With Seven U.S. & International Premieres from Around the Globe, Highlights Include: Instant Classic ERNEST AND CELESTINE: A TRIP TO GIBBERITIA (Opening Night/Intl Premiere), Anime Adaptation of Tsujimura Mizuki’s YA Novel LONELY CASTLE IN THE MIRROR (U.S. Premiere), Syrian-Set DOUNIA & THE PRINCESS OF ALEPPO (Centerpiece/U.S. Premiere) and more!
NEW YORK, NY (February 8, 2023): The Oscar-qualifying New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF) announces its complete feature film slate for 2023. Ringing in its 26th year, NYICFF is North America’s largest and most prestigious film festival for young audiences. After a COVID disruption followed by a hybrid festival last year, NYICFF is thrilled to return to all in-person screenings and events. The festival begins Friday, March 3th and will run weekends through March 12th in New York City. Expanding to venues across Manhattan and Brooklyn, hosts include: SVA Theatre, Film Forum, DCTV’s Firehouse Cinema, Scandinavia House, and Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn. The final weekend of March 18th & 19th will be at the Sag Harbor Cinema, a new addition this year.
For its 26th edition, the festival celebrates friendship, community and art as vital forces in our lives and crucial tools to push against the status quo and open new avenues of joy and possibility.
With seven U.S. and International Feature Premieres and titles hailing from France, Mexico, Japan, The Netherlands, and more, this year’s program continues NYICFF’s commitment to curating diverse stories told from a multitude of places and perspectives. Stylistically, the festival also offers a broad range of options from live action to the many compelling styles of animation, spotlighting hand-drawn artistry in particular.
NYICFF’s Opening Night selection is the highly anticipated International Premiere of ERNEST & CELESTINE: A TRIP TO GIBERRITIA, bringing the beloved characters (who first premiered at NYICFF in 2013 in ERNEST & CELESTINE) back to audiences in an artful story accessible to all ages. The film slyly nods to resisting conformity through music, community, and self-determination.
The timely Centerpiece selection is DOUNIA & THE PRINCESS OF ALEPPO, a beautiful hand-drawn film by Syrian-Canadian filmmakers Marya Zarif and André Kadi. At the center of the story is the bustling energy of the city of Aleppo as seen through the eyes of the six-year-old Dounia; it’s a place of love, friendship and delicious treats until the conflict in Syria forces her family to seek safe harbor abroad.
This year’s feature selection spotlights a number of genre-bending animation titles that inventively push the boundaries of documentary and true-to-life storytelling. TITINA, an extraordinary new animated feature by Kasja Ness, tells the true story of Roald Amundsen and Umberto Nobile’s 1926 journey to the North Pole from the point of view of Titina, the little dog that went along for the ride. LITTLE NICHOLAS: HAPPY AS CAN BE brings the beloved French character “Le Petit Nicolas” to the screen by interspersing the famed fiction with scenes drawn from the real lives of the stories’ creators, Jean-Jacques Sempéand René Goscinny. The Mexican animated documentary HOME IS SOMEWHERE ELSE beautifully weaves together true stories from undocumented families filtered through the unflinching Spanglish poetry of its central narrator.
NYICFF’s 2023 festival notably highlights accessible storytelling with Nicole Van Killingdonk’s OKTHANKSBYE, an exciting international premiere that playfully and meaningfully expands the road movie to an inclusive coming of age story of two deaf girls on a mission to hitchhike from the Netherlands to France.
The festival continues its annual Industry Forum “Toward an Inclusive Future,” which brings together creators at all stages of their careers to discuss children’s media on all sides of the camera. New this year is “NYICFF in Your Neighborhood,” free presentations of a NYICFF short film program for ages 3-8 taking place at venues citywide.
NYICFF’s mission is rooted in the belief of film as a path for young people to understand themselves and others. All programs are designed to celebrate the beauty and power of film, spark the inherent capacity of children to connect with complex, nuanced art, and encourage the creation of intelligent films that represent and celebrate unique, diverse, and historically excluded voices. NYICFF is a place for the next generation of moviegoers—and even movie makers.
However, NYICFF is not only for kids! The festival has rich programming to offer film lovers of all ages. The festival is committed to quality and challenging content and serves families, educators, filmmakers, and media arts professionals.