Best Children’s Film Festivals in the U.S.
The best fests for kiddos from east to west.
The upcoming New York Children’s Film Festival runs from February 27 to March 22. The festival hosts filmmaking camps for children ages 6 to 16, where the students learn to “conceive, storyboard, write, shoot, draw, model, create sets, and perform on camera to create a completed short film.” The Grand Prize Feature from this year’s festival was awarded to the Argentinian film, Foosball in English Underdogs.
This coming November 7-9, Somerville Theatre is hosting the Boston Int’l KIDS Film Festival. The festival is designed for children 10 and up and focuses on increasing media literacy amongst youth. The festival is has “a year-round media literacy initiative that will empower the next generation of filmmakers to realize the power and potential of visual storytelling.”
The Philadelphia Film Society partners with the NewYork International Children’s Film Festival to run a three-day Philadelphia Int’l Children’s Film Festival every summer. The festival features shorts, animated films and feature films. It includes play therapy and art activities, along with a DIY Animation Station where children can bring home a kit to make their own animated films.
The Providence Children’s Film Festival runs for 8 days over school vacation week in February. This year’s dates are February 12-22. The festival screens shorts and feature films of the live-action, animation and documentary genres. The festival also “provides opportunities to learn about the history of the medium and its critical context, as well as the craft of filmmaking, through media literacy programs, hands-on workshops, and filmmaker presentations.”
The Portland Children’s Film Festival was conceived by the parents and teachers of the East End Community School in Portland, Maine. “The Festival is intended to connect Maine children and families to people within their own cultures and communities, as well as expand the worldview of all attendees.” Every April, the festival hosts a Young Filmmakers Contest and presents international films to the Portland Community.
This October 24 through November 2 is the 31st annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. During the summer, the festival hosts the Facets Kids Film Camp for children ages 7-14. Kids work with professional filmmakers and critics and learn “the techniques, language and process of filmmaking.” The festival also holds screenings year-round.
From August 1-10, Cinema St. Louis hosts its Second Annual St. Louis International Children’s Film Festival. Screenings include international and American-independent, live-action and animated narrative features as well as shorts. The screenings vary from new films and classic cinema — all the way back to Charlie Chaplin. The festival is geared towards children’s ages 6 to 16. Cinema St. Louis also hosts filmmaking camps and a teen workshop.
Every March the Roxy Theater in Missoula hosts its Montana International Children’s Film Festival. The mission of the festival is “to bring international students and professors together with Montanans to share their different cultural heritages and to create a sense of international awareness through mutual understanding and respect for one another.” There are films for children ages 3 to 12 and feature films families can also enjoy.
Hosted by the Northwest Film Forum, the Children’s Film Festival Seattle screens over 130 international children’s films from over 32 countries. The festival tours to 15-20 U.S. cities. It’s held every January and holds open submissions until October 1 this year.
Film Submissions for the next Bay Area Children’s Film Festival just opened. This festival is held every January and presents “engaging, culturally diverse cinema and film education programs for children and families.” The festival began under the production of The Renaissance School and Screen 360: Films for Children of the World, in 2009. Bay Area Children’s Film Festival screens films from around the world and also plays classics like The Nightmare Before Christmas.