Art Council Announces Youth Film Fest and Movie Series

From the Northampton arts council

Academy of Music Theatre, Northampton, MA

KidsBestFest is the antidote to boredom during school vacation week.  It is dedicated to films that you are unlikely to find on TV, including great foreign films.  This year we will be cross promoting with the Amherst Cinema who will be showing a Bugs Bunny film everyday during the week.

Tickets $3 at the door only



Co-promoted by Amherst Cinema

Co-Presented by the Academy of Music Theatre



MONDAY February 18th at 2:00 PM

Charlie Chaplan's The Circus

Director Chaplin casts star Chaplin in his traditional "Little Tramp" role, who when first we see him is on the lam from the law. He takes refuge under the tent of a failing circus. Unintentionally, Charlie disrupts the show's big clown act, and the crowd roars. The ringmaster decides to hire Charlie as a clown, building the whole circus around him. Charlie has many an adventure and close shave while performing under the Big Top.  The Circus won Chaplin a special Oscar in 1928, then lay unseen for forty-two years; it was reissued in 1970, with a new musical score by Chaplin himself (who can be heard singing the theme song in the opening scenes).  All ages.

Wallace & Grommit in the Wrong Trousers

The second short film to feature the claymation antics of eccentric inventor Wallace and his dog Gromit, The Wrong Trousers sees the duo become unwitting accomplices to a jewel theft.  This Oscar-winner for "Best Animated Short" works both as a hilarious parody of film noir and as an exciting, action-packed adventure in its own right, combining skillful visual design and superb animation with inventive, witty storytelling.  All ages.

TUESDAY February 19th 2:00 PM

Tales of the Night

Tales of the Night is renowned animation auteur Michel Ocelot's first foray into 3D animation. A hit at the Berlin Film Festival, the film extends the earlier shadow puppet style of Ocelot's Princes and Princesses, with black silhouetted characters set off against exquisitely detailed Day-Glo backgrounds bursting with color and kaleidoscopic patterns - the subtle use of 3D creating a diorama-like effect. The film weaves together six exotic fables each unfolding in a unique locale, from Tibet, to medieval Europe, an Aztec kingdom, the African plains, and even the Land of the Dead. In Ocelot's storytelling, history blends with fairytale as viewers are whisked off to enchanted lands full of dragons, werewolves, captive princesses, sorcerers, and enormous talking bees - and each fable ends with its own ironic twist.  Ages 5 & up.

WEDNESDAY February 20th 2:00 PM 

The Great Bear

Jonathan, 11, usually spends his vacations alone with his grandfather who lives on the edge of a vast forest populated by mythical animals. This year his kid sister Sophie joins him. But it's not cool to be stuck with a little sister, so he does what he can to avoid her. He succeeds entirely too well: Sophie is kidnapped by a giant, 1000-year-old bear. Now, Jonathan has to venture into the heart of the forest to confront the strange beings that dwell there and rescue his sister. "The Great Bear" is Esben Toft Jacobsen's feature film debut.  Ages 7 & Up.

THURSDAY February 21st 2:00 PM 

Wickie and the Treasure of the Gods

When will little WICKIE finally become a real Viking? This question is giving his father HALVAR sleepless nights. But when Sven the Terrible kidnaps the chief of Flake, Wickie unexpectedly gets his big chance.  As deputy chief, he leads the Mighty Vikings as they set sail for the Cape of Fear and, after a whirlwind of adventures, reach Sven’s castle where Halvar is incarcerated. However, the greatest task still awaits the Viking troupe. They set off over raging oceans, tropical beaches and dangerous icy wastelands in pursuit of the legendary treasure of the Gods, pitting themselves against an equally determined Sven the Terrible – but Wickie wouldn’t be Wickie if he hadn’t a few tricks up his sleeve to prevent Sven getting there first. Ages 9 & Up.

FRIDAY February 22nd 2:00 PM 

Thief of Bagdad

In ancient Bagdad, Abu, a good-natured young thief (Sabu), befriends the deposed king Ahmad (John Justin) as both are imprisoned in the palace dungeon, awaiting execution under orders from the evil vizier Jaffar (Conrad Veidt), who has seized the throne. But they escape and make their way to Basra, where Ahmad, now living as a beggar, meets and falls in love with the Princess (June Duprez), who has been betrothed by her father the Sultan (Miles Malleson, who also wrote the screenplay) to Jaffar. Their fight for the love of the Princess triggers a series of adventures for the young Abu.  Along the way, we encounter a wide array of characters, some of them charming, such as the gentle Old King (Morton Selten), and some sinister, such as the devious Halima (Mary Morris), plus a range of color and lushly designed sets and set pieces (and special effects) that still dazzle the eye seven decades later, even in the wake of various remakes (which include Disney Studios' Aladdin). And it all leads to an amazing and suspenseful ride on a magic carpet, and a race against time to save the king and his beloved.  Ages 12 & Up.


Shorts that play before every film: SAF Cakovec Croatian films made by children 

Within a big family of amateur children's filmmaking in Croatia, one of the oldest members is SKOLA ANIMIRANOG FILMA (ANIMATED FILM WORKSHOP) from Cakovec (SAF).  With its specific organizational form (operating outside of the school structure), its working forms, its methods, and its unconventional communication between workshop leader and children, ŠAF anticipates a possible new modality of school education.  At the beginning of their work in SAF, children aged 8 to 12 years, in free creative play, make short animated films - older members sometimes even make more developed 'amateur' films.  The purpose of the children's activity in ŠAF is definitely not the education of future professional animators, but the development of serial cognition, imagination, perseverance, and values of cooperation and pride in one's work.

Some basic information about ŠAF:

- SAF was founded February 28th 1975, and from the beginning, Edo Lukman has been its head.

- from 1998 Jasminka Bijelic Ljubic started to work in studio as another instructor

- Over 160 short animated films (more than 4 hours in duration) have been created since 1975.

- More than 600 children have worked at least one year in the studio.

- SAF organized a number of animated film workshops in the schools and for the leaders of children's cinema clubs.

- 18 International animated film workshops have been organized.

- Since 1982 SAF has continuously cooperated with the Zagreb Animated Film Festival and has participated in a number of different international projects led by ASIFA.

- SAF has participated at a lot of international workshops (Odense, Annecy), and its leader, Edo Lukman, led over 140 workshop projects in Croatia and USA, France, Italy, Austria, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland...

- SAF members and their films were successfully presented at many important festivals of animated films throughout the world and many have received awards and recognition as a result of continuous and significant work.

Photo courtesy of ricko on Flickr. Image originally from The Artist.