40th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival Nov 2-19

FACETS 40th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF), the first Academy Award qualifying international children’s film festival in the world, opens this Friday, Nov. 3 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 19.   

As part of the 40th Anniversary celebration, FACETS is honored to present filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry with a special award, The CICFF Inspire Award, opening night at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St. The award is given to a filmmaker who influences and inspires filmmakers to create empowering and positive messages for young audiences.  Cherry’s Oscar-winning project “Hair Love,” about an African American father attempting to do his daughters hair for the first time, won the 2020 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film and has an accompanying six-time New York Times Bestselling picture book. The groundbreaking short film addresses the need for representation and diverse storytelling in animation, normalizes natural hair (in the face of issues addressed by the CROWN Act) and addresses gender norms. “Hair Love” was adapted into the animated television series “Young Love” which premiered this fall and is currently streaming on Max.

The festival will offer in-person screenings as well as limited festival selections available via national streaming. The in-person screenings will take place at FACETS Cinema,Logan Center for the Arts, Music Box Theatre and The Kehrein Center For The Arts with special events happening at other venues around Chicago including Chicago History Museum and AMC NEWCITY 14.  CICFF showcases films for ages 2 – 18 years old and their families. General ticket prices are $12 for in-person and virtual screening, with festival passes and FACETS’ Member discounts available.  

Tickets are on sale now, ticket buyers should visit here: cicff40.eventive.org/ to purchase tickets and see the current schedule.


CICFF40 Opening Event (Friday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m.)CICFF40’s Red Carpet Opening at Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St. with live entertainment, a special screening of family friendly short films and reception celebrating the festival’s 40th anniversary. 

“My First Movies” Event (Sunday, Nov. 5): A family friendly event at AMC New City 14, 1500 N. Clybourn Ave., geared for the youngest viewers. Multiple screenings of age-appropriate shorts for children ages 2-5 years old with special attention paid to what will make their first movie experience a delight. For an added treat, FACETS provides opportunities for hands-on play activities and live music for  sing-alongs. 

Animation Celebration Event (Saturday, Nov. 11 at 10 a.m)CICFF will celebrate the best animated shorts at Chicago History Museum, 1601 N Clark St., with some new and some fan favorites, showcasing a variety of animation styles. FACETS also offers an animation workshop for budding animators and festive food offerings.

Every year FACETS’ Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF) is proud to present a diverse selection of high-quality films for children and teens from around the world. For the 2023 season, CICFF’s carefully curated selection of several virtual and in-person screenings will fall in five major age brackets:

  • My First Movies (Ages 2 – 5 years old)
  • Storytellers(Ages 6 – 8 years old)
  • Adventurers(Ages 8-10 years old)
  • Film Mavens (Ages 11-14 years old)
  • Cineastes (Ages 14 and older)

My First Movies (Ages 2 – 5 years old)CICFF40’s “My First Movies” program strand provides a movie going experience geared towards the youngest viewers, ages 2 – 5 years old, with attention given to high quality content that is diverse and age appropriate. FACETS is intentional in creating an environment that supports the needs and behaviors of young children. They introduce the film program and allow parents to answer questions that may arise while watching, FACETS expects that children might speak out loud sometimes and also expect giggles, belly laughs and a little surprise now and then. No need for embarrassment if children need to get up or walk out to the lobby or spend time in the activity area in the studio space next to the cinema.

Storytellers (Ages 6 – 8 years old): Content for this age group tends to focus on stories from around the world. These could be tall tales, legends from different cultures or amazing adventures that stir the imagination. The accompanying activities will be art activities that allow children to respond to what they have seen creatively and imagine what happens next.

Adventurers (Ages 8 – 10 years old): For ages 8-10, CICFF provides thoughtful films picked to engage kids in new and surprising ways, focusing on programming for curious minds that supports growth development and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and empowering films for girls.

Film Mavens (Ages 11-14 years old): For ages 11-14 CICFF provides programming that addresses the complexity of coming of age with sensitivity. These young people are coming into their own and the programming assumes that they are the inquisitive, thoughtful and passionate beings they are.

Cineastes (Ages 14+): From the climate crisis to LGBTQ+ rights, these films inspire important conversations.

“This year marks the 40th annual FACETS’ CICFF, celebrating the past, present and future of youth cinema from around the world,” said Deidre Searcy, FACETS festival program director. “We are delighted to shine a spotlight and roll out the red carpet for the best films produced for young people ages 2 – 18 and their families. Join us for opening night at the Chicago History Museum for films and family friendly live entertainment. Be sure to check out films for the very youngest audiences at AMC New City or enjoy a celebration of animation with films and make your own animation workshop at the Chicago History Museum.” 

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