Here in the Creative Capital, our collective commitment to the arts insists we look to the future, meeting the needs of the times today for a brighter tomorrow. This is no more abundantly showcased than with the Providence Children’s Film Festival, celebrating its seventh year from February 6-21.
Executive Director, Anisa Raoof, speaks directly to a thoughtful level of development in carving out the film roster and workshop programming. “We jury all the films ahead of time,” she expands. “It’s independent and national, so we bring in the best films from around the world – films that these kids might never get to see. We insist on high quality, taking into consideration what would be best for different age groups and developmental stages.”
What was once a three-day festival has steadily grown, now spanning two weekends and running eight days, which has allowed for more expansive programming and accessibility by enabling more families to experience the festival.
“It’s important for kids to see these movies, of course, but we want them to think about them and talk about them, perhaps in a completely new way,” says Anisa. Accordingly, the roster includes classic films – like Buster Keaton’s The General – and documentaries, as well as animated selections, but each is juried and chosen because it is suitable for kids, as opposed to being a kids’ movie.
“We’re challenging them with some of these stories,” Anisa continues, “because we know they will rise to the occasion. Things don’t need to be dumbed down to be suitable for kids.”
In looking towards the future, the Festival continues to grow year round. Partnerships have been developed with the public libraries and schools to enable more free screenings and programming. In fact, all of the features from film fests passed have been cataloged on Film Hub, an online resource that directs people to libraries or retail platforms where they can view or purchase the movies. There are also study guides made available to accommodate educators interested in incorporating the Film Festival’s programming into their curriculum.
“It’s really important for kids to have ways of expressing themselves and be exposed to different modes of storytelling,” she says. “It feeds their creative capabilities and makes them aware of different possibilities.” February 6-21, providencechildrensfilmfestival.org