In this film-centric city, it should come as no surprise that film festivals and festival programs geared specifically toward kids are not hard to come by.
Annual children’s film festivals and festivals with family programming take place throughout the fall, winter, and spring. Here’s the rundown of the festivals for kids, in calendar-year order, with appropriate ages listed for each festival.
Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival
Showcases the best films by local young artists from ages teen to 29.
September | ages 13+ | www.torontoyouthshorts.ca
Regent Park Film Festival
The city’s only free-of-charge multicultural film festival; has a variety of thought-provoking family-friendly screenings and programs tailored specifically to three age ranges: Grades 1–3, Grades 4–6, and Grades 7–8.
November | ages 6–14 | regentparkfilmfestival.com
Cinéfranco Youth Festival
Cinéfranco is an international francophone film festival with film from French-speaking countries around the world. Ten films are chosen for the youth program each year.
February/March | ages 6+ | www.cinefranco.com
TIFF Next Wave Film Festival
Designed for youth, this festival shows more than a dozen feature-length films. includes special guests, workshops, and a 24-hour film challenge.
February | ages 14–18 | www.tiff.net/festivals/nextwave/
TIFF Kids International Film Festival
One of the world’s largest children’s film festivals, TIFF Kids shows diverse films from around the world, especially for kids. The festival is accompanied by the interactive digiPlaySpace, with tech games and hands-on film production activities for kids. Finalists in the Jump Cuts competition, for young filmmakers in Grades 4–6 and 7–8, are screened at the festival.
April | ages 3–13 (older for Jump Cuts films) | www.tiff.net/festivals/tiffkidsfestival/
Toronto Student Film Festival
By youth for youth, this festival showcases short films (6 minutes or less) by young filmmakers ages 12 to 21.
April | ages 12+ | www.tsff.ca
North America’s largest documentary film festival features some 200 films from around the globe. Each year, ten films from the festival are chosen for the free Docs for Schools program; you can also see these films at the festival (at regular prices).
April/May | ages 12+ | www.hotdocs.ca
Toronto Jewish Film Festival
The lineup at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival includes a few family-friendly screenings. During some films, lights are turned up and kids may move around during the show.
April/May | ages TBD | tjff.com
A one-night showcase of short films created by high-school students for high-school students.
May or June | ages 13–18 | www.tiff.net/festivals/nextwave
Toronto Animation Arts Festival (TAAF)
Feature and short animated films, some adults-only, with a selection of family-friendly screenings, plus cartoon-themed activities and meet-and-greets with animators and voice actors.
June | ages 3+ | taafi.com
IMAGE: ADAPTED FROM SARA ROBERTSON/FLICKR CC