Get ready for some incredibly inspiring films this year at NYICFF. Photo courtesy of NYICFF
Get ready for some incredibly inspiring films this year at NYICFF. Photo courtesy of NYICFF

26 Great Kids' Movies from Around the World Come to NYC This Month

Who needs Sundance, or even Cannes? The 2019 New York International Children's Film Festival unspools this month in NYC, and we have all the info you need to enjoy it to the max, in an easily digestible format (there's a banquet out there). This is one fest where kids' opinions count: If you go, be sure to grab a ballot and vote on the films you've seen.

Read on for the full 411 on this year's fab films, including how to score discounted tickets. Popcorn mandatory.

The 2019 New York International Children's Film Festival runs from February 22 to March 17, with films showing at seven venues in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Films are presented in English unless otherwise noted, and we've sorted the festival's offerings by recommended age to highlight the best options for preschoolersschool-aged kids, and tweens. Click through to the event listings below for full details about showtimes. 

General admission tickets are $14, while special events and talks are $17-$20. If you order tickets in advance online (always a good bet) use code MOMP19 at checkout to save $2 per ticket. And while films often sell out, we're here to tell you it's often worthwhile to join the waiting list, which begins 30 minutes prior to screening start time. The odds are good you'll score seats if you're at the front of the line.

The whole festival culminates in a Best of Fest Party at SVA on March 16, a special screening and party showcasing the top nominees. Cheer on the award winners as they are announced, and join the party when the lights come up.

All Ages

Minuscule: Mandibles From Far Away 
Saturday, February 23 at Alamo Drafthouse, Downtown Brooklyn
Sunday, March 3 at Cinepolis Chelsea
Sunday, March 10 at SVA, Chelsea

This live-action animation hybrid, shot in lush Guadeloupe, tells an eye-popping ecological tale with no dialogue so even the littlest filmgoers can follow the action.

RELATED: Kids' Film Fests and Indie Movie Theatres in NYC 


A young boy living in a remote village in the Andes Mountains dreams of becoming a shaman in Pachamama. Photo courtesy of Folivari

Best for Preschoolers (Ages 3-5)

Shorts For Tots
Saturday, February 23; Sunday, March 3; and Sunday, March 10 at SVA, Chelsea
Sunday, February 24 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Downtown Brooklyn
Saturday, March 2 at Cinepolis Chelsea 
Saturday, March 9-Sunday, March 10 at Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, Queens
Saturday, March 9 and Sunday, March 17 at IFC Center, Greenwich Village
Saturday, March 16 at Scandinavia House, Murray Hill

This year's popular short film series for younger audiences premieres Zog, a brand new film about a fabulous, freethinking dragon. Then little ones are in charge and grown-ups get to play when the hilarious Flipped reworks the script. Finally, in Pig on the Hill, Pig may be up high, but his freewheeling new neighbor, Duck, shows how the most important spot of all is one next to friends.

Pachamama
Sunday, February 24; Saturday, March 2; and Sunday, March 10 at SVA, Chelsea

With a vibrantly-hued palette and soundtrack of ancient flutes and condor wings, Pachamama celebrates nature, culture, and community in the story of a young boy living in a remote village in the Andes Mountains who dreams of becoming a shaman.

Moominvalley
Saturday, February 23 and Saturday, March 9 at Scandinavia House, Murray Hill
Sunday, March 3 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Downtown Brooklyn
Sunday, March 3 at SVA, Chelsea
Saturday, March 16 at IFC Center, Greenwich Village

Artist/novelist Tove Jansson’s cuddly, quasi-philosophical, not-quite-hippo creatures have a huge international following. This exciting new animated series brings the Moomintroll family to vivid life as they adventure through the mystical islets and fjords of their glacial world.

