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A scene from the Irish animated film THE SECRET OF KELLS. Courtesy of San Francisco Film Society

The first NY/SF International Children’s Film Festival, presented by the San Francisco Film Society and the New York International Children’s Film Festival, wrapped a very  successful three-day celebration of diverse, enlightening, inspiring and entertaining films for kids ages 3 – 18 and their families on Sunday, and announced the winners of the best feature film and the best short film, as selected by the weekend’s audiences.

“We were thrilled to present the Film Society’s first International Children’s Film Festival in San Francisco,” said Director of Programming Rachel Rosen. “From the beginning this was envisioned as an annual festival in the Film Society’s Fall Season. The enthusiasm of the audience and the fact that we more than doubled our attendance expectations confirm our intention to proceed. Planning for the second NY/SFICFF has already begun.”

The Secret of Kells (Ireland 2009), Tomm Moore’s 2010 Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature, scored highest in the audience voting for best feature film. The tally also showed strong support for two animated features from Japan, Shinsuke Sato’s Oblivion Island and Mamoru Hosoda’s Summer Wars.

A beautifully rendered adaptation of Oliver Jeffers’ award-winning book Lost and Found (England 2010), directed by Philip Hunt, won the audience award for best short film. Oktapodi, the Academy Award nominee from France, was a close second in the polling.

On closing night Matthew Douglas, branch manager for Festival sponsor HSBC Premier presented the HSBC Environmental Award to director Jacques-Rémy Girerd for his thrilling eco-adventure Mia & the Migoo (France 2008).

In addition to the Festival’s public programs, on September 23 and 24 the Film Society’s Youth Education program presented free, sold-out screenings of Eleanor’s Secret, Turtle: The Incredible Journey, Sounds Like Teen Spirit and Girls’ POV, a special program of short films for girls only, to elementary and middle school classes.

Throughout the weekend Festival attendees 18-years-old and under were invited to submit an essay about a festival film to the Nellie Wong Magic of Movies Education Fund’s NY/SFICFF Essay Contest. Cash prizes from $50 to $500 will be awarded to winners and runners-up in elementary, middle and high school divisions. The deadline for submissions is October 15, and the winners will be notified November 12.

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