Key programming details have been announced for the Oscar-qualifying 22nd annual New York International Children’s Film Festival, running February 22 through March 17. The Opening Night film will be actor Chiwetel Ejiofor’s directorial debut The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, based on William Kamkwamba’s memoir, fresh off its Sundance premiere and screening ahead of its Netflix release on March 1. The Opening Spotlight selection screening Feb. 24 will be Juan Antin’s animated Andes quest Pachamama. And the 2019 country of honor has been named as the Netherlands.
Making its East Coast premiere at NYICFF, Pachamama is a vibrant 3D CG/2D hybrid film which follows a young shaman-to-be and his friend on an incredible journey as they strive to safeguard the ways of their indigenous people. Director Juan Antin will appear in person on Feb. 24. This film is also set for release via Netflix.
Pachamama (Argentina/Canada/France): Tepulpai is your average kid — headstrong and a bit naughty. It may seem unusual that he has a pet armadillo and wants to be a shaman, but not if you live in the ancient Peruvian Andes like he and his wise friend Naïra do. The two embark on a young heroes’ quest to locate their community’s stolen treasure and must confront the Inca and newly arrived Spanish to retain their indigenous ways. With a vibrantly-hued palette and Pre-Colombian soundtrack of ancient flutes and condor wings—Pachamama exuberantly celebrates nature, culture, and community.
NYICFF’s third edition of its country of focus/partner festival program Friends & Neighbors is being created in collaboration with the Netherlands Consulate General in New York, with the Netherlands’ premiere children’s film festival Cinekid and EYE International to present a series of shorts by the country’s most accomplished live-action, animation and documentary filmmakers for young audiences, as well as highlight new Dutch feature filmmaking for youth. Friends & Neighbors: Netherlands is part of Never Grow Up!, a yearlong initiative bringing an abundance of Dutch film, literature, and performing arts for young people to the United States (dutchcultureusa.com/nevergrowup).
Ticket for the NYICFF go on sale January 10 at www.nyicff.org.