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Chicago International Children’s Film Festival showcases 43 countries

'A Letter Momo'

"A Letter to Momo"

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When: Saturday through Nov. 3

Where: Facets Multimedia, 1517 W. Fullerton; Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport; Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted; Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.

Tickets: $6 (ages 2-18), $9 (adults), $40 (family pass)

Info: (773) 281-9075, ext. 3011;

Updated: November 27, 2013 6:03AM

Children who love the moving image will get their fill at the 30th annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, which gets underway Saturday. Organized by Facet’s Multi-Media, it offers a wide array of movies for all tastes.

This year the CICFF features more than 280 films from 43 countries, selected from more than 3,000 entries. In addition to the films, there also are post-screening Q&As with filmmakers, interactive workshops and filmmaker-led seminars all aimed at sparking the imaginations of the next generation of film lovers.

This year’s festival offers the usual broad sampling of animated films, each one interesting in its own way. At the top of the list is Hiroyuki Okihura’s “A Letter to Momo” (Japan), about a young girl grieving for her father, which offers insights into Japanese ancestral culture. From France comes “Aya of Yop City” (France), based on the popular French graphic novels by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie (they also created the film), about young adults in a 1970s West African town.

Among the live-action films are Manuel Pradal’s “Tom the Truant” (France) in which a group of 5-year-olds, lost in an enchanted forest, encounter a 14-year-old runaway who agrees to help them. German director Frieder Schlaich’s “Cause I Have the Looks” tells the story of Charo, a young girl who has been living illegally in Germany and whose life becomes turbulent when her family is threatened with deportation back to their native Colombia.

Huseyin Tabak’s “A Horse on the Balcony” (Austria/Germany) is about a 10-year-old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who has a talent for communicating with horses. And Tony Simpson’s “Derby Dogs” (New Zealand) tells of a boy who dreams of entering a soapbox derby and the complicated path to making his dream come true.

There also are many programs featuring short films grouped by themes such as family, courage, Asia, young filmmakers and animation. For the entire CICFF schedule, go to Indications of the proper age range for each film are included here.

Mary Houlihan is a local freelance writer.

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