By Ashley de Coligny
It wouldn’t be summertime without the movies, but taking the whole family to every new blockbuster can blow your weekend budget, and fast. Luckily, there’s an alternative option especially for kids, and it’s FREE. It’s one of my favorite summer events for families – the annual KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, held at UH Manoa’s Art Auditorium.
This award-winning festival shows a collection of films that have been kid-tested and approved. There’s a mix of full-length features and shorts, most of which clock in around 10 minutes (perfect for young attention spans). Plus, there are no commercials and no worries about the content – the festival is a project of the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, which doesn’t allow any gratuitous violence, race, gender, or cultural bias, or condescension towards children. In short, you’ll get perfectly kid-friendly films that keep all the keiki giggling (and the adults, too). And did I mention it’s FREE?
Kids can sit in the auditorium seats with parents, although some choose to lounge on the floor up front, and a few smart ones even brought small blankets to sit on. No drinks or snacks are allowed. My daughter’s favorite part is the raffle before the show. Every child gets a ticket upon entering, and the lucky winners get called down to pick a free DVD. (She hasn’t won yet, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.)
I would say this event is best for kids 3 years and up. I took my daughter, who’s four, AND my two-year-old son, which didn’t work out. Sure, there were other people with happy, quiet babies and mellow toddlers behaving perfectly. But I was “that” mom, the one chasing around an exhausted, wailing hooligan. Lesson learned.
But I can’t wait to go back this weekend with only my daughter (sorry son, maybe next year). This Sunday’s lineup looks promising – it’s geared toward ages 3 to 7, including animated shorts from Babar, Mig Said Series, and Eco-Beeps with Skip & Molly. I’m especially hoping my daughter will pay close attention to “Cleaning Up My Mess” with Hello Kitty.
Later dates in July will cater to ages 5-12 and 8+. Check the link below for all the details. There’s free parking on the UH campus on Sundays, so getting there is easy. See ya at the movies!
KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. University of Hawaii at Manoa Art Auditorium. Remaining dates: June 24, July 8, and July 15, doors open at 2:30pm, show starts 3:00 p.m. Free admission. For more info, call 956-9883 or visit http://www.outreach.hawaii.edu/summer/kidsfirst.asp for full film lineup. To learn more about the national KIDS FIRST! film critic program, visit http://www.kidsfirst.org/filmfestival/