SLIFF/Kids – Children’s Film Festival Begins Tonight in St. Louis

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SLIFF/Kids opens tonight! I’m planning on attending tonight’s show and tomorrow night’s as well. This should be a great, Free, event and hopefully will turn into an annual fest.

Did we mention everything is free!!!

Cinema St. Louis introduces SLIFF/Kids, the First Annual St. Louis International Children’s Film Festival, presented by PNC Arts Alive. With a half-dozen presenting partners, CSL will offer film programs, camps, and a workshop as part of SLIFF/Kids, which is held from July 26-Aug. 4, 2013. A total of 14 film programs will be screened on the fest’s two weekends (July 26-28 and Aug. 2-4) at Webster University, the St. Louis Public Library, the Missouri History Museum, Washington University, Lindenwood University, and the Wildey Theatre. With the participation of both Lindenwood and Webster universities, filmmaking camps on live action and animation will be held at the St. Louis Public Library’s Creative Experience on the fest’s weekdays (July 29-Aug. 2). And on Aug. 3, a full-day animation workshop will be held at the Saint Louis Art Museum. The SLIFF/Kids film programs and camps will be offered free of charge; a modest fee will be charged for the animation workshop, but all supplies and materials will be provided.

To read about the SLIFF/Kids special guests of honor, go HERE

Here are the SLIFF/Kids Venues:
• Lindenwood University’s Young Hall Auditorium: Watson and Houston streets (one block west of South Kingshighway and Watson Street), St. Charles. Parking is available next to Young Hall; no permits are required.
• Missouri History Museum’s Lee Auditorium: Forest Park, 5700 Lindell Blvd. (at DeBaliviere Avenue).
• Ronnies 20 Cine: 5320 S. Lindbergh Blvd. Attendees should go to the box office when they arrive at the theater to obtain complimentary tickets.
• Saint Louis Art Museum: Forest Park, 1 Fine Arts Dr.
• St. Louis Public Library’s Central Library Auditorium (screenings) and Creative Experience (camps): 1301 Olive St. downtown.
• Washington University’s Brown Hall Auditorium: Forsyth Boulevard and Chaplin Drive (two blocks west of Skinker Boulevard). Parking is available in the lots between Skinker Boulevard and Chaplin Drive; no permits are required.
• Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium: Webster Hall, 470 E. Lockwood Ave. Parking is available both in front of and behind Webster Hall; no permits are required.
• Wildey Theatre: 252 N. Main St., Edwardsville, Ill.

SLIFF/Kids opens tonight, July 26th,  at Webster University with Send in the Clowns: A Celebration of Slapstick and Silent Comedians


LIFF/Kids kicks off with a laugh-filled evening of slapstick fun both on screen and on stage. The program features live music and clown performances and a trio of classic silent-film shorts by some of cinema’s funniest comedians:

  • Charlie Chaplin becomes involved with a found pooch and stolen loot in “A Dog’s Life” (Charles Chaplin, 1918, 33 min.).
  • Buster Keaton attempts to build a prefab house in “One Week” (Edward F. Cline & Buster Keaton, 1920, 24 min.).
  • Laurel and Hardy sell Christmas trees door to door in “Big Business” (James W. Horne & Leo McCarey, 1929, 19 min.).

The Rats and People Motion Picture Orchestra’s Matt Pace accompanies the Keaton and Laurel and Hardy films on piano, and live clowning is provided before, between, and after the films by Sammich the Tramp and the Knock-a-bouts and Circus Kaput’s Oh My Gosh Josh. Recommended for all ages.


Alfie, the Little Werewolf

Directed by Joram Lürsen
Netherlands, 2011, 98 min., in Dutch with English subtitles
Show Times
Sat, Jul 27th at 12:00pm
Central Library

Based on the popular series by Dutch children’s book writer Paul van Loon, “Alfie, the Little Werewolf” chronicles the adventures of the young hero, who has no idea what is happening when, on the night of his seventh birthday, he changes into a small, white, furry animal. By the light of the full moon, the little wolf runs through the park and the neighbors’ gardens, chasing chickens and ducks. The next morning, Alfie wakes up as himself, an ordinary little boy. He now realizes why he has always felt so different from his foster parents and his foster brother: He’s a werewolf. But sensitive little Alfie doesn’t want to be different. He just wants to be normal, like everybody else. He’s afraid his father and mother won’t want to have anything to do with him once they find out he is a werewolf. So Alfie wants to keep it a secret at any cost, but that’s not as easy as it seems. After all, there’s a full moon every month.

