SciFi Japan

    Los Angeles Children`s Film Festival Starts April 26th

    Images courtesy of GKIDS.

    Source: GKIDS Inc. press release Official Site: The American Cinematheque and NY Int`l Children`s Film Festival present LOS ANGELES CHILDREN`S FILM FESTIVAL, the best new films from around the world for ages 3-18. The festival runs April 26-May 5, 2013 at the Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA. The series is programmed by Gwen Deglise and Grant Moninger, and co-produced by Ashley Drysdale. For additional information and to purchase tickets, go to or americancinematheque/los-angeles-international-childrens-film-festival.

    Image courtesy of GKIDS. © 2012

    A LETTER TO MOMO (??????, Momo e no Tegami) Japan, Hiroyuki Okiura, 2011, 120 min Recommended Ages: 8 to Adult (Subtitled) Friday April 26, 7:30pm The last time Momo saw her father they had a fight, and all she has left to remember him by is a letter he had begun that says only “Dear Momo.” Moving with her mom to the remote Japanese island of Shio, she discovers three mischievous goblins living in her attic. These funny monsters wreak havoc on the formerly tranquil island but also have a serious side, and may hold the key to helping Momo understand what her father was trying to tell her. Featuring beautiful hand-drawn animation, A LETTER TO MOMO combines bursts of whimsy and kinetic humor with deeply felt emotion and drama.

    THE LITTLE BIRD AND THE LEAF, image courtesy of GKIDS. © Magnet Film

    KID FLIX MIX 1 Various, Various, 2013, 60 min Recommended Ages: 3 to 6 Saturday April 27, 11:00am A kaleidoscopic showcase of the best short animation from around the world, for ages 3 to 6. Program includes: THE LITTLE BIRD AND THE LEAF Sweden, 2011, 4 min. Dir. Lena von Döhren A little black bird comes along to water a single leaf hanging at the end of a branch. NOTEBOOK BABIES USA, 2011, 3 min. Dir. Tony Dusko A trio of minute-long meditations on life calibrated for the self-actualized preschooler. GOAT HERDER AND HIS LOTS AND LOTS OF AND LOTS GOATS UK, 2012, 7 min. Dir. Will Rose A goat herder leads his flock up and down the mountains of Spain. ...and more!

    Image courtesy of GKIDS. © 2011 Europacorp.

    A MONSTER IN PARIS - 3D (Un Monstre à Paris) France, Bibo Bergeron, 2011, 90 min Recommended Ages: 5 to Adult (In English) Saturday April 27, 4:00pm Featuring a live stage performance! A classic misunderstood-monster tale, this warm-hearted musical about the power of song features Django Reinhardt-style gypsy guitar and honey-toned vocals courtesy of Sean Lennon. Paris, 1910. The streets of the city are flooded. A mist-enshrouded Eiffel Tower looms over a temporary lake and the alleyways sport makeshift bridges so Parisians can go about their daily routines. But spirits are high for the citizens of this romantic city, including Emile, a lovelorn film projectionist, and his inventor friend Raoul, whose enthusiasm for breaking rules places him and Emile at the center of some unintentional mischief after they sneak into a scientist’s laboratory greenhouse and unwittingly let loose a monster onto the soggy streets. Yet this terrible monster turns out to have a sad and sensitive soul -- as well as musical talent -- and when cabaret singer Lucille discovers the beast hiding backstage at the music hall, he dons a cape and hat and joins her act, instantly wowing the crowd with his silky smooth voice and hot guitar licks. Despite his peaceful demeanor, the City of Lights is in a panic, as the rotten rogue of a mayor plunges his police force headlong into a chaotic monster hunt that uses both the sweeping backdrops of Paris and 3D effects to the fullest. Film will be preceded by a performance by professional actors of a screenplay written by a 5th grade participant in The Young Storytellers Foundation`s Script to Stage Program.

