This past Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending the press event for the Children’s International Film Festival  Seattle, and let’s just say, it was an exciting experience! The festival runs January 25 to February 10, with most screenings (except for opening night) at Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Avenue, on Capitol Hill.

After the drive into the city, we arrived at the Northwest Film Forum. Inside we were greeted by Elizabeth Shepherd, the youth program director and Rachel Green from Smarthouse Creative. They handed me a packet full of information about the event and the films that would be playing. I was very excited to find out that the feature film at the opening night Festival Gala would be an English dub of the Studio Ghibli movie Castle in the Sky. This would be my first time ever watching a Studio Ghibli movie. This event is being co-presented with the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian, the largest venue this event has opened at. After being greeted and given my packet, I got to wander around the lobby.  The lobby had a lot of posters that showed different films, even one about the film festival. There were also a ton of cool decorations. My favorite had to be the decorative cubes and the chandelier hanging from the ceiling.

(Photo Credit: Sydney Kosowsky)

After some time of wandering the lobby, I found information tacked to a board about a film directing course you could take through the Northwest Film Forum. They had an 11-week class for being a director as well as ones for being an actor. I thought that sounded like a lot of fun. I’ve always been interested in the work that goes into making films.

(Photo Credit: Sydney Kosowsky)

A few moments later we were all called into the theater.

(Photo Credit: Sydney Kosowsky)

Once inside, Elizabeth gave a short speech that explained that the film festival is about breaking down walls, not building them and that the goal of the films is to convey a message of equality and acceptance. We were also told about some of the paid workshops that would be happening during the event. There are also drop-in activities that are free for children of all ages.

After the speech, the lights dimmed and we watched some trailers for the feature films and various short films that will be shown during the festival. There were a variety of animated and live action films presented in many different languages. My favorite short film had to be the story of Mrs. McCutcheon (John Sheedy, director Australia). It was a sweet story about a boy who wore a dress to school. He was bullied by most of the other kids except for one who was very accepting. Over time people’s views change and Mrs. McCutcheon grew to be accepted by almost every person at the school. This film really conveyed a feeling of acceptance and love.

(Photo Credit: Mrs. McCutcheon)

I also got to watch a wonderful animated film called The Mountain of SGaanaThis short film told the story of a couple. The male gets attacked and kidnapped by an Orca queen and the woman goes on an adventure to save him. The story is told without dialogue and uses a creative system to lay out the story in an animated comic-esq style.

These previews showed only a small portion of the many films that will be shown at The Children’s International Film Festival, which starts on January 25 and runs through February 10. This is a great event for all ages and if given the opportunity I would encourage you to attend.

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