Short Films 1
Saturday, February 23-Sunday, February 24; Saturday, March 9-Sunday, March 10; Saturday, March 16-Sunday, March 17 at SVA, Chelsea
Saturday, March 2-Sunday, March 3 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Downtown Brooklyn

Aimed at at a slightly older audience than Shorts for Tots, this screening of short films brims with stories full of growth and transformation. If you’ve ever been the youngest of the group, you’ll sympathize with the little tadpole who always falls a tad behind in the charming Kuap. Catching up on penmanship is the name of the game if you want to graduate from pencils in the winning doc Pen Licence. And seasons turn and spring is sprung when a boy flies the coop with the eye-popping imagery in Man with the Birds.
 


 Okko discovers that dedicating herself to others becomes the key to taking care of herself. Photo courtesy of Madhouse

Best for Kids (Ages 6-9)

Aïlo: A Lapland Odyssey
Saturday, March 2 and Sunday, March 17 at SVA, Chelsea
Saturday, March 9 at Scandinavia House, Murray Hill

Follow a young reindeer’s first year at close range, filled with moments of puzzlement, wonder, struggle, and delight as Aïlo, guided by his mother, navigates an icy world. Sharing the terrain with Aïlo are a hilariously wily stoat, an endlessly curious red-eared squirrel, and sharp-eyed wolves, in this snowy story fashioned through witty narration and clever cross-cutting. In French, with English subtitles.

Animators All Around
Saturday, March 9 at SVA, Chelsea

Learn how animation goes from inspiration to sketch to screen from the creators themselves in this very special presentation, chock-a-block with film clips and stories about finding your artistic voice and vision. This year's headliner in Dean DeBlois, director of the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy.

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


Travel to the bustling cafe culture of Paris with Dilili in Paris, about a bright young girl with eagle-eyed smarts. Photo courtesy of Mars Films

Dilili in Paris
Saturday, February 23; Saturday, March 9; and Sunday, March 17 at SVA, Chelsea
Saturday, March 2 at Alamo Draft House, Downtown Brooklyn

Travel to the bustling cafe culture of Paris in the Belle Epoque with Dilili, a bright young girl with perfect diction, grace, and eagle-eyed smarts as she begins to investigate a nefarious plot by the ominous Master Men. In French, with English subtitles.

Double Trouble
Saturday, March 2-Sunday, March 3 at Cinepolis Chelsea
Saturday, March 16 at SVA, Chelsea

Instead of a summer in Canada with her parents, Julka is stuck in Warsaw with an aunt who barely takes notice except to scold. When she forgets to lock up the house, letting thieves enter in, it’s her aunt’s unluckiest break—but it just might be a chance at adventure. In Polish, with English subtitles.

The Falcons
Saturday, February 23 at Scandinavia House, Murray Hill
Sunday, March 3 at Cinepolis Chelsea
Saturday, March 16 at SVA, Chelsea

As the Falcons head to the semi-finals of Westman Islands’ biggest soccer tournament, they’ll face nerves, long-standing rivalries, and pressure from peers and family alike. Like all great sports dramas, there’s a lot more at stake than just soccer, in this film filled with plot twists, white-knuckle soccer plays in the shadows of a rumbling volcano (yes, a volcano!), and above all, teamwork. In Icelandic, with English subtitles.

Gordon & Paddy
Saturday, February 23 at Scandinavia House, Murray Hill
Sunday, March 3 at Cinepolis Chelsea 
Saturday, March 9 at IFC Center, Greenwich Village

Gordon is an ace detective, but even he’ll admit he’s ready to hang up his badge. Luckily, he recognizes fresh talent in Paddy, a young rodent wise beyond her years and eager to break the grass—er, glass—ceiling. In Swedish, with English subtitles

Friends and Neighbors: Netherlands 1
Sunday, March 3 at Cinepolis Chelsea
Saturday, March 16 at Scandinavia House, Murray Hill

Cinekid, The Netherland’s premiere film festival for children, comes ashore to share their best films. Featuring a range of different cultures and themes—from Old Amsterdam to New York—and fresh stories that keep history alive.

Okko’s Inn
Saturday, February 23 and Sunday, March 10 at SVA, Chelsea

Okko’s Inn beautifully addresses themes of loss, altruism, and love, while offering the concept that—even in the face of challenges—compassion and delight can, and will, abound.

A Town Called Panic
Saturday, March 2 at SVA, Chelsea
Saturday, March 9-Sunday, March 10 at Quad Cinema, Greenwich Village 

Horse, Cowboy, and Indian accepted the Grand Prize at NYICFF 2014. Now the uproariously ridiculous trio is back with more fast-talking, herky-jerky stop motion antics in their latest adventure. In English and in French, with English subtitles.

Queen of Niendorf
Sunday, March 3 at SVA, Chelsea
Saturday, March 9 at Quad Cinema, Greenwich Village

The classic boys-coming-of-age drama (think Stand By Me) gets a thoughtful, feminist update in the luminously filmed Queen of Niendorf. In German, with English subtitles.

Short Films Two
Saturday, February 23 at Scandinavia House, Murray Hill
Sunday, February 24; Saturday, March 9; Saturday, March 16; and Sunday, March 17 at SVA, Chelsea
Saturday, March 2-Sunday, March 3 at Cinepolis Chelsea 
Sunday, March 10 at IFC Cente, Greenwich Village

Short Films 2 bridges the gap between little and big for young audiences growing in experiences and ideas. The choices we make at mealtime sometimes have a very big impact, especially for a seemingly picky eater with a lot more on his mind in Fish. A collage of stories bind a granddaughter and grandmother despite time and distance in the brilliant, handcrafted animation, Home Sweet Home.


Supa Modo is the story of a young girl whose dream of becoming a superhero is threatened by terminal illness. Photo courtesy of One Fine Day Films

Supa Modo
Saturday, February 24 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Downtown Brooklyn
Saturday, March 2 and Saturday, March 9 (with a director Q&A) at SVA, Chelsea 

Jo’s head is filled with the superheroes and action films that she loves. Her posters of action heroes brighten the walls of the hospital where she battles cancer, and keep spirits up and imaginations active for all the children who share her ward. When her mother decides to take her home, she feels cut off from the community that helps her cope. In English and Swahili, with English subtitles.

Best for Tweens (Ages 10-13)

Opening Night: The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind
Friday, February 22 at SVA, Chelsea

This inspiring true-to-life film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor follows 13-year-old William Kamkwamba, who is thrown out of the school he loves when his family can no longer afford the fees. In English and Chichewa, with English subtitles

Boys Beyond Boundaries
Saturday, March 2-Sunday, March 3 at Cinepolis Chelsea
Saturday, March 9-Sunday, March 10 at Quad Cinema, Greenwich Village
Sunday, March 10 at Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, Queens
Saturday, March 16 at Scandinavia House, Murray Hill

A second edition of films redefining how boys can feel, think, and be. After he’s pressured to graffiti a wall, the boy in Granbad reveals his feelings—and his dyslexia. In Xavier, a father is told his son isn’t like the others, but he knows his fledgling drummer boy will find his own beat. Meanwhile, life in Curaçao may seem idyllic, but teens who feed themselves a diet of tough posturing and iguana stew make life challenging for a boy and his younger friend in Juni.

Friends & Neighbors: Netherlands 2
Sunday, March 10 at SVA, Chelsea

Cinekid, The Netherland’s premiere film festival for children, comes ashore to share their best films. Featuring a range of different cultures and themes—from Old Amsterdam to New York—and fresh stories that keep history alive.

Girls’ POV
Saturday, February 23 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Downtown Brooklyn
Saturday, March 2 at Cinepolis Chelsea
Sunday, March 3, and Saturday, March 16 at SVA, Chelsea
Saturday, March 9 at Scandinavia House, Murray Hill
Saturday, March 9 at Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, Queens
Sunday, March 10 at Quad Cinema, Greenwich Village

These girl-focused short films tell stories of empowerment and transformation. Who doesn’t need a Field Guide to Being a 12-Year-Old Girl—whether you are, have been, or ever wanted to be one? The Shadow of Cairo must take on a different mission and guise in the face of harassment during her first superhero outing on the streets of Egypt. Blurring the line between expectations, reality, and representation, the girl in the animated My Body boldly reclaims her voice to tell the mirror how it really is.

