York International Children’s Film Festival, the committee hand-picked shorts and feature films from various countries. The film festival is taking place March 3-19, 2023. After participating in the first 2 weeks of the festival, I can say it was a celebration of storytelling as we gathered in person at a theatre.

The festival brought fan favorites with ‘MoominValley’ along with canine journeys in ‘Belle and Sébastien: Next Generation’ (Belle et Sébastien: Nouvelle génération) and ‘Titina’. The festival also had many first US premieres such as ‘Lonely Castle in the Mirror’ (かがみの孤城) and ‘Dounia & The Princess of Aleppo’ (Dounia et la princesse d’Alep). In addition, where can we walk these days without artificial intelligence being the topic of discussion. The film ‘My Robot Brother’ (ROBOTBROR) was the perfect film for that purpose.

For ‘Moominvalley’, we saw the episodes of “Toffle’s Tall Tales” and “Mrs. Fillyjomk’s Last Hurrah”, a youngster’s delight on what happens in Moominvalley. The children and adults were able to connect with their favorite Moomins. The stories touch on the concept of being there for friends and their needs. 

In ‘Belle & Sebastian: Next Generation’, we enjoy the countryside of France. Our heart pulls for Belle throughout the film. While Belle always does the right thing, it only takes for everybody to realize that sometimes we have to listen to our canine best friend.

In ‘Titina’, we learned mostly true story of Titina, a dog who accompanied on the expedition to the North Pole. It was a great mix of historical accuracy, comedy about Mussolini, and an amazing animation song sequence that had the audience laughing.   

In ‘Lonely Castle in the Mirror’, Kokoro is having trouble at school. School seems a minor issue when her bedroom mirror turns out to be a portal to another universe with a castle. What started as a retreat from reality, Kokoro discovers the true reason why they were selected to the castle and how their lives are intertwined. The Lonely Castle in the Mirror touches upon more serious topics that set up their fate.

In ‘Dounia & the Princess of Aleppo’, a story about Aleppo and the impact of war. The film showcases the importance of family, culture, and the impact of war on families as they face one barrier after another. While it is a fictional movie, war has broken out that has impacted many families forcing them to migrate.

‘My Robot Brother’, was a film that delighted our imagination with what could happen with robots. We join the journey of Alberte, an 11-year-old girl who faces the challenges of fitting in at school and not having the latest technology/robot assistant. We have all been there in our childhood. The firm struck a perfect balance of technology development, light-hearted moments, the relationship between humans and robots, and the need for human-to-human connection.

The 25th New York International Children’s Film Festival brought complex concepts to the children in the form of a film. The children often acquire what was happening and whether it could happen. When a film can spark a conversation, it is a success. The festival is running from now until March 19th.

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