TheatreNorthwest Film Forum’s 8th annual Children’s Film Festival Seattle will be rolling out the red carpet to children and their families today through Feb. 3. It has become the largest film festival on the West Coast dedicated to this young audience, reaching more than 10,000 people during festival screenings in Seattle and a subsequent festival tour of 15 to 20 U.S. cities.

New this year, current and former patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital will have a few very special starring roles in the festival.

Lights, camera, action!

The festival will showcase more than 120 innovative, inspiring and fun films from 38 countries. Children’s is excited that five short films created by patients or featuring patients’ creative works have been selected to be shown at the festival.

The films include, Chris Rumble’s “Stronger”, “The Cat Immersion Project” starring Maga Barzallo Sockemtickem, “The Hidden Shadows of Cancer” featuring Ruby Smith’s photography, “Haunting: A Head” starring Jenna Gibson, and “Sara Takes Her Leap into the Bone Marrow Sea” by Sara Mirabdolbaghi.

The films were all created as part of Children’s Healing Arts Program for patients, which includes the Not Now Program for young adults with cancer. The arts can be a powerful tool in helping patients and families through challenging circumstances. Children’s Healing Arts Program promotes growth, healing and provides psychosocial support by giving patients a voice in telling their stories through photography, film, music, writing and other creative arts.

So what do those behind the films think about them being included in the festival?

“I was completely blown away,” says 17-year-old Maga. “I did not expect that it would become this big – it’s really cool.”

Mike Attie, video producer for Seattle Children’s and the Healing Arts Program, is excited that the films are being shared on the big screen and in a venue like the Northwest Film Forum.

“It’s a real honor for everyone involved in these films to have them screened alongside other great films from all over the world,” says Mike.

Ruby unfortunately passed away in May of 2012, after being diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma in August 2011, but her parents are very glad that her work continues to be shared with a broader audience.

“Ruby’s goal with her photography was to shed light and share with others what it’s like to have cancer as a teen,” says Ruby’s mom, Kate Smith. “She’s accomplishing that goal and it’s a wonderful way to honor her legacy.”

Festival screening times:

  • “Sara Takes Her Leap into the Bone Marrow Sea” – Program: Small is Powerful – Sunday, Jan. 27 at 1 p.m., Monday, Jan. 28 at 10 a.m. and Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m.
  • “The Hidden Shadows of Cancer” – Program: See me Shine – Sunday, Jan. 27 at 11:30 a.m. and Friday, Feb. 1 at 3:30 p.m.
  • “Cat Immersion Project” – Program: Noah’s Ark – Friday, Feb. 1 at 11 a.m. and Saturday, Feb. 2 at 11 a.m.
  • “Haunting: A Head” – Program: Shiver and Shake – Sunday, Jan. 27 at 1:30 p.m. and Thursday, Jan. 31 at 9 p.m.
  • “Stronger” – Program: Made in Seattle – Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 28 at 9 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 3 at 5 p.m.

Bringing the festival to patients

Kids are the VIPs and decision-makers at the festival. Local children ages 8 to 13 participate in a Children’s Jury that views a collection of the films and awards official festival prizes.

This year, there will also be a special kids’ jury of Children’s patients who will review the films and vote from the hospital and then award prizes for the best animated and live-action short films.

Patients will also get the exciting opportunity to work with professional animators, Charlotte Blacker from England and Britta Johnson from Seattle, who will come to the hospital to help patients make their own animated films at the end of January. The animation program is generously supported by the Herman & Faye Sarkowsky Foundation and Cathy Sarkowsky through Northwest Film Forum.

Resources

If you’d like to arrange an interview with a member of the Healing Arts Program, please contact Children’s PR team at 206-987-4500 or at press@seattlechildrens.org.