Saturday, 20 June 2015

The return of the family program at Sydney Film Festival

With the disappearance of the family program from the Sydney Film Festival in previous years, I was delighted to see its reappearance in 2015. Families had the opportunity to experience a selection of international films, Australian documentaries and animation screenings.

There was a gap for young adults (14- 17 years) but younger audiences were definitely catered for this year.

Wide Open Sky

'This isn’t X-factor, this is Moorambilla' – Michelle Leonard

Lisa Nicol first heard about Michelle Leonard’s story from another mother at her child’s school.  Perusing the story led to the documentary Wide Open Sky that follows the  Moorambilla Voices regional choir concert from the audition process, and everything else in between led by the charismatic Artistic Director Michelle Leonard. The choir consists of kids from rural NSW that don’t normally have access to music education opportunities.

Lisa allows enough screen time for the audience to get to know the kids and the team behind the choir.

The screening we attended was a full house of a young and young at heart audience.

Wide Open Sky is a beautiful and inspiring Australian story.

Gayby Baby

The documentary shares the lives of four same-sex families through the eyes of the children (aged 10 – 12).

Gus is obsessed about wrestling, Ebony prepares for her audition for a performing arts school, Matt questions religion and Graham struggles with learning how to read.

Gayby Baby is an important and timely documentary for your kids to see to show that families are built on love rather than convention.

‘I don’t think it actually makes me that unique; it’s just different for every person growing up.   The people who raise you and make you who you are today are your family.' - Ebony

Songs of the Sea

Animated family films are getting churned out one after another – every school holidays another batch of kids films are released leading to them all starting to look like the same film.

The enchanting Songs of the Sea offers more depth and beauty to children’s animation avoiding the cookie cutter formulation.   A follow-up to The Secret of the Kells (screened within 2009 Sydney Film Festival family program) director Tom Moore has returned with an enchanting story based on the ancient Celtic myth of the Selkies told through hand-drawn imagery.

The story centers around Saoirse and Ben, two siblings who live with their father, a lighthouse keeper. Magical secrets about their mother are discovered as Saoirse and Ben find their way back home.

The Crow’s Egg also screened at the festival. It will be rescreening with the Travelling Film Festival – Newcastle 

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