37th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Fest

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The full schedule was announced for Facets 37th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF37) one of only two Academy Award-qualifying international children’s film festivals in the world.

Presented this year from Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 22, FACETS ever-popular signature program will be presented virtually in its entirety due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since FACETS launched the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival in 1984, we have been committed to curating film programs that are breathtaking in their beauty, skill, and innovation,” said Ann Vikstrom, Festival Director of FACETS. “But more importantly, CICFF films give youth the opportunity to watch empathy-driven, international films that speak directly to their experiences. This has always been important, but it is especially important at a time when kids and teens are entering their first full school year since the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Children's Film Festival

“262 films from 52 countries, with 20 features and 242 shorts in 81 shorts programs, the CICFF37 Official Selection will continue this trend, giving Chicago youth, families, and teachers an enriching, entertaining, and safe festival experience, said Vikstrom.” 

Programs will be presented as both general public and private school screenings.


ALSO READ: Applications open for Chicago Independent Producers Lab


Festival highlights – features

2040 (Australia, 2018, ages 11+), an imagining of the future of climate change and how it can be addressed and solved; the animation

DREAMBUILDERS (Denmark, 2020, ages 8+), a look at combined families as a tween enjoying her country life until her father’s fiancée and her daughter move in; Toronto International Film Festival opener 

OUR LADY OF THE NILE (France/Belgium/Rwanda, 2019, ages 16+), a fictional narrative set in pre-genocide Rwanda that finds teenage girls with the same dreams and concerns concurrent to growing tensions that lead to their lives–and those of a nation’s–changing forever; 

THE PEPPERCORNS AND THE TREASURE OF THE DEEP SEA (Germany, 2020, ages 11+), concerns five tweens in a race against time as they set out to save the world from plastic waste in the ocean; 

SKY RAIDERS (Israel, 2019, ages 11+) is the story of young pilots Yotam and Noa in a quest to bring a rare vintage plane back to life in time for the Annual Air Show; 

VALHALLA (Denmark/Norway/Sweden/Iceland, 2019, ages 11+) in which two Viking children–Røskva and Tjalfe and the gods Thor and Loki–embark on a journey to save Valhalla from the end of the world; 

VEINS OF THE WORLD (Germany/Mongolia, 2020, ages 11+) finds idealistic and gifted Amra, the son of a nomad herder, dreaming of acclaim by singing onMongolia’s Got Talent while also facing the sudden loss of his father, thrusting himself into the risky position of family breadwinner by going to work in the mining industry.


Festival highlights – shorts programs

FINE AND DANDY (animation; ages 2-5); empowerment, empathy, and problem-solving in 

ADVENTURES AWAIT (animation; ages 5-8), including the adaptation of the book The Snail and the Whale, narrated by the late Diana Rigg;

FINDING MY WAY (animation; ages 5-8), driving home that family is who you make in unexpected places while living outside of one’s comfort zone; 

DREAMERS WANTED (animation, documentary, and live-action; ages 8-10), looking at youth pursuing their hobbies and aspirations while growing empowerment along the way; 

EVERYDAY CHALLENGES, EVERYDAY SOLUTIONS (animation, live-action, documentary; ages 8-10) proving that one can live normal lives while achieving goals despite physical limitations, including shorts centered around girl empowerment; 

TOGETHER TIME (animation; ages 8-10), examining family ties, bonds, and traditions across generations; 

IDENTIFICATION STATION (animation, documentary; ages 11-13), looking at identity, uncertainty, and how one overcomes despite external circumstances and self-imposed limitations, including shorts focused on the refugee and indigenous experiences;

GRAB MY HAND: A LETTER TO MY DAD (animation, live-action; ages 11-13), examining identity and generations;

STRONG INDEPENDENT SPACE (animation; ages 11-13) sharing the common thread of protagonists trying to figure out their place in the world; 

POSTCARDS TO MYSELF (animation; ages 13+), a timely program as it addresses mental well-being and overcoming isolation by finding one’s support system;

ANIMATION MASTERS: STOP MOTION MAGIC (animation; ages 13+), a collection of stop-motion work by masters young and old, including past CICFF, Cannes, Annecy, Berlin, and Sundance award-winner Niki Lindroth von Bahr’s 

SOMETHING TO REMEMBER, a dry-eyed view of the modern world.


To maintain its longtime standing as one of the top children’s film festivals in the world, films presented in CICFF37 will be issued awards at its conclusion by the CICFF Professional Jury, Youth Jury, and Children’s Jury, including in the Academy Award-Qualifying Best Animated and Best Live-Action Short Film categories. CICFF juries are comprised of independent filmmakers, film industry professionals, educators, parents, and kids and teens who have graduated from FACETS Film 101 summer camp.

For more information about the 37th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival and purchase tickets VISIT HERE


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