From a young boy seeking the acceptance of his mother’s new family, to the trials a child faces in their quest for education, strong and dynamic young protagonists dominate the screen at the 2017 TIFF Kids International Film Festival™. From April 7 through 23, TIFF Bell Lightbox welcomes the next generation of film lovers for the 20th anniversary of TIFF Kids. This premier festival for children ages 3–13 (and those young at heart) will educate, inspire, and entertain children and adults alike.
“We are thrilled to be celebrating our 20th anniversary with a programming lineup that reflects that excitement and features our biggest and best programme to date,” said Elizabeth Muskala, Director of TIFF Kids and Youth Learning. “With over 160 films from over 40 countries, the range and breadth of work presented at this year’s TIFF Kids Festival is sure to enlighten, entertain, and engage audiences of all ages. The 2017 lineup shines a spotlight on thought-provoking stories that explore diverse themes of home, family, identity and immigration. With titles such as Mauro D’Addio’s road adventure On Wheels; Michel Boujenah’s touching Heartstrings; the sweeping new Disneynature documentary Born in China, directed by Lu Chuan; and the beautifully animated Ivan Tsarevitch and the Changing Princess, from master storyteller Michel Ocelot — the festival presents films that tell both unique and global stories that moviegoers are sure to connect with.”
Smurfs: The Lost Village
The TIFF Kids International Film Festival kicks off on Opening Night with the premiere of Kelly Asbury’s animated film Smurfs: The Lost Village, with an introduction and Q&A by the director. In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does. Embarking on a rollercoaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history! The festival’s Closing Night screening is the Canadian premiere of the first four episodes of Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter, directed by Goro Miyazaki of the acclaimed Studio Ghibli and featuring a lead voiceover performance by Gillian Anderson.
Other highlights include the 15th anniversary screening of the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival People’s Choice Award winner Whale Rider; the Canadian premiere of two episodes from the highly anticipated Disney Channel original show Tangled: The Series; and of course, in between films, families can explore digiPlaySpace, an interactive exhibition dedicated to interactive art, design, technology, and free onsite activities.
This year’s shorts consist of 18 diverse programmes showcasing over 125 Canadian and international live-action and animated films that address important issues faced by kids such as making new friends, exploring new cultures, and embracing diversity — in both families and circumstances. The films deal with a range of themes including resilience, empathy, exploration, home, and self-discovery.
Here are the feature films screening:
Richard the Stork
Smurfs: The Lost Village, dir. Kelly Asbury, USA, English Opening Night!
Recommended for ages 6 and up.
Recommended for ages 6 and up
Rabbit School (Die Häschenschule – Jagd nach dem goldenen Ei), dir. Ute Von Münchow-Pohl, North American Premiere
Richard the Stork, dirs. Toby Genkel, Reza Memari, Germany/Belgium/Luxembourg/Norway, North American Premiere
Recommended for ages 7 and up
Ballerina, dirs. Eric Warin, Eric Summer, Canada/France, English
Mr. Frog (Meester Kikker), dir. Anna van der Heide, Netherlands, Dutch Canadian Premiere
Rock Dog, dir. Ash Brannon, USA/China, English Toronto Premiere
Recommended for ages 8 and up
Born in China, dir. Lu Chuan, USA, English Canadian Premiere
Revolting Rhymes, dirs. Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer, United Kingdom, English Canadian Premiere
Recommended for ages 9 and up
Cloudboy, dir. Meikeminne Clinckspoor, Belgium/Sweden/Netherlands, Dutch, Swedish, Sami International Premiere
Ivan Tsarevitch and the Changing Princess (Ivan Tsarévitch et la Princesse Changeante), International Premiere
dir. Michel Ocelot, France, French
Mr. Twister at the Pitch (Mees Kees langs de lijn), dir. Aniëlle Webster, Netherlands, Dutch International Premiere
Red Dog: True Blue, dir. Kriv Stenders, Australia, English Canadian Premiere Swallows and Amazons, dir. Philippa Lowthorpe. United Kingdom, English
The Day My Father Became a Bush (Toen mijn vader een struik werd), dir. Nicole van Kilsdonk, Official Selection, 2016 Toronto Netherlands/Belgium/Croatia, Dutch International Film Festival
Recommended for ages 10 and up
Into the Rainbow, dir. Norman Stone, China/New Zealand, English International Premiere
Not Without Us! (Nicht ohne uns!), dir. Sigrid Klausmann, Germany, German, Arabic, English, Canadian Premiere
French, Hindi, Icelandic, Japanese, Laos, Nepali, Xhosa, Spanish
TRIO – The Hunt for the Holy Shrine (TRIO – Jakten på Olavsskrinet), dir. Eva F. Dahr, International Premiere Norway, Norwegian, English
Recommended for ages 11 and up
At Eye Level (Auf Augenhöhe), dirs. Joachim Dollhopf, Evi Goldbrunner, Germany, German Toronto Premiere
Fanny’s Journey (Le voyage de Fanny), dir. Lola Doillon, France/Belgium, French
Heartstrings (Le Coeur en braille), dir. Michel Boujenah, France, French Toronto Premiere
Mountain Miracle – An Unexpected Friendship (Amelie rennt), dir. Tobias Wiemann, International Premiere Germany/Italy, German
On Wheels (Sobre Rodas), dir. Mauro D’Addio, Brazil, Portuguese North American Premiere
Room 213 (Rum 213), dir. Emelie Lindblom, Sweden, Swedish North American Premiere
Recommended for ages 12 and up
Jeffrey, dir. Yanillys Perez, Dominican Republic/France, Spanish Official Selection, 2016 Toronto International Film Festival
Little Wing (Tyttö nimeltä Varpu), dir. Selma Vilhunen, Finland/Denmark, Finnish Official Selection, 2016 Toronto International Film Festival
My Life As A Courgette (Ma Vie de Courgette), dir. Claude Barras, Switzerland/France, French Official Selection, 2016 Toronto International Film Festival
Plastic China (Su Liao Wang Guo), dir. Jiu-liang Wang, Hong Kong/China, Mandarin Canadian Premiere
Full list of films (feature and shorts), special event, and ticket information can be found at TIFF.net/Kids