Family Films from Past Film Festivals – 2015

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MSPIFF Film Festival 2015 BannerThis weekend is the start of the 2016 Minneapolis/St.Paul International Film Festival. You can view trailers of the upcoming Childish Film options here. I thought a fun way to gear up for the upcoming festival is to have a home viewing festival of films from past years.  Tickets are $13.00 per person, so it can’t hurt to see how your kids react to these films before taking them to the theatre to participate in the festival. Here is a list of some of the family films from 2015 and where to find them.

Full Length Films:

Belle and Sebastian – French/German with English Subtitles

This film is based on the French novel of the same name. There was an anime version of it that my younger brother used to watch in the mid-80s. It is ultimately a story of a boy and his dog, but deals with issues around WWII. Sebastian’s family is involved in smuggling Jews out of the country. My kids didn’t fully understand these historic details, but they loved the scenery and the freedom Sebastian had.

The film is not rated, but Common Sense Media feels it is appropriate for children 10 and up. Sebastian is supposedly six and this film resonated strongest with my six year old.  However, my ten year old appreciated the tie in to Number the Stars, which we read the same week. You can find a copy of this film with a choice between French with subtitles or English dubbing at Hennepin County Library. Because three of my four children are pre-readers, we chose the dubbed version. They didn’t even notice and I was only slightly bothered.

Secrets of War is among past film festival offerings that is now available free.Secrets of War – Dutch with English Subtitles

This is another WWII film, following the same theme of choosing between the establishment and the resistance. Again, it’s not rated, but Common Sense Media suggests is is best for 13+.  Also, it is in Dutch with subtitles, so strong reading skills are a plus. You can currently find it streaming on Netflix and Hulu.


Cherish Garden – Japanese Animation

This is a 4-minute film, but you can see a portion of it on YouTube. And to be honest, that will be enough. The music is annoying. However, it is beautiful and even your smallest children will appreciate it.

One Man, Eight Cameras – UK – Wordless

My husband and I enjoyed this 2 minute film, but my kids lost interest before it was done. It reminded me a little of Dr. Who.

One Man, Eight Cameras from Naren Wilks on Vimeo.

BZz Denmark Animation – Wordless

This is a cute one that appeals to the younger kids. It had a bit of a PowerPuff Girls feel to it.

“BZz” – Animated Short Film from Luca Fattore on Vimeo.

Anatole’s Little Saucepan – French Animation

You can find this short film on YouTube, but it is not subtitled. It may not matter to the younger kids. If they like Pingu, they’d probably enjoy this film, too.

Zebra – German Animation – Wordless

This film amused the whole family from 1-year-old to grandma. It’s cute and worth watching.

ZEBRA from Studio FILM BILDER on Vimeo.

Eddie – Cree Nation – Stop Animation – Wordless

This is my favorite of the short films — a sweet story of a toy car that finds its boy. It reminds me a bit of the The Remarkable Riderless Runaway Tricycle — another short film to watch with little boys.

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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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