Film series for kids in NYC
Had your fill of holiday megamovies? Check out the small wonders at these indie cinemas.
Wed Dec 16 2009
Tribeca Cinema Kids Club
Year after year, the plump holiday season offers dollops of Hollywood family films from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. January, though, is associated with stir-crazy clans stuck in their apartments, where the best entertainment option is a 20th showing of Finding Nemo. But fear not: Sympathetic souls who happen to program local film series have cooked up a tasty stew of big-screen selections—some familiar, others delightfully unusual.
Big Movies for Little Kids
This series, set up at the Cobble Hill Cinemas on alternate Mondays, is enjoying its fifth anniversary as a key provider of child-pleasing entertainment from around the world. "We believe in the theater experience," says Teri Cunningham, who with business partner Allison Prete ensures that the details—stroller parking, softer sound, low ambient theater light, aisles that are open for running—make this a convenient and practical outing for parents. "It's okay to talk, ask questions and laugh out loud," Cunningham adds. "It's not church or a library." The programming is admirably international, introducing foreign film stars such as Krtek and the Czech mole Pingu the Swiss penguin. On January 25, check out the rarely screened, animated Yellow Submarine (1968), in which the Beatles must save psychedelic Pepperland from the Blue Meanies.
It may surprise some people to know that the venerable museum never fails to make time for kids' programming. This month brings a two-tiered viewing experience. On January 16 you'll find "All Mixed Up!," a group of short films including "Blueberries for Sal" and "The Emperor's New Clothes" that are all appropriate for children as young as four. For older kids, the modern-art mecca is unspooling Tim Burton's gothic romance Edward Scissorhands as part of its ongoing "Films for Tweens" series.
New York International Children's Film Festival
For more than a decade, the New York International Children's Film Festival has brought eclectic, groundbreaking works to town during its annual event (February 26--March 14, at six local venues). Also known for its year-round screenings at the IFC Center in the Village, NYICFF ventures uptown to Symphony Space this year with Saturday fare for kids of all ages. Among the highlights: "Winter Wondershorts" (January 23), three stop-motion animation films from Russia, Canada and Sweden, which had been hard to program because of their brief running times. For that reason, founder Eric Beckman calls these films rare treats for families: "All three are just gorgeous." On January 30, marvel at Animal Treasure Island, a little-known 1971 animated film overseen by a then-unheard-of Hayao Miyazaki.
Tribeca Cinemas Kids Club
"We're trying to bring classics to the next generation," says Nancy Schafer, executive director of the Tribeca Film Festival, of the inaugural season of its children's program. "It's good to see really little kids engaging with cinema for the first time." TFF has always hosted family events during its spring festival, from street fairs to screenings; this series extends the initiative into the school year, on alternate Saturdays at its theater on Varick at Laight Street. On January 9, see a double feature of Oscar-winner Albert Lamorisse's acclaimed shorts The Red Balloon (presented with a balloon artist on hand) and White Mane. And on January 23 comes E.T., the 2002 reissue for which Spielberg added new scenes and digitally removed guns from the Feds' hands.