If you like a good ghost-mystery film with a little bit of fright, this is your film! Three teen girlfriends at summer camp find strange things everywhere: first, they must make friends with…boys?!  But even weirder is the mysterious room #213, empty for 60 years after a terrible tragedy, but now assigned to them. Yup, things go bump in the night buuut, without spoiling the plot, the narrative has no violence or unspeakable traumas to mention. Just a good story, great acting and imaginative special effects.


In this new adaptation, Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” is seamlessly transported to 1948 Bavaria, post-World War II. Both those familiar with the story and those new to this classic American tale will delight in the characters of Tom and Hacke — two adventurous, fatherless boys who experience the thrill and terror of being on their own in a sometimes dangerous world.

The Crocodiles” was a huge hit at our 2011 festival, so screening the second installment of their trilogy was a no-brainer! All the original cast members are back (looking a little older as kids are prone to do), and several new characters assist in solving another town conspiracy. This time the gang of pint-sized detectives stumbles across a plot involving a local factory threatened with a mysterious closure. Worried that their parents will lose their jobs, the young sleuths must work together to uncover the sinister plan.

“The Crocodiles Strike Back” is packed with plenty of adventure and humor. What this film has above and beyond other films made for young adults is a sincere development of characters with real-world domestic situations. There are kids from broken families trying to cope. Racism is tackled, as are stereotypes of the physically challenged, often in humorous ways. These evolving young adults are empowered through their friendship despite entering a difficult age of thinking romantically about each other. There is still teasing but with respect for one another. Dealing with issues relevant to kids around the world, this entertaining coming-of-age film is guaranteed to thrill audiences.

What can be more nerve-wracking for kids than starting at a new junior high? How about starting at a haunted one?! When Eugenio, Cebola and Frida explore their future stomping grounds, they head straight into an out-of-this-world adventure involving time travel, a magic umbrella, a daring rescue and one truly terrifying teacher.

 Balancing work and family time is never easy, especially if you live where you work. The growing tensions at home lead 11-year-old Eva to run away and make clear to her parents how she feels. What Eva doesn’t know is that she is running into a world of trouble. This suspenseful film turns from a domestic mystery into a criminal one, and only Eva and her friends can solve it.

Based on the famous book by Dutch writer Jan Terlouw, “The Secret Letter” explores the relationship between fathers and daughters, and looks at what happens when you start to doubt everything you thought you knew.

In a contemporary small town around a closed-down factory, bored ‘tween friends, some from broken homes, are looking for creative ways to spend their time. They build forts, issue dares and tease one another. The Crocodiles is the name of this gang of 11-year-olds and a newcomer (who uses a wheelchair) wants in.

Part Hardy Boys, part “Stand By Me,” part “The Outsiders,” this fast-paced film combines classic elements with a larger message of breaking down stereotypes. Please be warned that the dialogue is stronger than an American audience may be used to. There is a domestic abuse scene. Slurs and stereotypes are expressed. However, this difficult dialogue is not used for shock value. It is part of the larger and more important narrative of kids learning how hurtful their exclusionary actions and hateful words can be, then making amends.

Travel to the wilds of Africa for a folktale that will enchant the entire family. An elder tribesman spins an epic, fireside tale of tribal history, captivating young listeners from the start with the birth of a white lion named Letsatsi. His white fur sets him apart from the other lions, making him an outcast in his pride and a target for predators. For the Shangaan people, a white lion is legendary, a messenger from the gods. A young Shangaan tribesman named Gisani takes it upon himself to protect Letsatsi at all costs. As he matures, he needs to survive on his own, learning from other lions on his way across the South African plains and into the realm of the most dangerous predator: a human trophy hunter.

Shot on location in South Africa, “The White Lion” inspires awe with its lush scenery and intimacy with its wild subjects. Young audiences will love the beautiful wild animals and dramatic suspense, while older audiences will plumb the depth of a unique coming-of-age story that is creatively told with an appreciation for the natural world.

So you know right away, the bears in the title have nothing to do with cuddly, saccharine, anthropomorphic animations. The Swiss Alps provide the backdrop for this intriguing tale that reaches across centuries to unite two girls in a shared quest. Clara, a 13-year-old with an affinity for nature, discovers an ability to see through time when touching certain objects around the farm. She senses the peril of another young girl 200 years before. In working to lift an ages-old curse, Clara bravely attempts to repair both the past and the present.

The 12-year-old son of the world’s greatest detective embarks on a rollicking adventure to solve the mystery of his long-lost mother’s true identity in this family-friendly, action-packed film. Growing up without knowledge of his mother’s mysterious fate leads Nono, on the eve of his bar mitzvah, on the most significant investigation of his life. “The Zigzag Kid” uses wit and humor to explore the sometimes complicated relationships between right and wrong, and how these inform love and loyalty—in a modern, beautifully filmed tale that speaks frankly to both adults and tweens. Plus, a family film that features Isabella Rosselini!

Two of Spain’s most beloved comic book characters, Zip and Zap, come to life in this rollicking adventure. With summer coming, the twin brothers are caught stealing the answers to their final exams, so instead of the fun-filled vacation they expected, Zip and Zap are sent to a strict boarding school run by a no-nonsense headmaster named Falconetti. The school is worse than they could have imagined. Fun is absolutely forbidden, and the suspicious Falconetti and his security guards seem to watch their every move. But that doesn’t stop the brothers from enjoying their summer. After making new friends, they form the Marble Gang, and their ongoing mischief and resistance to authority lead them to discover a mysterious secret that MUST be investigated!

The Marble Gang have to solve Rube Goldberg-inspired puzzles to unlock each door along the way using seemingly trivial items picked up along their journey—and applying video game logic that might be familiar to the young audience. The drab flesh tones and dark rooms that occupy the first half of the film are replaced with flashing lights and mechanical wonders as the gang quite literally travels through the looking glass into secret passages filled with danger and intrigue, a combination that generates “fun, the very thing the headmaster is hopelessly attempting to eradicate.

ZIP & ZAP AND THE MARBLE GANG will entrance kids and speak to their intrinsic rebelliousness with its charms and message to never underestimate the value of fun. It is filled with twists and turns and unexpected whimsical surprises that put the characters in harm’s way (sort of), making it just dangerous enough to be fun for the whole family.