The KIDS FIRST! Film Festival / Anyone who doubts Hawaii’s cultural sophistication need only look at the Islands’ potpourri of film festivals–Filipino, Chinese, Native Hawaiian, Gay & Lesbian, Jewish, Bollywood and Surf, to name just a few–popping up these days. This week, the University of Hawaii caters to the budding cinemaphiles in the tween and under set–those precocious munchkins who prefer discussing the mise en scène of Furry Vengeance while sipping on pomegranate flavored Vitamin Water than playing with their belly button lint.
On Sunday, The KIDS FIRST! Film Festival at the UH Art Auditorium, kicks off the first of four afternoons filled with free family films with the theme “Surf’s Up” (recommended for ages 5-10). Featured will be Plastic Perils of the Pacific, a short animation about a plastic water bottle that poses a major disturbance in a crab’s life. Following the environmental lamentation will be fare of the more fanciful sort: Barbie in a Mermaid Tale, about a Barbie doll named Merliah who discovers she’s a mermaid and must rescue her mother, the queen of the ocean, while saving the ocean kingdom.
The films are carefully chosen by The Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, a national nonprofit dedicated to teaching children how to be critical consumers of contemporary media. Other themes throughout the festival include “Animated Shorts: Storybook and Song” (Ages 3-8), which screens on June 27 and features a variety of well known children’s books, including Giraffes Can’t Dance, brought to animated life; “Go Green Go!” (ages 2-5) on July 11, about an eco-friendly creature named Wubbzy who sings and dances while recycling plastic bottles; and “Worldwide Kids & Critters” (ages 8-12) on July 18, a medley of live-action and animated shorts from around the world dealing with universal themes like family and pets.
The festival’s free for the whole family, which means you don’t have an excuse this Sunday when the little one whines after too many reruns of Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers.