Kid Movies: BAMkids, NY International and More Film Fests

Catch Indie Kid Flicks at Theaters and Winter Film Festivals in NYC

Rediscover the magic of the movies with several upcoming children's film festivals landing in New York City this winter and continuing into spring. In the cold of winter, going to the movies is tempting, but the big-budget family film options? Not so much. They're expensive (especially 3D releases), and winter is the traditional dumping ground for duds.

Luckily, we have BAMkids Film Festival and New York International Children's Film Festival that showcase international and offbeat shorts and features, while Film Forum Jr. screens cool classics every Sunday morning. Each offers dozens of picks for preschoolers on up to tweens. Plus, ticket prices can be less costly—most are less than $15 per person. Oh, and we have a discount code to share with you!

Here are the details on these festivals, as well as theaters known to offer regular indie kid flicks like the Film Forum and even two spots—one in Brooklyn, another in Manhattan—serving up brunch, cocktails and kid movies. Don't forget to check out our post about where to see free and cheap kids' movies, too.

Annual Film Festivals for Kids

Mamoru Hosoda's The Boy and the Beast is one of the dozens of kid flicks playing at the annual New York International Children's Film Festival kicking off in February. Photo courtesy of the NYICFF.

New York International Children's Film Festival – Manhattan
Various locations and times. Visit the website for a complete list.
Friday, February 26-Sunday, March 20
$13-$16 depending on the screening; save $2 per ticket with the discount code MOPO16.
NYC's biggest family film fest, the NYICFF spans four weekends, four Manhattan venues and features 100 films from every corner of the globe. Programs are organized by age—with offerings from age 3 and up—and everyone gets ballots to help select festival winners. There are often pre- or post-show Q&As with the artists, and other special events. Tickets went on sale Thursday, January 28 and screenings often sell out quickly. (When you buy tickets to a NYICFF screening, you also can give back to local schools. Just choose an institution from the drop-down list and the fest will donate a portion of the sale to the parents' association. About 120 NYC schools are participating this year.)

Tip: The NYICFF also offers school-age kids the opportunity to get behind the camera and make their own films with its popular filmmaking camps during school breaks. Participants learn to make live-action, stop-motion or traditional animated films. These also fill up quickly so booking as early as possible is recommended.

RELATED: 20 Indoor Spots Where NYC Kids Play for FREE

Hailing from Norway, the animated short Herman’s Heart will show as part of the Fun Times shorts at the BAMkids Film Festival. Photo courtesy of BAMkids

BAMkids Film Festival – Fort Greene, Brooklyn
BAM Rose Cinemas, Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Avenue at Ashland Place
Saturday, February 27-Sunday, February 28. Visit the website for a complete schedule.
$14 for adults, $10 for children younger than 13
BAM is again partnering with the top movie fests in North America to showcase more than 70 films from 25 countries. Screenings are organized by age, starting with 3 year olds, and there are fun hands-on activities in the BAMcafe upstairs, including animation workshops, magic shows, face painting and balloon twisting. Note: Tickets are on sale now and tend to sell out so buying in advance is a must.

kidsfilmfest – Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Saturday, June 4
Location still to be determined as of February 1
$12 for adults, free for children younger than age 12
Part of the Brooklyn Film Festival, this one-day-only mini-fest features G-rated live-action, animated and documentary shorts. There are also post-screening Q&As and film workshops.

The annual KidCinemaFest Film Festival takes place in Washington Heights in the fall. Details for 2016 are not yet determined so check the website later this year for an update.

RELATED: The Best Children's Theater This Winter in NYC

Ongoing Film Series for Kids

Film Forum Jr.: Classics For Kids and Their Families – Greenwich Village
Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, between Varick Street and Sixth Avenue
Sundays at 11am. Visit the website for a complete schedule.
$8
The lauded indie theater screens family classics new and old every Sunday morning from September through June. Most of the matinees sell out, and it's no wonder. The lineup is an eclectic mix of oldies, from Technicolor musicals such as An American in Paris to newer favorites such as Jurassic Park and Big. Bonus: Every feature is preceded by shorts and some have post-movie interactive activities. Be sure to browse the entire schedule; there are plenty of gems.

Museum of the Moving Image – Astoria, Queens
36-01 35th Avenue, between 36th and 37th Streets
Schedule varies. Visit the website for a complete schedule.
Free with admission: $12 for adults, $9 for students, $6 for children ages 3-12
True to its name, the Museum of the Moving Image regularly shows films in its state-of-the-art, 267-seat theater. While not all offerings are appropriate for kids, you can filter its calendar to list only family-friendly screenings. Most screenings are free with museum admission and seating is first-come, first-served. Bonus: Old serials are shown in the Red Grooms' installation Tut's Fever, which is meant to evoke an old movie palace.

BAMkids Movie Matinees – Fort Greene, Brooklyn
BAM Rose Cinemas, Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Avenue at Ashland Place
Schedule varies. Visit the website for a complete schedule.
$10 for adults, $7 for children younger than 13
BAM's annual family film fest isn't the only time to catch kid-friendly screenings at this lovely theater. On select Sunday afternoons from fall through spring, the culture spot shows children's classics on the big screen. Upcoming films include Singin' in the Rain, The Iron Giant and Safety Last!

Nitehawk Cinema – Williamsburg, Brooklyn
136 Metropolitan Avenue, between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue
Schedule varies. Visit the website for a complete schedule.
$11 for adults, $9 for children ages 6-11 plus cost of food
Opened in 2011, Nitehawk is NYC's first cinema-restaurant, so you can chow down while watching first-run indies and revivals. New in 2016: It's Little Bookworms series presents classic family-friendly movies during brunch every weekend in February, so chow down while your kids see favorite books brought to life on the big screen. Nitehawk also designates certain weekend matinee screenings as Lil’ Hawk Friendly, which means they're appropriate for children ages 6 and older. 

Brunch at the Roxy Hotel – Tribeca
2 Sixth Avenue, between White and Walker Streets
Sundays 11am-4pm
Free with brunch: $35 for adults, $15 for children
We discovered this fabulous meal-and-movie deal when we posted about hotel brunches for families. At this swanky hotel, enjoy a buffet brunch, a 1920s-style jazz band and popular, newish kids' movies shown in a luxe screening room. The draw here is, of course, the entire experience, not necessarily the flicks, but they're a great bonus. Upcoming showings are listed on the events page.

Top image: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince gets a big-screen adaptation with this feature film which is the centerpiece of the New York International Children's Film Festival. Photo courtesy of the NYICFF.

This post, originally published in February 2010, is updated annually.

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