By Diane Ako
It's been 7 years since the inaugural KIDS FIRST! Film Festival at UH Manoa -- and some of the audience regulars have grown up from toddlers to tweens! I know our family has enjoyed this every summer for the past few years!
The award-winning UH Manoa KIDS FIRST! Film Festival presented by Outreach College returns in 2013 with another summer of quality family fun. KIDS FIRST! gives young people the excitement and thrill of attending a film festival just for them, at an affordable price for all the family -- free!
The KIDS FIRST! Film Festival 2013 screens on Sundays, June 23 & 30 and July 14 & 21 at 3:00 pm in the UH Manoa Art Auditorium (follow the balloons on campus; parking is free on Sundays). For complete information, visit www.summer.hawaii.edu or call 956-9883. The UH Manoa KIDS FIRST! Film Festival is supported in part by the Sidney Stern Memorial Trust.
The KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, a project of the Coalition for Quality Children's Media, partners each year with over 150 venues nationwide, reaching an audience of more than one million people, making it the largest kids' film festival in the world. Curated locally by UH Manoa's Outreach College to appeal to Hawai‘i audiences, KIDS FIRST! films are free of gratuitous violence; race, gender, or religious bias; inappropriate content; and condescension toward children. Age-appropriate groupings of films entertain through a balance of animation and live action, plus varied themes from different cultures. To add to the festivities, door prizes are awarded at all screenings. Parents, grandparents, friends and neighborhood kids -- everyone can enjoy the films because they're juried by kids, parents, teachers, and child advocates nationwide to qualify for the Festival.
This year, in addition to regular screenings in the UHM Art Auditorium, KIDS FIRST! partners with the Waikiki Aquarium in celebration of World Oceans month. On Wednesdays, June 12, 19, and 26, KIDS FIRST! films will screen throughout the day in the Aquarium's SeaVisions Theatre. On these days, children with a KIDS FIRST! coupon (downloadable at www.summer.hawaii.edu/kidsfirst) will be admitted to the Aquarium free with a paying adult. For information, visit www.waquarium.org or www.summer.hawaii.edu.
This summer's KIDS FIRST! Film Festival line-up is a varied mix of animation and live-action, comedy and drama, green shorts and shorts on sports -- from the US, Canada, Brazil, India and Singapore -- plus a world premiere from world's oceans! Here are the highlights:
UH Manoa Art Auditorium • 4 Sundays at 3pm • Free
June 23: (Ages 4+) World premiere of Sharks and Rays, from underwater filmmaker Annie Crawley -- an adventure with sharks and rays around the globe, including the world's first shark sanctuary in Palau. Screened with Gus Outdoors: Lizard Town -- another adventure in search of lizards, iguanas, and snakes with Gus, a six-year-old naturalist as host. Plus a short animated music video.
June 30: (Ages 8+) Nine award-winning short films whose characters never give up...from a robot left behind in space, to a cupcake searching for love, to everyday kids facing life with imagination and belief.
July 14: (Ages 5+) A short animated film about rainforests, I Wish I Went to Equador was made by pupils at the Bricknell Primary School in Britain. The film captured awards at festivals and the attention of Al Gore who called it "...a terrific commentary on climate change and its devastating impacts upon our planet." Plus a heartwarming feature film from Singapore about a girl who learns about the importance of trees...and how to save them from greedy developers with a bit of community organizing.
July 21: (Ages 10+) Young love, sports, competition, family, goals and dreams -- it's all there in this program of seven short films for the over-10 set.
Waikiki Aquarium • SeaVisions Theatre • 3 Wednesdays throughout the day • Children with coupon admitted to the Aquarium free with paying adult
Three films shot in oceans around the world from underwater cinematographer and educator, Annie Crawley:
June 12: What Makes a Fish a Fish?
June 19: Dive into Diversity
June 26: Who Lives in the Sea
Plus Once Upon a Tide and Plastic Perils of the Pacific which screen all three days.