Toronto fest to offer forum, fifth anniversary program

TORONTO — It’s gonna be war at the Sprockets Toronto Intl. Film Festival for Children this year.

The theme of the fest, which runs April 12 – 21, will be Children in Warzones: Voices from the Front Lines.

“Kids are thinking about this a lot; every night it’s on the news,” fest director Jane Schoettle told Daily Variety Tuesday. “It’s important for them to have a forum to talk about it,” she said, adding that organizers provide Q and A sessions. The tone for some of the films can be quite dark, but “ultimately they are about the triumph of the spirit,” she said.

Pics will include “Adna in Sarajevo,” a Bosnia/Canada co-production directed by Felice Gorcia, featuring 11-year-old Adna’s tale of life in a war zone in the Balkans. “Promises,” directed by Justine Shapiro, B.Z. Goldberg and Carlos Bolando, follows the lives of seven children aged 9-13 in Israel and Palestine. “A Child’s Century of War,” a feature-length Canadian documentary directed by Emmy award-winner Shelly Saywell, examines war from a child’s perspective.

Organizers also unveiled Sprockets’ School Program line-up from April 16-19.

It will feature 26 films from 16 countries, including “I Was a Rat,” from Laurie Lynd, a U.K./Canada co-production based on the book by Phillip Pullman: “Quiero Ser,” a 1998 Mexico/Germany co-production directed by Florian Gallenberger which won the short film Oscar; and “Reading Your Heart Out,” a made-for-HBO film about family trauma by Ellen Goosenberg Kent.

This year’s fest also includes a fifth anniversary program featuring the highlights from past festivals.

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