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The Oscar® qualifying 2016 Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, which runs October 28 to November 6, will present over 280 all new animated, live action, documentary and experimental shorts and features from approximately 44 countries. 

The 2016 edition includes 10 days of groundbreaking and thought-provoking new films for ages 2-18. Highlights include North American feature film premieres of KAI (KOREA), Long Way North (France/Denmark), Brothers of the Wind (Austria), and Molly Monster (Germany), US feature film premieres of HEIDI (Germany), Abulele (Israel), and the English language release of Phantom Boy (France), 67 Oscar®-qualifying short film programs, and a special Opening Night screening of Trolls (USA). The Festival will culminate with the Closing Night Celebration, which will include the announcement of the 2016 award winners, a special program of the Best of the Fest short films, and the world premiere of the Facets original film Boo Bash The Movie. As an Oscar®-qualifying festival, CICFF jury winners qualify for consideration for the 2017 Academy Awards® in the Live Action and Animated Short Film categories.

TROLLS – From the creators of Shrek comes DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls, a smart, funny and irreverent comedy about the search for happiness, and just how far some will go to get it. This hilarious film transports audiences to a colorful, wondrous world populated by the overly optimistic Trolls, who have a constant dance in their step and a song on their lips, and the comically pessimistic Bergens, who are only happy when they have trolls in their stomachs.

After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy (Kendrick), the happiest Troll ever born, and the overly-cautious curmudgeonly Branch (Timberlake) set off on a journey to rescue her friends. Together, this mismatched duo embarks on a rescue mission full of adventure and mishaps – trying to tolerate each other long enough to get the job done.

BOO! BASH: THE MOVIE! – World Premiere, USA, John Biggers, English
Filmed on location at BOO! Bash 2016, the coolest, zaniest, spookiest family Halloween party in Chicago and the official fun-filled kickoff to this year’s Festival, BOO! Bash: The Movie!, chronicles the eerie adventures of a group of young cinephiles who find that the classic horror flicks and monster movies they’ve checked out at Facets’ Videotheque will cost them more than a simple rental fee. Every guest who attends BOO! Bash 2016 is part of the cast, and three lucky little BOO! Bash partyers (TBA!) will walk the red carpet November 7th as the short film’s named and credited stars. Recommended ages: Everyone

ABDULELE – US Premiere, Live-action, Israel, Jonathan Geva, Hebrew, with English sub.
At school, Adam struggles with both grades and bullies. At home, he grapples with the recent loss of his brother. Amidst this difficulty, he stumbles upon an unlikely friend, a little monster named Abulele. But what starts as an innocent friendship leads to a dangerous chase. With the help of his new pal, Tamar, Adam must protect his monster at all costs while showing some powerful adults how to grow up. Recommended ages: 10+

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – Live-action, France, Christophe Gans, French, with English subtitles
After falling into financial ruin, a kind, widowed merchant does his best to provide for his six children, including brave, beautiful, and well-grounded Belle. One eventful night, he stumbles upon a fantastic castle holding unspeakable treasures and riches. But when he is tempted to take a single rose from an enchanted garden, he becomes indebted to Beast, the castle’s keeper, and it is his beloved Belle pays the price. Will Belle transform both Beast’s fate and her own circumstances through the power of love? Impressive special effects, cinematography, and costumes in this César Award-winning film, starring Léa Seydoux (“Spectre”, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, “The Lobster”, “Saint Laurent”) and Vincent Cassel (“Jason Bourne”, “The Little Prince”, “Black Swan”). Recommended ages: 11+


HELP, I SHRUNK MY TEACHER! – North American Premiere, Live-action, Austria/Germany, Sven Unterwaldt, German, with English subtitles
Doctor Schmill-Gössenwein is easily the meanest teacher ever at 11 year-old Felix’s new school, and she’s the school principal too! Felix is the new kid at an established private school, and just when he needs to be on top of his game, he accidentally shrinks Doctor Schmill-Gössenwein – to six inches! The duo is now in a real pickle. Joined by clever and fearless Emma, the oddball group sets themselves against both the school bully and the devious School Inspector, who’s connived to take the principal’s place. The group comes up with a series of riddles and ruses to right-size the school, and the principal, to boot. The clock is ticking …. Recommended ages: 9+

KAI – North American Premiere, Animation, South Korea, Sung-Gang Lee, Korean, with English subtitles
In the grasslands of Central Asia, live young Kai, his sister, Shamui and their mother. Separated from his sister by an avalanche, brave and resourceful Kai takes it upon himself to save his peaceful village from a spell caste by the evil Snow Queen, Hattan. Little does he know, the Snow Queen has manipulated Shamui to do her bidding. Exceeding the expectations of the villagers, Kai sets out to save his home from its icy fate. With the help of the kind River Spirit, Kai will train, persevere, and prove his bravery. But time is not on his side! Recommended ages: 10+

