Fun films for youngsters

Wickie and the Treasure of the Gods
Wickie and the Treasure of the Gods
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The director of a children’s film festival in Sheffield is keen to show families that there is more on offer than Disney and Pixar.

Showcomotion director Joan Parsons said: “When you’re walking around town and see the amount of advertising that mainstream cinema children’s and family films get, we can never compete.

“This is the alternative and we can’t offer McDonald’s toys or bus posters, just great films with quality as their aim recommending them.”

Not that it’s a stuffy festival.

Joan said: “I try not to be worthy, I’m quite tongue in cheek about it. I decided there was a bird theme this year because there’s four films about birds. That was enough to bring owls in and fly them around the cinema.” The owls appear on Sunday, July 21.

Workshops include one teaching children to sing a song in Danish as there is a series of Danish films this year.

One highlight of the event is the official opening gala, which takes place on Friday, July 12. Anyone can enjoy the whole premiere-style experience. The gala includes a showing of the new Japanese Studio Ghibli animation, From Up On Poppy Hill.

Studio Ghibli’s distinctive visual style has become very popular and the English versions are dubbed, by Disney, using star casts of actors. From Up On Poppy Hill is a love story whose main characters are high school students who were to become the first generation of a new Japan after World War Two.

There’s also an amazing sweet buffet being created by the cinema’s chef, who is building a whole edible village, in true Willy Wonka style. Youngsters are encouraged to come in fancy dress and there are prizes for the best.

The festival includes a section for films that are in competition with the winners chosen by youth juries.

Joan reckons that the strong contenders are Wajda, the first film made by a woman in Saudi Arabia, crime caper Nono The Zigzag Kid and One Mile Away, about gangs.

Showcomotion runs from Saturday to July 21 at the Showroom Cinema. See www.showcomotion.co.uk