The New York International Children’s Film Festival 2021 is virtual nationwide at nyicff.org from Friday, March 5-14, 2021. From $18. All Access Pass $40/$100.
It’s a complete festival with premieres and filmmaker talks. Many of the films are age-appropriate pieces about the social challenges we are going through now.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has been hardest on children. While figuring out what kind of grown-ups they will be, they are wondering what kind of world there will be. Many are also dealing directly with loss.
At the same time, we are all going through a reckoning about what it means to be an American of the United States. Many of the festival’s films are about the choices we make growing up.
This film festival for children ages 3-18 is North America’s biggest children’s film festival. It is also an Oscar-qualifying film festival. It really is international. Many of these movies will be in theaters later in the year.
The 2021 Festival
These are some of the highlights of this year’s festival.
City of Ghosts
The opening night film is an animation that explores the stories of the multicultural neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Once you get out of your own neighborhood, it quickly becomes clear that we all face the same joys and sorrows – because we are all human.
Fourth-generation Japanese American director Elizabeth Ito hosts a watch party and Q&A on March 5 at 8pm ET.
Nahuel and the Magic Book
The opening spotlight film is an animation based on Chilean Indigenous Mapuche folklore.
It’s the story of Nahuel, a fisherman’s son who is afraid of the water. He finds a magic book that seems to help, but an evil sorcerer captures the father to trap the son and get the book back. Fresia, a shaman’s daughter helps Nahuel meet the challenge.
Director Germán Acuña will do a Q&A after the North American premiere on March 6 at 7pm ET.
Raya and the Last Dragon
This is a hero story about Raya, a young woman of Kumandra, a once united land whose peoples now fight each other endlessly (sound familiar?). Raya searches for the last dragon to unite the people and save the land.
Jill Tarter, the woman behind SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) was once asked why she searched for signs of life in outer space. Her answer was that once we know there are others out there, it will be easier for us to unite.
This is a Disney movie by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada 🇲🇽. There will be a Q&A after the screening on Friday, March 12 at 8pm ET.
In this coming of age story, Beans, a smart twelve-year old Mohawk girl finds herself caught in a land stand-off between her Indigenous community and the government. She has to make fast choices about what kind of grown-up she will be.
The Canadian live action feature for ages 14+ is directed by Tracey Deer who will do a live Q&A on March 13 at 5pm ET.
This is a live action film from Curaçao, the Dutch Caribbean, about how multigenerational families deal with social change. It’s the official Dutch entry to the Oscars.
11-year old Kenza must find her way in a family that includes her father Ouira who is a no-nonsense police officer focused on the future, and her grandfather Weljo who venerates his African and Indigenous ancestors.
These are issues of identity that many Americans are dealing with today. Colonizers demonized and completely negated our traditions, and their descendents continue to do so in the present. Yet when many of us ask ourselves who we are, we realize that we are our ancestor’s children.
Children get their sense of identity, and right and wrong, more from their grandparents than their parents.
This film deals with themes of death and loss. It’s in Papiamento (Spanish Portuguese Dutch Creole language) and Dutch with English subtitles.
Director Eché Janga will do a Q&A at the March 14, 2pm ET international premiere.
New York International Children’s Film Festival 2021 Tickets
Check the full line-up and schedules and purchase virtual tickets at nyicff.org
Films can be streamed from $18. All Access Passes are $40 or $100.