To animate something is to give it the illusion of having life. The materials animators “bring to life” are unlimited. This year LET’S GET ANIMATED includes a whiteboard that expresses an evolving adoration between two people on a ball team, an ocean filled with creatures that look familiar in shape but whose composition is in opposition to their environment, and a textile-designed dinosaur that swallows a pathogen with a personality! Included on this reel are…
ATHLETICUS: Guides – Two flamingoes find a colorful glove on a ski slope. Of course it MUST be headwear to a flamingo! (2019 / 3 mins / France / dir Nicolas Deveaux / animation / no dialogue)
DOG OF MY DREAMS – True love doesn’t always have to be about people. Stop motion collage animation with our original, Ants on a Log song of the same title. (2020 / 2 mins / USA / dirs. Anya Rose , Julie Beth / live action & animation / in English)
FLOREANA – On a remote island in the future, people are training for an important mission. Take a look at the mechanics of this training facility and the creatures within. It’s simply otherworldly. (2018 / 4 mins / Denmark / dir Louis Morton / animation / no dialogue)
COVID BACH – This free-flowing stream of consciousness animation is set to J. S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. The fully hand-drawn images weave in and out between abstract and nightmarish visions. Then the dream ends . . . but does it? (2020 / 2 mins / Canada / dir Elizabeth Lewis / animation / no dialogue)
NOS QUEREMOS – Charming scribbled animation is set to an original coming of age song portraying the love of two oddball friends. (2020 / 3 mins / USA / dir Steve Mosqueda / animation / in English)
THE 7 KIDS – A wolf hired to babysit lambs. What could possibly go wrong? Who would hire such a babysitter? (2020 / 5 mins / Russia / dir Marina Karpova / animation / in English)
THE BEAUTY – 2021 Global Awareness Short Film Winner! The Beauty is a poetic journey through a fascinating underwater world, where plastic and nature become one. (2019 / 4 mins / Germany, Egypt, France / dir Pascal Schelbli/ animation / no dialogue)
PUMPER’S PARADISE – In a world populated with fitness addicts the biggest challenge they confront can be boring, everyday situations! (2019 / 2 mins / Germany / dir Eddy Hohf / animation / no dialogue)
OM NOM NOM – One day, a hungry dinosaur came across a weird jumping egg in the forest. He swallowed it, and then felt some strange rumblings in his tummy. Maybe it wasn’t such a good egg afterall… (2019 / 3 mins / Japan / dirs Minato Matsuda, Haruna Ueno, Tomoko Taiga / animation / no dialogue)
A TINY TALE – A dog is abandoned on the side of the road. Attached to a street light, he stays alone until the day he meets a young astronaut wannabe and a professional cyclist who keeps on trying to beat her highest score. (2020 / 7 mins / France / dirs Sylvain Cuvillier, Chloé Bourdic, Théophile Coursimault, Noémie Halberstam, Maŷlis Mosny, Zijing Ye/ animation / no dialogue)
THE CHIMAI AND THE STORM – After a great storm, a very old Chimai (spiritual healer) tends to the damage created in the forest and the toppling of a massive tree. She finds an unexpected surprise and a great power is revealed. (2020 / 8 mins / Argentina / dir David Bisbano/ animation / no dialogue)
WILD LEA – Lea is a strong, lonely, and floral cat who discovers the complexity and the perks of friendships after falling from a tree. A very caring ragdoll named Ciro tends to her injuries and introduces Lea to his family of fixed-broken things. Unlike Lea, they have a fear of going anywhere outside the home. The day would come when they would need to overcome that fear to help their friend. Super imaginative animation where forks, toilet paper and napkins come alive! (2019 / 9 mins / Colombia / dir María Teresa Salcedo Montero/ animation / in Spanish w/English subtitles)
ATHELETICUS: Sled – End of the day for the bobsleigh managers. Which means it’s time to party – and stuff yourself with fish. (2019 / 3 mins / France / dir Nicolas Deveaux / animation / no dialogue)
Who or what do you care for? Sometimes those who care for others are not whom you would think. The stories told on this reel include a witch’s attempts to placate a baby she originally cared for in quite a different way, a fox who takes a baby bird “under his wing”, and a mother who decides it’s time to tell her daughter about her birth mother. They all share a theme about someone caring for another who is quite unlike themselves. Included on this reel are…
THE MAGIC FOREST AND THE THINGS – A six-year-old narrator teams up with an illustrator to tell a story about a land that has apple, chocolate, and dog food trees. (It’s not on any map!) Things go awry when a giant is asked to pick these trees for people to build their houses with. The giant was all too obliging to the point of picking almost all the trees! The people then realized you MUST be more efficient with the way you use these resources if everyone is going to have a home to live in. They adjust their ways and high fives all around! (2020 / 4 mins / USA / dir. Dave Russo / animation / in English / all ages)
