Feature Films (CFFS 2016)

Jan 21, 2016



(J. Searle Dawley, USA, live action, 1916, 63 min)

All Ages.

World premiere live performance! Festival Opening Night!

Children’s Film Festival Seattle 2016 gets off to a fairy tale start with a rarely seen silent version of Snow White — a dawn-of-cinema gem that inspired a teenaged Walt Disney to follow his heart to make animated films for children. Starring a luminous Marguerite Clark, the film tells the familiar Brothers Grimm story in a way that will seem brand new to family audiences.

Northwest Film Forum has commissioned Seattle harpist Leslie McMichael to compose and perform, with guest violist Barbara McMichael, a new score for the film.

Special ticket pricing: $10 Film Forum members/ $12 general admission/ $38 per family of four

Jan 23, 2016


Almost Friends

(Nitzan Ofir, Israel, live action, 2014, 60 min)

Ages 10+. In Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles.

Children’s International Film Festival (Dubai) co-director, Jyoti Jain will represent the short film “Mind Bender,”” a top winner in that festival.

Two girls – one observant Jewish and the other Israeli-Arab whose father is from the Occupied Territories – start to correspond online, and find themselves deep in a surprising, exciting, and stressful experience. A documentary that is truthful about the difficulties of overcoming prejudices in a conflict zone.

Notes to parents: Adults say hurtful and prejudicial things that undermine an intercultural friendship. An adult smokes.

Shown with: Mind Bender (John Rees, United Arab Emirates, live action, 2015, 15 min) In English. North American premiere.

Some students discover the sinister secret of their schoolmasters — a plot to turn them all into docile, non-questioning children. Winner of the top prize for a student-made film at the Children’s International Film Festival, UAE.

Jan 23, 2016


My Friend Raffi

Northwest premiere.

(Arend Agthe, Germany, live action, 2015, 97 min)

Ages 8+. In German with English subtitles.

Arend Agthe (producer, writer and director) Bettina Kupfer (producer, writer and actress) and Genia Karasek (actress and translator) in attendance!

Raffi the hamster is 8-year-old Sammy’s pet and best friend. The little rodent is something very special – he can kick goals with a football and also sniff out smuggled goods better than a tracker dog. When Raffi is kidnapped by a scheming criminal, Sammy goes on an adventure through the city of Hamburg to rescue his friend. This is an adventure for brave hearts and hamster lovers.

Notes to parents: Limited coarse language, a bumbling criminal, and a few suspenseful moments leading up to a happy hamster rescue!

Jan 23, 2016


Landfill Harmonic

Seattle premiere

(Graham Townsley and Brad Allgood, USA/Paraguay, live action, 2015, 84 min)

Ages 8+. In English and Spanish with English subtitles.

Too many children in the world are born into lives with little or no hope. This documentary reveals a mind-boggling, inventive avenue to change that — musical instruments made from trash. In the barrios of Paraguay, a humble garbage picker uses his ingenuity to craft instruments out of recycled materials, and a youth orchestra is born. The children find new dreams as their music goes viral, and takes them on a whirlwind trip around the world. This film is all about the power of creativity, hope, empowerment, and community work to change lives.

Shown with: The Sleepwalker (Theodore Ushev, Canada, animation, 2015, 4 min) Nonverbal. West Coast premiere.

A surrealistic fantasia, inspired by a poem by Federico García Lorca.

Jan 23, 2016


Birds of Passage

West Coast premiere

(Olivier Ringer, Belgium/France, live action, 2015, 84 min)

Ages 8+. In French with English subtitles.

Having your birthday on February 29 is terribly stupid. It’s even worse when you get a duck egg for a birthday present. Ten-year-old Cathy and her best friend Margaux hatch the egg and see how the duckling crawls out of the egg. They really want to take care of the little duckling, but Margaux’s parents don’t want an animal in their house — they think it will be too hard for a girl with a disability to take care of. The duckling is quite likely to end up as canned cat food. Cathy and Margaux must set out on an adventurous journey to rescue it.

Notes to parents: There are a few tense moments of danger for both the duckling and the girls, with a happy ending.

Jan 24, 2016


Jill & Joy

West Coast premiere

(Saara Cantell, Finland, live action, 2014, 80 min)

Ages 5+. In Finnish with English subtitles.

When two best friends, Jill and Joy, find a huge amount of money on the street, they decide to buy a house from mysterious Mrs. Rosebud. It is a real dream house, measured and equipped exactly for two little seven-year-old girls’ requirements. Jill and Joy start to live the summer of their dreams, which is full of adventure and surprises but without any parents. Anything can happen and strange things occur, as reality and fantasy magically intertwine in this award-winning film, based on a book by Marjatta Kurenniemi.

Trailer with English subtitles

Shown with: Ektacy (Caryn Cline, USA, live action, 2015, 2 min) Nonverbal.

World premiere with Seattle filmmaker, Caryn Cline, in attendance!

Girls display their hula hoop skills in this film using found footage from 1958.

