Flick + Flack interview Director Jonathan Kalafer

Posted on | April 14, 2013 | Add Comments

Flick and Flack interview Jonathan Kalafer, director of Once in a Lullaby. It’s a magnificent must-see documentary that charts the PS22 Chorus as they make their way from humble school beginnings to global internet fame and, eventually, a closing performance of “Over The Rainbow” at the 2011 Oscars. In our chat with the director he discusses how the film came to be, the editing process, going to the Academy Awards, and much more. A highlight? When Jonathan describes filming a “lost at the Oscars” sequence. If you get a chance at seeing the movie, watch it. It’s moving, fascinating, and an all around 5 star film! Inspiring, emotional, exciting…you’ll definitely be searching the chorus on YouTube after the film.

PS22 Chorus at the Academy Awards

TIFF Kids 2013

Posted on | April 13, 2013 | 1 Comment

The 2012 TIFF Kids International Film Festival

Posted on | April 28, 2012 | 2 Comments

The 2012 TIFF Kids International Film Festival (located in Toronto, Canada) was a fabulous experience. It was the first fest Flack and I went to other than the Providence Children’s Film Festival (PCFF). Anybody who wants to have a great time watching moving, funny, action packed and/or sad films will, in my opinion, will enjoy TIFF Kids. The festival is open to the public and schools. The Q&As are very interesting and I highly recommend them to anybody who wants to learn about how the films at TIFF Kids were made.

The following videos display Flack and my critiques of all the films we saw while at the fest. I hope the videos are interesting, critical (but not rude), and enjoyable. And now… dim the lights, sit back and enjoy our pure film festival analysis. Click on the link to view all of our videos on Vimeo.

Interview with Elizabeth Muskala, Director of TIFF Kids (Flick’s Interview)

Posted on | April 28, 2012 | Add Comments

While attending the 2012 TIFF Kids International Film Festival we had a chance to interview Elizabeth Muskala, the current director of TIFF Kids. When we asked Muskala what she thinks moviegoers should experience from TIFF Kids, she said “at the end of the day you should leave the festival having had a good time.” However that “good time” should also be “enriching,” she says. It takes hard work to combine the two factors.

This year’s festival has films from 41 different countries. “It’s our biggest festival yet,” says Muskala. That’s easy to see. This year marks the 15th anniversary for the fest and the digiPlaySpace was introduced this year. This digital playground for kids is an outstanding, fun place to learn through technology.  For example in one of the sections, kids can play with engaging apps that also teach them something.  In one of the apps, you build a robot with quadrilaterals. I had two favorite sections. The first was one involves you driving a digital car with a video game controller, while avoiding real household objects. The second favorite was a table full of animals and a tree (mostly) sculpted out of clay which were easy to bend making for a great stop motion film which I participated in making. I glanced over at the computer screen that shows the pictures that are taken, and saw that over 750 pictures had been shot while I was there.This year’s selection of films ranged from Chimpanzee (the Disneynature opening night film) to Sky Force 3-D (an animated film geared to younger kids from Hong Kong, dubbed in English). Muskala says “Chimpanzee was such a natural selection.” Earth Day falls on April 22nd and there’s an environmental theme running through all our programming this year.  “Chimpanzee hit all the boxes.” On Sky Force she says, “Because opening night is good for ages 8-9 plus, we wanted closing night to be good for younger audiences (5 plus).” Note: While Chimpanzee and Sky Force are both big budget this year’s TIFF Kids also features many fascinating foreign and independent films.

I learned many things from interviewing Muskala, but the most interesting would be that she thinks people should have a good time, but also equally be enriched at TIFF Kids. I completely agree.

TIFF Interview: Kid Jurors

Posted on | April 28, 2012 | Add Comments

While at TIFF Kids International Film Festival we were honored to interview the Young People’s Juries. They are divided into three jury groups: Feature Films (Ages 8 to 10), Feature Films (Ages 11 to 13) and Short Films (Ages 9 to 13) to select the Golden Sprocket Award. We spoke with 6 of the 9 junior jurors. Three of them, Will (8 years old), Maggie (10 years old), and Jonathan (9 years old), selected one feature length movie to receive the Golden Sprocket. The other three we spoke to, Anthony (10 years old), Daniel (10 years old), and Dana (11 years old) selected a short film to receive the Golden Sprocket.  We did not get to interview the three 11-13 year old feature film juror’s. During two festival weekends, they take notes after seeing a film at the festival, rank it out of 10 then discuss it together with their adult jury leader to pick the winners.

8 of the 9 TIFF Kids Young People's Jury

To get selected as jurors, children write a movie review online and submit it (for some it was part of a school project). Nine kids are picked. The jurors we interviewed, reviewed Captain America: The First Avenger, Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Hugo, Bridge to Terabithia, and WALL•E (reviewed by 2 kids). The kids are only allowed to be picked as juror’s once, but they can enter more times just for fun.

While watching TIFF films, they look for good acted, well done feature films and shorts with a great story.  Films and shorts they juried included: Stay!, The Blue Tiger, Gattu, Alfie the Little Werewolf, Famous Five, Magic Piano 3-D, The Gruffalo’s Child, and Mouse For Sale. They watch each film only once with a regular audience or sometimes in a private theater. Then they agree on their favorite movies or shorts to award the Golden Sprocket.

