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Wolf Children by Mamoru HosodaWolf Children by Mamoru Hosoda

The Milwaukee Film Festival announced the line-up for its Rated K: For Kids program, formerly known as the Milwaukee Children’s Film Festival. According to the festival, Rated K will continue to present the best international children’s films for ages 3-12 years. Rated K: For Kids will feature four feature-length films, including a 25th anniversary screening of children’s classic THE LAND BEFORE TIME, and three of “the best international features on the children’s film festival circuit.” Rated K also features three separate short film showcases, programmed for age-specific audiences: Size Small (ages 3+), Size Medium (ages 6+), and Size Large (ages 10+).


(USA, Ireland / 1988 / Director: Don Bluth)

The plucky young Apatosaurus Littlefoot must find the life-supporting, plant-filled Great Valley after his homeland is destroyed by an earthquake and a frightening battle that leaves him orphaned. Along the way he’s joined by fellow dino-kids Cera, Petrie, Ducky and Spike, and these decidedly different species of dinosaurs learn the value of teamwork and diversity as they brave the dangerous journey toward a new beginning. This 35 mm screening provides the perfect chance for 20- to 30-somethings to revisit a childhood favorite (celebrating its 25th anniversary!) or to introduce its handmade charms (Don Bluth’s superb animation) to an entirely new generation.

(Netherlands, Belgium / 2011 / Director: Nicole van Kilsdonk)
Trailer: n/a
When Kiek, a spunky and fearless young lady often found astride her skateboard, learns her father is being sent to a war zone to deliver medical aid, she can’t help but worry. Sure, he’s not actually fighting in the war itself, but accidents happen, and Kiek feels she has to take measures in order to ensure his safety. Immersed in the logic of a child coping with the effects of war on her family, Taking Chances includes tense scenes surrounding potential deaths of a mouse and a family dog (much of which is done through cheeky animation), but it is perfect viewing for older, imaginative kids. Subtitles will not be read aloud.

(Japan / 2012 / Director: Mamoru Hosoda)
The latest flight of fancy from Mamoru Hosoda ( Summer Wars), this English-dubbed anime tells the tale of Hana, a woman who falls in love and forms a unique family with a man able to shape-shift between man and wolf. Tragedy leads Hana to take her children to the Japanese countryside, all the better for two kids who frequently transform into woodland creatures. A lyrical, gentle tale of children learning to fit in despite their differences (even if theirs are furrier than most!), Hosoda’s tale of family ties is imbued with a natural wonder and sense of the fantastic impossible to resist.

(France / 2012 / Directors: Rémi Bezançon, Jean-Christophe Lie)

Young Maki has escaped the grasp of evil slave-traders when he forms an unbreakable bond with the orphaned giraffe Zarafa. He’s swept up in a globe-trotting adventure in order to bring his beloved giraffe back home, meeting a female pirate and hot-air balloonist along the way. Based on the true story of the Paris Zoo’s first giraffe, Zarafa is a tale of bravery and loyalty that doesn’t shy away from engaging with dramatic historical issues such as racism and colonialism but whose positive message and sweet conclusion (not to mention gorgeous 2-D animation) will satisfy both adventurous and sensitive young viewers. Subtitles will be read aloud.

Kids Shorts: Size Small
This all-ages, all-animated lineup of short films is guaranteed to delight viewers young and old, with the final installment of Mo Willems’ Knuffle Bunny (MFF 2010) series and an adaptation of Madison-based Kevin Henkes’ Caldecott-winning story Kitten’s First Full Moon counted among its diverse animation styles. These colorful bursts of energy are perfect for the whole family. Subtitles will be read aloud.

Aston’s Presents (Sweden / 2012 / Directors: Uzi Geffenblad, Lotta Geffenblad)
Choir Tour (Latvia / 2012 / Director: Edmunds Jansons)
Chopin’s Drawings (USA / 2011 / Director: Dorota Kobiela)
Eskimal (Mexico / 2011 / Director: Homero Ramirez Tena)
How Shammies Guessed (Latvia / 2012 / Director: Edmunds Jansons)
Kitten’s First Full Moon (USA / 2011 / Director: Gary McGivney)
Knuffle Bunny Free (USA / 2012 / Director: Karen Villarreal)
The Little Bird and the Leaf (Switzerland / 2012 / Director: Lena Von Döhren)
Mira’s Night (USA / 2011 / Director: Elyse Kelly)
A Tangled Tale (USA / 2013 / Director: Corrie Francis Parks)

Kids Shorts: Size Medium
A mix of live-action and animation highlights the Size Medium program, packed with shorts celebrating the logic and wonder that can only be examined through a child’s perspective. Andrea Dorfman (MFF 2011) returns with her puppet stop-motion tale Big Mouth, one of many shorts that deal with common issues like bullying and taking care of the environment. Subtitles will be read aloud.

Big Mouth (Canada / 2012 / Director: Andrea Dorfman)
Boris the Rat Dresses Warmly (Finland / 2012 / Directors: Kaisa Penttilä, Leena Jääskeläinen)
Chinti (Russia / 2012 / Director: Natalia Mirzoyan)
Colosse – A Wood Tale (USA / 2012 / Director: Yves Geleyn)
The Fox and the Chickadee (Canada / 2012 / Director: Evan Derushie)
Frog Weather (Germany / 2011 / Director: Pauline Kortmann)
Jonah and the Crab (USA / 2012 / Director: Laurel Cohen)
My First Spellbook (Scotland / 2011 / Director: Gavin Laing)
Paulie (USA / 2012 / Director: Andrew Nackman)
Shame and Glasses (Italy / 2013 / Director: Alessandro Riconda)
Wing (Denmark / 2011 / Directors: Asger Grevil, Mette Vestergaard Madsen)

Kids Shorts: Size Large
This batch of shorts for the older kids (10+) deals with social and historical issues such as divorce and racism, but with a hopeful, lighthearted touch — perhaps none more so than MFF favorites The Rauch Brothers returning with Eyes on the Stars, a tribute to the second African-American man to reach outer space, Ronald E. McNair. Subtitles will not be read aloud.

Bot (USA / 2010 / Director: Mustafa Lazkani)
Eyes on the Stars (USA / 2012 / Director: The Rauch Brothers)
A Girl Named Elastika (Canada / 2012 / Director: Guillaume Blanchet)
High Noon (Venezuela / 2013 / Director: Ivan Mazza)
I’m Going to Mum’s (New Zealand / 2012 / Director: Lauren Jackson)
Krake (Germany / 2012 / Director: Regina Welker)
The Maiden and the Princess (USA / 2011 / Director: Ali Scher)
Monster, Me (USA / 2013 / Director: Milt Klingensmith)
Song of the Spindle (USA / 2011 / Director: Drew Christie)
Sounds for Mazin (Netherlands / 2012 / Director: Ingrid Kamerling)
Turning a Corner (USA / 2012 / Director: David B. Levy)

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