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Tito and the Birds / Tito e os Pássaros
Tito and the Birds / Tito e os Pássaros

The third edition of My First Film Fest, a weekend-long showcase of classic and new cinematic works that speak to the experiences and curiosity of young people, returns November 9 to 11, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

My First Film Fest is the Film Society’s home for the next generation of movie lovers, nurturing the sense of discovery, excitement, and education of the film festival experience while shining a light on the indelible significance of the moving image. This year’s slate includes premieres of outstanding recent offerings from around the world alongside repertory classics that exemplify turning points in film history. Featuring free educational screenings as well as in-cinema discussions and introductions, this is an opportunity for children, teenagers, and young adults alike to actively engage with our growing film culture.

Highlights of this year’s festival include the New York premiere of Gustavo Steinberg, Gabriel Bitar, and André Catoto’s dazzling animated film Tito and the Birds, with Steinberg in person; richly human documentary A Polar Year, a fish-out-of-water tale of a young man who leaves his family farm to teach Danish in remote Greenland, with director Samuel Collardey in person for the New York premiere; Wanuri Kahiu’s Rafiki, a tender tale of young love and acceptance shot on the streets of Nairobi, Kenya; Naoko Yamada’s A Silent Voice, based on the manga by Yoshitoki Oima; and a selection of clever and thought-provoking narrative, documentary, experimental, and animated short films for audiences 13 and up. Featured repertory titles include Yasujirô Ozu’s Good Morning, a playful, loose remake of the director’s silent classic I Was Born, But…; Don Siegel’s mid-century sci-fi classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers, presented on 35mm; Czech animator Jiri Trnka’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in a special encore screening from FSLC’s Trnka retrospective The Puppet Master; and the captivating, visually stunning Porco Rosso, from Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki.


A Polar Year / Une année polaire
Samuel Collardey, France, 2018, 94m
Inuktitut and Danish with English subtitles
New York Premiere
In search of adventure, 28-year-old Anders leaves his family farm in Denmark to teach Danish in a remote village of Greenland. Cue cultural whiplash, as the bewildered Anders finds himself an outsider in a forbidding tundra where his rambunctious students would rather be dog-sledding than stuck in school. But gradually, as he immerses himself in the traditions of the Inuit community—and bonds with a boisterous 8-year-old boy—Anders discovers his place in the village. Showcasing the dazzling, otherworldly beauty of Greenland’s arctic vistas, this richly human documentary celebrates our capacity for cross-cultural connection.
Ages 11 and up
Friday, November 9, 6:30pm (Q&A with director Samuel Collardey)

Wanuri Kahiu, Kenya, 2018, 83m
English and Swahili with English subtitles
Strikingly shot on the streets of Nairobi, this tender tale of young love and acceptance is a vibrant, hopeful look at growing up gay in contemporary Kenya. Though their fathers are political rivals, Kena and Ziki—spirited, ambitious young women determined to make something of their lives—forge a connection that leaves their friends and neighbors gossiping. As their friendship deepens into a romance, they must withstand the virulent homophobia that surrounds them while remaining true to themselves and their love. Suffused with gorgeously expressive light, color, and music, Rafiki is a bold statement of compassion from one of Kenyan cinema’s brightest talents.
Ages 15 and up
Friday, November 9, 9:00pm

A Midsummer Night’s Dream / Sen noci svatojanske
Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1959, 35mm, 72m
English version
Revered as the pioneer of a remarkable new genre of animation that utilized puppets, Czech animation master Jiri Trnka had enormous impact on the development of animation in his country, and he inspired the careers of an entire generation of filmmakers around the globe. In this bewitching adaptation of Shakespeare’s romantic fairy tale—perhaps Trnka’s masterpiece—the love lives of mortals and forest sprites mingle during one magical moonlit evening. For his final feature, Trnka deploys the full force of his imagination and technical wizardry to evoke the story’s enchanted-woodlands setting, a garlanded, pastel dreamscape awash in starry-night atmosphere, colorful festoons of flowers, and exquisitely wrought fantasy creatures.
All ages
Saturday, November 10, 5:00pm
Encore screening selected from our April retrospective The Puppet Master: The Complete Jiri Trnka.

