Facets Children’s Programs and the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival

Facets Children’s Programs and the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival


High School Programs

Beach Flags

No Labels, Please! Mature Themes

Animated/Live-action Shorts Program
Grades 6-9 (Ages 11-15) 

All world language films will be screened with English subtitles.
90-minute program includes media education

Themes: Tolerance/Respect; Identifying stereotyping based on gender, orientation, religion, disability, appearance; Recognizing feelings/perspectives of others; Recognizing individual differences; Investigate traditions of others; Confidence in Individuality; Hobbies and Identity-building strategies; Use communication skills and social skills to interact effectively with others. Importance for adult mentors for inspiration. 

“No Labels, Please” – Program Description  (PDF)

What makes each character in these films different also makes them special. But appearances, body size, cultural backgrounds, and religions can be targets for being judged and bullied. In one film, the characters in a race reject a newcomer from the country, despite demonstrated ability. Will someone come forward and not remain a bully bystander?  In another film, not only is Munya teased for her immigrant ways, but her size. She seeks inspiration to break out of their preconceptions, finds it through her favorite hobby, and demonstrates to the gang once and for all that she owns her differences! In another film, (2015’s “Best of the Fest”) Anatole is rejected for his appearance and artistic ability, but the kindness of a new friend makes all the difference.

Scarves, Crosses, and Incense (Finland)
Anatole’s Little Saucepan (France)
The Basketball Game (Canada)
Specky Four Eyes (France)
I am Round (Sweden)
Beach Flags (France)
Munya in Me (Netherlands)


Boldness Against Bullies Profanity Mature Themes
Animated/Live-action Shorts Program
Grades 6-9 (Ages 11-15) 

All world language films will be screened with English subtitles.
90-minute program includes media education

Themes: Appearances can be deceiving, good choices, trust, strong identity vs group dynamics, role of individual,  don’t be a bully bystander 

“Boldness Against Bullies” – Program Description  (PDF)

Bullies are often skilled at skirting authority to misbehave without consequences, but their power only lasts as long as no one is willing to stand up to them.Appearances and reality are not easy to sort out with classmates and neighbors – who’s the real bully? However,  the characters in these short films make self-discoveries that lead them to good choices. In one film,  Emily has long thought of Rebecca as her pal, until pressured into participating in a classroom prank. Then, in the 2015 Oscar-nominated animated short, “The Dam Keeper”, a new classmate seems to be a good friend to a little outsider in the community. In the last film, Munya is bullied not only by for her mother,but ceaselessly teased by the neighborhood toughs, as well. She learns that to receive respect from others she must stand up for herself. 

Appearance and Reality (Hungary)
Eleven (New Zealand)
No Fish Where to Go (Canada)
The Dam Keeper (USA)
Munya in Me (Netherlands)

Children of the Holocaust - Heinz

Paper State: Power and Prejudice Mature Themes 
Animated/Live-action Shorts Program
Grades 9-12 (Ages 14-18) 

All world language films will be screened with English subtitles.
90-minute program includes media education

Themes: Political allegory: negative outcomes of dictatorship or bureaucracy; group identity and differences of gender, religion, culture, immigrant status; conflict resolution; problem solving

“Paper State: Power and Prejudice” – Program Description  (PDF)

Identity and the sense of place – where is home, in the heart or in the mind? In one film, just as Jewish teen Heinz has escaped Nazi Germany, he is interrred at a detention center in England – for being an “enemy alien”! In another film, four teens from Latin America tell their stories of their journeys to the US – and why immigration reform is a pressing issue. The characters and real-life teens in these short films face the challenges of life on their own, sometimes without the help of a parent.  Already on their own they show the meaning of true courage. 

Alpha Beta Complex (Canada)
Children of the Holocaust: Heinz’ Story (England)
Bear Story (Chile)
No Fish Where to Go (Canada)
Beach Flags (France)
Paper State: Undocumented, Unafraid, Undeterred (USA)

What's Fufu

African & African American Animationmature
Animation/Animated Documentary Shorts Program
Grades 9+ (Ages 14+)

All world language films screened with English subtitles.
90-minute program includes media education.

Themes: Travel, reflection, cross-cultural exchanges, rural life, coming-of-age, career aspirations, family origins 

PDF version of this program description.         

