My kids love to go to the movies, but when trips to the theater mean spending $100 a pop, it’s hard to be enthusiastic… especially when good kids movies are few and far between. So I’m intrigued by the upcoming Kids First! Film Festival, part of the summer sessions program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Outreach College.
Beginning Sunday, June 13, then continuing every other Sunday through July 18, families are invited to enjoy a variety of films for free at the UH Art Auditorium.
You’re not going to find “Shrek 3″ on the marquee, however. The most commercial names are Wow Wow Wubbzy and Barbie. The Kids First! program — a traveling film festival run by The Coalition for Quality Children’s Media — is specifically “free of gratuitous violence; race, gender, or religious bias; and condescension towards children.” Though, there might be a little of the latter. I’m guessing that a number of the films have an overt message, like, “Plastic Perils of the Pacific,” “Do Unto Others,” and “Wubbzy Goes Green.”
On the plus side, many of the films are based on children’s books, and lesser-known characters. Fans of Jane Yolen can catch “How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?” and “The Girl Who Cried Flowers.” The slate includes lots of animation, some live action fiction, and even a documentary.
Each Sunday includes two to nine movies, grouped by age. Really young kids can attend July 11, those aged 8-12 would probably like the July 18 set. But I’m pretty sure kids of all ages could find something to enjoy any day.
Frankly, the titles may be hit or miss, but the experience of getting out of the house, going somewhere new, and sitting in a large auditorium will probably be more than enough. You definitely can’t beat the price!