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Portland Children’s Film Festival March 25-29

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Portland Children’s Film Festival March 25-29
Posted on 03/16/2015
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The 2015 Portland Children’s Film Festival (PCFF) runs from Wednesday, March 25, through Sunday, March 29. This is the fourth year of the annual festival, which presents internationally acclaimed children’s films, original student films, witty short films and family documentaries and offers opportunities to engage with artists, filmmakers, community organizations and more.

The festival is a Portland Public Schools’ initiative. The PCFF was conceived and organized by East End Community School parents and teachers. Inspired by Portland's diverse and creative community and a shared interest in film and the arts, they wanted to couple an opportunity for local families to view quality independent and international films with hands-on programming designed to encourage local children to explore their own talents and interests in filmmaking.

The PCFF welcomes attendees of any age to the festival, which takes place at venues throughout Portland. They include St. Lawrence Arts, Portland Museum of Art, SPACE Gallery, Nickelodeon Cinemas, Portland Public Library, the University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Center and Portland High School.

This year’s highlights include:

                Feature films including “Felix”, a coming-of-age film set in Cape Town, South Africa that has been described by critics as “Billy Elliot with sax meets Buena Vista Social Club;” “Patema Inverted,” a Japanese perspective-twisting sci-fi adventure about two kids separated by opposite gravities; “Lola on the Pea,” a refreshingly honest tween comedy that also thoughtfully addresses the struggles of an undocumented Kurd family living in Germany; and “Horizon Beautiful, a family drama set in the mountains of Ethiopia.

                A filmmaker in attendance: Thanks to the University of Southern Maine’s generous sponsorship, documentary filmmaker Jean-Michel Dissard will be in attendance at this year's festival to work with students from Portland Public Schools, appear at a Q&A and attend the screening of his film, “I Learn America.” Dissard's film tracks five teenagers at a public high school in Brooklyn New York striving to master English, adapt to families they haven’t seen in years, and create a future of their own while coming of age in a new land.

                A live music and indie teen film event that will appeal to older audiences and rock music fans: “We Are the Best!” is a film that captures the struggles and triumphs of three young misfit girls growing up in the early 1980s Stockholm who form an all-girl punk band. The screening will be coupled with live music by NEVERLAND, an all-female rock band from Casco Bay High School.

                Film shorts from New York City International Children's Festival: VIVA Spanish & Latin American Shorts; Kids Flix for Younger Kids; and Kids Party Mix.

                A Brazilian animation, film-inspired family workshop and museum tour at the Portland Museum of Art: “Boy & the World,” an all-ages animated film overflowing with eye and ear candy from Brazilian artist Alê Abreu will be shown at the PMA and families will have the opportunity to participate in a film-inspired art activity with Side x Side, a community organization that ignites academic excellence in education through comprehensive arts integration. Children attending the festival will also be able to take a special tour of the PMA Youth Art Month Exhibition.

                “On the Way to School”: Portland's Walking School Bus Program and the Portland Public Library are joining with the PCFF this year to offer a screening of the film: “On the Way to School.” It features groups of children in four remote locations in the world – the Kenyan wilderness, the hills of Patagonia, the Atlas Mountains and the Bay of Bengal – as they travel long, arduous and sometimes life-threatening journeys to attend class in distant schoolhouses. The East End Community School's Walking School Bus will walk to the screening from East End Community School.

This year’s “One City-One Book-One Film” also includes a special robotics demonstration. “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” is the official selection of the 2015 PCFF's film-book-community collaboration sponsored by the Portland Public Library. Set in a busy Paris train station in the 1930's, an orphan gets wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton. To get in the spirit, the Portland High School Robotics Team will demonstrate some of their automaton creations at the library before the festival on Tuesday, March 24, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The festival also will feature a red carpet gala to honor all local student filmmakers who have submitted films to the PCFF and select student films will be shown at the Nickelodeon Cinemas.

Tickets for most events are available on site or at Brown Paper Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/

For more information, such as the dates and times of film screenings and other events, go to www.portlandchildrensfilmfestival.com.