The Chicago International Children's Film Festival is the largest annual film festival dedicated to kids. Now celebrating its 33rd year in Chicago, this popular, family-friendly festival, which runs from October 28 through November 6, features over 250 films from around the world. Post-screening Q&As with filmmakers, interactive workshops with special guests, peer-to-peer dialogues, and filmmaker-led seminars are a great fit for any kid that dreams of becoming the next Spielberg. These movies aren't your standard Hollywood-style kid fare: they promise to make you think, cry, laugh—and sometimes all three.
The festival takes place at Facets Cinema (1517 W. Fullerton Avenue) in Lincoln Park and at various other Chicago venues. Try to catch one of the screenings at the Music Box Theatre, one of the prettiest historic theaters in Chicago.
Be There to Kick Off the Festival at the Premiere of Trolls
Friday, October 28 at 7 p.m. at ArcLight Cinemas
Trolls is a funny comedy about the elusive search for happiness. Worlds collide when the overly optimistic Trolls meet the pessimistic Bergens . . . can they work together to undertake an important rescue mission? Be among the first to see it at its premiere at the festival. ArcLight Cinemas (1500 N. Clybourn Avenue)
Take in an Award-Winning Adaptation of Beauty and the Beast
Saturday, October 29, 5 p.m. at Facets
The latest French production of Beauty and the Beast hits the big screen at Facets. This gorgeous adaptation, a Cesar award winner, will be screened in French with English subtitles. Facets Cinema (1517 W. Fullerton Avenue)
Catch a Morning Matinee of Abulele
Sunday, October 30 at 9:30 a.m. at the Music Box Theatre
Abulele, directed by Jonathan Geva. Screened in Hebrew with English subtitles, this thought-provoking movie focuses on Adam, a young boy who struggles with both grades and bullies. When he stumbles upon an unlikely friend, a little monster named Abulele, his life takes an interesting turn. The Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Avenue)
Give Yourself a Fright—Go See the Debut of Monsters & Mischief
Sunday, October 30 at 11:15 a.m. at the Music Box Theatre
The festival also features some spooky movies to get families into the Halloween spirit. Monsters & Mischief contains animated shorts from around the world featuring monsters, trolls, vampires and . . . llamas. The film makes for a fun way to celebrate Halloween at the movies. The Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Avenue)
- The Festival Family Pass is a bargain: A $45 family pass will give 4 people (children or adults) access to every single screening across the city. That's two weeks of amazing movies for much less than what you'd pay at your local cinema. Not interested in the family pass? Movies are priced $6 for kids and $10 for adults.
- While many of the movies featured in the festival are in English, some are in a foreign language, making subtitles a must. Media educators will be on hand to interpret films for the pre-readers in the audience.
- The festival hosts dozens of international filmmakers each year. If a filmmaker is present for their screening, kids are welcome to ask as many questions as they want, making this film fest an interactive learning experience to remember.