THE PROMISE (PCFF 2021 Winner Children’s Hospital Jury Prize!) – The Promise is an urban fairy tale that plays out on the mean streets of a suffering city. Here, a young thief tries to snatch an old woman’s bag but she cannot have it without giving something in return: “the promise”. It is the beginning of a journey that will change her life and a chance to change the world for good. (2020 / 7 mins / UK / dir. Chi Thai / animation / in English / all ages)
THE LEAF – A larger than life sailor gets an autumn leaf from a small girl. It reminds him of his home and for how long he has not been there. He runs home to meet his old parents. What will he find? (2020 / 6 mins / Belarus / dir. Aliona Baranova / animation / non-dialogue / all ages)
THE FOX AND THE BIRD – A solitary fox finds itself improvising fatherhood for a freshly hatched baby bird. Two paths cross and a family is formed until fate reminds each of the life it is meant to lead. (2018 / 12 mins / Switzerland / dirs. Sam and Fred Guillaume/ animation / non-dialogue / all ages)
THE WITCH AND THE BABY – An aging witch needs a baby for a spell to make her young again. But when she brings home a recalcitrant infant things don’t go according to plan. (2020 / 5 mins / Russian Federation / dir. Evgenia Golubeva/ animation / in English / all ages)
AURORA – Once upon a time, there was a little girl who fell in love with a beautiful horse named Aurora. This expressive animation evokes children’s drawings and the texture of storybook illustrations. Aurora is a bittersweet story about love, friendship, and growing up. (2020 / 5 mins / USA-Canada / dir. Jo Meuris / animation / in English / all ages)
TOBI AND THE TURBOBUS is a heartwarming story about growing up in a wolf pack and finding the right place for yourself. Sometimes this requires leaving old friendships behind in order to start new, more supportive ones in the future. (2020 / 7 mins / Germany / dir. Verena Fels / animation / in English / all ages)
REHAK – A young girl discovers Rehak, a magical drawing hidden behind her bedroom wallpaper. She thinks she has found a new friend when in fact someone else has found an old one. (2020 / 7 mins / UK / dir. Pierre B / live-action & animation / in English / all ages)
TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF LOVE – A young girl is old enough to start to learn about her adoption story. Her mother’s explanation shows she has given this conversation a lot of thought! (2020 / 6 mins / USA / dir. Alyce Vest / animation / in English / all ages)
MAÏJA – In the Nordic Islands, Maïja, a young girl, waits for the return of her father, away at sea. But the weather is worsening and her father is not coming back. (2019 / 7 mins / France / dirs. Arthur Nollet, Maxime Faraud, Mégane Hirth, Emma Versini, Julien Chen, Pauline Charpentier / animation / no dialogue / all ages)
ROSE – Rose’s life-long security blanket represents her mother’s love, which she clings onto as a toddler, tosses aside as a teen, and realizes she desperately needs at the start of adulthood. (2020 / 3 mins / USA / dir. Emily Kimes / animation / in English / all ages)
ATHLETICUS: The Encounter – A turtle “meeting” a puffin leads to the birth of an epic figure skating couple! (2019 / 3 mins / France / dir. Nicolas Deveaux / animation / no dialogue / all ages)
STOLEN KISSES – “When my grandmother had to move to an elderly home because she had dementia, I thought things would go downhill from there. But on the contrary. She met a man there, Rinus also diagnosed with dementia, and they fell in love. Unfortunately, he got mentally worse than her and had to move away to another home. I was shocked that nobody asked my grandmother and their feelings were so easily dismissed. Although my grandmother forgot a lot of things, she kept on asking me where Rinus was. Her feelings for him she did not forget. I wanted to tell this story. But since there are already many films with the theme of dementia, I thought it would be enlightening to see the story through a child’s eyes. Children also experience these sorts of things and can give us a fresh, sometimes funny, perspective. My grandmother died on October 20th, 2020 aged 96. She hadn’t yet seen my film, but I’m proud to have this also in loving memory of her.” – Lidi Toepoel (Director) (2020 / 14 mins / Netherlands / dir. Lidi Toepoel / live-action / in Dutch w/English subtitles / Ages 8+)
This documentary offers an extraordinary and tender examination of family life in ways that feel both personal and universal. When their mother is imprisoned, Ale and his sister Rocio’s relationship is faced with the greatest challenge possible: they must work together to parent their two young siblings.They promise to help each other and keep their family together until their mother is released, but as undocumented Honduran immigrants, living, working and studying in Mexico is difficult. Soon the prison wall that keeps their mother away gives rise to other emotional barriers that prevent the brother and sister from understanding each other. Just as they start to lose hope the family’s life takes an unexpected twist.