LONG WAY NORTH – North American Premiere, Animation, France/Denmark, Rémi Chayé; In English
Long Way North paints an enchanting portrait of faraway worlds in expansive swaths of pastel. Though she is being groomed for proper Russian aristocracy, Sasha would much rather embark on adventures than attend fancy galas. When her grandfather disappears on his quest to conquer the North Pole, he becomes the laughingstock of St. Petersburg, and Sasha makes it her mission to restore the family legacy. Setting out on her own into uncharted waters, she joins a group of sailors as chilly as the icebergs that surround them. Together they face treacherous terrain and harsh conditions in order to find what’s been lost at sea. With unwavering courage and devotion, Sasha honors the path of those that came before her without losing the will to forge her own. Recommended ages: 7 to adult

PHANTOM BOY – US Premiere, Animation, France, Felicioli/Gagnol; In English
The US Premiere of the English Language Release. From the directors of Festival 2011 favorite A Cat in Paris comes a new crime thriller set in – well, above – the streets of New York City. Leo has a secret. While most believe his serious illness has confined him to the hospital, he has the power to leave his body and goon urban escapades as a ghostly apparition. Recuperating on the floor below is Alex, a police officer injured while apprehending the Man With the Broken Face, a nefarious bandit who has taken control of the city’s power. Together, they must combine detective skills and supernatural powers to stop destruction. A mix of film noir and superhero fantasy, Phantom Boy is both heartwarming and heart-thumping, taking the action to new heights, making Leo a welcome addition to our iconic skyline. Recommended ages: 8 to adult

BROTHERS OF THE WIND – North American Premiere, Live-action, Austria, Gerardo Olivares, English
Independent, 13-year-old Lukas lives in the grand and imposing mountain valleys of the Austrian Alps. When he finds a young, orphaned Golden Eagle, he vows to protect “Abel” from danger – including his own father, Keller, a bird hunter. Recently widowed, Keller and Lukas are at wildly at odds in coming to terms with their grief. As the boy trains the animal, the eagle takes the boy under his wing, as well, as together they join in a journey of self-discovery and adventure. With incomparable cinematography on view, this stunning film is narrated by the forest caretaker, Danzer (Jean Reno, “The Da Vinci Code”) in whom Lukas finds help and advice. Recommended ages: 12+

HEIDI – US Premiere, Live-action, Switzerland/Germany, Alain Gsponer, German/Swiss, with English subtitles
The time is 1800’s Switzerland and young orphan Heidi is sent to live with her grumpy grandfather high in the Alps. As Heidi grows accustomed to her new surroundings, she and her grandfather develop a strong, inseparable bond. The plucky girl joins Peter in goat herding and other adventures as learns to appreciate her beautiful surroundings. When Heidi’s stern aunt then forces her to move to the big city to be the companion for a lonely daughter of a wealthy bourgeois family, the spirited Heidi is torn. Can she remain a loyal friend and find a way to return to her mountain home? Based on the beloved children’s books, with celebrated Swiss actor, Bruno Ganz, as Grandfather. Recommended ages: 8+

IN YOUR DREAMS! – North American Premiere, Live-action, Czech Republic, Petr Oukropec, Czech language, with English subtitles
Talented and determined 16 year-old Laura is a devoted parkour enthusiast living in Prague. Her training prepares her to take on all-male rivals at an upcoming competition – if she can get past her own fears first, that is. Along comes the handsome, elusive, and skillful Luky, and Laura derails herself from her own goals: winning the parkour competition and traveling to San Francisco for a prize photo shoot. Will Laura let her fear of heights and of taking chances hold her back? Can she make the final leap of faith to stay true to her dreams and her identity? Recommended age: 15+


IQBAL FAROOQ AND THE SECRET RECIPE – US Premiere, Live-action, Denmark, Tilde Harkamp, Danish with English subtitles
Charming 13-year-old Iqbal frequently plays the clown and endlessly exasperates his second-generation immigrant family. His chance discovery of a “secret recipe” in science class brings his mischief to a whole new level. When Iqbal’s concoction gets into the hands of a band of villainous crooks, Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens become threatened! It’s up to Iqbal, his friend, Sille, and his brother, Tariq to defeat the villains’ dastardly plan and restore Iqbal’s reputation, just in the nick of time. Recommended ages: 9+

LITTLE MOUNTAIN BOY – US Premiere, Live-action, Switzerland, Xavier Koller, Swiss German, with English subtitles
Winter falls in a small Swiss village, but the cold doesn’t put a stop to local lies and deceit. Kind as well as courageous, 11-year old Uorsin sets out to ease his family’s burdens during an especially hard season. With encouragement from friend Seraina, he meets challenge after challenge, including standing up to the town leader’s bullying son. With the upcoming annual festival as well as avalanche season, time is not on Uorsin’s side! Recommended ages: 10+

