The 5th Tel Aviv International Children's Film Festival will take place at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque starting Wednesday and running through Saturday. For parents fed up with the commercial, predictable fare their kids see at the multiplexes, this festival, which spotlights movies for children (and some by children) that don't condescend to their audience, is a welcome change.
The festival includes more than 60 films and several workshops and is aimed mainly at children ages 6-16. There will be a competition for the best film, to be chosen by a panel of international judges, including beloved children's book author Yehuda Atlas as its Israeli representative.
All films are either dubbed or subtitled into Hebrew. And parents will be pleased to learn that compared to so many children's events, the prices are quite reasonable - NIS 30 for a ticket to a film and NIS 40 for admission to a seminar.
For younger children there are some special programs, including Golgolnoa, an interactive film/theater experience where an actress will be on stage at the same time.
The opening night film will be The Seven from Daran, directed by Lourens Blok. It combines fantasy and reality in its story of a European boy who goes to Africa with his mother, an executive who is busy opening a golf resort there. But it turns out the land the resort will be built on is the focus of conflict between indigenous tribes and the boy, who, with the hope of a young African girl and a talking giraffe, is able to help solve the conflict.
OTHER INTERNATIONAL films in the festival include One Eye Red, a Swedish film about an immigrant father-son duo who struggle to maintain their identity; Frogs and Toads, a nature film and musical from Holland; The Peace Tree, a Canadian film about a Muslim girl and a Christian girl who become friends; Crocodiles, a German film based on a popular children's novel about a child in a wheelchair who eventually triumphs against a tough youth gang; You Are an Angel, a film about a girl growing up in a poor village in China who dreams of changing her life; and the 1939 Shirley Temple classic, The Little Princess.
Israeli films include the 1965 film The Boy Across the Street, about a young boy who gets involved in crime in a tough neighborhood and befriends a disabled girl; This Tree is Taken, a 1994 sequel to Avia's Summer about a girl growing up in a youth village for Holocaust survivors, directed by Gila Almagor; and A Half-Russian Story, a movie about Russian immigrants to Israel entering a ballroom dancing contest.
There are several programs that will screen films made by (and for) children, including one sponsored by hot cable network and another by the Children's Channel on Yes (developed with Rabbi Yechial Eckstein). Challenges, an international documentary project made with the cooperation of the EBU, a European broadcasting association, and Israeli filmmakers, features films about children around the world.
For further information about the film festival, or to purchase tickets, go to the festival website at kidsfestival.cinema.co.il