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Sunday, March 23, 2014

TIFF Kids Festival brings films from around the world to Toronto's youngest audiences

17th Annual TIFF Kids Festival Targets Children Aged 3–13 and Runs from April 8–21, 2014

Toronto – The TIFF Kids International Film Festival, one of the premier film festivals for children in North America, returns for its 17th year with a slate full of premieres of some of the best films from around the world for children aged 3 to 13 that will inspire and delight children and their families alike.

The TIFF Kids Festival kicks off on Opening Night with the Canadian premiere of Rio 2, the all-star sequel to the smash-hit 2011 animated adventure, reuniting audiences with Blu and Jewel, voiced by Oscar® nominee Jesse Eisenberg and Oscar® winner Anne Hathaway, and wraps with the Closing Night Film The House of Magic, a gorgeously animated 3D feature from Belgium about a young abandoned cat who finds a new home in an enchanted mansion.

All screenings and events take place at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto from April 8 to 21, 2014.

"We are thrilled to be opening TIFF Kids Festival 2014 with the Canadian premiere of the highly anticipated Rio 2, particularly as its international flavour speaks so perfectly to the global scope of the festival," said Elizabeth Muskala, Director of TIFF Kids.

"All over the world, innovative filmmakers are stretching the boundaries of traditional children's entertainment and addressing important issues in ways that are accessible to young audiences. This year, we have such films as Knight Rusty, an animated 3D adventure that speaks to the importance of recycling; I Swan, an inspirational drama from China about animal protection; and The Contest, which demonstrates how youth can address and overcome cultural stereotypes.”

Special guests will introduce films and be available for question-and-answer sessions following select screenings throughout the TIFF Kids Festival, with more guests to be announced in the coming weeks. Guests for 2014 include director, writer and creator of Rio and Rio 2 —as well as director of the three Ice Age films— Carlos Saldanha, and executive music producer —and musician— Sérgio Mendes who will engage with audiences at the Canadian Premiere of their latest film Rio 2. We are also pleased to announce the director of both African Safari and our Closing Night film House of Magic, Belgian director Ben Stassen.

TIFF Kids Festival 2014 features a total of 112 films, comprising 28 features and 84 shorts, hailing from 31 countries, including Australia, Germany, The Netherlands, Israel, China, Poland, Russia, and many more.

The TIFF Kids International Film Festival takes place at TIFF Bell Lightbox from April 8 through April 21. Tickets for TIFF Kids Festival go on sale to TIFF Members on March 11 and to the general public on March 19. Prices are Adult $12, Student/Senior $9.50 and Children (13 and under) $8.50. Opening Night $25 per person and Closing Night $15 per person. Family packs of 10 tickets are available for $80. Entry to digiPlaySpace for children is $10 or $15 with paid screening ticket, $10 or $20 for adults with paid screening ticket, and free for TIFF Members. Some activities are also free.

For more information on screenings and activities, or to purchase tickets, please visit tiff.net/kids call 416-599-TIFF (8433) or 1-800-599-TIFF, or visit the Steve & Rashmi Gupta Box Office at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

TIFF Kids Festival is pleased to present the following 29 feature films:

African Safari, dir. Ben Stassen, Belgium
North American Premiere
Take your seat in our customized hot air balloon and join us on the 3D safari adventure of a lifetime. Our expedition starts in the desert dunes of Namibia and travels across the entire African continent, through spectacular landscapes including the Kalahari Desert, Okavango, Victoria Falls, Ngorongoro and the Serengeti heading up to Mt. Kilimanjaro. Soar over herds of big game and ride in the jeep where you’ll get uncomfortably close to elephants and cheetahs. This is the real wild Africa with no fences! Be sure to close your tent at night…
Recommended for ages 10 and up

AninA, dir. Alfredo Soderguit, Uruguay/Colombia
Toronto Premiere
Anina Yatay Salas is a ten-year-old girl who does not like her name. Each part is a palindrome, which means it reads the same both forwards and backwards. Her schoolmates are always teasing her about this, especially Anina's arch-enemy Yisel. An unusual punishment for fighting with Yisel gives Anina a different perspective on life both on and off the playground, in this beautifully animated adaptation of the 2003 book by author and illustrator Sergio López Suárez.
Recommended for ages 9 and up.

