Toronto kids film fest sets pix for April bow

Includes eight int'l entries

TORONTO — The inaugural dates, venues and a partial lineup of the Sprockets Toronto Intl. Film Festival for Children were unveiled Wednesday.

Presented by the Toronto Intl. Film Festival group, the inaugural edition of Sprockets will take place in Toronto from April 21-26.

The fest is divided into two parts: the school portion, aimed at students aged 8 to 14, runs the week of April 21 to the 24; and the public program, for families with children from 4 to 12, runs April 24-26.

The school portion will include eight feature length foreign films which fest director Jane Schoettle selected from film festivals around the world.

Titles include the North American premiere of “Imuhar: A Legend,” a 1997 French and Nigerian co-production about a boy who moves to Nigeria with his African father after his French mother dies; “Benjamin Dove,” a 1996 Icelandic film about a group of boys who form an Order of Knights that splits into warring factions; and “The Boy Who Stopped Talking,” about a Turkish boy struck mute when he and his family move to Holland.

Schoettle hopes that the festival will become an annual event that sets a new industry standard for children’s culture around the world.

“The long-term goal is to become the North American port of entry for these films,” said Schoettle. “These really are the best films for children and their families that have been created in the last five years around the world.”

The films will be played in their native languages with subtitles, while a live performer reads the dialogue in English along with the soundtrack. “I know it sounds nuts,” says Schoettle, “but it works.”

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