Ruby Seiwerath joined Children’s Film Festival Seattle as a juror when she was 8 years old. Now a junior at Garfield High School, she says the adult supervision has gone down and children have seen their ownership of the two-week festival grow.
The 12th Children’s Film Festival Seattle is packing the Northwest Film Forum with more than 186 films from 52 countries Jan. 26 to Feb. 11, ending with awards granted by both a voting audience and a selection made by a jury comprised entirely of children.
Seiwerath’s father, Michael Seiwerath, is the former executive director of the Northwest Film Forum, and the reason she first became involved.
“My dad was like, ‘Oh, this really cool thing is happening at the film forum and you can choose the prizes for real films at the film festival,” she said. That was in 2007. “The majority of the jurors now are children. Probably about 10 is the average age.”
Seiwerath served as a jury coordinator last year, helping child jurors with discussing and assessing the various films shown during the festival.
“I was surprised sometimes that a lot of kids are just naturally good at analyzes, and they’ll say, ‘I think it’s too dark and it needs more lighting in it,’” she said.
The 12-day festival includes films from Africa, Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East. There will be features, animation, shorts and filmmaking workshops geared toward a wide range of age groups.
The festival opens 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, with a celebration of CFFS’s new partnership with PLURAL + Youth Video Festival, a joint initiative between the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the International Organization for Migration.
Opening night will feature prizewinning films about migration, diversity and social inclusion by artists 25 and younger, from Canada, Ghana, Lebanon, France, Yemen, Malaysia, Indonesia, Slovenia and the United States.
“We don’t do every film in the festival,” Seiwerath said of the juror process. “In the past we tried to do every film in the festival. It was very tiring. … The cool thing about the program is you haven’t heard about any of these films. I’m always excited about the Northwest-made films.”
Sesame Workshop Director of Creative Development Jordan Geary will provide a talk about opportunities to create content for Sesame Workshop at 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28.
British animator Charlotte Blacker will lead a two-day animation workshop Jan. 28-29, and Northwest Film Forum education and equipment manager Jonah Kozlowski will teach a mobile filmmaking workshop on Saturday, Feb. 4.
“I think it’s interesting that there’s the cellphone filmmaking class this year,” Seiwerath said. “I’m interested in seeing how it turns out compared to more traditional camera filmmaking.”
Also on Feb. 4 will be a traditional all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast 9:30 a.m. at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption, 1804 13th Ave.
The Northwest Film Forum is at 1515 12th Ave. Find out more about the festival at childrensfilmfestivalseattle.org