    Image courtesy of GKIDS. © 2012 “WOLF CHILDREN” Film Partners

    WOLF CHILDREN (???????????, Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki) Japan, Mamoru Hosoda, 2012, 117 min Recommended Ages: 9 to Adult (Subtitled) Saturday April 27, 7:30pm Hana notices a mysterious older man auditing one of her classes, and before long, the two begin dating. When she falls in love with him, he confesses that he is a descendant of an ancient tribe of wolfmen, who have the ability to alternate between human and wolf form. Hana does not bat an eye, and the two begin a lengthy romance that produces daughter Yuki and son Ame, who also exhibit furry tendencies. A tragedy leaves Hana alone to care, as best she can, for her two kids who behave more like pets than people. As young Yuki and Ame grow older, they must grapple with what they want to be: civilized human beings or the wild animals within. Wolf Children is the latest film from Hosoda (THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME, SUMMER WARS), a protégé of the historic Toei Animation and the Hayao Miyazaki-led Studio Ghibli; many are calling him Japan’s next great animation master. But while WOLF CHILDREN exhibits amazing attention to detail and movement in its animation, it is no mere imitation of previous masters, as it displays a wry sense of humor, a mature view of romance and a deeply moving portrayal of siblings who transform -- literally and figuratively -- before our very eyes.

    Image courtesy of GKIDS. © Little Airplane Productions

    MEET THE SMALL POTATOES United States, Josh Selig, 2012, 60 min Recommended Ages: All Ages (In English) Sunday April 28, 11:00am LOS ANGELES PREMIERE! This musical mockumentary follows four of the cutest spuds to ever rule the radio waves from their humble beginnings on an Idaho potato farm to international pop stardom. But at the height of their fame, the lovable diva Ruby decides that she’s the real star and abandons Nate the jazzy poet, Chip the sweetheart and Olaf the chubby intellectual -- until the eventual reunion concert! Featuring musical numbers punctuated by interviews with fans, a former manager, and the Southern DJ who helped them to early success, this animated treat was created as a THIS IS SPINAL TAP for the preschool set but has picked up an even larger fan base of older kids and `tweens.

    CINDERELLA MOON China, Richard Bowen, 2010, 96 min Recommended Ages: 7 to Adult (In English) Sunday Apr 28, 2:00pm LOS ANGELES PREMIERE - DIRECTOR RICHARD BOWEN IN PERSON! Based on the earliest known version of “Cinderella,” the Chinese tale “Ye Xian” from 768 A.D., director Richard Bowen’s wonder-filled feature debut is a gorgeous and enchanting fairytale, with exquisitely ornate costumes, dazzling scenery shot in Yunnan Province, and an underlying message that is as timely today as it was 13 centuries ago. In a mythical kingdom, a girl is born. The village shaman had foretold a boy and Mei Mei’s father is sorely disappointed. Years later, with her mother gone, Mei Mei is left with nothing but a pair of bejeweled slippers and the hope that one day she will get to dance at the Festival of the Full Moon. Meanwhile, the kingdom has been thrown out of balance -- the moon is stuck in the sky -- and the handsome young king is commanded by his mother to take a wife to restore the celestial harmony. But the king refuses to have a child with a woman he does not truly love. One day, peering through a telescope from his island home, the king spies Mei Mei floating on air in her magical slippers. Convinced that he’s seen an angel, he sets out in search for her -- but she runs off, losing one bejeweled slipper along the way.

    THE DAY OF THE CROWS (Le Jour des Corneilles) France, Jean-Christophe Dessaint, 2012, 95 min Recommended Ages: 7 to Adult (Subtitled) Sunday April 28, 5:00 pm Deep in the woods lives Pumpkin, a burly, ogre-like man, and his only child, who has been raised like an animal and forbidden to venture beyond the forest. But when his father is injured, the boy leaves the woods to look for help in a neighboring village, where he befriends a young girl and discovers the wonders of human civilization -- and the truth about his family’s past. A lushly animated story of a father’s lost love and a boy’s brave struggle to recapture it.