Antboy, director: Ask Hasselbalch, Denmark
Twelve-year-old Pelle accidentally gets bitten by an ant and develops unimaginable superpowers. With help from his friend, comic-book nerd Wilhelm, Pelle creates a secret identity as the superhero Antboy and becomes a local crimefighter. When a supervillain, The Flea, enters the scene, Antboy must step up to the challenge.
Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Bears, dirs. Keith Scholey, Alastair Fothergill, co-dir. Adam Chapman, USA
Canadian Premiere
In an epic story of breathtaking scale set against a majestic Alaskan backdrop teeming with life, Disneynature’s 2014 big-screen adventure Bears follows a bear family as impressionable young cubs are taught life’s most important lessons.
Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Casper and Emma's Winter Vacation (Karsten og Petra på vinterferie), dir. Arne Lindtner Næss, Norway
International Premiere
Casper and Emma goes off to a cabin for their winter vacation. They play in the snow and have a great time together — until Peter shows up! Peter is really good at all kinds of things, and Emma thinks he’s just fantastic. Casper does everything he can to prove he’s good at stuff too — but is this the way to win Emma back?
Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, dirs. Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, USA
Following the special Story Mobs event!
Bill Hader, Anna Faris and Andy Samberg lend their voices to this smash-hit animated comedy, about an aspiring inventor whose loony new invention causes food to literally fall from the skies.
Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Felix, dir. Roberta Durrant, South Africa
Toronto Premiere Thirteen-year-old Felix dreams of becoming a saxophonist like his late father, Zweli, of the famous Bozza Boys band, despite his mother Lindiwe’s disapproval. Felix’s world is turned upside down when he wins a scholarship to a prestigious school. Wanting to prove himself, he auditions for the school concert, but he can’t read music. Two aging ex-Bozza Boys give Felix a crash course on the saxophone and teach him about his musical roots and father’s past—but can his mother come to celebrate Felix's musical talent?
Recommended for ages 10 and up.

Finn, dir. Frans Weisz, Netherlands
Toronto Premiere Finn is a nine-year-old boy who lives with his single dad in a small village. One day, Finn hears a stranger playing a violin in an old farmhouse nearby, and he becomes entranced by the beauty of the music. But Finn’s father forbids him from visiting the stranger or playing the instrument.
Recommended for ages 9 and up.

Gabriel, dir. Mikolaj Haremski, Poland
Toronto Premiere Tom is passionate about cars and spends all his free time in the garage. Under the watchful care of mechanic Raszynski, he discovers the secrets of building cars. One day, Tom decides to find his unknown father and runs away from his grandparents, with whom he has lived since his mother's death, and sets out on what becomes a dangerous journey. At the beginning of his escapade he gets into trouble, which he overcomes with the help of new friend, Gabriel. Tom begins to learn that Gabriel has supernatural abilities. As their journey continues, Tom gets closer to finally knowing his father, and discovering the mystery of Gabriel.
Recommended for ages 9 and up.

Giraffada, dir. Rani Massalha, France/Germany/Italy/Palestine
A young Palestinian boy and his veterinarian father make an incredible journey to transport a giraffe from Israel to the West Bank's Qalqilya Zoo, in this inspirational drama based on a true story.
Recommended for ages 10 and up.

I Swan, dir. Kong Sheng, China
Toronto Premiere Holly, traumatized by her mother’s accidental death, develops a selective mutism. Hoping to help her recover, her father takes her to the natural wetland where he works. Holly befriends a wounded swan and nurtures it back to health. The swan’s company also helps Holly become happy again, and eventually overcome the trauma of her mother’s death. Unfortunately, a man with evil intentions steals the swan, leading Holly and her father to begin a difficult search for her best friend.
Holly befriends a wounded swan 9 and up.