Recommended for ages 8 and older


Wolf Children

Directed by Mamoru Hosoda
2012, Japan, 117 min., in Japanese with English subtitles
Show Times
Sat, Jul 27th at 1:00pm
Lindenwood U.
Sat, Aug 3rd at 7:00pm
Washington U./Brown
Sun, Aug 4th at 1:00pm
Wildey Theatre

“Wolf Children” is the brilliant third feature from Mamoru Hosoda, whose “Summer Wars” and “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” have established him as one of the world’s top creative forces in animation. The film begins with a romance between student Hana and a mysterious outcast who sits in on her college lecture. It turns out that Hana’s beau is actually part wolf, but love conquers all differences. However, when the couple has children, Ame and Yuki, they follow in their father’s pawprints, with the rambunctious bundles of joy transforming into wolves when excited. Circumstances eventually force Hana to raise her changeling children on her own, and it proves no easy task. To maintain the family secret, Hana escapes to the country, turning a dilapidated farmhouse into a loving home, where each child is free to pursue its wolfish and human sides. “Wolf Children” is a stunningly animated and heartfelt fable about growing up, growing apart, and the choices faced along the way.

Recommended for ages 9 and older


Tom Sawyer and His Friends (Tom und Hacke) 

Directed by Norbert Lechner
Germany, 2012, 90 min., in German with English subtitles
Show Times
Sat, Jul 27th at 2:30pm
Central Library

Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer” is seamlessly transposed to post-World War II Bavaria in “Tom Sawyer and His Friends.” After the death of his parents during the war, Tom moves in with his Aunt Polly, but times remain hard even after the fighting ends. When Tom accidentally damages the sewing machine with which his aunt earns her difficult living, the rambunctious boy must find a means of replacing it. With his homeless friend Hacke (the Huckleberry Finn equivalent), Tom searches for a purported hidden treasure, but they run afoul of black marketer Ami-Joe when the boys witness a murder in the graveyard. Recent arrival Biggi (the Becky character) becomes entangled in the action, and the trio must scramble to save both themselves and Tom’s family’s livelihood. Despite the changes in time and place, “Tom Sawyer and His Friends” remarkably captures the essential elements of Twain’s classic story.

Recommended for ages 9 and older


Tio Papi

Directed by Fro Rojas
U.S., 2013, 90 min.
Show Times
Sat, Jul 27th at 7:00pm
MO History Museum

Hard-working but fun-loving Ray Ray Dominguez (Joey Dedio) lives a bachelor’s life and dreams of leaving the New York City barrio for a more carefree existence in Miami. But one day everything changes, and he becomes a reluctant “Tio Papi,” or Uncle Daddy, to his sister’s six children, whose ages range from 6 to 16. Now, in charge of raising this energetic (and expensive) clan, Ray Ray must make important decisions on what life really is all about. Combining heart-warming drama with light-hearted comedy, “Tio Papi” is an upbeat story of life’s unexpected surprises and what ultimately matters the most – the love of family. The “Tio Papi” cast includes Kelly McGillis (“Top Gun”) and Frankie Faison (“The Wire”).

Screenwriter/star Joey Dedio introduces the program and participates in a post-screening Q&A. Recommended for ages 10 and older.

Read the WAMG interview with Joey Dedio HERE


The Painting (Le Tableau)

Jean-Francois Laguionie
France/Japan, 2012, 78 min.
Show Times
Sun, Jul 28th at 1:00pm
Wildey Theatre
Sat, Aug 3rd at 1:00pm
Lindenwood U.

In this wryly inventive parable, a kingdom within a painting is divided into three castes: the impeccably colored Alldunns, the incomplete Halfies, and the barely outlined (and outcast) Sketchies. Chastised for her forbidden love of the dashing Ramo, Claire runs away into the cursed forest. Ramo and his friends journey after her, crossing over the boundaries of the forest only to arrive at the very edge of the painting – where they tumble through the canvas and into the Painter’s studio. The abandoned workspace is strewn with paintings, each containing its own vividly animated world and characters. In a feast for both the eyes and the imagination, Ramo and his fellow adventurers explore picture after picture, in a quest to both find Claire and discover just what the Painter has in mind for his creations.

Recommended for ages 8 and older


Moon Man

Stephan Schesch
France/Germany/Ireland, 2013, 95 min.
Show Times
Sun, Jul 28th at 1:30pm
Central Library

“Moon Man” is adapted from the beloved bestseller by Tomi Ungerer, one of the world’s most acclaimed writers of children’s books. If only Moon Man knew how much children loved him, but he’s not even remotely aware — sitting on the moon, he’s bored stiff in his lonely silver sphere. One night, Moon Man seizes his chance to escape: Grabbing a speeding comet by the tail, he hitches a ride to Earth. This “attack from outer space” sets the alarm bells ringing in the presidential headquarters. The President, who has only recently conquered the last speck of Earth and defeated all his enemies, is furious: His dominion is being challenged by aliens from another planet! The President and his soldiers set off to capture this mysterious intuder, but the only traces they find are silvery footprints near the edge of a crater. While his pursuers hunt for him, the Moon Man sets off on a long journey – a trip on which he marvels at the many wonders the Earth has to offer and finally realizes just how much children love and need him.

