Organizers for Pittsburgh's International Children’s Film Festival say they want to expand the worldview of children through film and other programs.
The five-day event kicks off Friday morning at Row House Cinema with Drag Queen Storytime followed by a screening of the 1984 movie "Muppets Take Manhattan." The schedule includes other films and activities to promote acceptance and inclusion - all taking place at Row House Cinema and some take place during morning hours or mid-day.
Row House owner Brian Mendelssohn pointed to the Muppets' film, in which pigs, frogs, bears and other diverse animals get along.
“This is about challenging kids, and not just seeing something on screen as entertainment, but to challenge them and broaden their horizons at an age-appropriate level,” he said.
The festival will also feature international short films for different age levels. Those for ages 3-7 incorporate lots of music and color, he said. Some tell stories without dialogue, and others are in English.
Mendelssohn said the curators wanted to make sure all films are understandable and relatable to young connoisseurs.
“Kids are smarter than we think they are,” he said, “and [it’s important] for them to be able to see a movie they can talk about afterwards. A lot of these are for younger kids: 6, 7, 8 years old, who could have an intellectual conversation for their own age group.”
In addition to challenging kids and promoting acceptance, Mendelssohn said the idea is also to promote family fun.
Other full-length films this year are The Land Before Time, My Neighbor Totoro – which will be accompanied by an all-you-can-eat cereal bar – and Jumanji.
Find a full list of events online at rowhousecinema.com.