By Leslie C. Halpern
Though focused primarily on movies for adults, the 28th Annual Florida Film Festival – which runs from April 12-21 – honors its tradition of also offering a family programming sidebar with unique new independently produced movies appropriate for youngsters. In addition to the sidebar, the Spotlight Films category contains another film that children and teens may enjoy watching with their parents – The Biggest Little Farm, a documentary about creating a self-sustaining rural lifestyle.
Minuscule—Mandibles from Far Away
Screens Sunday, April 21 at 12:00 p.m. at Enzian Theater.
In this animated adventure comedy making its Southeast premiere at the Florida Film Festival, a young ladybug gets trapped in a box being shipped to the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. The ladybug’s father gathers a team of insect heroes to help rescue the child and bring him home. This French film features animation and live action with music, sound effects, and narration (without dialogue) to help tell the story to children of ages approximately 5-10.
- Directors: Helene Giraud and Thomas Szabo, both of whom also wrote and directed Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants and episodes of the television series Minuscule.
- Run Time: 92 minutes
- MPAA Rating: Unrated
The Witch Hunters
Screens April 13 at 11:30 a.m. at Regal Winter Park.
This Serbian feature film presents two adolescents who bond together to struggle through their individual challenges. The boy is a 10-year-old with cerebral palsy and his new best friend is a brash girl at school, who believes her father’s girlfriend is a witch because of her new-age lifestyle. For the most part, however, she can’t imagine why else her father would fall in love again if not for magical influences. This is the perfect job for the boy, who escapes from his disappointing reality by pretending to be a crime-fighting superhero. Together they become the witch hunters on a supernatural quest. In Serbian with English subtitles, this film is suitable for approximate ages 10 and older. The Witch Hunters makes its Southeast premiere at the Florida Film Festival.
- Director: Rasko Miljkovic
- Stars Mihajlo Milavic and Silma Mahmuti
- Run Time: 90 minutes
- MPAA Rating: Unrated
Family Friendly Spotlight Film
The Biggest Little Farm
Screens Monday, April 15 at 7:00 p.m. at Regal Winter Park, and Saturday, April 20 at 10:30 a.m. at Enzian Theater.
This documentary focuses on a Los Angeles couple who leave the big city to start a new life managing Apricot Lane Farms in the foothills of Ventura County. In an attempt to create a life in perfect harmony with nature, director-cinematographer John Chester and his wife, Molly (a food blogger), chronicle their eight-year endeavor to live an eco-friendly lifestyle with plants, livestock, and wildlife all working together. Fulfilling their dream came with many challenges, which are detailed in this inspiring film for all ages.
- Director: John Chester
- Stars John Chester and Molly Chester
- Run Time: 91 minutes
- MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements and brief language
Visit the official website for more information about the Florida Film Festival produced by Enzian Theater.
Leslie C. Halpern is the author of Scantily Clad Truths: Essays on Life with Clothes (and without) and 200 Love Lessons from the Movies.