Recommended for all ages


Lotte and the Moonstone Secret 

Directed by Janno Poldma & Heiki Ernits
Estonia/Latvia, 2011, 72 min., in English
Show Times
Sun, Jul 28th at 3:30pm
Central Library

Lotte the girl-dog is featured in this utterly charming cartoon featuring the wacky townspeople of Gadgetville, who specialize in creating kooky contraptions and having cheery adventures. While reminiscing about a past adventure, Lotte’s Uncle Klaus tells the story of how he and his friends came to find three magical stones in a hidden temple. Lotte wants to unlock the secret of their power, so she convinces her uncle to go on a trip to find his old buddies and piece together the mystery. However, what Lotte and Uncle Klaus don’t know is that they are being followed by two Moon Rabbits – whose only hope of getting back home is locked up in those very same stones! A gentle and quirky journey filled with a cast of silly characters, “Lotte and the Moonstone Secret” is richly rendered, warm-hearted, good-natured fun for audiences of all ages.

Recommended for all ages



Directed by David Sheinmann
U.K., 2013, 94 min., in English
Show Times
Sun, Jul 28th at 7:00pm
MO History Museum

Set in 1984, “Believe” is a funny and touching fictional tale about the legendary Manchester United soccer-team manager Sir Matt Busby (Brian Cox), who helps a wayward boy fulfill his dream. An act of petty crime by 11-year-old Georgie (Jack Smith) becomes a collision of fate as Sir Matt tracks him down, only to discover that the boy is an extraordinarily gifted footballer and captain of a team of unruly talents. Having lived with soccer all his life and survived the tragic 1958 Munich plane disaster, in which eight of his young players were killed, Sir Matt is still committed to continue his work of “training lads for life.” So begins a thrilling adventure as Sir Matt comes out of retirement to transform a young group of scallywags into a dream team. Before that can happen, however, several obstacles must be overcome, especially Georgie’s skeptical mom (Natascha McElhone).

Recommended for ages 10 and older


Michael Sporn: Personal Best

Michael Sporn
Approx. 120 min. (91 min. of film), in English
Show Times
Fri, Aug 2nd at 7:00pm
Washington U./Brown

Animator Michael Sporn selects a collection of personal favorites from his large and impressive filmography:

  • The Hunting of the Snark (1989, 19 min.), an adaptation of the Lewis Carroll poem.
  • Lyle, Lyle Crocodile (1987, 26 mi.), an adaptation of the Bernard Waber book.
  • The Man Who Walked Between Towers (2005, 12 min.), an adaptation of the Mordicai Gerstein book.
  • The Marzipan Pig (1990, 26 min.), an adaptation of the Russell Hoban book.
  • Mona, Mon Amour (2001, 8 min.), an original animated story.

Michael Sporn introduces the program and participates in a post-screening Q&A. Recommended for all ages


Disney’s Planes in 3D

Directed by Klay Hall
U.S., 2013, running time TBD, Ronnies 20 Cine
Show Times
Sat, Aug 3rd at 10:00am

From above the world of “Cars” comes “Disney’s Planes,” an action-packed 3D animated comedy adventure featuring Dusty (voice of Dane Cook), a plane with dreams of competing as a high-flying air racer. But Dusty’s not exactly built for racing – and he happens to be afraid of heights. So he turns to a seasoned naval aviator who helps Dusty qualify to take on the defending champ of the race circuit. Dusty’s courage is put to the ultimate test as he aims to reach heights he never dreamed possible, giving a spellbound world the inspiration to soar. The talented voice cast also includes Val Kilmer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Brad Garrett, Stacy Keach, Anthony Edwards, John Cleese, and St. Louis’ own Cedric the Entertainer. “Disney’s Planes” takes off in theaters in 3D on Aug. 9 and will be presented in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.