Heebie Jeebies Shorts
Sunday, February 24 and Sunday, March 17 at SVA, Chelsea
Saturday, March 2 at Cinepolis Chelsea
Sunday, March 17 at Scandinavia House, Murray Hill

Crawling with curiosity, creepiness, and mind-bending fantasy, Heebie Jeebies rewards quirky-minded audiences with unexpected tales. Epic creature clashes depict a landscape we’ll inherit if we’re not mindful in Hybrids. Take your mind for a ride with Floreana’s illustrated flights of fancy through unimagined possibilities. In a meticulously crafted stop-motion menagerie, Cerulia may seem like delicate porcelain, but as the eeriness mounts, it’s the audience who just might crack first!


When 10 year-old Sam’s family heads out for a Dutch island holiday, he decides it’s the perfect time to train himself to be alone in My Extraordinary Summer with Tess. Photo courtesy of BIND

My Extraordinary Summer with Tess
Saturday, March 2 at SVA, Chelsea
Saturday, March 9 at Quad Cinema, Greenwich Village

While Sam’s family heads out for a Dutch island holiday of togetherness and fun, the 10-year-old decides it’s the perfect time to train himself to be alone. His training is interrupted when he meets spirited Tess, who, on a pressing quest of her own, pulls Sam into her madcap scheme. The two discover that, as messy and vulnerable as it is, maybe togetherness isn’t so bad. In Dutch, with English subtitles.

Penguin Highway
Sunday, February 24 at SVA, Chelsea
Sunday, March 10 at IFC Center, Greenwich Village

A charming tangle of scientific principles, fantastical physics, and baffling hormonal surges. In Japanese, with English subtitles.

Raoul Taburin
Saturday, March 9 (includes director Q&A) and Sunday, March 17 at SVA, Chelsea

The truth takes some freewheeling liberties in this story, based on the work of beloved writer and illustrator Jean-Jacques Sempé. Raoul’s hilly French town is crazy for vélos, bicycles that impart freedom and joy to all—all, that is, except Raoul. Everyone believes he’s the resident expert and champion stunt rider, but he’s never mastered cycling. Try as he might to reveal his secret, no one will buy it. In French, with English subtitles

Short Films Three
Sunday, February 24 at SVA, Chelsea
Saturday, March 2-Sunday, March 3 at Cinepolis Chelsea
Sunday, March 10 at Quad Cinema, Greenwich Village
Saturday, March 16-Sunday, March 17 at IFC Center, Greenwich Village

Audiences for Short Films 3 are older and wiser. But what if you still can’t draw a straight line to save your life? Well, you won’t need to go directly from point A to point B if you follow one MegaTrick. Switchbacks and other creative hacks are always handy, as hardworking Yover demonstrates what it takes to push through adversity. Meanwhile, the (cat) power of the cosmos can fuel you once you connect your charger to the energy and yin-yang fusion of Catmos.

The New York International Children's Film Festival is playing at:
SVA, 333 West 23rd Street
Quad Cinema, 34 W 13th St
Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave, Queens
IFC Center, 323 Avenue of the Americas (at West 3rd Street)
Cinepolis Chelsea, 260 West 23rd Street
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 445 Albee Sq. West, Brooklyn
Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue (between 37th & 38th Streets)


SVA
333 W 23rd St
New York, NY

Scandinavia House
53 Park Avenue
New York, NY

Quad Cinema
34 W 13th St
New York, NY

Museum of the Moving Image
35 Avenue at 37th St.
Astoria, NY 11106

IFC Center
323 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10014

Cinepolis Theater
260 w . 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011

Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn
445 Albee Square West
Brooklyn , NY 11201