Tel Aviv Children's Film Festival focuses on freedom and flying

The film festival will feature dozens of new films from around the world and from Israel for children of all ages.

 ‘TA’IGARA: AN Adventure in the Himalayas’ (photo credit: HD Productions)
‘TA’IGARA: AN Adventure in the Himalayas’
(photo credit: HD Productions)

Parents who want to entertain their children at a fun, classy and interesting event during Hanukkah that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg should head to the Tel Aviv Cinematheque for the 18th Tel Aviv Children’s International Film Festival, from December 20-24.

It features dozens of new films from around the world and from Israel for children of different ages (the programs are broken down by age). There are also classics and many programs and workshops where children can learn about the art behind the movies and even take part in creating short films and making film-related crafts. 

Many films and events sell out in advance, so to avoid disappointing your kids, it’s recommended to buy tickets and/or register for events before you go, at 

What will be at the festival?

This year, the festival theme is freedom and flying, so it’s appropriate that it will include a tribute to the 120-year-old classic, A Trip to the Moon by Georges Méliès, the beautifully inventive short film about a group of astronomers visiting the moon. Film industry professionals will also talk to children about science fiction, and there will be a free event (advanced registration required) where beloved children’s book illustrator and writer Alona Frankel will read from The Book of the Moon. 

 ‘EVEN MICE Go to Heaven’ (credit: Courtesy of New Cinema) ‘EVEN MICE Go to Heaven’ (credit: Courtesy of New Cinema)

The workshops are a special treat and all are taught by industry professionals. The budding drama queens and kings in your family will enjoy an acting workshop for children eight and up, and there is also a “comedic improvisation workshop” for kids seven and up. Another workshop teaches children how to create soundtracks and examines how the soundtrack affects the movie viewing experience. 

A workshop on “Discovering the World” will examine what we can learn about other cultures from movies, and will screen episodes from series about children around the world. Other workshops will include learning to make a zoetrope and a shadow theater, dubbing voices, working with a green screen and creating miniature outer-space sets. 

Children ages 10 and up who attend the effects and stunts workshop will learn how moviemakers simulate fires, rocks, injuries, etc. on screen, but will undoubtedly be warned not to try anything they see at home. There will also be a workshop on science-fiction scriptwriting for older children. 

Families can take part in a competition centered on family-made movies. They have to choose a genre and then will be given an object, sentence and character that must appear in the movies, which need to be finished in 48 hours.

A DISCUSSION of stop-motion animation will precede a screening of a new movie made by that process, Even Mice Belong in Heaven, and there will be a separate workshop that will teach stop-motion techniques. 

Other movies that will prove that there is great entertainment outside the Disney/superhero world are Ta’igara: An Adventure in the Himalayas, a beautifully photographed live-action film about a boy who adopts a tiger cub; Marcel, the Shell with Shoes On, an animated film that has been a big international hit; The Heart of a Butterfly, a movie from Lithuania about a boy who is bullied and finds refuge in creating a hotel for insects in an abandoned house; and many more. 

There will also be programs of short films, and shorts made by children. The classics E.T. and Home Alone will be shown, along with some recent films such as Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. 

The festival will feature an episode from the new season of Sky, a series by Noa Pnini (The Neighborhood) and Giora Chamizer, who made the Netflix series Greenhouse Academy, from TeenNick Israel and Ananey Communications, about an alien who lands on earth and takes refuge in the body of a mean girl. The event will feature a panel with the actors. 

There is much more on offer at the festival, and there should be something for everyone in your family. Because the festival is carefully curated for different age groups, it could be especially suitable for families with several children.