Tito and the Birds / Tito e os Pássaros
Gustavo Steinberg, Gabriel Bitar & André Catoto, Brazil, 2018, 73m
Portuguese with English subtitles
New York Premiere
As a pandemic of (literally) paralyzing mass hysteria sweeps over his city—fueled by fear-mongering corporations, TV news, and politicians—one brave boy, 10-year-old Tito, sets out to stop the madness. Could the secret to saving his community really lie with the pigeons with whom he’s formed a unique bond? What could the birds be trying to tell humanity? Dazzlingly animated in a bold, painterly style, this child’s-eye parable for our anxiety-ridden times issues a much-needed reminder: we are infinitely stronger when we refuse to let fear divide us. A Shout Factory release.
Ages 11 and up
Saturday, November 10, 6:45pm (Q&A with director Gustavo Steinberg)

Porco Rosso / Kurenai no buta
Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 1992, 94m
Japanese with English subtitles
The great Hayao Miyazaki brings his wondrous visual imagination to this rip-roaring blend of comic strip thrills, classic Hollywood-style romance, and boisterous comedy. In a storybook vision of 1930s Italy, the eponymous porcine aviator soars across the skies as he tangles with bumbling air pirates, takes on a spirited young woman as his sidekick, and vies with an upstart rival for ultimate daredevil bragging rights. Interweaving rollicking action with heartfelt pro-feminist, anti-fascist themes, Porco Rosso is a captivating, one-of-a-kind aerial adventure as only Studio Ghibli could dream up.
All ages
Saturday, November 10, 8:45pm

Good Morning / Ohayô
Yasujirô Ozu, Japan, 1959, 35mm, 94m
Japanese with English subtitles
Graced with an impish wit and endearing sweetness, this charmer from Yasujirô Ozu is a playful look at the often humorous misunderstandings between adults and children. A loose remake of the director’s silent classic I Was Born, But…, Good Morning tells the story of two brothers who find creative ways to rebel when their parents refuse to buy them a television set—a simple premise that yields rich insights into intergenerational family dynamics. Boasting glorious color cinematography and unabashedly silly gags, Good Morning makes for a perfect introduction to one of cinema’s consummate masters.
Ages 11 and up
Sunday, November 11, 2:00pm

A Silent Voice / Koe no katachi
Naoko Yamada, Japan, 2017, 130m
Japanese with English subtitles
From one of Japan’s most fascinating and daring young animators comes a poignant film about challenges of teenage life. Based on the manga by Yoshitoki Oima and winner of the Japanese Movie Critics Award for Best Animation, A Silent Voice follows deaf sixth grader Shoko and her classmate Shoya, who, years later, has to make amends for the time he spent bullying her. Naoko Yamada’s thoughtful coming-of-age story is both gorgeously hand-drawn and emotionally engaging to firmly establish the filmmaker as an auteur to follow for many years to come.
Ages 13 and up
Sunday, November 11, 6:00pm

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Don Siegel, USA, 1956, 35mm, 80m
This mid-century sci-fi classic was produced on a famously small budget with minimal practical effects, yet sixty-plus years later it retains its power to thrill and chill young and older audiences alike. A near-palpable sense of uncanny dread looms over the story of Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy), a young doctor who gradually discovers that the inhabitants of his sleepy California town are being replaced with mysteriously inhuman replicates. Adapted from a serialized novel, Siegel’s film would spawn several Hollywood remakes over the decades—a testament to its enduring legacy as an influential landmark.
Ages 11 and up
Sunday, November 11, 8:30pm

Shorts Program (TRT: 84m)
This collection of clever and thought-provoking narrative, documentary, experimental, and animation films is sure to captivate viewers of ages 13 and up.
Sunday, November 11, 4:00pm

The Tesla World Light
Andrew Rankin, Canada, 2017, 8m
New York Premiere
Inspired by actual events in Nikola Tesla’s life, this electrifying short draws as much from the conventions of experimental film as it does from animated documentary.

Who’s Who in Mycology
Marie Dvorakova, Czech Republic/USA, 2017, 15m
Czech with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Marie Dvorakova’s Student Academy Award–winning film is a visually exhilarating and funny flight of fancy about a young trombone player whose humdrum night takes a turn for the bizarre.

Gabriel Martins, Brazil, 2017, 27m
Portuguese with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
A high school senior (Clara Lima) boldly questions the conventional wisdom of her parents and peers in this refreshing coming-of-age story about what it means to live a meaningful life.

War of the Worlds
Manuel Brito, Portugal, 2018, 14m
North American Premiere
Using a bizarre cutout animation style, Manuel Brito offers an uncanny interpretation of Orson Welles’s infamous War of the Worlds radio play.

Familiar Tale / Relato Familiar
Sumie García, Mexico/Japan, 2018, 20m
New York Premiere
This moving documentary about memory and loss documents the life of Yukio Saeki, an 86-year old photographer who has been living in Mexico since 1955.

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