From July 27–August 2, Row House Cinema will present the 2018 Pittsburgh International Children’s Film Festival, a celebration featuring a curated selection of international movies and short films, storytimes, treats, craft activities, and more.
The event includes works from the Czech Republic, Russia, Japan, and 11 other countries, as well as classic and new kid-friendly films.
“This year’s selections include artful and beautiful animation and thoughtful storylines that are engaging for adults and children,” said festival director Brian Mendelssohn in an official press release. “We’re so excited to bring them to Pittsburgh.”
The festival opens with Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the acclaimed documentary about children’s television pioneer and Pittsburgh hero, Fred Rogers. For over 30 years, Rogers, an unassuming minister, puppeteer, writer, and producer, was beamed daily into homes across America. In his beloved television program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he and his cast of puppets and friends spoke directly to young children about some of life’s weightiest issues, in a simple, direct fashion. In Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (Twenty Feet from Stardom) looks back on the legacy of Rogers, focusing on his radically kind ideas. The screening includes a special guest speaker and Mr. Rogers themed t-shirts from Steel City on sale in the lobby.
The lineup showcases compilations of the best short films from the 2018 New York International Children’s Film Festival, the narration-free insect documentary Microcosmos, and The Oddsockeaters, a Czech film about strange sock-stealing creatures. Also included are the classic 1971 fantasy film Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory and the 2018 Disney/Pixar blockbuster Incredibles 2.
The festival will also host the premiere of Joana and the Bad Guys, a 25-minute stop-motion film written, filmed, and produced by kindergarten students at the Kentucky Avenue School in Shadyside.
Row House Cinema will play movies at a lower volume to protect young ears and provide kid-friendly snacks at storytime screenings and sock puppet making. In the spirit of the festival, children are welcome to move around the theater, chat, and just be kids.
Movie tickets can be purchased individually, or a pass is available to see unlimited films for the entire week.
Last year, Row House Cinema launched the Pittsburgh International Children’s Film Festival, a full week of animated and live-action films from around the globe, accompanied by a diverse schedule of family-friendly events. From July 28-August 3, the festival returns with plenty of fun for kids and adults.
Throughout the week, the theater will screen the 1995 adventure film Jumanji, Hayao Miyazaki’s imaginative tale My Neighbor Totoro, Don Bluth’s dinosaur journey The Land Before Time, and Jim Henson’s The Muppets Take Manhattan. The schedule will also feature two age-specific Best of the Fest short film showcases, one for ages 3-7 and one for older children and teens ages 8 and over.
The event kicks off on July 28 with a screening of The Muppets Take Manhattan and Drag Queen Storytime with local performer Cherri Baum. On July 30 from 12-4 p.m., the theater will host a Family Day with local vendors like Nine Stories Bookstore, Songbird Artistry, and 2468 Kids providing free activities and crafts and selling kid-friendly items from books to gender-neutral clothes.
Other festival happenings include Cereal Cinema with My Neighbor Totoro, which includes an all-you- can-eat cereal bar, and a Morning Storytime show specially designed for ages 3-7, including complimentary snacks from Peanut Butter Jelly Time.