Still from "We Are the Radical Monarchs" (2019) by Linda Goldstein Knowlton
The Seattle International Film Festival, better known as SIFF, is for grown-up film fans who spend days in dark theaters geeking out over obscure Danish noir dramas, right? Wrong! Well, it is for those people, for sure, but it's also for everyone else, including kids and families.
Running May 16–June 9 at various theaters around town, SIFF's film offerings are perhaps under most families' radar. Even the phenomenal Children's Film Festival Seattle, which we write about every year, seems to escape the notice of too many families.
So, if a film festival sounds like a weird thing that your family would be reluctant to participate in, rest assured, it's just going to a movie! Really! Everyone knows how to do that. Just one — no dark theaters for days, we promise. Give it a try.
And in the superhero- and Disney-dominated arena of typical family films, the global films for families showing at SIFF are like getting an I.V. when you didn't even know you were dehydrated.
To make combing through the 414 films (!) from 86 different countries easier, our friends at SIFF have picked out the top seven films to see as a family at SIFF 2019. Try one, and we bet it'll turn your family into film festival fans.
In this animated feature from France, two 10-year-olds are guided by a condor as they try to retrieve a sacred statue from an Incan overlord. This tale of adventure is set in the high plains of Peru.
Run time: 72 minutes
Age recommendation: For ages 5 and older
- Sunday, May 19, 11 a.m. at AMC Pacific Place, Seattle
- Monday, May 27, 1 p.m. at Lincoln Square, Bellevue
In this comedy from Spain, a young soccer team must solve a mystery — in addition to winning their game — in order to keep their team together.
Run time: 98 minutes
Age recommendation: For ages 8 and older
- Saturday, June 1, 1 p.m. at Shoreline Community College
- Sunday, June 2, 1 p.m. at Kirkland Performance Center
- Sunday, June 9, 11:30 a.m. at SIFF Cinema Uptown, Seattle
In this film from France, 3-D-animated characters travel through scenes of real nature photography. The story is reminiscent of "Finding Nemo," following a French ladybug that accidentally stows away to the Caribbean and his dad, who ventures off to find him.
Run time: 92 minutes
Age recommendation: All ages
- Monday, May 27, 1 p.m. at Shoreline Community College
- Sunday, June 2, 11 a.m. at AMC Pacific Place, Seattle
- Saturday, June 8, 11 a.m. at SIFF Egyptian, Seattle
In this Australian hybrid documentary from award-winning director — and dad — Damon Gameau, he imagines the future year 2040 when our society has finally created a greener, more equitable world. Made for the benefit of his young daughter, Gameau's film's portrait of the future is lighthearted and full of hope rather than dread.
Run time: 92 minutes
Age recommendation: Ages 6 and older
- Saturday, May 18, 11 a.m. at AMC Pacific Place, Seattle
- Sunday, May 19, 1 p.m. at The Majestic Bay, Seattle
- Sunday, June 2, 1 p.m. at Shoreline Community College
Adapted from the classic 1878 Hector Malot novel, this tale follows the adventures and dangers encountered by a young orphan boy named Rémi. Rémi joins a traveling showman, whose act already includes a show dog and an acrobatic monkey.
Run time: 104 minutes
Age recommendation: Ages 10 and older
- Sunday, May 26, 1 p.m. at Lincoln Square, Bellevue
- Monday, May 27, 1 p.m. at SIFF Cinema Uptown, Seattle
This inspiring documentary follows the creation and growth of the Radical Monarchs, a group of girls of color, ages 8–13, in Oakland, Calif. A type of re-imagined Girl Scout troop, the Radical Monarchs focus on social justice issues and learn how to amplify the voices of girls and young women of color. Radical Monarch Neveah Kelly, who appears in the documentary, is scheduled to attend the June 1 screening.
Run time: 96 minutes
Age recommendation: Ages 7 and older
- Sunday, May 19, 1 p.m. at Ark Lodge Cinema, Seattle
- Saturday, June 1, 11 a.m. at SIFF Egyptian, Seattle
- Sunday, June 2, 1:30 p.m. at AMC Pacific Place, Seattle
In this delightful Swedish comedy, the family of 10-year-old Sune faces a variety of problems of modern life. But Sune's main problem, as he discovers on the first day of school, is a new kid whose name is also Sune!
Run time: 89 minutes
Age recommendation: Ages 8 and older
- Saturday, May 18, 1 p.m. at The Majestic Bay, Seattle
- Sunday, May 26, 11 a.m. at AMC Pacific Place, Seattle
- Saturday, June 1, 1 p.m. at Kirkland Performance Center