Jan 24, 2016



Debut feature film by the director, and North American premiere

(Ekrem Ergün, Germany, live action, 83 min)

Ages 12+. In German and Turkish with English subtitles.

After a run in with the law, Aylin – a 17-year-old Muslim girl and part of the Turkish Diaspora — finds herself sentenced to community service at an out-of-town horse stable in Germany. Beset by troubles at home and school, it is here that she, despite all odds, is set on the road to self-discovery. As the pace quickens, her blossoming relationship with the stallion Hördur and her fledgling dreams are tested to the breaking point. Can Aylin build a bridge between worlds? And if she can, will others follow?

Notes to parents: This is a film for older kids and teens, as well as their parents, about a young teen who must find her way through trouble at home and at school. There is smoking, bullying, a physical fight, coarse language, hitchhiking and running away by kids.

Shown with: Eileen (Brendan Hickey, USA, live action, 2015, 6 min) In English. Seattle made! World theatrical premiere with youth filmmaker in attendance.

An unpleasant trip to the principal’s office together is the start of friendship between two high school students.

Jan 24, 2016


Bite Size

Seattle premiere

(Corbin Billings, USA, live action, 2014, 90 min)

Ages 10+. In English and Spanish.

This powerful documentary introduces you to four diverse kids fighting for their health one day at a time. Davion is an aspiring football player who has been labeled a troublemaker at school for his size and strength. Moy loves using his tech skills on video games but struggles with getting active. KeAnna and her friends have a great attitude but they deal with socioeconomic obstacles to losing weight. Emily has successfully changed her food habits at camp but has trouble adjusting back at home. This film deals with the sensitive issue of childhood obesity in a life-affirming, honest, and compassionate way. After meeting these kids, you may never be the same.

Notes to parents: the film includes bullying, dieting, negative self-talk including mention of suicide, and parents who aren’t always great role models, but the film as a whole strongly promotes a modest, realistic, and healthful approach to making changes in eating habits and activity.

Shown with: Gut Facts (John Farinelli, USA, live action and animation, 2015, 16 min) In English. Olympia made! World theatrical premiere.

John Farinelli in attendance! 

 A zany, colorful, science-filled introduction to digestion and gut microbes, and how they affect your health.

Jan 29, 2016




(Nagesh Kukunoor, India, live action, 2015, 106 min)

Ages 9+. In Hindi with English subtitles.

Youth dancers with the From Within Academy will open the show January 23, at Carco Theatre!

Orphaned siblings Pari and Chotu live with an aunt and uncle who are not always the best caregivers. Ten-year-old Pari assumes the role of mother, guide and best friend to her eight-year-old brother, who lost his eyesight when he was four. The only things the two disagree on are their favourite film stars: Pari’s hero is Shah Rukh Khan, while Chotu prefers Salman Khan. After spotting a poster of Shah promoting eye donation, Pari believes she has found a way to restore Chotu’s eyesight. When they hear a rumor that the actor is filming in a neighboring city, the children set out on a journey of hope that will change their lives forever.

Notes to parents: Some coarse language, very brief hookah and alcohol use by adults, threats of violence, kidnapping of children, children hitchhiking, sleeping pills administered to children without their knowledge, and a gun pointed at a person. Still, this is an uplifting and joyous film with a very happy ending.

Jan 30, 2016


Schellen-Ursli (The Little Mountain Boy)

North American premiere

(Xavier Koller, Switzerland, live action, 2015, 100 min)

Ages 7+. In Swiss-German with English subtitles.

Oscar Award winning director, Xavier Koller in

attendance. -Jan. 30 only

Journey to the snowy Alps with this new film based on the most famous Swiss children’s book after Heidi. Meet a brave and determined boy who dares the impossible — to climb to his parents’ summer chalet, high in the mountains, in the deep winter snow to retrieve one of his family’s most prized possessions. But before he sets out, he must first help his family survive financial ruin, rescue his beloved pet goat, and with his best friend, outwit a bratty bully who seems out to get him at every turn. Will he make it back to the village in time to celebrate the end-of-winter holiday of Chalandamarz?

Notes to parents: There are scenes of danger, a bothersome bully, and one bumbling adult villain. The main character runs away, and his best friend, a girl, gives sleeping medicine to her parents and a dog without their knowledge. There is one instance of very mild coarse language.

Jan 30, 2016


Opposite Field

Northwest premiere

(Jay Shapiro, USA/Uganda, live action, 2014, 73 min)

Ages 8+. In English and Lugandan with English subtitles.

In its nearly 70-year history, the Little League World Series has never hosted a team from Africa. With a big love of baseball but little resources, Ugandan coach George Mukhobe and his preteen players hope to change that. This winning documentary captures the team as they encounter truly unexpected ups and downs in their quest to make history in this African “Field of Dreams” story.

Shown with: Stop the Show (Max Hattler, Hong Kong, animation, 2013, 1 min) Nonverbal. Seattle premiere.

