Family Programming at 2016 Florida Film Festival

By Leslie C. Halpern

The 25th Annual Florida Film Festival, produced by Enzian Theater and held from April 8-17 throughout Central Florida, offers more than 180 feature and short films from 36 countries, in addition to celebrity guests, special events, film forums, and parties. This year’s festival includes competing films in narrative features and documentary programs, plus special screenings of food films, international films, midnight movies, and Florida films.

In keeping with its annual tradition, family programing includes a sidebar with intriguing new independently produced, kid-friendly films that you probably won’t find at the local cineplex.

April and the Extraordinary World

(Screens Saturday, April 9, noon – 1:45 p.m. at Regal Winter Park Village A)

April and the Extraordinary World. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

April and the Extraordinary World. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Co-directors Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci, present an animated alternative history of a steampunk Paris, France, in 1941 that’s stuck in the industrial middle ages. An orphaned teenaged girl named April (Avril) and her talking cat try to combat the dense fog and pollution suffocating the city and its people. Aided by her grandfather and a young police informer, she launches a search for the missing scientists (which include her parents) who have mysteriously vanished, and who can bring science and technology to this dark, dreary, underdeveloped society. Based on a graphic novel by Jacques Tardi, the English-language version of this animated action adventure comedy includes the vocal talents of Paul Giamatti, Tony Hale, Susan Sarandon, and J.K. Simmons.

  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • In English
  • MPAA Rating: PG (for action/peril including gunplay, some thematic elements and rude humor)
  • Additional Note: In French, originally titled Avril et le monde truque and starred the vocal talents of Marion Cotillard, Philippe Katerine, and Jean Rochefort
  • Purchase from

Phantom Boy

(Screens Sunday, April 17, noon – 1:30 p.m. at Regal Winter Park Village A)

Phantom Boy. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Phantom Boy. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol (the team who created the Oscar-nominated A Cat in Paris), this feature focuses on a sick boy named Leo, who has superpowers that allow him to temporarily leave his body during his chemotherapy treatments and float over New York City. During these surreal experiences, he helps other children, and teams with a wheelchair-bound policeman and a reporter to thwart the efforts of Broken Face, an evil mobster threatening to destroy the city. This animated fantasy includes the vocal talents of Audrey Tautou, Edouard Baer, Jean-Pierre Marielle, and Jackie Berroyer.

  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • In French with English subtitles
  • Florida Premiere
  • MPAA Rating: PG (for thematic elements)
  • Purchase from

Taking Flight

(Screens before Phantom Boy)

Taking Flight. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Taking Flight. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Inspired by the life of Antonio Pasin, the inventor of the Radio Flyer Wagon, this animated short is the latest offering from Brandon Oldenburg, the Oscar-winning director of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore and The Numberlys. This time, a young boy and his grandfather turn a boring day into an unforgettable adventure with a very special wagon. This animated short includes the vocal talents of Asher Blinkoff, Kevin Rahm, and Ray Wise.

  • Run Time: 5 minutes
  • In English
  • Southeast Premiere
  • MPAA Rating: Unrated.

For more information about the Florida Film Festival, visit the official website at