TIFF Kids: Some Not-So-Final Thoughts

Sunday April 21, 2013

I was hoping to blog about the TIFF Kids International Film Festival as it happened, but since the 2013 festival is in its final few hours as I write this, some post-festival wrap-up will have to suffice.

The Feature Films

During this year's festival, I managed to see seven of the feature films, and I enjoyed every one of them. They were all international productions and so will likely be hard to find again here in Canada, but if you do get the chance I would recommend any of them. I'll do write-ups on at least a few of them individually, but in the meantime here's a quick list, in the order of TIFF's recommended ages:

Ages 6-8
  • Casper and Emma - Best Friends (Norway, 2012) || IMDB || YouTube
Ages 8-10
  • Ernest and Celestine (France/Belgium/Luxembourg, 2011) || IMDB || YouTube
Ages 8-12
  • The Diary of Summer (China, 2010) || YouTube
  • Stepping on the Flying Grass (Indonesia, 2011) || IMDB || YouTube
Ages 9-13
Ages 10-13
  • Igor and the Cranes' Journey (Israel/Poland/Germany, 2012) || IMDB || YouTube
  • Victor and the Secret of Crocodile Mansion (Germany, 2012) || IMDB || YouTube (dubbed) 
Of course if you're outside Toronto you may get to see some of these at a children's film festival near you, as I've learned there are actually quite a few such festivals that take place every year (there were even some young delegates from the Providence Children's Film Festival at the TIFF Kids industry events!)

The Short Films 

TIFF Kids 2013 also offered a vary satisfying collection of short films ranging from one-minute long animations to twenty-plus minute live action films, and everything in between. Since I saw well over a dozen different shorts I won't go into too much detail right now, but I will say that one of my favourite films* of the festival was a twenty minute live action short from Australia called "The Amber Amulet." Unfortunately the entire film isn't available online, but I did find the trailer on Vimeo, and since the movie was based on a novella by Craig Silvey, I also have a new author to investigate!

The Industry Events

I've known about TIFF Kids (which used to be called Sprockets) for several years, and I always meant to go see a few films, but never quite got there. What I didn't realize until this year is that in addition to the screenings, there are also events aimed at those who work in children's entertainment. I would have found that news exciting no matter what, but when I got really excited was when I saw these folks on the schedule:

There was a Sesame Workshop masterclass! And it was fantastic! I really wish there were still Canadian Sesame Street segments being made here so I could be begging someone for a junior-writer/even-more-junior puppeteer job.

I also learned a lot from the other panels and roundtables and, after awkwardly standing around at the early networking events, eventually met some very nice people (I am TERRIBLE at networking events. I'm hoping that I'll get better with practice, but it doesn't look good).

In Non-Conclusion

I'm still planning to write in more detail about the movies and my experiences with the industry events, but before the festival gets too far past I just wanted to say that I highly recommend the annual TIFF Kids festival to families, educators, filmmakers, and of course, kids! 

I had a great time, and I'm looking forward to TIFF Kids 2014.

*While I was writing this it was announced that "The Amber Amulet" won a prize at the festival, so I guess I wasn't the only one who loved it. :)