    Image courtesy of GKIDS. © 2011 Chizuru Takahashi • Tetsuro Sayama • GNDHDDT

    FROM UP ON POPPY HILL (???????, Kokuriko-Zaka Kara) Japan, Goro Miyazaki, 2012, 92 min Recommended Ages: 9 to Adult (In English) Friday May 3, 7:30pm JAMIE LEE CURTIS IN PERSON! The highly anticipated new film from Studio Ghibli was written by legendary studio founder Hayao Miyazaki and directed by Goro Miyazaki, the first feature film collaboration between father and son. In Yokohama in 1963, high school kids Umi and Shun work together to save a dilapidated Meiji-era club house from demolition. But as their tentative romance begins to blossom, a buried secret from their past emerges to pull them apart. Richly evocative of time and place (and the optimism in Japan in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics), FROM UP ON POPPY HILL boasts a star-filled voice cast including Jamie Lee Curtis, Christina Hendricks, Ron Howard and Anton Yelchin.

    THE STORYTELLER, image courtesy of GKIDS. © 2011 National Film and Television School

    KID FLIX MIX 2 Various, Various, 2013, 60 min Recommended Ages: 5 to 10 Saturday May 4, 11:00am A kaleidoscopic showcase of short films for ages 5 to 10. Program includes: SNACK ATTACK USA, 2012, 4.5 min. Dir. Andrew Cadelago An old lady waiting for a train must guard her cookies from a young punk. AT THE OPERA Argentina, 2011, 1 min. Dir. Juan Pablo Zaramella) A particularly moving night at the opera. THE STORYTELLER India/UK, 2011, 10 min. Dir. Nandita Jain Nirmala’s grandpa forgets some details when he tells her favorite story. ...and more!


    KIRIKOU AND THE MEN AND THE WOMEN - in 3D (Kirikou et les Hommes et les Femmes) France, Michel Ocelot, 2012, 87 min Recommended Ages: 7 to Adult (Subtitled) Saturday May 4, 4:00pm LOS ANGELES PREMIERE! This third film in the trilogy featuring pint-sized child hero Kirikou weaves together a collection of short-form fables, mixing traditional storytelling and mythology with bits of humor and wit, enlivened with a vibrant use of color and an upbeat musical score from Malian, Togolese and French artists. Throughout, Kirikou is called upon to save his village from perils both supernatural and human, which he does with a combination of speed, cunning and humor -- as well as a certain naiveté about the way the world really works.

    Photo courtesy of GKIDS. © 2011 “Ninja Kids!!!” Production Committee

    NINJA KIDS!!! (??????, Nintama Rantarou) Japan, Takashi Miike, 2011, 100 min Recommended Ages: 8 to Adult (Subtitled) Saturday May 4, 7:30pm LOS ANGELES PREMIERE! Little Rantaro comes from a long line of ninjas, so when he leaves the family farm to enter ninja school himself he is determined to master star-throwing, explosives, and rock-climbing. But Rantaro’s first-year class is so inept that the headmaster declares an early vacation and sends them all home. The youngsters nonetheless earn their stars when they are challenged by a rival clan and must race to ring the bell at a mountaintop temple to save the school. Brilliant in its excess and bursting with energy from the infectious young cast, the film is loaded with non-stop visual gags, dopey villains, adorable ninja trainees... and easily earns all three exclamation points in its title!

    Image courtesy of GKIDS. © 2012 Blue Spirit Animation, Be-Films

    THE PAINTING (Le Tableau) France, Jean-François Laguionie, 2012, 76 min Recommended Ages: 7 to Adult (In English) Sunday May 5, 11:00am LOS ANGELES PREMIERE! Paintings literally come to life in this clever parable as three castes of characters grapple with their place in the artistic hierarchy: the fully finished “Allduns,” the partially colored “Halfies” and the charcoal outline “Sketchies.” Halfie Claire is in love with someone above her station, but shame over her unfinished face sends her running away into the forest. When friends Ramo and Lola follow her, the trio reaches the boundaries of the canvas -- where they discover the artist’s studio and its many painted worlds.

