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Chicago International Children's Film Festival

Animation pros from Aardman and Laika present screenings at this year's fest



The 29th Chicago International Children's Film Festival presents weekday shows for school field trips, weekend shows for young children, and weeknight shows for older children. But in addition to the children's programming, there are also some special events of interest to grown-up cinephiles.

The Oregon-based animation studio Laika, Inc., made its name with the macabre children's fantasy Coraline (2009) and scored again this summer with ParaNorman. The latter is still playing in theaters around town, but its festival screening includes a Q&A session with Laika's marketing director, Mark Shapiro (Sat 10/27, 10 AM, Music Box). Shapiro also hosts a workshop on stop-motion animation for children ages 11 to 14 (Sat 10/27, 1 PM, Facets Cinematheque).

The British outfit Aardman Animations created the beloved Wallace and Gromit cartoons and such feature-length animations as Chicken Run and The Pirates! Band of Misfits. The latter screens at the festival with a Q&A by Loyd Price, Aardman's head of animation (Sun 10/28, 11:30 AM, Music Box). Price also hosts a clay-animation workshop for children ages 11 to 14 (Sat 10/27, 11 AM, Facets Cinematheque) and an evening seminar for adults, "Behind the Genius of Aardman" (Sun 10/28, 7 PM, Facets Cinematheque).

A Tribute to French Animation features the Chicago premieres of two new features: Jean-François Laguionie's Le Tableau ("The Painting"), a tale of paintings come to life that references Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, and Modigliani (Sat 11/3, 11 AM, Art Institute of Chicago, Price Auditorium, 111 S. Michigan), and Remi Bezançon and Jean-Christophe Lie's Zarafa, based on the true story of a giraffe given to Charles X by a viceroy of the Ottoman Empire (Fri 11/2, 9:45 AM, Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th; Fri 11/2, 11:45 PM, Music Box; and Sat 11/3, 3 PM, Facets Cinematheque).

Last but not least, A Tribute to the National Film Board of Canada collects nine shorts from the venerable animation unit, which was founded in the 1940s by the pioneering Norman McLaren (Sat 11/3, 1 PM, Facets Cinematheque).

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Official Site:

Director: Chris Butler and Sam Fell

Producer: Arianne Sutner and Travis Knight

Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, John Goodman, Elaine Stritch, Bernard Hill, Alex Borstein, Tempestt Bledsoe and Hannah Noyes

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