When you find animated programs at a film festival, there’s no guarantee they’re suitable for children. In fact, some of the most provocative and explicit films lurk among the animated shorts programs and animated midnight movies. That’s why festivals, such as the Florida Film Festival, offer Family Programming specifically for parents seeking kid-friendly films so the entire family can enjoy the festival experience.
Held throughout Central Florida each April, Florida Film Festival also offers more than 180 feature and short films from 36 countries, in addition to celebrity guests, special events, film forums, and parties. This year’s Festival includes competing films in narrative features and documentary programs, plus special screenings of food films, international films, midnight movies, and Florida films.
In keeping with its annual tradition, family programing includes a sidebar with intriguing new independently produced, family films that you probably won’t find at the local cineplex.
April and the Extraordinary World
Co-directors Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci, present an animated alternative history of a steampunk Paris, France, in 1941 that’s stuck in the industrial middle ages. An orphaned teenaged girl named April (Avril) and her talking cat try to combat the dense fog and pollution suffocating the city and its people. Aided by her grandfather and a young police informer, she launches a search for the missing scientists (which include her parents) who have mysteriously vanished, and who can bring science and technology to this dark, dreary, underdeveloped society. Based on a graphic novel by Jacques Tardi, the English-language version of this animated action adventure comedy includes the vocal talents of Paul Giamatti, Tony Hale, Susan Sarandon, and J.K. Simmons. Run Time: 105 Minutes. In English. MPAA Rating: PG for action/peril including gunplay, some thematic elements and rude humor. Additional Information: In French, originally titled Avril et le monde truque and starred the vocal talents of Marion Cotillard, Philippe Katerine, and Jean Rochefort.
Directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol (the team who created the Oscar-nominated A Cat in Paris), this feature focuses on a sick boy named Leo, who has superpowers that allow him to temporarily leave his body during his chemotherapy treatments and float over New York City. During these surreal experiences, he helps other children, and teams with a wheelchair-bound policeman and a reporter to thwart the efforts of Broken Face, an evil mobster threatening to destroy the city. This animated fantasy includes the vocal talents of Audrey Tautou, Edouard Baer, Jean-Pierre Marielle, and Jackie Berroyer. Run Time: 84 Minutes. In French with English subtitles. Florida Premiere. MPAA Rating: PG (for thematic elements).
Inspired by the life of Antonio Pasin, the inventor of the Radio Flyer Wagon, this animated short is the latest offering from Brandon Oldenburg, the Oscar-winning director of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore and The Numberlys. This time, a young boy and his grandfather turn a boring day into an unforgettable adventure with a very special wagon. This animated short includes the vocal talents of Asher Blinkoff, Kevin Rahm, and Ray Wise. Run Time: 5 Minutes. In English. Southeast Premiere. MPAA Rating: Unrated. Additional Information: Screens before Phantom Boy.
Spotlight Film: Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Though not animated and not included in the family programming sidebar, the Florida Film Festival also features the Florida premiere of the live-action feature Hunt for the Wilderpeople for slightly older children. Directed by Taika Waititi and starring Sam Neill and Julian Dennison, this film is included as a Spotlight film. In this coming-of-age road trip, a chubby hip-hop-loving pre-teen boy and his foster uncle get lost in the New Zealand bush, which launches a national manhunt for them. Based on the book Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump, this film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for thematic elements including violent content, and some language. Run Time: 93 Minutes.
For more information about the Florida Film Festival, visit the official website.