Important note from the director:
In 2014 I worked for a non-profit organization which helps convicted women, overseeing their cases and helping their re-introduction to society. I met Rocío and Alejandro’s mother on one of my visits to prison, and I was immediately struck by her energy and clear-headedness in such a terrible environment. The other inmates had a great respect for her.
The moment I pointed my camera at them and conducted my first interview I felt drawn to them, and I was particularly intrigued by the way they were handling the situation. The whole thing seemed to me like an extremely difficult predicament, but here I saw two courageous individuals with a great sense of humor who were willing to keep fighting. And I deeply admired them.
I later found out more about their story. Their life had been full of ups and downs from an early age, but the family had stayed together and remained strong through all of it. That history had turned them into very unique individuals; they were a great, tight-knit family and their ties were deep and complex.
What happens when a diverse group of LGBTQ youth dares to be “out” on stage to reveal their lives and their loves? THE YEAR WE THOUGHT ABOUT LOVE goes behind the scenes of one of the oldest queer youth theaters in America, with a camera crew slipping into classrooms, kitchens, subways and rehearsal rooms. Boston-based True Colors OUT Youth Theater transforms daily struggles into performance for social change. With wit, candor and attitude, this cast of characters captivates audiences who may be surprised to hear such stories in school settings. THE YEAR WE THOUGHT ABOUT LOVE introduces a transgender teenager kicked out of her house, a devout Christian challenging his church’s homophobia and a girl who prefers to wear boys’ clothing even as she models dresses on the runway. When real bombs explode outside their building, the troupe becomes even more determined to share their stories of love to help heal their city. Brave, encouraging, and funny…these are the inspiring LGBTQ youth leading us into the future.
Cathy’s tenth birthday is tough enough without her eccentric father giving her an egg as a gift along with a warning: “Be there when it is born so the bird recognizes YOU as its mother.” After a game of hide-and-seek goes awry, Cathy’s friend Margaux unknowingly becomes the “mother.” Unfortunately for the bird and Margaux, her parents believe Margaux is unable to care for this pet from her wheelchair. It takes a duckling, a great friend and a temporary flight from home to alter everyone’s impressions of life’s limitations.
Reading the title might make you clap hands with your neighbor in time to the well-known chant. This wonderful documentary explores this rhythmic rite of passage, usually between young girls, in the US and around the world. Contemporary and historical footage are intertwined creating what some admiringly refer to as “hand graffiti,” “jazz of the streets” and “percussive poetry.” As it swings between games and interviews with young girls, LET’S GET THE RHYTHM has a beat; its incandescent musicality brings this hand-clapping universe to life!
Ten-year-old Fernando is a precocious boy living in a small Brazilian town in the 1930s with faithful friends and a strict yet loving family. His desire to tinker, explore and experiment constantly lands him in trouble. A resolution to this perpetual cycle of penance presents itself when a “twin Fernando” arrives unexpectedly. He willingly serves Fernando’s time (detention, grounding in his room, even attending school) while Fernando lives a life of indulgence, fishin’ n’ forts. All goes well, until it doesn’t!
Dylan, age 12, copes pretty much on his own in small Western Australian town while his father is in a state of oblivion following the death of Dylan’s mother. One day at school he discovers an odd gift: the ability to craft a paper plane that flies longer and faster than any of those of his peers. So begins this charming and near-irresistible crowd-pleaser that follows Dylan as he folds his way toward the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan (and more importantly, emotionally closer to his father).
No classroom for these kindergarteners: In Switzerland’s Langnau am Albis, a suburb of Zurich, children four to seven years of age go to kindergarten in the woods every day, no matter what the weatherman says. The filmmakers follow the forest kindergarten through the seasons of one school year to make their documentary film “School’s Out: Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten.” This eye-opening film looks into the important question of what it is that children need at that age. There is laughter, beauty and amazement in the process of finding out.
Some kids are natural entertainers who have discovered a passion for the circus arts. In “Circus Dreams,” that passion finds fulfillment at Circus Smirkus, the only traveling youth circus in the US, annually assembling the finest young circus performers for its summer tour (including a stop in Rhode Island!). This documentary captures it all, from the grueling auditions to the successful tears of joy in being part of an extraordinary experience. Truly inspiring!
This is not your average group of kids. They are clowns, trapeze artists, jugglers and already accomplished entertainers. Beginning with extraordinary access into the auditioning process, the film highlights the trials and tribulations of a variety of young performers as they polish their acts and nervously await audition results. The 27 who are selected spend the summer together training full-time for what will eventually be 70 performances in 15 towns.
“Circus Dreams” perfectly balances the fun of the circus with insightful, behind-the-scenes drama in a perfect demonstration of what dedication, passion, talent and ambition make possible — no matter your age. No one performer outshines the other, as they all learn valuable lessons about teamwork and positive critique. Director Signe Taylor has captured an inspiring portrait of kids who break free of mainstream stereotypes and reach for their circus dreams.