Well it happened again! A year has passed since the Providence Children’s Film Festival last “fested from afar” with our first virtual film festival. If we had a nickel for everytime we said, “next year’s festival (2022) will definitely be in-person”, well we would have a LOT of nickels… and be wrong. Taking into consideration the spread of omicron and lower vaccination rates for young people we needed to make the decision to go the virtual way again. There’s no doubt that we will miss experiencing watching films, making films and creating Reel Connections with you in-person, however, knowing that we are safer not to congregate in large numbers at this time makes it all worthwhile. Next year’s festival (2023) will definitely be in-person! Where’s my nickel jar…?
So what’s on tap for the 13th annual Providence Children’s Film Festival?! Well it’s all about the films of course. We have ten feature length films and thirteen shorts programs to choose from. Let’s start with some feature film highlights.
Had we been an in-person festival this year and needed to select a great opening night film, it would have been a difficult decision to make between the Belgium film MY DAD IS A SAUSAGE and the French film THE FANTASTIC JOURNEY OF MARGOT & MARGUERITE. Both are of very high quality and uniquely entertaining in their own ways. MY DAD IS A SAUSAGE introduces us to a family trying to reinvent itself after the father has a midlife crisis. MARGOT & MARGUERITE has a very FREAKY FRIDAY-esque narrative with two girls unwittingly switching roles in two different historical timelines.
Another high quality narrative is also a U.S. premiere! We are delighted to present to you the Russian film THE ASPHALT SUN. Just at a time when Russia is behaving like the Soviet Union of yore PCFF is premiering THE ASPHALT SUN. This film is an amazing time capsule with its re-creation of an era when Brezhnev was President, people schemed ways to defect to the west, consumer goods were scarce and skateboard culture was just arriving. If you couldn’t afford a skateboard, you made one! The film follows 15-year-old Artyom’s tumultuous relationships with friends, family and a young woman he adores but is unable to express his feelings for. Skateboarding becomes his sanctuary while he tries to navigate his life to a place of confidence and resolution. Great acting, outstanding cinematography and a narrative that anyone who was, is, or will be fifteen might relate to.
Also figuring prominently among our features are films from Argentina (THE STRANGEST GIRL IN THE WORLD) and the Netherlands (JACKIE & OOPJEN). The girl might not be so strange but when what she draws comes to life, you must be careful with what you draw! Then there is Jackie who’s home away from home is the Rijksmuesum in Amsterdam where her mother works. When a recently purchased painting is installed, Jackie unwittingly gains a friend, and a mission!
Documentaries are always an integral part of our festival each year. This year we look forward to your thoughts (and votes) on KIDS CUP, ZERO GRAVITY, HELLO WORLD and ON THESE GROUNDS. The topics cover a wide range of topics including sports and science competitions; how teens deal with coming out in the LGBTQ+ community; and what the risks/rewards of having police serve as School Resource Officers are.
On to short films for short people (kids)! Several of our popular thematic reels are returning with all new contents. LET’S GET ANIMATED, PASSIONATE PURSUITS and BE STRONG, BE KIND have been renewed with this year’s jury selections. We renamed CineEspañol to become PELÍCULAS Y PALOMITAS! with all new Spanish language short films. CINEMA OH LA LA is back too with all French language films. Two new reels join our lineup this year. FIRST IMPRESSIONS is a group of films curated for the youngest set of our viewers. F.E.A.R. sounds like an ominous reel but it’s an abbreviation for Face Everything And Rise. A theme that hopefully inspires.
Last but not least to mention about this year’s festival are our Reel Connections. Every year we try to directly connect some element or theme of the films to our community. Be ready for virtual discussions/Q&A’s with the feature film directors of HELLO WORLD, ZERO GRAVITY, and ON THESE GROUNDS. We will also be speaking with several short filmmakers and some people of our community that share something expressed in these films. These include a film archivist from the Rhode Island Historical Society, an educator from the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, a creator from Avenue Concept, a professor from Holy Cross and more!
Stay safe, stay informed, and tune in for some high-quality screen time!