Commissioned by Amnesty International, this abstract political short film is a call for action to regulate the arms trade between countries and reduce worldwide killings through firearms.

Jan 30, 2016


Buffalo Rider

(Joel Soisson, USA, live action, 2015, 94 min)

Ages 11+ . In English and Thai with English subtitles.

US Premiere! Joel Soisson in attendance! 

Shattered by the death of her mother, Jenny, a 13-year-old girl, becomes withdrawn and combative. As a kind of shock therapy, the girl’s American stepfather sends her to live with her Thai grandmother in the backcountry of central Thailand. Jenny sees herself as a captive on an alien planet until she meets Boonrod, a peasant boy shunned by his village, whose only friend is his water buffalo, Samlee. Jenny sets out to defend the boy against his tormentors, only to realize that neither she nor the boy will ever prevail until they win the town’s respect. And to do that, Boonrod must overcome impossible odds to win the annual buffalo race – a death-defying bareback sprint astride charging bulls.

Notes to parents: This film tackles tough subject matter, including grief and bullying, on its way through an uplifting story about friendship and redemption. Both kids and adults sometimes make poor decisions, leading to realizations that they need to correct what they did wrong. There is some coarse language and there are also a few scary moments with good resolutions. One adult drinks too much and also harshly disciplines his child.

Jan 30, 2016


Celestial Camel

US premiere
(Jury Feting, Russia, live action, 2015, 90 min)
Ages 9+. In Russian and Kalmyk with English subtitles.

Bayir is a 12-year-old sheepherder living with his family in the Mongolian steppe. When their camel, Mara, gives birth to a little white calf under a camel-shaped cloud, Bayir’s grandfather calls the birth a miracle that will bring rain to end the drought. But, when money gets tight, Bayir’s father is forced to sell the calf to a film crew, leading Mara to run away in search of her baby. Bayir must journey across the steppe to retrieve his family’s camel, where he runs into unexpected dangers and meets unlikely friends.

Notes to parents: There are a few instances of adults using coarse language, as well as a mention of a camel dying on a film set, but no camel deaths are shown. A little girl catches two little boys skinny-dipping, but there is no onscreen nudity. There’s a brief reference to cannabis, though the drug is not shown or used by any of the characters. A little boy carries a knife for protection, and there is a very brief culturally insensitive joke.

Jan 31, 2016


Crow’s Egg

(M. Manikandan, India, live action, 2014, 91 min)

Ages 8+. In Tamil with English subtitles.

Delicious treats from Jot Indian Sweets & Restaurant for sale in the lobby, from 11AM TO 2PM, Jan. 23 at Carco Theater.

Youth dancers with the From Within Academy will open the show Jan. 23, at Carco Theatre!

Two young brothers growing up in the slums of Chennai have a great dream: to someday eat a slice of pizza. In the course of their clever and cockamamie schemes to earn money, they are unwittingly drawn into the political machinations of adults. This vivid portrait of childhood poverty and resilience in South India is witty and wise, an engaging and warm family comedy with satiric bite.

Notes to parents: There are some instances of adults using coarse language and some bad behavior by children (being disrespectful to elders, stealing), though the children learn their lesson. A grandparent passes away. An adult slaps a child and is blackmailed by other adults.

Jan 31, 2016


Dummie the Mummy

North American premiere

(Pim van Hoeve, Netherlands, live action, 2014, 77 min)

Ages 7+. In Dutch with English subtitles.

Gus is a dreamy, slightly odd 11-year-old kid who leads an ordinary life with his dad in a quiet Dutch village until one day a museum mishap occurs and he finds a real live mummy in his bed! This pampered ancient Egyptian prince all wrapped up in bandages is the best, boldest, wackiest friend Gus ever had. Classroom hijinks and daring capers ensue in this offbeat, heartfelt story about the power of friendship, family, and magic scarabs.

Notes for parents: There are several scenes of bullying, including a physical altercation between the mummy and another student. The film also includes some mildly scary scenes, a moment of cultural insensitivity, and a humorously cavalier attitude to historical accuracy.

Jan 31, 2016


The Little Gypsy Witch

North American premiere

(Tomislav Zaja, Macedonia/Croatia/Austria, live action, 2013, 98 min)

Age 8+. In Croatian with English subtitles.

This musical and comedic film tells the story of an unusual Roma family, seen through the eyes of the ten-year-old girl Manusha. After the death of Manusha’s grandmother, Ilonka, her parents, consumed by their everyday troubles, do not even notice the odd occurrences in the house. Manusha quickly realizes that the house is possessed by the ghost of her deceased grandmother, and with the help of her friend Zdenko, the undertaker’s son, she attempts to soothe the restless and angry ghost. However, Manusha gradually discovers a family secret from the past that will help her confront the curse placed upon her deceased grandmother and her entire family.

Notes to parents: Some coarse language, drinking by adults, and a scene where the main character’s mother is falsely accused of being a prostitute. Depiction of the struggles of a Roma family and the prejudice they face in everyday life.