Kick It! (Kule kidz gråter ikke), dir. Katarina Launing, Norway
North American Premiere
Anja loves soccer more than anything else, but when a serious illness forces her off the field she receives help from a very unexpected source.
Recommended for ages 10 and up.

Knight Rusty (Ritter Rost), dir. Thomas Bodenstein, Germany
Canadian Premiere Knight Rusty is in for the adventure of his life: just as his dream of winning a big tournament comes true, he is falsely accused of theft. Stripped of his knightly honour and his castle, he sets out to redeem himself and to win back the heart of his damsel. Can he also defeat the evil prince and save the kingdom?
Recommended for ages 7 and up.

Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants (Minuscule – La vallée des fourmis perdues), dirs. Thomas Szabo, Hélène Giraud, France
Canadian Premiere
In a peaceful forest, the remains of a picnic trigger a ruthless war between rival ant colonies, obsessed with gaining control of the same prize: a box of sugar cubes! Amidst this struggle a young ladybug befriends a black ant and helps him save his people from the horrible red ants...
Recommended for ages 8 and up.

On the Way to School (Sur le chemin de l'école), dir. Pascal Plisson, France
Toronto Premiere This touching, globe-trotting documentary travels from Kenya to Patagonia, Morocco and India to show the incredible physical obstacles that some children must face every day simply to get to the classroom on time.
Recommended for ages 10 and up.

Pim & Pom, The Big Adventure (Pim & Pom, Het Grote Avontuur), dir. Gioia Smid, The Netherlands
Toronto Premiere Feline friends Pim & Pom must fend for themselves when they are separated from their beloved owner, in this charming animated adventure based on the long-running Dutch comic strip.
Recommended for ages 3 and up.

Regret! (Spijt!), dir. Dave Schram, The Netherlands
Toronto Premiere Based on the book by popular Dutch author Carry Slee, this all-too-realistic story about a teenager relentlessly tormented by his peers speaks powerfully to the devastating consequences that can result if young people don't stand up and speak out against bullying.
Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Rio 2, dir. Carlos Saldanha, USA
Canadian Premiere
Introduction and Q+A with director Carlos Saldanha!
It’s a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids in Rio 2, after they’re hurtled from that magical city to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets the most fearsome adversary of all — his father-in-law. All our favorite Rio characters are back, and they’re joined by Oscar® nominee Andy Garcia, Grammy® winner Bruno Mars, Tony® winner Kristin Chenoweth and Oscar/Emmy®/Tony winner Rita Moreno. Rio 2 also features new Brazilian artists and original music by Janelle Monáe and Wondaland.
Recommended for ages 7 and up.

School of Babel (La Cour de Babel), dir. Julie Bertuccelli, France
Canadian Premiere Shot over one school year at La Grange-aux-Belles secondary school in Paris' 10th arrondissement, this inspiring documentary follows young newcomers to France as they try to adapt to life in their new country.
Recommended for ages 11 and up.

Side by Side, dir. Arthur Landon, United Kingdom
North American Premiere When their grandmother's illness threatens them with separation, a young brother and sister embark on an unforgettable journey through the Scottish wilderness, in this heartfelt adventure tale that celebrates loyalty, perseverance, and the bond between siblings.
Recommended for ages 10 and up.

The Boxcar Children, dirs. Dan Chuba, Mark Dippe, USA
World Premiere Meet Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny, four orphaned siblings who mysteriously appear in a small town on a warm summer night. No one knows who these young wanderers are or where they have come from. The children make a home for themselves in an old abandoned boxcar in the woods. In this secret place they can keep their family together and safe from the one person who wants to break them apart. A touching tale of family togetherness based on the classic 1920s children’s book by Gertrude Chandler Warner.
Recommended for ages 6 and up.