Attendees for this show should go to the Ronnies box office when they arrive at the theater to obtain complimentary tickets. Rated G. Recommended for all ages


Return to Oz

Directed by Walter Murch
U.S., 1985, 110 min.
Show Times
Sat, Aug 3rd at 12:00pm
Central Library

Dorothy makes another trip to the Emerald City in “Return to Oz,” Disney’s under-seen 1985 “Wizard of Oz” quasi-sequel. Based on L. Frank Baum’s “Oz” books, the film takes Dorothy (played by Fairuza Balk) back to the land of her dreams, where she makes both delightful new friends (like Tik Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead, and the Gump) and dangerous new enemies (the creepy Wheelers, the head-hunting Princess Mombi, and the evil Nome King). New surprises await Dorothy and her pals – including a new take on the classic trio of the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow – around every turn in the Yellow Brick Road. A darker, scarier work than the much-loved MGM musical, “Return to Oz” is more faithful to the spirit of Baum’s books and has gained a deserved reputation as a classic in its own right.

The program includes a selection of shorts created during SLIFF/Kids’ Filmmaking Camps. Recommended for ages 10 and older


A Letter to Momo

Directed by Hiroyuki Okiura
Japan, 2012, 120 min., in Japanese with English subtitles
Show Times
Sat, Aug 3rd at 2:30pm
Central Library

“A Letter to Momo” is a wonderfully expressive and beautifully hand-drawn tale that combines bursts of whimsy and kinetic humor with deep felt emotion and drama. The last time Momo saw her father they had a fight – and now all she has left to remember him by is an incomplete letter that he had started to write her, a piece of paper with the words “Dear Momo” but nothing more. Moving with her mother from bustling Tokyo to the remote Japanese island of Shio, Momo soon discovers three goblins living in her attic, a trio of mischievous spirit creatures who have been assigned to watch over her and that only she can see. The goblins are also perpetually famished, and they begin to wreak havoc on the formerly tranquil island, ransacking pantries and ravaging orchards. But these funny monsters also have a serious side, and they may hold the key to helping Momo understand what her father had been trying to tell her.

Recommended for ages 9 and older

Michael Sporn: By the Book

Michael Sporn
Approx. 110 min. (86 min. of film), in English
Show Times
Sun, Aug 4th at 1:30pm
Central Library

Animator Michael Sporn chooses a half-dozen of his adaptations of classic children’s books:

  • Abel’s Island (1988, 26 min.), an Emmy-nominated adaptation of the William Steig book.
  • Doctor De Soto (1984, 10 min.), an Oscar®-nominated adaptation of the William Steig book.
  • Monty (1992, 8 min.), an adaptation of the James Stevenson book.
  • Morris’s Disappearing Bag (1982, 8 min.), an adaptation of the Rosemary Wells book.
  • The Red Shoes (1990, 26 min.), an adaptation of the H.C. Andersen tale.
  • What’s Under My Bed? (1989, 8 min.), an adaptation of the James Stevenson book.

Michael Sporn introduces the program and participates in a post-screening Q&A. Recommended for all ages.



Directed by Boudewijn Koole
Netherlands, 2012, 81 min., in Dutch with English subtitles
Show Times
Sun, Aug 4th at 3:30pm
Central Library

The Netherlands’ official entry for the Oscars® and winner of the Best First Feature Award at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival, “Kauwboy” is a tender portrait of a boy struggling to come to terms with a family that’s not what it once was. With his country-singer mother absent, Jojo lives alone with his security-guard father, a man of few words, who is quick to anger and has seemingly no affection for his 10-year-old son. Left to his own devices, Jojo discovers an abandoned baby crow in the woods near their house and finds solace in caring for this small creature, who is even more alone and vulnerable than he is. Bringing the crow home, Jojo strives to hide the bird from his dad to avoid the inevitable outburst that would attend its discovery. But what really drives the drama is the questionable whereabouts of Jojo’s mother, who seems never to return from tour. “Kauwboy” is a beautifully cinematic, bittersweet film that explores issues of loss and sorrow, while painting a joyfully upbeat picture of acceptance and love.

Recommended for ages 10 and older


Standing Up

Directed by D. J. Caruso
U.S., 2013, min.
Show Times
Sun, Aug 4th at 7:00pm
Washington U./Brown

Based on “Goat Island,” the classic young adult novel by Brock Cole, “Standing Up” is an adventure about resilience and friendship. Twelve-year-old Grace and Howie, shy and awkward, become the victims of a cruel prank at summer camp. Stranded by their fellow campers on a wooded island without their clothes, the two are expected to be found, tearful and scared, the next morning. But from the moment they meet each other, Grace and Howie decide not to become the “goats” of Camp Tall Pines, and they surprise everyone with their actions. With nerve and ingenuity, the two youngsters team up and go on the run for three days of freedom, friendship, and growing up.

Production executive Jere Hausfater, a St. Louis native, introduces the program and participates in a post-screening Q&A. Recommended for ages 10 and older.


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