I’m always looking for a good excuse to board the train that’s headed for the city. That excuse came my way last week when I won a double pass ticket to see a session of the Little Big Shots International Film Festival For Kids, courtesy of We Heart Books.
This festival begins in Melbourne (until June 13) but exhibits in other venues around Australia too. Read more about the festival here.
I’m a huge fan of storytelling in all its forms. In today’s case my daughter and I enjoyed stories communicated through the screen. My daughter is only two (some may say not quite old enough to be seeing films) so you’re probably correct in assuming that I was a little more excited than was she. But she walked away from the theatre as fulfilled and stimulated as I did.
My daughter was excited to be at the ACMI Cinemas, sitting in a large, dark theatre filled with a handful of mothers and their children, and a volume of Grade 3 and 4 students from Princes Hill Primary School (and can I just say that these children were brilliantly behaved. It was an honour to share the theatre with them and I was quietly impressed as I overheard them whisper their knowledgeable commentary of The Gruffalo (Parents are reading with these kids- yay!).
My daughter is a rule follower (bless her heart) and although she was not the responsibility of the primary school teachers she was quick to obey their instructions. She stopped talking and enthusiastically joined in with the ‘sshing’, and there the film-watching etiquette began.
We sat in the theatre for approximately one hour where my daughter learned a number of skills:
- Cues and story comprehension (e.g. laughing)
- Praise for artworks (e.g. clapping)
- Film Critique (e.g. ‘More’ and ‘I don’t like this movie anymore’
- Concentration and long-term engagement.
As a special treat, The Little Big Shots Film Festival is worth a visit for children of all ages.
Here’s our overview of Package 3:
An introduction to slapstick for kids. Screening Ormie was a great start to the festival. The theatre was full of laughs as we watched Ormie exercise every avenue to get his trotters on a jar of cookies that sat on top of a fridge, out of his reach. My daughter took the cue of the other laughing children until she understood what was happening to Ormie, the pig. Once she started laughing, there was no stopping her.
Naked Rat Mole Gets Dressed
This book by award winning author and illustrator, Mo Williams, is brought to life in an animation. It is a comical story about standing out from the crowd.
It was this short film that rendered my daughter a film critic. She became excited when I whispered into her ear at the start of this film that it was about Christmas (any child’s favourite time of the year). Half way through she was disappointed that she hadn’t sighted Ho Ho and declared ‘I don’t like this movie anymore’.
She may have been disappointed, but this film was a favourite of mine.
This short Aussie film is incredibly touching and has a message about the true meaning of Christmas. My own Christmas morning memories came rushing back, as I watched the young (and adorable) boy in this film try stealthily to create a surprise for his friend without being seen or heard.
I’m your typical eldest child: I’m a rule follower by nature. As a child, I thought I was the boss of my siblings, I liked to be in control and I liked things to be done my way. That all goes for Christmas morning too.
Memories of trying to contain my siblings in their bedrooms with fortresses and gaffer tape until the sun had risen. When they finally convinced me to break the rules and sneak out to look at our presents before Mum and Dad woke I demanded they patiently take turns at opening presents. They would certainly cop my wrath if they made any noise while fiddling with the packaging of their new toys.
Do you have Christmas morning memories that are similar? If so, you will love Toot Toot.
The Air Bear
This short film of 2 minutes had my daughter captivated and shouting for ‘more’. An ingenious artist creates an Air Bear made of plastic bags that comes to life when it captures the wind created by zooming trains in the subway. My daughter loved the bear and I loved watching the joy on the faces of the children in this film. It was delightful.
Impressive and inspiring! Witch’s Love is a claymation created by a class of Mexican children aged 6 to 13. I wonder if your kids could create something like this.
The Gruffalo, written by Julia Donaldson (recently crowned Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate (UK) , advocates story telling at its best. The message: It doesn’t matter how small and vulnerable you might be, if you’re armed with a good, captivating and believing story you can get yourself out of any situation as does the little brown mouse in this story who escapes the jaws of a fox, an owl, a snake and the Gruffalo.
The wonderful and classic story aside, the animation was spectacular. It had my daughter engaged for half an hour, and she was certainly trying to engage in conversation with the characters. I thoroughly appreciated the perspective of the animation that added an extra element of suspense to the story.
The Gruffalo is available through Pan Macmillan Australia in a range of formats: paperback, jigsaw book, activity book, magnet book, boxed set, sound book and party pack.
Will you be attending this year’s the Little Bog Shots International Film Festival For Kids? If you’re seeing a different package, be sure to pop back and tell us about the films.