Miss Devine (USA)
What’s Fufu? (England)
Snowflake (Russia)
Hisab (Ethiopia)
Pondering (Belgium/Burkina Faso)
N’djekoh (France)
Sharaf (Sweden)
Journey to Cape Verde (Portugal)

The young men and women in this selection of short, animated films speak from their own experiences and their  own hearts. In “What’s Fufu?” Nigerian teen Yemmi reflects on her heritage versus her present-day life in London with foster parents. In the documentary “Pondering”, passersby note whether they prefer their present circumstances or look to emigrate from Africa. In “N’djekoh” a young woman looks back on her childhood and the memories of her mother. And in “Journey to Cape Verde”, a traveler checks out of digital life completely, to get in touch with the rhythm and flow of African daily life. The animation “palette” from across the globe paints the lives of characters of African descent in many ways. From watercolor to oil painting, from hand-drawn to computer animation, come along with these characters as they set off on their journeys – and find out more about themselves on the way.

Dragon Girls

Dragon Girls M V 

Documentary Feature Film 
Directed By: Inigo Westmeier
Grades 6-9 (Ages 11-15)

All world language films screened with English subtitles.
110-minute program includes media education.

Themes: boarding school daily life: its structure and disciplines, overcoming homesickness; traditional culture (martial arts); gender empowerment (girls); coming-of-age; career aspirations. 

Click here for print-friendly PDF

The insightful documentary feature film follows three brave young girls and their studies at the traditional Tagou Martial Arts School: Xin Chenxi, nine, specializes in the art of swords and hopes to make her father proud by winning first place at the national championships; Chen Xi, 15, concentrates on boxing while battling the pain of growing up without her parents; and Huang Luolan, 16, cannot decide whether to remain or to leave her life of kung fu and pursue her passion outside of the walls of Tagou. Each girl must examine what kung fu means to her while overcoming homesickness, pressures at school, and maturing into a young woman.

Screened in Mandarin with English subtitles.  

Basketball Game

Jewish Heritage: Reflections

Grades 6-9 (Ages 11-15+)  Mild profanityMild violenceMature themes
80-minute program includes media education
Click here for print-friendly PDF

55 SocksThe Basketball Game  (Canada)
Overnight Stay (USA)
Toyland* (Germany)
55 Socks (Canada/Netherlands)
A Son’s War (Czech Republic/USA)

*2009 Oscar-winner! 

Join us as we celebrate Jewish American Heritage , as told by children and young people in five amazing films. In one, a narrator remembers his days at summer camp, where an anti-Semitic teacher attracts national attention for some incendiary comments. The youngsters’ community decides to amend the situation by bringing the campers to an interfaith basketball game in order to teach the children tolerance and understanding, with some unexpected results. In the next four films, characters recollect acts of kindness and resourcefulness in tales that span across years and borders during the Second World War. Inventive filmmaking combines with powerful storytelling in these live-action, animated and documentary short films.

I Am a Girl

True Colors Mild profanity Mature themes
Animated/Live-action Shorts Program
Grades 9+ (Ages 14+) 

All world language films are screened with English subtitles. 
90-minute program includes media education.

Themes: Embracing differences, identity exploration. Identifying and self-managing behavior. Recognizing personal qualities and external supports. Understanding feelings and perspectives of others, based on orientation and gender. Recognizing individual similarities and differences, negative deptictions of differences among people (e.g. gender or sexual orientation stereotyping). How lack of understanding of differences can contribute to intolerance. Overcoming a lack of understanding those who are different. How getting to know and work with others can change perceptions of these groups.

“True Colors” – Program Description (PDF)   

Come along for the celebration! First, a boisterous musical, where a young man’s quest for love and acceptance shows how freedom of expression is worth singing about!  In another film,  a neighbor joins in a mean girl bullying prank posing, by as a fake penpal with a made-up identity. As correspondence grows, Lilja grows fond of Melitta – can she reveal her true identity? Then, Joppe seems to have it all—confidence, popularity, a loving family. But there are two things Joppe desperately wants: to go out with her crush, Brian, and to be finally biologically female. An exploration of identity that is relatable to all, these shorts are filled with tales of self-discovery and belonging.

