TIFF Kids—special films for special kids

My eldest child has been making short films since he was old enough to use an iPad. One of his earliest was an iMovie project called, “A Video For A Special Sister.” He showed it class by class at his school in an effort to teach his peers what it’s like to have a sibling with special needs. The technique was amateur, but his message was mature beyond his years. Is it possible to be a doting stage mother if my child is behind the camera?

Anyway, like some sort of cosmic cinematic kismet, a fitting showcase is coming to the TIFF Kids International Film Festival this year! My son and I are going to view the Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase—short films created for young people by young people.

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This year’s theme challenges young filmmakers (grades 4-6) to create an onscreen representation of a disability. It will be interesting for my mini Spielberg to watch how his peers approach filmmaking, editing, and story telling. I wish he had known about this earlier and could’ve entered. He’d have won for sure! That was my dramatic stage mother voice again, wasn’t it?

Speaking of disabilities (seamless segue, I know) I *may * have mentioned a few hundred times that my daughter has speech and cognitive delays. As you can imagine, sitting through a movie in its entirety can be challenging since her attention span is about this long -> _

I think TIFF Kids Short Films might be a great option for us. There are an assortment of programmes geared for different age groups that run approximately 60-85 minutes. Because it’s a collection of short films shown back-to-back, when “somebody’s” attention starts to wane, a new film will soon begin. That change of pace tends to keep kids (with special needs or just short attention spans) interested and sitting in their seats which frankly is key for me because I hate getting up and walking around when I’m trying to focus on my popcorn.

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So perhaps Avery and I will take in “Helping Hands.” The protagonists in these nine shorts all face challenges that are better solved with the help of a friend. That sounds pretty perfect.

Happy TIFF Kids Film Festivalling!

P.S. Be sure to visit tiff.net for a complete list of films and special highlights and events happening during TIFF Kids 2016 including a 60th anniversary FREE screening of The Red Balloon and a special FREE screening of The Princess Bride!

Hey look, it’s Claire from House of Cards…

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Related: More about the TIFF Kids International Film Festival and digiPlaySpace

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