Children from kindergarten through high school have an opportunity to participate in the ANDkids World Film Festival from Wednesday through Saturday, July 24 to 27, at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.
Ted Barron, senior associate director of the center, is recruiting volunteers from campus families and the broader community to review and introduce films and to create their own short films along the themes of the festival.
“One of the things that’s unique about the festival is the participation of kids from the community,” Barron says.
This is the fifth annual festival. At first, children participated as ushers at the festival, but opportunities have expanded over the years, including recent roles as narrators of subtitled films.
“We’ve had kids introducing films who were as young as 5 or 6,” Barron says. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to get up and have a public speaking experience for maybe the first time in their life.”
The introductions are based on reviews of 90 to 120 words that the children write after viewing advance copies of the dozen films from around the world that will be screened at the festival. The reviews are posted on the center’s website.
This year’s festival includes a mix of films aimed at both younger and older children, in addition to a live performance by Third Coast Percussion, the center’s ensemble-in-residence, Barron says.
“When we program the festival, we’ve gone in a couple of different directions,” he says. “Some years we’ve gone very young in terms of the programming. Then we started to see good quality films that were geared toward an older audience, like tweens and up. That kind of dominated the festival last year.
“This year I think we’ve struck a really nice balance that appeals to ages across the board. Even teenagers will find things to enjoy during the festival.”
The films are “Invisible Men” (1906), “The Red Balloon” (1956), “Animal Kingdom” (2013), “For the Beauty of the Earth” (2013), “B-Boy” (2012), “The Zig Zag Kid” (2012), “Zarafa” (2012), “Short and Sweet” (2013), “Caleidoscopo! Films from Latin America” (2013), “Continent Hop” (2013), “Approved for Adoption” (2012), “Meet the Small Potatoes” (2012), “Pathwaves” (2013), “Kauwboy” (2012), and “From Up On Poppy Hill” (2012).
Reviewers are usually from the target age group or slightly older to provide perspective. Starting last year, children were invited to submit films they made by recreating their favorites movies. The films are two minutes or less.
“This year we’ve asked them to draw on some of the themes of the festival in any submissions they’ll give us,” Barron says. “It’s always nice to see when the things are truly generated by the kids themselves. We showed them as shorts before the main feature. You’d see a lot of families doing it together. We get a good cross section of ages and interests.”
The festival is supported by the Lauran E. and Justin L. Tuck Endowment for Children’s Programming and by WNIT Public Television. Admission is free, but tickets are required. For more information, visit performingarts.nd.edu/andkids/ or email ANDkids@nd.edu.