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‘Bear’ honey at Sprockets

Kiddie film fest reels in audience jump

TORONTO — The Sprockets Toronto Film Festival for Children wrapped on a high Sunday with attendance up 20%, as more than 20,000 children and families came out for the fest’s 87 films from 26 countries.

“We’re thrilled,” said director Jane Schoettle. “Seeing such growth in one year is an incredible testament to the profile of the festival and the level of engagement of our young audience.”

Stefan Scaini’s Canuck film “Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story” took the audience choice feature award. Pic, which stars Ed Begley Jr., Graham Green and Mark Rendall, is based on a true story of a teenage boy on a mission to save a rare, white Kermode bear.

Audience award for animated film went to “Oseam,” from South Korean director Sung Baek-yeop, in which a blind 9-year-old must care for her younger brother after the loss of their mother.

Fest hands out 11 awards in total. In addition to the audience awards, five are selected by children’s juries, and four, selected from films made by children and teens, are chosen by a jury of film industry professionals.

The children’s juries chose “Sergeant Pepper,” directed by Sandra Nettelbeck from Germany; the Danish film “The Fakir,” from Peter Flinth; and “Bluebird,” from the Netherlands, directed by Mijke de Jong. In the short film categories, they tapped “Blue Dog Blues,” a U.K. film from Mair Doyle, and “Vola’s Ticket,” an India-Netherlands co-production directed by Kay Mastenbroek and Jacqueline de Bruijn.

Winners selected from among the kids’ films are “Cop 3: The Konfetti Killer,” by Melody McMullan; Nicholas Arnold’s “The Crippled Lamb”; “A Short Film on Death” from Tyler Shoemaker; and Joseph Procopio’s “Green Tee.”