It was interesting to hear how their jurying process is different from the Providence Children’s Film Festival‘s (PCFF) process. (awarding already picked TIFF Kid movies vs. selecting the movies to be in the PCFF)  It was fun talking to people who love movies as much as we do and hearing what their favorite movies are. The jurors’ favorite non-TIFF movies include: The Hunger Games, WALL•E, Hugo, The Sting, Nancy Drew, The Harry Potter movies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, John Hughes’ movies, and The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. We definitely enjoyed interviewing the Young People’s Juries, and it was loads of fun.

At a ceremony held April 22, 2012 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, the award winners for the 15th annual TIFF Kids International Film Festival were announced. In addition to Audience Choice Awards, three Young People’s Juries weighed in on the recipients of the coveted Golden Sprocket Awards. Winners of the Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase were also announced, as determined by a jury of film industry professionals.


TIFF Kids Audience Choice Awards are voted on by Festival-goers who attended public screening weekends (April 14 to 15 and April 21 to 22).

TIFF Kids Audience Choice Award — Best Feature Film
Cool Kids Don’t Cry (Achtste Groepers Huilen Niet), director: Dennis Bots, The Netherlands
Grade eight student Akkie has only two concerns: going to high school with her best friends and winning the soccer championship.
Tough-girl Akkie never backs down from a challenge or lets the class bully Joep target her friends. Her whole class is shocked when Akkie is diagnosed with leukemia, yet she faces the disease with unwavering courage. While on her class graduation trip she must rely on Joep, the one classmate who didn’t visit her in the hospital, to help her with a dilemma. Is this is the beginning of a new friendship? Akkie fears she won’t have time to find out. Based on the best-selling Benelux novel by Jacques Vriens, this film adaptation will leave viewers inspired by Akkie’s spirit and resolve in the face of adversity.

TIFF Kids Audience Choice Award — Best Short Film
Joanna Makes a Friend, director: Jeremy Lutter, Canada
Joanna likes to wear dark clothes and sketch spooky illustrations. As a result, the kids in Joanna’s class don’t like her, and she doesn’t much enjoy their company either. So, when her father tells her to “make a friend,” Joanna takes it a little too literally.

Two film juries representing different age groups — ages 8 to 10 and ages 11 to 13 — each selected a winning feature film. Another jury comprised of children aged 9 to 13 determined a winning short film.

Golden Sprocket Award — Feature Film
Jury 1 (Ages 8 to 10)
Famous Five, director: Mike Marzuk , Germany
Three siblings, their cousin and a canine companion become summertime sleuths in this adaptation of the famed Enid Blyton novels.
On choosing this film, the jury said, “Famous Five is a great mystery that keeps you guessing and makes you feel like part of the adventure.”

Golden Sprocket Award — Feature Film
Jury 2 (Ages 11 to 13)
Nicostrados, the Pelican, director: Olivier Horlait, France/Belgium/Greece
Fourteen-year-old Yannis enjoys a simple life with his widowed fisherman father on the Greek island of Zora. That is, until he trades his mother’s golden cross for Nicostratos, a neglected white pelican. This charismatic, mischievous and gigantic bird becomes Yannis’ best friend, but he also becomes a major tourist attraction.

The Young People’s Jury explained their decision, “We are in awe of how this movie took us on a rollercoaster ride of emotions in such a beautiful setting, which was exquisitely captured in the film’s photography.”

Honourable mentions go to Cool Kids Don’t Cry, The Netherlands and Havanastation, Cuba.

Golden Sprocket Award — Short Film
Jury (Ages 9 to 13)

The Little Team, directors: Roger Gomez and Daniel Resines, Spain
In this sweet and charming documentary, the fourteen little kids that make up the Margatania FC go over an unsolved football mystery, and they end up teaching an unexpected life lesson to grown-ups.

Said the Young People’s Jury of their unanimous decision, “We admire that this movie conveys messages of perseverance and inspiration that we can all learn from. And it is told from a great point of view.”

Photos Courtesy of TIFF – Toronto International Film Festival

Flick and Flack: The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Posted on | April 26, 2012 | Add Comments

While at TIFF Kids, on April 18, 2012 Flick and Flack attended a preview screening of Aardman Animation’s new film, The Pirates! Band of Misfits. After the film, an approximately thirty minute Q&A with Peter Lord (director of Pirates!) followed. We asked him questions, got our picture taken with him (see below), and saw the real claymation puppets of the Pirate Captain played by Hugh Grant, and the dodo.
The next day we both went to the hour long Master Class with Lord. We were honored to be there and we both enjoyed hearing Lord discuss four of Aardman’s films (Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse Of The Were Rabbit Arthur Christmas, and Pirates!) and a short from 1992 titled Adam (also  from Aardman). A cool fact we learned? Steven Spielberg (head of Dreamworks, the studio that produced Chicken Run) approved Chicken Run because Spielberg has chickens, Aardman pitched it as “The Great Escape with chickens”, and The Great Escape is his favorite movie.
Next up for Aardamn is Pirates! 2, some secretive projects, and possibly another Wallace and Gromit movie. Hopefully The Pirates! is a box office hit (it deserves to make more money than Alvin and The Chipmunks). Here are both of our reviews of the film. The Pirates! Band of Misfits opens this Friday, April 27th.

Flack reviews The Pirates! Band of Misfits.

Flick reviews The Pirates! Band of Misfits.

Photos Courtesy of TIFF – Toronto International Film Festival.

Top 5 Picks for TIFF Kids (Flick and Flack’s Top 5)

Posted on | April 13, 2012 | 3 Comments

We are heading to Toronto for TIFF Kids. It’s the second film festival (after PCFF) and our first international film festival we have ever attended. Before we post interviews and reviews here are our Top 5 Films we are looking forward to.

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