The festival reportedly “celebrates friendship, community and art as vital forces in our lives and crucial tools to push against the status quo and open new avenues of joy and possibility.” Who wouldn’t want their kids to be a part of an event with that kind of a mission statement?
One thing that immediately caught my eye was the International Premiere of “Ernest & Celestine: A Trip to Giberritia,” the follow-up to the 2013 gem “Ernest & Celestine,” a wonderful must-see if you have yet to do so. The sequel follows in the footsteps with equal parts grace, whimsy, and insight about the importance of art and friendship. It’s a delight. It plays March 3rd.
Other highlights include the centerpiece “Dounia & The Princess of Aleppo,” a tenderly hand-drawn work from Syrian-Canadian filmmakers Marya Zarif and André Kadi. Stories of wartime seen through the eyes of children are common in international animation but this one boasts a personal touch that feels pure. Fans of Tsujimura Mizuki’s popular novel “Lonely Castle in the Mirror” won’t want to miss that U.S. premiere.
Fresh off acclaim at the Berlinale, NYICFF also landed the North American premiere of “Suzume,” the latest from the brilliant Makoto Shinkai, director of “Weathering with You” and “Your Name.” It will get a theatrical release in April but here’s a chance to see it early on March 5th. We’ll review it in April.
The rest of the line-up can be found here. Don’t miss it.