The Kiddomatic Children’s Film Festival is well underway, and for the first time ever moviegoers don’t have to trek to Missoula, Montana, to view the dozens of films created just for young cinophiles.
This year the festival is fully virtual, allowing children of all ages to immerse themselves in a world of entrancing, globalized animation and cinematography. Passes for the online fest cost $20 and are good for any and all of the films through Nov. 30.
Carrie Richer, artistic director of the Kiddomatic Children Film Festival, which operates out of Missoula’s funky art-house venue, the Roxy Theater, has partnered with the Center for the Arts to bring the fest to Jackson. It’s was an easy decision to make, as Richer worked at the Center as its creative initiatives coordinator until 2018.
Under normal circumstances, families pack the Roxy Theater for Kiddomatic, which creates a “more intimate event,” Richer said. “But crazy things come out of limitations like these. I’m totally open to where it goes from here.”
With these two artistic powerhouses teaming up, Richer and Center for the Arts Executive Director Marty Camino hope to bring Kiddomatic’s content to viewers across the Mountain West.
“I miss Jackson,” Richer said. “So this is a way to work with that community that I know will appreciate the films just as much as Missoula.”
“We’re learning so much from the pandemic,” Camino said. “It’s an exciting model, because we can reach people anywhere. We’re excited to partner with another regional theater on something unique and educational at a time when quality virtual content is important for kids and families.”
The Kiddomatic Children’s Film Festival, which this year launched Nov. 13, is airing nearly 40 films for children ages 3 to 18 to enchant them, immerse them in cultural experiences and advocate for greater cultural awareness.
As one of the festival’s programmers Richer curated the offerings, seeking out films with a global focus.
“We put together a really balanced collection,” Richer said. “We took a lot of care to pay attention to diverse representation, so there’s films from all over the world that show different perspectives and will help kids put themselves in people’s shoes.”
“I’m excited about the diversity of content we’re offering,” Camino echoed. “There’s really something for everybody.”
Richer recommended a few movies for kids of all ages. “If You Want to Get Married ... You Have to Learn How to Build an Igloo!” is a short, silent film that chronicles Dean Ittuksarjuat building a traditional Inuit igloo. It’s a personal favorite of Richer’s given the snowy forecast.
“It’s enjoyable content, but it’s also culturally relevant,” Camino said. “There’s a lot that kids can take away from it beyond just the entertainment value.”
“I think this is how you teach kids how to be globally minded, how to have empathy and that there’s a world besides yourself,” Richer said of film.
“A lot of us just need a little bit of joy right now.”
The Kiddomatic Children’s Film Festival will run through Nov. 30.
Festival passes are available through the Center for the Arts, JHCenterForTheArts.org. ￼