As 12-year-old Justine reflects, “Kids are part of a marriage, and I don’t like this marriage anymore. What do I do?” Perspectives matter in this film which  leads to a very insightful, and sometimes cringey, story of how families might need to take a time out now and then to evaluate their own levels of happiness. 

 

Tony, almost ten years old, is desperate to prevent his parents from splitting up. He begins to suspect that his father has fallen for another woman: specifically, the Queen of Holland. Tony takes matters into his own young hands and confronts the Queen herself – over a ping-pong table. He eventually learns to accept that some things just cannot be fixed, including his parents’ marriage. Tony’s story has all the elements needed to tell this complicated, modern-day fairy tale with lots of love, originality, humor, and confidence. “Tony 10” takes the sensitive subject of divorce and shows that happiness can be found by starting new relationships and redefining old ones – with help from the Queen of course!

What if you found something that made you wonder if you really know your dad? In tracing Kattaka’s quest to answer this question, “Wintertochter” unfolds into a road movie (from Berlin deep into Poland) about friendship between different generations and nations and the courage to face life’s difficulties. Through her inspiring trip, she comes to realize that history can shape identity, family isn’t always biological and the choices we make now can affect our future for the better.

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.

In a tale akin to “Romeo and Juliet,” the strong bond between two children is threatened by their parents’ differences. Malú is from an upper-class family and her single mother does not want her to play with Jorgito, as she thinks his background coarse and commonplace. Jorgito’s mother, a poor Socialist, proud of her family’s social standing, places similar restrictions on her son. When the children learn that Malú’s mother is planning to leave Cuba, they decide to travel to the other side of the island to find Malú’s father and persuade him against signing the forms that would allow it.

This fascinating documentary charts the adventure of Laura Dekker, a 14-year-old Dutch sailor, who set out alone on a two-year voyage to fulfill her dream of becoming the youngest person ever to sail around the world. The journey was not without controversy, but “Maidentrip” is pleasantly free from the hysteria that surrounded Laura for more than a year. It presents her trip in a judgment-free manner. It neither suggests (as it understandably could) that 14 is an alarmingly young age to traverse the mightily unforgiving Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, nor takes a blindly positive “Ra! Ra! Go Laura!” position (as would be tempting, given that Laura proves herself an admirable rebel in many ways).

Laura is portrayed as an independent outsider, at once open-hearted, enviably confident and a bit prickly, sick of what she sees as daily life in Holland—which she sums up succinctly: “Get money, get a house, get a husband, get a baby, then die.” She pines for a truly outsized adventure. While other young record-holding sailors completed the round-world trip without lengthy stops at ports, Laura gives herself two years for the excursion, so that she can soak in the land-bound culture of the different climes where she alights (among them French Polynesia, Australia, the Galapagos Islands and South Africa). Low-key yet lyrical, “Maidentrip” illustrates in vivid colors the mundane as well as the magnificent moments at sea and underscores the courage of one young woman, battling the elements—and the courts—and enjoying every minute of it.

Set against the backdrop of the wolf reintroduction program in Yellowstone National Park, “Druid Peak” is a coming of age story about a troubled teenage boy who finds a home tracking wolves in the wildlands of Wyoming.

Sixteen-year-old Owen isn’t just rebellious—he’s a bully with a mean streak. Growing up in coal country West Virginia, he struggles against the claustrophobia of small town life, lashing out against school and family. But when his actions lead to the death of a friend, Owen is sent to live with his estranged father, Everett, a biologist on Yellowstone’s wolf reintroduction program.

At first, Owen wants no part of this new life. Then he comes face to face with a Canadian grey wolf. The creature’s deep, penetrating gaze startles him, stirring something long dead inside his own self. Sensing the first signs of change in his son, Everett encourages Owen to collect some basic data about the wolf he saw and its family pack–the Druid Peak pack. Owen’s small assignment grows into a passion and his own life becomes deeply tied to the Druid Peak wolves and their struggle for survival. When a change in government policy threatens the animals, Owen must decide how far he will go to protect the wolves, his father and the place he has finally come to call home. A coming-of-age story with a conservation twist, Druid Peak is a film about the human soul’s need for wild things, and the challenges of holding onto them.

Writer/director Marni Zelnick was awarded a $100,000 production grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for work on this film. Shot on location in West Virginia, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Utah, “Druid Peak” stars Spencer Treat Clark (“Mystic River,” “Gladiator”), Andrew Wilson (“Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums”), Rachel Korine (“Spring Breakers,” “Septien”) and the wolves of Wasatch Rocky Mountain Wildlife (“White Fang,” “Into the Wild”).

Eskil is an unhappy, self-reliant eleven-year-old boy who is constantly on the move due to his father’s job. Trinidad is the town’s cranky, eccentric woman he is warned to stay away from—but doesn’t. In the time spent with Trinidad building her boat, Eskil discovers a self-awareness that helps restore his relationship with his separated parents. Trinidad gains a supporting friend who helps her achieve a lifetime goal. Children’s films this beautiful and genuine are rare.

Lola lives on a houseboat called “The Pea” with her mother, but life isn’t exactly smooth sailing. She misses her long-gone Dad and doesn’t care much for her Mom’s new boyfriend. Things change when she befriends a Turkish schoolmate with problems of his own. Despite the tough subjects in this film LOLA ON THE PEA is also musical, funny, and fast-paced with a believable story that will provide much to talk about after the show.