the uh CHILDREN FIRST! film festivalpresented by the Nearby college at the University of Hawaii in Mānoa, is back after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions. The 14th virtual uh CHILDREN FIRST! Film Festival will screen over 100 films made by student, independent and veteran filmmakers from 25 countries for children aged 2 to 18+. This family event is free and will take place from February 12 to 21.

animated world yellow
Yendor – The journey of a young adventurer

Organized locally and part of the 30th anniversary celebration of the national KIDS FIRST initiative! organization, the 10-day festival offers age-appropriate programs focusing on climate change and the environment, space and technology, and social justice and tolerance.

Live-action animated shorts, features and documentaries from around the world are free of gratuitous violence; racial, sexual or religious prejudice; inappropriate content; and condescension towards children.

For more details and to reserve free tickets, see the Virtual catalog of the festival.

Festival Highlights

Saturday February 12

  • Toons for Toddlers to Tweens
    12 films, from 2 years old
    Adorable animated shorts from five countries, including student films.
  • Global imagination animation
    12 films, various age groups
    Award-winning animation from USA, UK, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Canada, Spain, Korea and Japan.
  • World Premiere: DreamWorks Madagascar: A Little Wild (Episode of Gloria Got ‘Em All)
    The episode features a “sign over” performance from Deaf actress Shaylee Mansfield.
    Live Interview/Q&AFebruary 12, 12–12.30 p.m. HST
    • Johanna Stein, executive producer and showrunner
    • TJ Sullivan, Supervising Director
    • Justin Maurer, ASL consultant
    • Delbert Whetter, ASL consultant
    • Jevon Whetter, ASL consultant
  • a painting of a surfer in a crosswalk
    Laura Margulies
  • Laura Margulies: Hand painted animation
    3 films, 5-18 years old
    Hand-painted animated shorts: Blue Cooler, Hepa and Rolling Down Like Pele
    Live Stream: A Conversation with Laura MarguliesFebruary 12, 1-1:30 p.m. HST
    Margulies combines movement, color, texture, live action, rhythm and sound to create award-winning expressive films. She often animates with paint in a stop-motion style. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Animation at the Creative Media Academy of uh Manoa.

Sunday February 13

  • Children to the rescue
    11 films, from 3 years old
    Animated and live action short films for kids who care about our planet from the US, UK, Germany, Malta, Turkey and China.
  • Take care to change
    15 films, from 5 years old
    Engaging animated, live-action and music video shorts focus on children’s impact on contemporary issues.
  • Feature Enviro/Adventure: Sentinels of the Delta
    10 to 18 years old
    Children’s adventures in an environmental camp in the Danube Delta nature reserve between Romania and Ukraine.

monday 14 february

  • things of the heart
    10 films, various age groups
    A valentine’s day of silly, sweet, deep and unconditional love from USA, UK, Canada, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Japan, China and from Iran.

tuesday 15 february

  • Animation feature: Louisa, an incredible adventure
    8 years and over
    State-of-the-art technology brings to life the true story of an astonishing lifeboat rescue during the savage storm of 1899 in Britain.

Wednesday February 16

  • You Do It No Matter Who (Part 1)
    9 films, from 8 years old
    With art and humor, short films about building bridges and finding common ground through differences.

Thursday February 17

  • Musical movements
    2 films, from 8 years old
    Pops is Tops—a musical journey through the home of Louis Armstrong and In quarantine: a virtual musical– written and performed by teenagers trying to stay connected in a world where they have to isolate themselves.

Friday February 18

two boys sitting in front of lockers
  • All Kine children
    9 films, various age groups
    Delightful stories of children being children, everywhere – from the United States, Canada, Belgium, Iran and Mongolia.

Saturday February 19

  • You Do It No Matter Who (Part 2)
    9 films, various age groups
    Rabbits, bears, aliens, artists and more portray and reveal our common humanity.
  • Culture[s]
    8 films, various age groups
    The healing power of arts and culture, legends and folktales, traditions and cultural identity.
  • The Bum Family Movies
    4 films, from 7 years old
    The Bum Family collective of six cousins ​​and their mothers has been writing and hosting movies since 2010. The signature character is Lilly, a 10-foot-tall orange monster.
    Bum Family Live ChatFebruary 19, 11:30 a.m.–12 p.m. HST
  • Movie Madcap: Hotel Paraíso (Hotel Paradise)
    9 to 15 years old
    In a Peruvian desert resort, a boy battles his insecurities and the school bully to win the heart of the girl of his dreams.

Sunday February 20

  • Clever Kids: robots, rockets and technology
    8 films, various age groups
    Animated, live-action and documentary shorts about inner and outer space exploration by tech-savvy kids.
  • windsurf boy
    A Boy’s Journey: Crossing the ‘Alenuihāhā (Photo credit: Amanda Beenen Cantor)
  • Adventures on land and sea
    2 films, 6-18 years old
    Two films feature three children devoted to their passions: hiking in the Grand Canyon and foiling through the ‘Alenuihāhā Channel.
    Live Interview/Q&A with Bobo Gallagher and Deveraux Gallagher (A Boy’s Journey: Crossing the ‘Alenuihāhā Channel), February 20 11:30 a.m.–12 p.m.
    Eleven-year-old Bobo Gallagher is the youngest to cross the ‘Alenuihāhā Channel via wing foil. His sister, Deveraux directed and edited the documentary.
  • Girls Rule: robotics and astronomy
    2 films, 9-18 years old
    Failures– an all-female robotics team competes to break stereotypes and prove themselves in a male-dominated field. Clarita’s universe-a brave 12-year-old girl explores the universe.
  • 3 cartoon characters, 2 cartoon dolphins
  • WeatherHeroEpisode: Noise Pollution (US Premiere) and Interview with Luigi Latini, Creator/Executive Producer
    The Meteoheroes rescue a pod of dolphins in the Pacific Ocean who are disoriented by a ship’s powerful sonar. WeatherHero airs in over 140 countries and is dubbed into 20 languages. “WeatherHero was born precisely from our need to prioritize children in education towards the need to recycle, to consume better, to fight against pollution and to fight against climate change…” – Luigi Latini
    Live Q&A with Kenn Viselmanshowrunner/executive producer on February 20, 1-1:30 p.m. HST
    Kenn Viselman has created, produced, marketed and/or consulted on dozens of family entertainment projects and is a producing partner behind the Teletubbies in the Western Hemisphere. He is currently the showrunner and executive producer of WeatherHerothe ultimate family series on climate change.

Presidents Day, Monday, February 21

  • Last day to catch up on missed movies and vote for your favorites!