This PSA is Gay! (USA)
A Good Man (USA)
Bald Guy (Norway)
Next Door Letters (Sweden)
I Am A Girl! (Netherlands)
Father Wanted …. With A Piggy Nose (Netherlands)

Taking the Plunge Mature themes

Angelique's Day for NightAnimated Shorts Program
HIgh School (Ages 15+)
90-minute program includes media education

CLICK HERE for a printer-friendly PDF    

The characters in these short films explore their identities in different directions. In one film, can a young woman finally jump off the high dive, or is she trapped in her relentless, indecisive ennui? In another film, Sense of place, belonging, identity, career aspirations – where do these real-life characters in Burkina Faso see themselves going? In another film, the daughter of a film director fixates on a French film classic and imagines herself part of the world of cinema. But cinema is illusion, oftentimes far from imagined reality!

Birds of Sorrow (France)
I Am As I Am (France)
School of Fine Arts, The (France)
I Can’t Wait (France)
Mist Is Coming In, The (Belgium)
Taking the Plunge (France/Belgium)
Wanderer of Saint-Marcel (France)
Angélique’s Day for Night (France)
Pondering (Belgium/Burkina Faso)
Tulkou (France)
N’Djekoh (France)

Identity vs. Reality Mature themes


Animated Shorts Program
HIgh School (Ages 15+)
90-minute program includes media education

CLICK HERE for a printer-friendly PDF    

Where does one go when one is now part of the adult world of work, obligation, family? Is it possible to still be an individual – or is one’s fate only as a cog in a machine not of one’s making? In a beautifully animated short film, a policeman reflects on his ancestry and loss of identity, constantly bullied by his superior officer. In another film, a respected office worker finds himself part of an unexpected scheme in a parallel universe. The triumphs of the individual do not go unnoticed in this collection of powerful and inventive animated shorts.

Ben Hora (France)
Engine 371 (Canada)
Woodcutter, The (France)
O’Moro (France)
Shell, The (Belgium)
Necktie, The (Canada)
Fard (France) 

The Painting mature Violence
The PaintingAnimated Feature Film (France)
Director: Jean-François Laguionie
Grades 8+ (Ages 14+)

95-minute program includes media education. 

Enjoy a feast for the eyes and the imagination in this feature-length animated film about an imaginary world where characters in paintings come to life. Meet the impeccably painted Alldunns, who live in a majestic palace, and the Halfies, who are shunned by the Alldunns because the Painter has left them incomplete. Meanwhile, the untouchable Sketchies, simple charcoal outlines, are banished to the cursed forest. Follow the adventures of Claire, a Halfie, and her beloved Ramo, an Alldunn, as they journey to discover what the Painter has in mind for all his creations.

Screened in French with English subtitles.

Children of the Princess of ClevesMature themes 
Children of the Princess of ClevesDocumentary Feature Film (Germany)
Director: Régis Sauder
Grades 9+ (Ages 14+)

85-minute program includes media education. 

When the teenaged students of Diderot High School in France begin reading The Princess of Cleves in class, the parallels between their own lives and the events of the novel soon become apparent. This compelling documentary interweaves passages from the novel concerning love, fidelity and morality with unusually frank interviews with the students about these issues in their own lives. Featuring students of different ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds as they read and study the novel in preparation for the “Bacc” (baccalaureate exam), this film provides insight into the way literature can both imitate and impact student’s lives.

Screened in French with English subtitles. 

Neukölln Unlimited  Mild profanity Mature themes
Neukolln UnlimitedDocumentary Feature Film (Germany)
Director: Agostino Imondi and Dietmar Ratsch
Grades 9+ (Ages 14+)

110-minute program includes media education. 

Relying on breakdancing and musical talent to get them through each day, three resourceful teenage siblings must figure out budgets, pay the rent, and find an identity between illegal immigrants and hip-hop hopefuls. However, youngest sibling Maradona is in danger of flunking out of school, which could spell disaster for the entire family. Will Maradona’s reckless streak derail their dreams and get the family deported? In this award-winning documentary, a family survives on their art and lives on the edge, yearning to belong in the place they call home.

Screened in German, Arabic, and English, with English subtitles.