LOUIS & LUCA – THE BIG CHEESE RACE – North American Premiere, Animation, Norway, Rasmus Sivertsen, English
The spirited team of bunglers is back in this lovingly crafted stop motion animation feature film! Magpie and Hedgehog reunite, this time representing their town in the high-stakes Cheese Race. After a brief 68 years hiatus, the village-vs-village cheese race is back, thanks to the civic initiative of the village council. After Louis is tempted to enter the competition under harsh terms, he must prove to be resilience. With the kind help of their human, Elfie, it is game on – ready, steady, go! Featuring the voice of Hugh Bonneville (“Downton Abbey”). Recommended ages: 7+

MOLLY MONSTER – North American Premiere, Animation, Germany, Sieger/Bruhn/Ekbald; In English
Molly Monster is the beloved daughter of Popo and Etna Monster, best friend to windup toy Edison, and is about to add “Big Sister” to the list. But in all the excitement of a monster-on-the-way, her parents forgot to bring the hat she knit for the baby to Egg Island, where all the new monsters are born. With Edison by her side, Molly travels through a technicolor dreamland with an endless assortment of Seussical friendly monsters, unexpected challenges, and even some very whimsical singing. Capturing the inventive, colorful world of Ted Sieger’s popular German TV series, Molly Monster is one big adventure that’s perfect for the littlest Festival-goers. Recommended ages: 3-8

THE PITCH – North American Premiere, Live-action, Russia, Eduard Bordukov, Russian, with English Sub.
“The Pitch” is a rugged street soccer court in a modest residential area, central to the community that built it years ago. Teen Kostya and his pals love playing this fast-paced street style whenever they can. Unlike his teammates, Kostya dreams of a spot on a professional team. One day, the court’s ownership is challenged by a group of “upstart” immigrants. With more resources and dreams of his own, opposing star player Damir pursues the sport professionally, too. Unwilling to share their home turf, Kostya schemes to thwart the competition, pitching locals against wealthier newcomers. Setting aside their individual dreams and their parents’ wishes, the boys hustle to prove their merit – past fleeting soccer wins. Recommended ages: 16+

SHORT FILM PROGRAMS – The Festival’s wildly popular short film programs showcase the best short films from around the world, selected from over 2,000 entries. Jury-selected winners will be eligible for Oscar® consideration in animated and live action short film categories. The 2016 Best Animated Short winner Bear Story (Gabriel Osorio, Chile) was featured in the CICFF Short Film programs in 2014, while years past have featured dozens of winners and nominees. This year’s short film programs feature new films from Aardman Studios (Shaun the Sheep: “The Farmer’s Llamas”), the creators of The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom (Stick Man), and Cartoon Network (Welcome to My Life, Summer Camp Island, Adventure Time: “Bad Jubies”). The Festival features a total of 67 short film programs curated for all age ranges.

The Festival features a total of 67 short film programs curated for all age ranges.

Three special Halloween themes programs continue the seasonal tradition of presenting the year’s best spooky or monster movies the Festival has to offer for ages 5+. Presented at The Music Box Theatre on Sunday, October 30th.
Molly Monster – Animated Feature, Germany, In English, Ages 5+, Music Box October 30 at 9:45AM
Halloween: “Monsters & Mischief” – Animated Shorts, Ages 5+, Music Box October 30 at 11:15AM
Halloween: “Delusions and Illusions” – Animated Shorts, Ages 11+, Music Box October 30 at 12:45AM

These special collections of jury selected shorts are written and directed by kids and teens from around the world.
Kids Pix Top Flix – Shorts Program, Ages 8+, Facets October 29 at 11:00AM
Teen Lens – Shorts Program, Ages 14+, Facets October 29 at 7:15PM
Tribute to Community Television Network – Shorts Program, Ages 15+, Facets October 30 at 7:15PM

Five special film programs and one workshop for kids with the day off school, Ages 7+. November 4th screening locations include Facets and Music Box Theatres.
Abulele – Live Action Feature Film, Israel, Ages 10+, Music Box at 10:15AM
Stone Soup – Shorts Program, Ages 7+, Facets at 9:45 AM
Higher Ground – Shorts Program, Ages 13+ Facets at 10:15AM
Beauty and the Beast – Live Action Feature Film, France, Ages 11+, Music Box at 9:45AM
Express Yourself – Shorts Program, Ages 14+, Facets at 11:45AM
Telling a Story Through Computer Animation – at Facets from 10:00AM-4:30PM

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