"Max & Josef" and "Mad Hot" Bookend 2005 Sprockets Film Fest in Toronto
by Ellen Keohane
Plans have been unveiled for the 8th Annual Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children, running from April 29 through May 8. This year's festival will include 30 features and 57 shorts from 26 countries in 16 languages. Sprockets will open with the premiere of the Swedish film, "Max & Josef...Double Trouble!" The film, directed by Erick Leijonborg, is about a talking turtle who helps a young boy adjust to living with a new baby sister. The opening night film and party will take place at 5:30 p.m. at Famous Players Canada Square. Leijonborg will introduce his film and answer questions following the screening.
As part of their "Reel Rascals" series, the festival will showcase two features and two short film programs for children aged three to six. One of the features will be the German animated film "Laura's Star," directed by Thilo Graf Rothkirch and based on Klaus Baumgart's book about a little girl who nurses an injured star back to health.
In addition to film screenings, Sprockets offers a variety of film-craft workshops for children. Workshops cover topics on filmmaking, screenwriting, animation and sound. Aspiring filmmakers in grades three through 12 can also show their short films in the "Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase," which is in its fourth year. Films selected for Jump Cuts will be announced a week prior to the festival's opening. A jury of industry professionals will award four filmmakers with prizes. In addition to the four Jump Cuts awards, five children's jury and two audience choice awards will be given out.
The premiere of "Mad Hot Ballroom," by director Marilyn Agrelo, will close the festival. Set in New York City, the Canadian documentary follows a group of 11-year-old children as they learn the foxtrot, merengue, rumba, tango and swing in order to compete in a citywide ballroom dancing contest.
"Whether it's through the universality of Sprockets, films, interaction with filmmakers, participation through Jump Cuts, juries or our hands-on workshops, Sprockets is committed to engaging youth in arts and culture," said Jane Schoettle, the director of the festival.
Sprockets will take place at Famous Players Canada Square, the Isabel Bader Theatre and the Cineplex Odeon Sheppard Grande Cinemas. The festival is organized by the Toronto International Film Festival Group, which presents the Toronto International Film Festival each September.
[ For more information, please visit the Sprockets website. ]