Children's Cinema

Our Big Screens, Little Folks (BSLF) Series features specially curated full-length films and short films for young people that will inspire and delight. Tickets for all BSLF films cost $5 each.

Explore the Big Screens, Little Folks section of the online film guide to learn more about BSLF selections: At Eye Level, Mr. Frog and Heidi as well as the Short and Sweet program (aimed at ages 8-11) and the Shorter and Sweeter program (aimed at ages 5-8). Continue scrolling for information on World Cinema Day and BSLF workshops.

We put together two study guides reflecting the Wisconsin Film Festival's children's cinema programming. These guides serve as a resource for students, parents and teachers. Click here to view Parts 1 & 2 and click here to view Part 3.

We look forward to meeting the next generation of film enthusiasts!


Stop Motion Animation Workshops

Date: Saturday, April 1
Time: 9:30 - 10:30 am and 12:30 - 1:30 pm
Location: Union South near the Marquee - See Today In The Union (T.I.T.U.) for exact location

You’ll see lots of stop motion short films as part of Big Screens, Little Folks. Drop in to this workshop near the Marquee before or after the Shorter and Sweeter program to learn the basics of how to create your own stop motion animated story! The workshop location will be announced in the Today In The Union (T.I.T.U.) listings for that day.

This workshop is geared towards audiences between the ages of 8-15. 

This is a hands-on workshop with all supplies and equipment provided. Using markers, whiteboards and props, each participant will create their own short stop motion film. Come with an idea for a story you'd like to tell or make one up on the spot.

This workshop will be led by Jaime Vache, Madison Public Library librarian, and Luke Bassuener, fourth grade teacher at Crestwood Elementary, whose class won a Golden Badger Award this year for their stop motion film.

These workshops are offered in partnership with the Madison Public Library.

Click here to watch a selection of short animations done by participants in the stop-motion animation workshops!

Frogs! Workshop

Date: Saturday, April 1
Time: 2:15 - 3:15 pm
Location: Union South near the Marquee - See Today In The Union (T.I.T.U) for exact location

Want to know more about frogs and amphibians? Join Anne Moser, UW-Madison Aquatic Sciences Librarian, to see frog specimens, hear the diversity of frog calls and explore frogs with a craft project.


Card-Making Workshop

Date: Sunday, April 2
Time: 3:30 pm
Location: Union South near the Marquee - See Today In The Union (T.I.T.U) for exact location

The Bear and the Owl is a feature documentary about Joni Vorass Lillard from Beloit, who, as a seven-year-old in 1986, was about to celebrate her birthday at the Children’s Hospital in Boston. After her teacher put an article in the local newspaper requesting cards from the community for the sick little girl, a complete stranger, Bob Jensen of Clinton, responded by sending her not just one handmade card but one every day for the next two and a half years.

The Bear and the Owl will be part of the program Portraits and Pictures from Wisconsin’s Own on Sunday, April 2 at 2 pm at the Union South Maruqee. Following the screening, join Executive Producer Jan Jensen and Director Mark Davis in a card-making workshop at 3:30 pm to create get-well cards for children at UW Children’s Hospital and SSM Health. Materials will be provided; all you have to bring is love and creativity.

“Even if drawing and painting isn’t your thing, you’ll have some fun and learn some easy ways to brighten the day of someone in need,” says the film’s executive producer Jan Jensen, daughter of the late Bob Jensen.  Cards will be collected and delivered to children at local hospitals.

World Cinema Day

Monday, April 3 | 9:00 am | Sundance Cinema 1

World Cinema Day brings high school students and teachers to the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus for a screening of a high-quality international film with an introduction and discussion led by a UW faculty member or guest. This annual event is held in conjunction with our Festival.

This event is free to high school groups attending with their teachers. Thank you for your interest, but registration for World Cinema Day has now closed.

World Cinema Day Film: Parting

Narrative | Afghanistan, Iran | 2016 | 78 minutes | In Dari and Persian with English subtitles
Director: Navid Mahmoudi

Fereshteh and Nabi just want to be together. They’ve already been separated once, when Fereshteh’s family fled Afghanistan to find refuge Tehran, leaving Nabi behind. Undeterred, Nabi illegally crosses into Iran, to find his love and migrate to Turkey for the promise of a better life in Europe. But as refugees, Fereshteh and Nabi know deep down that “running away is our fate till the end.” Unfolding over the course of a single day, this gripping film illustrates the inconceivable difficulties of escape, bringing a human face to a vast humanitarian crisis. 

First-time director Navid Mahmoudi knows these tensions well—he was born in Afghanistan and grew up in Iran—and Parting is powered by an on-the-ground authenticity that extends to his cast. The two lead performers were recruited from refugee camps near Tehran; appearing in her feature film, Fereshteh Hosseini won the Best Actress award at the Marrakech Film Festival. Parting was Afghanistan’s official submission for the 2017 Best Foreign Film Oscar, and won a Special Jury Prize at the Busan Film Festival.