Family Films from Past Film Festivals – 2013

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Family Films from the 2013 MSPIFFThis is the last in my series on past Film Festivals. These films were all shown at the Minneapolis/St.Paul International Film Festival in 2013 and are now easily accessible either from the library or streaming on Netflix.  You can view films from 2015 and 2014 in previous these articles. To see a preview of this year’s family films, I have gathered the trailers here.

The Zigzag Kid was a 2013 Family Film from the MSPIFFFull Length Films:

The Zigzag Kid – Dutch with English Subtitles

Although its fun to see the films as they were meant to be, it is nice to have the option of English dialogue. In this case, the copy at Hennepin County Library offers a choice of English, as well as French or Dutch dialogue with subtitles. This title is also available to stream on Netflix currently.

The Zigzag Kid is based on the book of the same title by David Grossman. The book has been translated into English as well. Although it is a coming of age story involving a 12-year-old boy, the book is considered an adult novel. The film has recommendations of 8+, although it has not been rated.

Zarafa is among the 2013 Family Films from the MSPIFFZarafa – French Animation (Now in English)

This beautifully animated film has been recently released in English. The reviews of the English version are not awesome, but it would be worth a look.  It is available at Hennepin County Library.  The story is about the adventures of a 10-year-old escaped lave boy, Maki, and his baby giraffe, Zarafa, who he is determined to keep free despite the plots and plans of the adults around him.

The Fabulous Ice AgeThe Fabulous Ice Age – US Documentary

This documentary is available streaming on Netflix and at Hennepin County Library. While it was not part of the Childish Films series, it would make a nice family night for anyone interested in figure skating. The history and politics will be more interesting to adults, but the videos of the ice shows would be appealing to any child who loves to skate.

The New Public – US Documentary

This was a really good documentary and I DID watch it with my kids. However, the little ones all fell asleep immediately (as planned), so I really only watched it with the 10-year-old. My daughter and I are fans of social documentaries. This film may not be for every family.

Considerations: There was a LOT of swearing. At one point, my daughter asked me why the teachers used the f-word so much. And honestly, I think the lax attitude toward language contributed to the early problems the school had with discipline. Later, as discipline problems were addressed, the swearing from the teachers seemed to diminish. That could be a talking point. There are other big issues dealt with in this film — the inequalities of our society; gender and sexual orientation issues; and drugs are all dealt with in the course of this inner city high school’s first four years. I was relieved to NOT see much violence. It was sometimes talked about, but it wasn’t shown. My daughter already has some unrealistic fears about high school. I didn’t want to add to them. Overall we both really enjoyed this documentary.

The New Public is currently available streaming on Netflix.


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About the author

Joy Peters

Joy Peters - co-creator and writer for

Besides Family Fun Twin Cities, I spend my 9 to 5 at a day job pursuing my weird passion for calendars and organizing things as a legal secretary. When I get home I spend my time with my four kids, 10, 6, 4 and 1. My amazing husband is both a full-time musician and full-time stay-at-home dad. Together we run a small radio empire — SiaNet Radio — playing, promoting and enjoying the wide variety of local music and art in the Twin Cities. I juggle all this while writing about exploring the Twin Cities with kids. I couldn’t be happier.

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