Children’s Film Fest Rides to the Rescue at Chabot Space & Science

The 11th edition of the Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival brings compelling shorts, foreign films, and anime to the screen.


The Day of Chocolate is a Polish fable of friendship and loss and shows at BAICFF.

Photo courtesy Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival (BAICFF)

The Walt Disney Company is launching a streaming channel this year that, among other things, will effectively provide a push-button, 24-hour, attention magnet for children. Take this as a caution, not an ad, for parents need to be proactive about providing their offspring with images of the real world beyond anthropomorphic cartoons, Star Wars flicks, and Marvel fantasies. This month, the annual Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival at Chabot Space & Science Center rides to the rescue.

The BAICFF’s slogan, Playdate for the Imagination, reflects its goal of stimulating and feeding kids’ intellects without sacrificing the pleasures of storytelling and eye candy. Take the two programs of short films for all ages that kick off the festival with a mesmerizing array of animation styles (with the occasional live-action work mixed in) from the United States, Spain, Taiwan, Slovakia, Japan, Hungary, and other far-flung locales. The international focus continues into the afternoon, with a program of provocative shorts from Iran and a collection of Spanish-language films from Mexico.

Children (and parents) with longer attention spans will savor the Indian drama Chuskit, about a Himalayan village girl determined to attend school despite the lack of wheelchair access, and the imaginative Polish fable The Day of Chocolate, a saga of friendship between young neighbors dealing with loss. The BAICFF also reprises Coco, Pixar’s 2017 triumph inspired by Mexico’s Day of the Dead tradition as well as its rich musical legacy.

The 11th edition of the festival features its usual selection of programs designed to inspire passive viewers into becoming active participants. There’s a presentation on beekeeping for the common good, and panels of Cartoon Network creators and Pixar animators primed to spark the dreams of future talents. Uncle Walt would approve.

Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival, Feb. 16-17, Chabot Space & Science Center, 10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland;

This report was originally published in our sister publication, the East Bay Monthly.