Many kids and their parents went around the world without leaving Huntington recently simply by attending the Cinema Arts Centre's Children's International Film Festival during the Christmas break from school.
"We are happy to present the best of the New York International Children's Film Festival," said Dylan Skolnick, co-director of the cinema. "Most kids films that they see are American films and these were from all different countries. So the kids got to see a different perspective, different artists and animation."
The festival ran from Dec. 26 to Jan.2, with a different film featured for most of those days.
"We were open on Monday, December 27, which was the same day as the blizzard," Skolnick said. "We showed this beautiful film from France, "Azur and Asmar", but no one came because of the weather. I said 'let's give this one another chance', so we decided to show it again on January 2."
The French film, which had an English dialogue, is an animated tale about two young boys who want to free the Fairy of the Djinns, who is being held in a crystal palace. The film was advertised as a "a poetic adventure that weaves together themes of family, race and culture within a brilliant landscape."
The festival opened on December 26 with a movie from Ireland, "The Secret of Krells." This film, featuring the voice of Brendan Gleeson (Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody in "Harry Potter"), was nominated for the Best Animated Feature Film Oscar in 2010 and is described as "a riot of color and detail that dazzle the eyes in this sweeping story about the power of imagination and faith to carry humanity through dark times." It was also shown on New Year's Day.
The third film in the series, "Kids Flix Mix," which was shown Dec. 28, featured a variety of some of the best live action and animated short films from countries like Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, America and others for kids aged 3-8. The next day's film, "Party Mix", was geared toward older children aged 5-12, also featured films from around the world including Canada, Finland and France. Many of the films featured were nominated for an Academy Award.
"Girls POV", shown December 30, also featured a series of short films, but only girls were the subjects. The films explored common issues young girls face, ranging from the humorous ones to the more serious moments. It featured films from Norway, Brazil, Canada and others.
The final film of the festival, "Aardman Animation Retrospective", was another series of short films spanning 25 years. Included in the mix were "A Matter of Loaf and Death", "Shaun the Sheep" and "Creature Comforts", an Oscar winner in 1990 for Best Animated Short Film, directed by Nick Park.
Filmmaker Taganyahu Swaby, 32, who grew up in Huntington, came from Brooklyn to the see the Aardman Retrospective with his children.
"Growing up in Long Island I saw the greatest films at the Cinema Arts Centre," he said. "So when I heard there was a Children's Film Festival, I was psyched to bring my 4 and 8 year old sons! The animations were awesome but the one they wouldn't stop talking about was Wallace & Gromit!"