A Cat in Paris is a great animated film for kids ages 8 and up who identify with beautiful drawings, a tight story line, cops and robbers, pets, anxiety, suspense, feeling lost, or feeling found. Check it out at your local library, on Amazon, or on Netflix.
A Cat in Paris A film by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol France, 80 min, 2012
From GKIDS (US Film Distributor):
The Academy Award nominated A Cat in Paris from directors Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol is a beautifully hand-drawn caper set in the shadow-drenched alleyways of Paris.
Dino is a cat that leads a double life. By day he lives with Zoe, a little girl whose mother is a detective in the Parisian police force. But at night Dino sneaks out the window to work with Nico – a slinky cat burglar with a big heart, whose fluid movements are poetry in motion as he evades captors and slips and swishes from rooftop to rooftop across the Paris skyline. The cat’s two worlds collide when young Zoe decides to follow Dino on his nocturnal adventures – and falls into the hands of Victor Costa, a blustery gangster planning the theft of a rare statue. Now cat and cat burglar must team up to save Zoe from the bumbling thieves, leading to a thrilling acrobatic finale on top of Notre Dame. A Cat in Paris is a warm and richly humorous love letter to classic noir and American gangster films, with jazz soundtrack featuring Billie Holiday.
Featuring the voices of Academy Award winner Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River), Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston (The Royal Tenenbaums) and Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket).
GKIDS is a distributor of award-winning animation for both adult and family audiences. The company has scored three Best Animated Feature Oscar nominations in the past three years, with The Secret of Kells in 2010 and both A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita in 2012 – marking the first time an independent distributor has had two simultaneous nominations in the category. GKIDS handles North American theatrical distribution for Oscar winner Hayao Miyazaki’s famed Studio Ghibli library of films, one of the world’s most coveted animation collections with titles Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and others. GKIDS is also the producer of New York International Children’s Film Festival, North America’s largest festival of film for children and teens. NYICFF is an Oscar-qualifying event and jury members include Uma Thurman, Susan Sarandon, Gus van Sant, Matthew Modine, Jeffrey Wright, John Canemaker, James Schamus, Michel Ocelot, and Christine Vachon.
Cinema St. Louis presents SLIFF/Kids, the Second Annual St. Louis International Children’s Film Festival, August 1-10, 2014. The films include international and American-independent narrative features (both animated and live action) and film shorts programs. Although the programs are geared to children and young teens ages 6-16, older teens and adults will find the films equally appealing. All film programs are free and open to the public. No tickets are required to see any show, but seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, so early arrival is suggested, particularly for groups of three or more. SLIFF/Kids presents film programs on the festival’s two weekends (August 1-3 and August 8-10). Venues include Webster University, Saint Louis Art Museum, COCA, St. Louis Public Library’s Central Library, Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville, and Lindenwood University in St. Charles.
• COCA, 524 Trinity Avenue
• Saint Louis Art Museum: Forest Park, 1 Fine Arts Drive
• St. Louis Public Library’s Central Library Auditorium (screenings) and Creative Experience (camps): 1301 Olive St. downtown. Parking is available in a free lot at Olive and 15th streets. Tokens, which are required to exit the lot, are available at the Olive Street and Locust Street desks within Central Library. Parking at meters is free on Sundays.
• Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium: Webster Hall, 470 East Lockwood Avenue. Parking is available both in front of and behind Webster Hall, no permits are required.
• Wildey Theatre: 252 North Main Street, Edwardsville, IL.
• Lindenwood University’s Young Hall Auditorium, Watson and Houston streets (one block west of South Kingshighway and Watson Street), 209 South Kingshighway Street, St. Charles, MO 63301. Parking is available next to Young Hall, no permits required.
The Festival has also organized many excellent filmmaking camps. With the participation of both Lindenwood and Webster universities, free Filmmaking Camps on live action and animation are held at the St. Louis Public Library’s Creative Experience on the fest’s weekdays (August 4-8). Also, free Advanced Filmmaking Camps (for teens with previous experience) will be held the week after SLIFF/Kids (August 11-15) at both the St. Louis Public Library’s Creative Experience (documentary camp) and Lindenwood University (live-action camp). Before SLIFF/Kids officially begins, from July 28-August 1, COCA will offer a filmmaking camp in which participants will create a 3 to 5 minute digital short that could serve as a pilot for a longer digital series; cost is $250. On August 9, a full-day Teen Workshop on the Art of Animation will be held at the Saint Louis Art Museum; there will be a $75 charge for this workshop ($50 for Saint Louis Art Museum members).
Mary Poppins: Saturday, August 2, 2014 at 2:30 pm, Central Library (139 minutes). Live action, animated, and in English. Released from the Disney Vault in celebration of its 50th Anniversary, this beloved classic shines like never before with an all-new digital restoration. Winner of five Academy Awards®, including Best Actress (Julie Andrews), Best Song (“Chim Chim Cher-ee”), and Best Visual Effects, “Mary Poppins” is a family-film classic as fresh and funny today as when it was made.
Part of the COCA Family Theatre Series, this production of music, puppets, and visual effects brings to life the well known Eric Carle stories: The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See; and Papa, Please Get the Moon For Me. A Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia production. Tickets $14 to $20.
In collaboration with Artmart, the COCA Visual Arts Open Studio offers children an opportunity to work on their own or under the guidance of a visual arts instructor on projects including collage, book making, watercolor painting, paper mache, and more. $8.
Want to expand your preschooler’s movie repertoire beyond the usual Pixar and Disney choices? Try the 1952 classic Singin’ in the Rain. Award winning, toe-tapping, glorious dancing, and parodied beyond belief over the years, the comedic musical Singin’ in the Rain features some great humor and movement that will keep you and your child entertained. A nice plus is that there are no “scary” scenes unlike in many of Pixar and Disney films. We mainly fast forward to all the singing and dancing parts for my three year old daughter. Some of her favorite songs are:
* Make ‘Em Laugh (Donald O’Connor’s incredible song and dance scene. The part when he tries to get up and keeps falling down of course is a hit with preschoolers.)
* Moses Supposes (Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor tap dancing and singing really fast)
* Good Morning (Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor)
* Singin’ in the Rain (iconic scene with Gene Kelly singing and dancing in the rain)
* Broadway Melody Ballet (some truly breathtaking dancing by Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse)
Our daughter also laughs out loud at the funny voice of leading lady Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) in the talking scenes and the antics of Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor).
I’m not sure why, but our three year old recently became fascinated by Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and Annie. We try not to let her watch more than an hour a day, but she sings the songs when the TV is off and dances all over the house. A nice alternative to PBS Kids and such. I forgot how charming and brilliant the dancing is in Mary Poppins and the songs sure are catchy. Your local library probably has a few DVD copies of these films (although scratched most likely!). Amazon.com has some reasonably priced DVDs.
Gosh. Remember Carol Burnett in the film version of Annie? What a makeup job.
The soundtracks are great for car rides as well. Consider downloading a few of your little one’s favorites from itunes.