If you don't like all the media
bombarding your kids you can just turn off the TV or watch
everything with them. But for today's busy families, these are
often unrealistic strategies, says Nicole Dreiske, director of
children's programs for the Chicago International Children's Film
Festival and co-founder of Facets Multi-Media.
She suggests another alternative, one
many parents may never have considered. From Oct. 18-28, the
Chicago International Children's Film Festival gives parents and
kids access to 220 of the best children's films from 33
But there's more to the festival than
simply watching movies with your kids.
Dreiske sees the festival as helping
kids manage the way they relate to media while helping parents
start dialogues with their kids about what they watch.
"Parents were coming to us and saying
'I'm living with Bart Simpson, what do we do?' " she says. "The
parents couldn't win the content battle. The way to do it is
engaging (kids) in dialogue." Each screening features a discussion
before and after.
There's something for everyone at this
year's festival, from the My First Movies for kids ages 2-5 to an
adventure film starring a 15-year-old boy transported by to the
13th century by his mother's time machine ("Crusade").
New this year to the festival is the
American Showcase premiering five American-made kids films:
"America the Beautiful," Her Best Move," "A Plumm Summer,"
"Moondance Alexander" and "Labou."
For non-readers or early readers,
actors read the subtitles on foreign films to the audience as if
they are reading a book aloud.
In addition to screenings at Facets
Cinematheque, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, the festival is held
at Davis Theater, 4614 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, the first weekend,
and the Wilmette Theater, 1122 Central Ave., Wilmette, the second
Weekdays, screenings will be at
Northwestern University's Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago Ave.,
Chicago, Kerasotes Showplace 14, 2600 N. Western Ave., Chicago, and
the Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 S. King Drive,
Tickets are $8, $6 for kids per
For a complete list of weekend films, go to
The schedule also can be found at every
Chicago Public Library, many suburban libraries, stores displaying
the festival's movie monsters posters and online by e-mailing
For parents with multiple ages of kids,
many films in the 5-8 year old programming might fit the bill.
Dreiske says festival staff can advise parents about what works
best for all of their kids.
The Children's Film Festival is
offering a "festival in a box" this year, a Best of Fest DVD for
$30 that comes with a kit to promote the event and a 60-page
curriculum to engage kids' critical thinking so that libraries and
schools can offer mini film festivals.
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