Deb Gordon’s guest was Eric Beckman, Founder and Director of the critically acclaimed New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF). This festival offers a wide variety of film programming for kids and teens of all ages and is an Oscar® qualifying fest for best animated and live action short film. NYCIFF also includes studio showcases; retrospectives; filmmaker Q&A’s; and filmmaking workshops.
Mr. Beck discussed the 17 year history of NYICFF, which he founded to fill the dearth of “inventive and niche films for children”, and described the process of how the films are chosen and brought to fruition for four weeks every year — films that, according to Mr. Beckman has grown to “attract a large audience including unaccompanied adults”. The Festival includes documentaries and experimental films from places like Latvia and Bangladesh, and makes for “a huge enriching experience” that has “something on tap for everyone”. Each attendee gets to vote on the films and to meet and talk to the filmmakers, and there is also an NYICFF Awards Ceremony who’s Jury members include well know actors, directors and industry principles.
The Festival will feature 100 films from 35 countries including a few Oscar nominated films. “The Festival has been pretty ambitious in the type of programming we present to young people” stated Mr. Beckman, “and from very early on we found that the films that we were selecting for the Festival, and the films that our audience was enjoying, would sometimes break away from the definition of what a typical kids film would be and we from very early on had the fortune of having a lot of the films that have premiered at the Festival go on to win other festivals and have Oscar® nominations and Oscar® wins.” Last year’s opening night film at NYICFF was the premiere of the original French version of ERNST & CELESTINE, which went on to be nominated for a 2013 Oscar®.