Two-Time Grammy Award winning, local artist Bill Harley providing opening night remarks along with a performance. An animated short film adaptation of one of his songs won last year’s Audience Choice Award.
Nine shorts programs created from over 800 films considered for this year’s festival. Animation of all types are included in every reel but so are documentaries, experimental films and dance.
Three shorts reels from two other festivals. For nine years the New York International Children’s Film Festival has been invited to show the films they thought were their best. This year they have an animated shorts reel along with a spanish language reel. The Wild & Scenic Film Festival from California will show a compilation of films they created for young minds. WILD CHILD 2020 presents multiple films of kids interacting and learning about nature all with the hope of improving the world.
Twelve feature films are also a part of the festival. Some of the highlights are:
Last year a Norwegian film walked away with the Audience Choice Award. This year it just might be Sweden (SUNE vs. SUNE) or the Netherlands (MY EXTRAORDINARY SUMMER WITH TESS). Both have walked away with many international Audience Choice Awards in the past year.
In the vein of “never forget your past” a classic film or two is included. We are bringing a Marx Brothers film to our festival, A NIGHT AT THE OPERA. Along with the Australian film, BABE which turns 25 years old.
Documentaries are a key part of every festival and have garnered many Audience Choice Awards in the past. This year both documentaries presented are focused on improving our environment. MICROPLASTIC MADNESS follows a group of 4th & 5th graders trying to take plastics out of their school and lives. MR. TOILET: The World’s #2 Man is as funny as it is serious about tackling the problem of the lack of proper sanitation around the world and how it can affect billions of people.
Several feature films this year feature very unique narratives. In ROMY’S SALON it is the granddaughter that first notices her grandmother suffering from early dementia. Also in the “narrative first” department is GOOD GAME: The Beginning. E-sports is the fastest growing spectator sport in the world right now. This high suspense film follows one gamer’s quest to win it all but at what cost?!
Feature animation film highlight this year is AWAY from Estonia. Do you think your child can handle a dialog-less film for 65 mins? This high suspense chase film done in an imaginary world is equal parts stunningly beautiful and full of potential dread. The action and film score will keep you on the edge of your seats the whole time.
Connecting the films shown every year to the community we live in is very important to us. We take a theme or element from a film’s narrative and invite a person/organization to come and speak about how the film connects to our local community after multiple screenings. This year we have confirmed that Save The Bay and the Narragansett Bay Commission will present what they are doing to address the issues brought up in the films MICROPLASTIC MADNESS and MR. TOILET.
Two film related special presentations are also happening this year. Producer Kim Wright from Sesame Street will speak at Acoustic Java on how to make an effective pitch for your film or film talents on Saturday, February 22nd. Along with a presentation put on with the R.I. Refugee Dream Center and RISD.
Finally, it wouldn’t be our film festival without the ever popular Youth Filmmaker Shows. These shows present films submitted from as close as Providence to as far away as Uzbekistan. Seeing what young filmmakers are creating gives you amazing insight into what is on their minds for our future.