The American Academy of Pediatrics has just announced that exposing children younger than two to a steady diet of moving images may impair their language skills. But we at the Chicago Reader value our language-based jobs, so we urge you to rush your babies to the Chicago International Children's Film Festival and seat them directly in front of the screen.
Of course, we're just kidding. Children under two are not admitted to the festival anyway. Children two and over may come away from the festival not only speaking, but speaking Norwegian.
For years the festival has offered weekday programs for school field trips and weekend programs for the general public. This year it's increased the public offerings by adding weeknight programs for older kids at 7 and 9 PM. In addition there are two special events this year: the five-program series Tribute to French Animation (Facets Cinematheque, Sun 10/23, 3, 5, and 8 PM, and Tue 10/25, 7 and 9 PM) and the two-program Halloween series Flick or Treat (Music Box, Sun 10/30, 9:30 and 11 AM). The festival will also present the North American premiere of Esben Toft Jacobsen's feature-length Danish animation The Great Bear, an award winner at the Berlin film festival.
The 28th Chicago International Children's Film Festival runs October 21 through 30 at five Chicago locations: Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted; Facets Cinematheque, 1517 W. Fullerton; Max Palevsky Cinema (aka Univ. of Chicago Doc Films), 1212 E. 59th; Music Box, 3733 N. Southport; and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon. Tickets are $9, $6 for children. There are also workshops on acting and animation at Facets and at Illinois Institute of Art, 180 N. Wabash; advance registration is required at cicff.org (where you'll also find a complete festival schedule) or at 773-281-9075, ext. 3011. Tickets for all programs can be purchased online at ticketweb.com or by phone at 866-468-3401.