The Contest (MGP Missionen) dir. Martin Miehe-Renard, Denmark
North American Premiere When Sawsan's parents forbid her from performing on the country's most popular TV singing contest, her best friend Karl hatches a plan to get her to the show's big finale.
Recommended for ages 11 and up.

The Famous Five 3 (Fünf Freunde 3) director: Mike Marzuk, Germany.
International Premiere In an old shipwreck, the Famous Five discover a mysterious brass locket. A local girl, Joe, believes that this is the key to a lost pirate treasure. Joe reveals that an investor wants to banish her tribe from their bay to build a tourist resort, and this treasure is her last chance to save her home. Together, the kids must embark on a treasure hunt through the dangerous jungle, and escape from a gangster couple on trail, as well as highly poisonous insects at every turn.
Recommended for ages 11 and up.

The House of Magic, dirs. Ben Stassen, Jérémie Degruson, Belgium
Introduction and Q+A with director Ben Stassen!
Canadian Premiere Seeking shelter from a storm, an abandoned young cat named Thunder sneaks into a mysterious mansion owned by retired magician Lawrence, a.k.a. “The Illustrious Lorenzo.” Lawrence shares his fairy-tale world with many animals and a dazzling array of automatons and gizmos capable of whipping up breakfast while rolling out a spectacular song-and-dance routine. He soon makes Thunder feel welcome, but Jack the rabbit and Maggie the mouse start plotting to get him kicked out. When Lawrence ends up in the hospital, his nephew tries to trick him into selling the house, but its ragtag inhabitants develop a spooky strategy to defend their home. They turn their house into a haunted mansion, using Thunder as their secret weapon...
Recommended for ages 8 and up.

The Rooster of St-Victor (Le Coq de St-Victor), dir. Pierre Greco, Canada
Toronto Premiere Although the annoyingly punctual rooster keeps the town of St-Victor motivated with his ear-splitting morning crow, one group of sleep-deprived citizens has had enough of having their slumber disrupted. But when their plan to rid themselves of the rooster causes the village's fortunes to spiral, their fellow townspeople must find the fowl before the whole town goes under!
Recommended for ages 7 and up.

Presented in French; no English subtitles.
The Tough Guys (De tøffeste gutta), dir. Christian Lo, Norway
North American Premiere Considering himself to be a superhero, eleven-year-old Modulf deliberately attracts the attention of the school bullies in order to protect his fellow students; but when his new friend Lise gets in serious trouble after trying to bring the bullies to justice, he's forced to choose between being a superhero or a good friend.
Recommended for ages 10 and up.

Windstorm (Ostwind), dir. Katja von Garnier, Germany
Toronto Premiere Having failed her exams, fourteen-year-old city girl Mika is sent off to her grandmother’s country home. At the stables she forms a mystical bond with the untamed stallion Windstorm, and discovers that within her lies the gift of a true horse whisperer.
Recommended for ages 9 and up

Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang (Zipi y Zape y el club de la canica), dir. Óskar Santos, Spain Naughty twins Zip & Zap are punished and sent to summer school at Hope, a strict re-education center run by Falconetti, who rules with a heavy hand and an eye-patch and forbids all forms of recreation and entertainment. They form the Marble Gang, the children’s resistance, in order to defy the evil headmaster. Guided by intelligence, bravery and unbreakable faith in friendship, they uncover a mysterious secret hidden deep within the school and end up having the most exciting adventure of their lives.
Recommended for ages 9 and up.

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About TIFF
TIFF is a charitable cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $189 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation and RBC. For more information, visit tiff.net.

The TIFF Kids International Film Festival is supported by The City of Toronto and the Ontario Arts Council. Media Partners of the TIFF Kids International Film Festival are TVO and the Toronto Star.

TIFF is generously supported by Lead Sponsor Bell, Major Sponsors RBC, L'Oréal Paris, and Visa, and Major Supporters the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and the City of Toronto


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