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ST. JOSEPH — The Coastline Children’s Film Festival announces the unveiling of its 11th annual international children’s film festival. This one-of-a-kind family event takes place virtually for the first time from March 12-21, 2021

Organizers have partnered with Eventive Virtual to bring an on-demand version of the March festival – viewable in Michigan and Indiana only – where the best seats are at home is the theme. A pay what you can option at checkout allows folks to make a modest donation in any amount. Participants can also enjoy any film free by selecting $0. The festival includes seven feature films, three documentaries and three KID FLICKS programs from the New York International Children’s Film Festival.

The fifty films planned for this year speak positively to children and families and include films that have been screened across the globe – “Marona’s Fantastic Tale” (Ages 9+) is a beautiful and deeply emotional animated story of an average dog and her extraordinary life. The Dutch film “Jackie & Oopjen” (Ages 9+), a charming tale of friendship between a precocious 12-year-old and a Rembrandt portrait come to life has a similar vibe to Night at the Museum. The documentary “Microplastic Madness” (All Ages) will make its Michigan premiere in our virtual festival. Fifth-graders from Red Hook, Brooklyn, a community on the frontline of climate change that was severely impacted by Superstorm Sandy – spent two years investigating plastic pollution and take on the roles of citizen scientists, community leaders, and advocates. A virtual Q & A is planned. We’ve enlisted Dr. Larry Schanker to do a live online performance on the piano to the silent films “One Week” with Buster Keaton and “Something New,” a charming frontier story with film pioneer Nell Shipman.

This year The Coastline Children’s Film Festival also will present its Young Filmmakers Competition, streaming 12 films made and submitted by young visionaries. Entry was FREE and open to anyone age 18 and under. Categories included Narrative/Live Action, Documentary, and Animation. Films were judged on creativity, originality and artistic/technical mastery. Doreen Bartoni, Dean Emeritus, School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago will again serve as the juror. You can see more about the current programs at coastlinechildrensfilm festival.com.

Eleven years ago, we were inspired by the 8 and 1⁄2 Foundation – founded by Tilda Swinton and Mark Cousins – and their efforts to make great films available to young people everywhere. In their words: “We have noticed over the many hundred cinema journeys we have taken that our most memorable and exhilarating cinema memories are not from the bigger films...but littler films, often from other countries, maybe made many decades ago, maybe made without color, maybe with subtitles, or not a single word”. That idea became our mandate, our manifesto. For 10 days we will provide 50 sources of inspiration – all for FREE.

For 2021 the Festival will present a host of outstanding films for the whole family, many for the very young and some appropriate for middle and high school students; all will delight and inspire. We are again presenting the best and latest short films from the world-renowned New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF) and animated features from GKIDS.

“Kid Flicks One” (Ages 5+/58 min/7 films) gives a warm welcome to all budding cinephiles with a lively international lineup brimming with fun and clever stories of growth and transformation. This shorts program keeps the dynamic of work and play lively with these tales and more from around the globe. “Cat Lake City” has you covered if you, like its loveable feline, feel like you just can’t catch a break in this hilarious tale of a hard-won vacay. But if you’re fortunate, you know that effort and fun can happily co-exist as they do in the short doc “The Magic of Chess.” Finally, meet another hard-worker who gets a little lost dawdling in the countryside in the beautifully hand animated “Boriya.”

Challenging expectations and reflecting growth and resilience, “Kid Flicks Two” (Ages 8+/66 min/9 films) is a fantastic trip on the road to growing up. Surprises in a dumpling bring good luck, and many reflections, in the beautiful stop motion animation “The Coin.” In “The One You Never Forget,” a young teen tries to keep his first date under wraps, but his parents have other ideas. In “Home Away 3000,” a space traveler’s funky space van conks out on an unknown planet with plenty of surprises.

“¡VIVA Kid Flicks!” (Ages 8+/65 min/7 films) celebrates the best Spanish-language short films from around the globe. The brilliant Spanish-language tales in VIVA with a range of kids’ perspectives, speak volumes in any tongue. NYICFF jury- award winner “3 Feet” kicks things off in style with Gonzalo, who tries his hilarious best to keep things clean to stay in the game; then orbit around Ailín and her mom, who work through love and challenges in the charming stop motion “Ailin on the Moon.” And see things grow curiouser and curiouser in a moving take on magical realism in the gorgeously filmed tale “The Size of Things.” All films are in Spanish with English subtitles or no dialogue, perfect for Spanish learners, speakers, and all seekers of fun, artistic, and enriching cultural experiences.

“The Case of Hana & Alice” (Ages 12+) is an unusual and charming film from famed writer-director Shunji Iwai, in which a shaggy-dog mystery tale ultimately gives way to a wonderfully nuanced story of young female friendship, and the fantasies and thrills of everyday teenage life. “Eleanor’s Secret” (All Ages) is a beautifully designed, rollicking adventure in which a boy’s new found ability to read not only sets his imagination free, but saves the day! Another film we are proud to present is “My Life As a Zucchini” (Ages 12+), a film brought to life through memorable character designs and expressive stop-motion animation, while the story soars with laughter, sorrow, and joy, and stands as a testament to the resilience of the human heart. “Rocca Changes the World” (Ages 8+) brings us into the life of Rocca who is going to a normal school for the first time while living alone with her pet squirrel as her dad is watching over her as an astronaut from outer space! Amongst our list to featured films is “Song of the Sea” (Ages 7+) follows the last seal-child, Saoirse, and her brother Ben, who go on an epic journey to save the world of magic and discover the secrets of their past.

We also have feature documentaries for our festival which include “Drawn Together: Comics, Diversity and Stereotypes” (Ages 10+), a compelling documentary sharing the story of three comic creators who challenge the notion of race, appearance, and gender stereotypes through cartoons, comics and cosplay. “Moving Stories” (Ages 9+) which follows six diverse dancers from an acclaimed NY company as they travel the world, working with youth who have experienced war, poverty, sexual exploitation, extreme prejudice and trauma as refugees.

The mission of the Coastline Children’s Film Festival is to bring high-quality independent films and animation for children and young adults to the area and to present them – on the big screen – as shared theatrical experiences for the whole family and community. We’re confident that those types of transformative events will return.

The festival is sponsored by a major grant from the Virginia and Harvey Kimmel Family Foundation with contributions from Modern Dentistry Associates, Fruitbelt, Sam and Connie Monte, and New Buffalo Times. The programs in New Buffalo and Three Oaks are made possible with a grant from The Pokagon Fund. This activity is also supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs Minigrant Program administered by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo.

For more information call Leslie Sullivan at 269-757-1491.

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