Family Film series offers movies for all ages

Age-appropriate films and family-friendly activities are part of the mix at the Newport Beach Film Festival. Its Family Film series offers indie features, documentaries and 15 shorts on the festival’s first weekend.

Cabler Nickelodeon sponsors family day on Saturday featuring a 10th anni salute to cartoon skein “SpongeBob SquarePants,” new animation from Nick Jr. and animation character-drawing sessions.

Film showcases are rated by ages; for instance, the Shorts for Shorties program is approved for the 7-and-under set.

A total of 125 films were submitted for the popular Volcom-sponsored youth showcase that unspools 12 films made mostly by high school filmmakers.

“Kids love it when they get to go to screenings, workshops and meet filmmakers,” says fest senior programmer Leslie Feibleman. “They ask questions, engage in dialogue, and we are very excited when they walk away wanting to make films,” she explains.

Significant efforts are made to make the festival an interactive experience. The how-tos of shadow puppet making are presented after a series of short films examining the craft at a free seminar held at the Newport Beach Public Library. Concurrent with the fest, there’s a full interactive day on Sunday of Earth Day eco-friendly doings and environmental docu screenings at the upper Newport Bay’s Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center within scenic wetlands.

In anticipation of the fest, the screening room at the Muth Center has been upgraded with a new surround-sound system, projector and screen. An extension of the family film festival, there are recycling projects and a call to action through activities and cinema, per Feibleman.

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