TIFF Kids 2018: Highlights from Reel Rascals: Stories Delight! Programme

TIFF Kids 2018: Highlights from Reel Rascals: Stories Delight! Programme

TIFF Kids prides itself on having films that will entertain children of all ages. The Reel Rascals: Stories Delight! shorts programme is specifically geared for kids from the ages of 3 -5, though there is plenty for adults to enjoy as well.

Celebrating animated short films from around the world, this programme of 14 film includes everything from a hand-drawn storybook adventure to a stop-motion story about a reckless toy car to musically infused computer-generated tales. While there are several entertaining shorts in this block of films, it is the ones made by female directors that really standout from the pack.

An example of this is Wenli Zhang and Nan Li’s wonderfully amusing film Wishing Box, a tale about a pirate who finds a magical box that only seems to grant his pet monkey wishes. Hélène Ducrocq’s colourful story A Bit Lost observes the quest of a Little Owl, aided by a helpful but not too observant Squirrel, as he attempts to find his mother. Another charming film is Julia Ocker’s Penguin, a comedy of errors revolving around a penguin waiter whose desire for perfection turns a fancy party upside down. Speaking of things not going as planned, Evgenia Golubeva’s I Want to Live in the Zoo is a delightful cautionary tale about a bored girl who discovers that the grass in not always greener on the other side when she goes to live in a zoo.

The harsh reality of life also plays a role in Tatyana Okruzhnova’s The Swimming Lesson, a film about a boastful adventure and a little boy that incorporates humor and beautifully painted images in captivating ways. Other stories that use form in intriguing and engaging ways include the stop-motion films Koyaa – Naughty Toy Car by Kolja Saksida, which follows a man trying to capture a toy car that has taken on a life of its own; and Mathieu Auvray’s charming No-No Wants to Try a Sport, about a lazy platypus who, with the help of his friend, decides it is time to get fit.

Friendship is a theme in many of these films, but they take on different forms in particular in two co-directed works. In the amusing George & Paul: Higher by Joost Van Den Bosch and Erik Verkerk, best friends George and Paul find themselves locked in an ego fueled competition to see who can jump the highest. In Jean-Christophe Roger and Julien Chheng’s Ernest & Celestine: Blizzard, Ernest’s laziness in preparing for the hibernation season leaves his mouse pal Celestine in a pickle when she sets out to get ingredients to make him cookies as a blizzard approaches.

Those looking for more musical works, which are light on plot, might consider giving Adam Marco-Nord’s Jazzoo and Mark Taylor’s strange The Musical World of Mr. Zoink a spin. The former blends jazz music from Swedish quintet Oddjob with a story of a party-going elephant. Whereas the latter is set in a magical land where neon creatures try to locate the origins of a frightful sound.

Though young kids will get the most out of this programme, there is much for the whole family to enjoy in this animated collection.

This post was written by
Courtney is a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic and the founder of Cinema Axis. He can frequently be heard discussing film as co-host of Frameline on Radio Regent. Courtney has contributed to several publications including Leornard Maltin, That Shelf, Black Girl Nerds, and Comix Asylum Magazine. He also celebrates diversity in cinema as co-hosts of the Changing Reels podcast and is a member of the Online Film Critics Society.
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