Children’s International Film Festival

Film, Family
Hero dog Lassie with her owner, a young boy
Photograph: Supplied/CHIFF

Time Out says

The littlest movie buffs will be critiquing local and international kids’ films

We won’t indulge in the interminable cats v dogs debate (chill, folks, all animals are great), but what we will agree without hesitation is that Lassie is a very good doggo indeed. Which is why we’re pumped that a brand-new take on the all-time fave family classic, Lassie Come Home, will woof right into its Australian premiere at the Children’s International Film Festival (CHIFF).

It’s a pawsome start to the third annual showcase of movies for all ages at the Randwick Ritz. A heart-warming adventure re-imagining Eric Knight’s 1943 book for a new generation, the film features everyone favourite rough collie and her keen squishy wet nose for averting disaster and saving the day.

And who says cats and dogs can’t work together? Animated caper The Great Detective Sherlock Holmes: The Great Jail-Breaker features the world-famous sleuth portrayed as a woofster, with a puss in boots as his faithful sidekick Watson in this Hong Kong-made update. There are border collies and kitties plus a bevy of beautiful piggies in a special a special 25th anniversary screening of Babe (yes, we are that old), and more fawning over cute as heck Australian fauna in animated movie Daisy Quokka. It features an adorable marsupial of Rottnest Island fame attempting to win the ‘World’s Scariest Animal’ championship, with the help of a washed-up saltwater crocodile, a former title-holder, and features heaps of local vocal talent including Sam Neill, Lucy Durack, Frank Woodley, Grant Denyer and Angourie Rice.

If you’re not old enough to remember the kooky troll family Moomins first time round, we cannot recommend highly enough checking out the first three episodes of their dreamy new show Moominvalley. Inspired by Finnish author and artist Tove Jansson’s beloved work, the cute cartoon depicts their trippy but totally sweet antics as voiced by Jennifer Saunders, Rosamund Pike, Taron Egerton and Matt Lucas.

You can see vampires go head-to-head with pirates in the irreverently comic Captain Sabretooth and the Magic Diamond, watch a 10-year-old Estonian girl save a parliament of feathered hooters in Phantom Owl Forrest, and uncover a secret cat city in ‘80s-inspired Swedish adventure Pelle No-Tail.

CHIFF artistic director Thomas Caldwell says it has been a challenging year for everybody, but particularly parents and carers of young children. “That’s why it's more important than ever for CHIFF to deliver the best of what films from around the world have to offer and to give back to families the unique experience of attending a cinema and a world of imagination coming to life on the big screen.”

There's so much more to see, with the festival running from November 27 to December 13 at the Ritz, so you can conjure up a magical family night.

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