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FUTURE 400: Native Cultures, New Communities program at the New York International Children’s Film Festival

@ "Kung Fu Lion" ("Kung Fu Leeuw"). China, Netherlands | North American Premiere. Live Action, Froukje Tan, 2023, 85 min. In Dutch; In Mandarin; with English subtitles
@ Dounia – The Great White North. Canada | US Premiere. Animation, André Kadi & Marya Zarif, 2023, 51 min. In French; with English subtitles
@ "Frybread Face and Me." United States. Live Action, Billy Luther, 2023, 83 min. In English; In Navajo; with English subtitles
@ "Lioness" ("Leeuwin"). Netherlands | New York Premiere.  Live Action, Raymond Grimbergen, 2023, 86 min. In Dutch; with English subtitles.
@ "Where is Anne Frank". Belgium, France, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands | East Coast Premiere 2022. Fest Flashback Animation, Ari Folman, 2021, 99 min. In English
@ "The Queen’s Flowers." United States | World Premiere. Animation, Ciara Leinaala Lacy, 2024, 11 min. In English
@ "Neon Vowels." United States. Live Action, Sergio Caballero, 2023, 11 min. In English; In Navajo
@ "Monsters" ("Monsters onder het bed"). Netherlands.  Live Action, Lotte Salomons, 2023, 7 min. In Dutch; with English subtitles

“Balam.” Mexico, United States | East Coast Premiere. Animation, Guillermo Casarin, 2023, 10 min. In Mayan; In Spanish; with English subtitles

Sat, Mar 2 - Sun, Mar 17  2024

The New York International Children's Festival will take place between March 2 and March 17, 2024, in New York City! This year, the festival will screen several Dutch children's films and have a special FUTURE 400 program!

Founded in 1997, the New York International Children’s Film Festival is dedicated to leveraging the medium of film to foster self-awareness and empathy among children. Its programs are carefully crafted to celebrate the artistry and impact of cinema, nurturing children’s innate ability to engage with sophisticated art while promoting the creation of intelligent films that amplify diverse and historically marginalized voices.

This year, the festival will present a special FUTURE 400 program in recognition of the 400th anniversary of the Dutch arrival to New Amsterdam (now NYC). The films in this program celebrate the cultural richness of indigenous communities and highlight outstanding cross-cultural storytelling. Film that will be screened in this program are:

Dounia – The Great White North (Canada)

Audiences might recognize the little girl with the big hair who made her way from Syria to Canada in NYICFF 2023’s poignant Dounia and the Princess of Aleppo. Now settled, Dounia and her grandparents slowly get to know Canada, the new home that welcomed them: its intense seasons, its special foods, its languages (three and counting!). Dounia’s grandparents are sure to keep their Syrian traditions alive at home, while her new friends share traditions of their own, like Rosalie’s French-Canadian lifestyle or Miguizou’s vast indigenous folklore. So while she still misses her dad who stayed back in Aleppo, Dounia now has new ways to keep him with her. It’s when Kukum, Miguizo’s grandmother, teaches Dounia to call her father with all of her heart, that he just might find his way back to her.

Frybread Face and Me (United States)

It’s the summer of 1990 and Benny has been unceremoniously shipped from San Diego to his grandma’s on the Navajo Nation. Instead of seeing Fleetwood Mac with his mom, he’s thrust into the dusty daily life of sheep herding. Between insults from his uncle and unintelligible conversations with Grandma (she only speaks Navajo), he charts his escape back home. That’s until Frybread Face, his bossy cousin Dawn, is similarly ditched on the rez. Unlike Benny, Fry’s familiar with the ways of Diné, and what starts out as leeriness toward her city cousin soon gives way to genuine affection. And when it’s time for Benny to head back home, he’s bringing with him a proud connection to his cousin and his culture. This hilarious and touching slice-of-life story, executive produced by NYICFF alum Taika Waititi, is a warm portrait of cultural awakening and the adolescent summers that stay with us not because of what happened, but because of what they made us feel.

Kung Fu Lion (The Netherlands, China)

Fourteen-year-old Jimmy is the star kung fu student at his school. Naturally, he’s a shoo-in for head of the lion in this year’s lion dance. So, naturally, he is shocked when his sifu, or teacher, announces that talented newcomer Li Jié wil helm the new crew. In his quest to prove himself as worthy of the lead, Jimmy must defeat neighborhood bullies, convince the sifu of his qualities, and, most importantly, overcome his own ego. Now he’s faced with the ultimate battle of might vs. right. Can he curb his temper and learn to work together with his new nemesis? Kung Fu Lion provides a cross-cultural look at the challenges of growing up, which are a little easier with the wisdom of the martial arts.

Lioness (The Netherlands)

Rosi’s life is great: she spends her days dominating the soccer pitch in lush, sun-drenched Suriname. So she’s understandably crushed when her family moves to the Netherlands, leaving the life she knows behind. But her soccer skills might be what saves her from loneliness when she’s befriended by Jitte, a fellow footballer at her new school. On the school’s soccer team, Rosi proves her mettle, quickly making new friends and thriving. Just as Rosi’s feelings of isolation disappear, her obvious talent sparks the envy of her teammates, especially when Jitte is benched to give her more playing time. Then, a family tragedy has Rosi questioning her commitment to soccer altogether. With the interscholastic championships on the horizon and her relationship with her best friend unreconciled, Rosi will have to dig deep to find the confidence and courage to bring out her inner champion.

Where is Anne Frank (Belgium, France, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands)

One night Kitty, the most famous imaginary friend in history, suddenly materializes as a fully fledged girl from the ink-filled pages of Anne Frank’s diary. She doesn’t understand where her old friend has gone (or why, for that matter, their former home has become a tourist attraction). Kitty leaves behind her 1940s dress and dons jeans and sneakers, all the better to set out to solve the mystery. Aided by a resourceful pickpocket and befriending a group of young refugees seeking safe homes and community like anyone else, Kitty criss-crosses through time and takes us from the streets of contemporary, colorful Amsterdam through to gray war-era Germany and back. While Anne’s now ever-present name has been reverently affixed to bridges and schools and hospitals, Kitty fears her friend’s true legacy is being forgotten. An urgent and poignant detective story and anthem for social justice from award-winning filmmaker Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir), Where Is Anne Frank is imbued with fantastical animated sequences (‘40s era Clark Gable on horseback!) and a modern punk sensibility (complete with glorious Karen O soundtrack) and is an essential history for audiences of all ages.

The Queen’s Flowers (United States)

Honolulu, 1915. Emma makes a special gift for Queen Lili`uokalani, the last monarch of Hawai`i.

Neon Vowels (United States)

A service robot operating a taco stand learns, with the help of a Navajo elder, that it is mucho más more than just a dumbwaiter.

Monsters (Netherlands)

Monsters onder het bed

Roaa, Zainab, and Noe Noe all fled to the Netherlands for different reasons, but each girl has created an imaginary monster of her own

Balam (Mexico, United States)

Itzel, on a camping trip deep in the jungle, frees a jaguar from captivity. When a furious poacher gives chase, she stumbles upon a mysterious lost Mayan city.

Swimming with Wings (Israel, Netherlands)

New to The Netherlands, a young Israeli girl learns how to swim with clothes on.