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2023 New York International Children’s Film Festival: Tales of Joy, Bravery & Growth


New York’s premiere fest for children of all ages, the New York International Children’s Film Festival, is back again, running March 3 to the 19th. Held at theaters across NYC (SVA Theatre, Film Forum, DCTV’s Firehouse Cinema, Scandinavia House, Sag Harbor Cinema, and Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn), the festival has been bringing quality and thought provoking films for younger movie goers since 1997. This year’s festival includes films from the US, Japan, Colombia, South Korea, France, Canada, Netherlands and more.

The festival features an extensive slate of animated films, including shorts such as Fur, directed by Madeleine Homan, in which a girl attempts to understand and comfort her sister after gray fur covers her body, making her feel miles away even as they sit right next to each other. For fans of vintage animation there’s 1972’s Panda! Go Panda!, directed by the legendary Isao Takahata (Only Yesterday, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya).

Also included are live action films and shorts such as Okthanksbye, directed by Nicole van Kilsdonk, a coming of age story in which two girls —one with a cochlear implant and one without—, make a trek by themselves across the French countryside to visit a hospitalized grandmother. In Totem, directed by Sander Burger, eleven-year-old Ama loves the water, and not only because she’s surrounded by the Rotterdam waterfront. She’s also a passionate swimmer, spending every spare minute in the pool training for the upcoming championships with her best friend, Thijs. Though she’s the daughter of Senegalese asylum-seekers, Ama feels Dutch, through and through. So it’s all the more unthinkable when her family members are unexpectedly detained, leaving Ama to find a solution. Harnessing the focus she learned in swim training and armed with the wisdom of her mother’s tales of their homeland, she must forge a path of her own. Fortunately, a gigantic spirit animal rooted in Senegalese tradition might just be of service.

The festival continues its annual Industry Forum “Toward an Inclusive Future,” which brings together creators at all stages of their careers to discuss children’s media on all sides of the camera. New this year is “NYICFF in Your Neighborhood,” free presentations of a NYICFF short film program for ages 3-8 taking place at venues citywide.

To learn more, go to:

New York International Children’s Film Festival
March 3 - 19, 2023

Various venues in NYC

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