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Eugene Weekly : Movies : 4.28.11




Childrens Film Event

Not just for kids anymore

by Brit McGinnis

Who attends childrens film festivals? Usually, its kids incapable of sitting still and their parents or nannies desperate for any activities to break up the Polly Pocket-G.I. Joe-Dora the Explorer lineup. People pay up to see Snow Day or whatever sorry reel the sound booth people manage to dig out of the archives. But no such sorry films will be screened April 30, when DIVA presents the "Childrens Film Festival Best of the Fest 2010,” which features a collection of acclaimed short films from all over the world.

The festival starts off with intrigue, and when the wheezy cowboy starts singing during the intro to A Fistful of Snow, you know this aint just a kiddie film ã adults will appreciate the many, many references to No Country for Old Men. The Mouse That Soared is a wonder of color, and while it proves deliciously un-kiddish at times (dead rat bodies, cartoony violence, snide critiques of the Oregon logging industry), it works all the same. Suddenly the truth about all good childrens films shines through: the best films for kids make their chaperones laugh/cry/squeal in delight as well.

Getting Dad, an Austrailian story featuring both stop-motion and live videography, is a lovely, quirky work sure to entertain. Nappy Heads, a jazzy live-action piece, pays tribute to the wonderful world of African-American hairstyles. Hello Antenna is a scrapbook-style cartoon accompanied by a folk song, and is told in a way any Eugene folkster will recognize. Betty the Doll, a Swedish tale, falls a bit flat because it clearly caters solely to children. The same goes for the Latvian When Apples Roll. Mr. Macks Kitchen doesnt fly quite so high either, for the opposite reason ã the story is quite obviously written for adults. But King of the Island BRING's it all back with its lovely coming-of-age story (though the Italian subtitles may hinder youngsters). And Alma, with its creepy overtones, is a true crowd pleaser.

The verdict: Go with the kids. These festival entries are smart, sophisticated and they know what theyre doing. With impressive technical flair and enough cultural wisdom to please the adults, this event will not disappoint.

"Childrens Film Festival Best of the Fest 2010” plays at 7 pm Saturday, April 30, at the UO Baker Downtown Center; $4 door.