    THE ZIGZAG KID (Nono, het Zigzag Kind) Belgium, Vincent Bal, 2012, 90 min Recommended Ages: 8 to Adult (Subtitled) Sunday May 5, 2:00pm LOS ANGELES PREMIERE - PLUS SHOW & TELL ON SOUND EFFECTS! Nono (newcomer Thomas Simon), the son of the world’s greatest police inspector, is on a train trip to see his boring uncle when adventure calls. He meets his father’s arch-nemesis, notorious criminal Felix Glick, and puts his detective skills to work, wearing disguises and evading police as he heads to the French Riviera, where Felix introduces Nono to seductive nightclub chanteuse Lola Ciperola (Isabella Rossellini). With only twenty-four hours to go before his Bar Mitzvah, Nono must complete his high-stakes mission -- while also confronting the mystery of his own identity and the truth about the mother he has never known. Based on the coming-of-age novel by Israeli writer David Grossman, THE ZIGZAG KID is a stylish, witty, action-packed caper a la THE PINK PANTHER that also touches on more serious themes of self-discovery, the strength of family, and acceptance.

    Image courtesy of GKIDS. © A-1 Pictures /

    WELCOME TO THE SPACESHOW (??????????, Uchuu Shoo e Yookoso) Japan, Koji Masunari, 2011, 136 min Recommended Ages: 7 to Adult (In English) Sunday May 5, 5:00pm LOS ANGELES PREMIERE! With an intergalactic cast of thousands, director Koji Masunari’s colorfully explosive debut feature sets a new high for visual spectacle and sheer inventiveness of character design. When Amane and her older cousin Natsuki find an injured dog in the woods, they discover that he is not a dog at all, but Pochi, an alien botanist sent to Earth to track down a rare and powerful plant. Before long, Pochi has whisked the kids away to a space colony on the dark side of the moon, an interstellar gathering place of humorous alien creatures, jellyfish spaceships, dragon trains, and -- if that weren’t enough -- a theme song from UK pop anomaly Susan Boyle.

    About GKIDS

    GKIDS is a distributor of award-winning animation for both adult and family audiences. Theatrical releases include Tomm Moore’s Oscar nominated THE SECRET OF KELLS, Michel Ocelot’s acclaimed AZUR & ASMAR, European Film Award Best Animated Feature winner MIA AND THE MIGOO, Nina Paley’s multiple-award-winning SITA SINGS THE BLUES, and Japan Academy Prize winner SUMMER WARS by Mamoru Hosoda. Upcoming GKIDS releases include 2011 Berlin official selection A CAT IN PARIS and Annecy winner ELEANOR`S SECRET. GKIDS is also producer of New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival, North America’s largest festival of film for children and teens. NYICFF is an Oscar-qualifying event and jury members include Uma Thurman, Susan Sarandon, Gus van Sant, Matthew Modine, James Schamus, Michel Ocelot, and Christine Vachon.

    About the American Cinematheque

    The American Cinematheque is the only public, alternative screening organization in Los Angeles that offers a wide variety of film & video programming from all over the world on a weekly basis. Programming includes foreign films, classic films, American Independents, documentaries, experimental work, short subjects, animation, special formats, in-person tributes to directors and actors, rare films, "lost" films, collectors’ prints and more! The Cinematheque worked with the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles to develop the historic Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, as a permanent home. It is a state-of-the-art theatre within a building steeped in movie history. There is no better screen to watch movies on. The American Cinematheque is a non-profit (501 C (3)) organization. Your contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law, and memberships also make excellent gifts for film-lovers.

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