Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival Gears Up for Children's Event

by Brian Brooks

A scene from "Journey to Little Rock: The Untold Story of Minnijean Brown Trickey," which will be a special presentation at the Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival. Image courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival Group.

Details of the Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children have been announced by the event's director, Jane Schoettle with a line up consisting of 17 features and 42 shorts from 19 countries. Opening the festival April 16th is the Canadian premiere of Paul Morrison's British feature, "Wondrous Oblivion." The film, starring Delroy Lindo, Emily Woof and Stanley Towsend, is described in an announcement as based on a "boy's love of cricket and how, by befriending the new Jamaican family that's moved in next door, more than just his family's views are challenged." The opening night party begins one hour prior to the 6:30pm screening at Famous Players Canada Square, the main venue for the festival.

Sprockets has also slated a screening of "Journey to Little Rock: The Untold Story of Minnijean Brown Trickey," a Canadian premiere showing as a special presentation. The program recognizes the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas which effectively outlawed school segregation and the "separate but equal" precedent adhered to prior to the 1954 ruling. Minnijean Brown Trickey was one of the nine black students who faced off with the state of Arkansas in 1957, which helped to further galvanize the civil rights movement. Minnijean will speak following the screening on April 21st about social activism.

Sprockets once again will organize films that target different age groups in five programs. Within its "Reel Rascals" line up, there are the "bees and bears" series for ages three to five; "rebel rascals" for ages three to six; "open a door" for ages five to seven; "let's play" for ages seven and older; and "finding my way" for 10 and higher. Each consists of either live action or animation shorts that spotlight subjects such as cultural identity, language, and relationships between generations. In addition to "Reel Rascals," Sprockets will also present films created by youth form grades three through 12 from across the province of Ontario in its "Jump Cuts: Young Filmmakers Showcase." The festival will also host workshops on filmmaking for kids, including animation as well as basics in filmmaking and scriptwriting.

Once again, four awards will be presented by Sprockets, with three decided by children's juries, and one given as an audience award. The festival will conclude April 25th. Sprockets is a division of the Toronto International Film Festival Group, which organizes the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September as well as Cinematheque Ontario and other programs. The international deadline for submissions to TIFF 2004 is June 11th, while Canadian entries must be received by May 14th.

[ For more information on Sprockets, please visit: http://www.e.bell.ca/filmfes t/sprockets/. ]