Roll Out the Red Carpet for the TIFF Kids International Film Festival!

DSC_3854 Most movie lovers are familiar with Toronto’s famous film festival, which takes place annually in September. Out comes the red carpet along with all the stars, directors, fans and glitterati. But amidst the selfies and star gazing, did you know that the Toronto International Film Festival, aka TIFF, has a spring festival for students? TIFF offers more than what they are famous for year-round, including camps, exhibitions and family/school programming. This month, they’ll host the 17th Annual TIFF Kids International Film Festival featuring 112 films from 31 countries. Sponsored by Bell, Visa and Etsy to name a few, this festival targets children aged 3–13 and runs from April 8–21, 2014. Similar to their September format, special industry guests will introduce films and be available for Q&A sessions following select screenings throughout the festival. Beyond the popcorn, the ultimate goal for the organizers is, “to be more than just a day at the movies.”  Although movies are often seen as a form of entertainment for children, they can also be an important tool to educate youth about the world and important issues today. Also, cinema provides a great opportunity to spark dialogue and debate at home and in the classroom. “TIFF Kids provides access to the world’s cultures and promotes multiculturalism, diversity, and understanding through film,” said Elizabeth Muskala, Director of TIFF Kids. “At TIFF Kids we use film as a launch pad to discuss challenging, complex issues, develop media literacy skills, foster creativity and encourage critical thinking.” With so many interesting films to choose from we asked our friends at TIFF to highlight a few of their favourites. Here are their recommendations:

The Boxcar Children

boxcarchildren_02_medium   Photo Credit: Courtesy of TIFF
Directed by Dan Chuba, Mark Dippé, USA, 2013, 83 min, English Recommended for students in grades 1-3 Based on the classic series of 1920s children’s books by Gertrude Chandler Warner, The Boxcar Children tells the story of the four Alden siblings – Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny – who take to the road after they are orphaned. This film is an inspiring animated tale on the importance of family, survival and perseverance.

Courageous Dreamers (Shorts Programme)

Photo Credit: Courtesy of TIFF
Bahar in Wonderland – directed by Behrooz Karamizade, Germany, 2013, 16 min
Fatima – directed by Nairna Mohamud, Finland, 2013, 20 min
Anouar and the Moon – directed by Michiel van Jaarsveld, Netherlands, 2013, 25 min
Recommended for students in grades 3 and 4
The courageous young protagonists in this collection of shorts offer a stirring reminder that hope can make a difference. In the face of adversity young people can actually be role models to adults, showing strength, leadership and empathy well beyond their years. The courageous protagonists in this collection of shorts offer a stirring reminder that hope can make a difference.


finn_05_small   Photo Credit: Courtesy of TIFF
Directed by Frans Weisz, Netherlands, 2013, 90 min, Dutch with English subtitles Recommended for students in grades 3-5 A powerful tale on the redemptive power of music, and the importance of pursuing your dreams.

School of Babel

babel   Photo Credit: Courtesy of TIFF
Directed by Julie Bertuccelli, France, 2013, 89 min, French with English subtitles. Recommended for students in grades 6-8 Shot over one school year at La Grange-aux-Belles secondary school in Paris’ 10th arrondissement, this inspiring documentary follows young newcomers to France as they try to adapt to life in their new country. This film shows students that language is not a barrier to friendship and mutual respect. If these selections have whet your appetite, I encourage you to learn more and even attend the festival if you can. For more information on screenings and activities, or to purchase tickets, please visit the TIFF Kids website or call 416-599-TIFF (8433) or 1-800-599-TIFF, or visit the Steve & Rashmi Gupta Box Office at TIFF Bell Lightbox.  Prices are family friendly – Adult tickets $12, Student/Senior $9.50 and Children (13 and under) $8.50.   Joanne - Professional Pic         Joanne Sallay Joanne Sallay is a Director at Teachers on Call, a personalized home tutoring service with more than 25 years of experience. Teachers on Call’s Ontario Certified Teachers specialize in providing one-on-one instruction in all subjects and grades including French Immersion tutoring.
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