5 films to watch with your kids this March break

If you're a parent and March break is shaping up to be days on end of watching yet another Disney or Pixar film on a loop, you can try heading to the Montreal International Children's Film Festival instead.

The International Children's Film Festival hits Montreal just in time for March break

Montreal's International Children's Film Festival kicked off March 3 and runs until Sunday, March 11 at Cinéma Beaubien and Cinéma du Parc. (FIFEM/Facebook)

If you're a parent and March break is shaping up to be days on end of watching yet another Disney or Pixar film, try heading to the Montreal International Children's Film Festival (FIFEM) instead.

It's a chance to catch movies and animated features from around the world.

Jo-Anne Blouin, FIFEM's president and CEO, said the 21st edition of the festival features films from 30 countries around the world, from Canada to as far away as India, Burkina Faso and China.

For the third year in a row, the festival has an English section.

When Blouin selects the festival's lineup, she does it knowing the festival coincides with March break.

"The fact that the kids see the films with their parents, it allows me to choose some films that are maybe a little bit more challenging because they can talk about it later," Blouin told CBC's All In a Weekend.
Jo-Anne Blouin, founder of the Montreal International Children's Film Festival, tells about some of the films from more than 30 countries that are on the bill this year. 11:33

Here are some of her recommendations.

The Sun at Midnight

The Sun at Midnight, shot in the Northwest Territories, is about a 16-year-old runaway. (fifem.com)
This Canadian film, which was shot and is set in the Northwest Territories, is about Lia, 16-year-old girl who is sent to live with her grandmother in the small subarctic community of Fort McPherson after her mother dies.

Lia eventually decides to return to Dawson City. On her journey she meets an Indigenous huntsman who helps guide her discovery of the territory she is crossing.

"The script was really intelligent in that it really tackles some challenging topics and it was credible," said Blouin.

Kiss and Cry

Kiss and Cry is based on a true story of a young elite figure skater who gets a rare form of cancer. (fifem.com)
Another Canadian film, this drama is based on the real-life story of 18-year-old figure skater Carley Allison (played by her real-life best friend Sarah Fisher), an up-and-coming elite figure skater and singer who finds love just as she is diagnosed with an incredibly rare form of cancer.

"The fact that's it's a true story, it's very touching. It's very emotional and for me it's a film that has to be seen with your parents or with your whole family," Blouin said.

Early Man

Early Man is an animated movie appropriate for all ages. (fifem.com)
The British film is the latest one by Nick Park, the creator of the British clay animation comedy series Wallace and Gromit. Set at the dawn of time, when woolly mammoths roamed the Earth, the film tells the story of Dug and friends as they fight an enemy and his Bronze Age City to save their home.

It's appropriate for all ages.

Le Rêve de Pichku

A couple of films are making their world debut at the festival this week, and they're in the competition category.

Le Rêve de Pichku is about a boy, 6, growing up in a slum in New Delhi, India. (fifem.com)
Le Rêve de Pichku is an Indian film is about a six-year-old boy growing up in the biggest slum in New Dehli. His dream is to have a toilet in his own home.

"It's a comedy but a very sad comedy because [director] Nila Madhab Panda, his goal is to make films that make people understand the challenge of the Indian society, where the rich are very rich and the poor are very poor and millions of people live in these terrible conditions," said Blouin.

The movie is dubbed in French.

Rosie and Moussa

Rosie and Moussa, a film from Belgium, is making its world debut at the Montreal festival. (fifem.com)
If you're looking for a French-language movie, Rosie and Moussa is also premiering at this festival.

The Belgian film tells the story of a mother and daughter who move into a new apartment building. That's where Rosie meets a boy in her new neighbourhood, Moussa, who promises to accompany Rosie when she goes to visit her dad in prison.

"It's the age where you go from childhood to youth and it's a very delicate and emotional film — very slow and very touching," said Blouin.

Montreal's International Children's Film Festival runs until Sunday, March 11. The English movies play at Cinéma Beaubien and Cinéma du Parc.

In Quebec City, a similar family film festival is also underway until March 11 at at the Cinéma Le Clap.

With files from CBC's All In a Weekend