For more that 50 years, the Film Society of Lincoln Center has been bringing some of the best and most innovative cinema to adult NYC movie fans. Now, the venerable institution is turning its eye (or, we guess, lens?) to the junior film-going set of the city. The Society is rolling out its inaugural “My First Film Fest,” a celebration of family-friendly movies from around the world, including fresh films, animated and silent classics, and even a sneak peek at one of the most-anticipated films for kids this holiday season.

photo: Dreamworks Animation

The Big Kickoff for More Than a Dozen Movies
Starting things off with a bang is the new DreamWorks Animation film Trolls, which follows tiny people with big hair on an exciting adventure as they attempt to save their village. (Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake voice the lead trolls.)

A dozen other films will be screened as part of the fest and the slate truly offers something for everyone, regardless of age, genre preference or era. Several are from this year or 2015, and one, a French coming-of-age story, is making its New York premiere.

Many of them are movies you’ll be happy to share with your kids, and of course, see again. For those of you hoping to raise mini cinema scholars, this fest can help you lay the groundwork for that, too, and fans of French film have several options as well.

The festival will also include free educational screenings of films that promote diversity and cultural awareness, as well as goodie bags and giveaways.

All screenings take place at the Walter Reade Theater at 165 West 65th Street. Buy tickets, and get full details on all films now at

There’s not a bad one in the bunch, in our opinion (full list below), but here are some of our top picks.


Classics of Many Kinds
“Oldies” but goodies being screened include the Jim Henson & Frank Oz film The Dark Crystal from 1982, as well as classics from Charlie Chaplin (Modern Times) and Buster Keaton (Steamboat Bill, Jr.) The latter of the two comedy classics is new digital restoration.


Trés French Films
As mentioned, France is represented in a variety of ways at the fest. Bugs crazy-up-close film Microcosmos, will be screened, as will the animated film Phantom Boy, by Oscar-nominated duo Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol, which tells the story of a bedridden boy who discovers he can become invisible and fly across New York City.

We’re most intrigued by Girls in the Middle Ages/Les filles au Moyen Âge from Hubert Viel, featuring a group of girls and boys playfully reenacting important moments from the Middle Ages. The film features pivotal sequences of women facing and resisting male domination—from Clotilde’s acts of mercy to Joan of Arc’s legendary martyrdom — with the kids wearing suits of armor, tonsured wigs, long beards, and flowing gowns. (In French with subtitles.)



Magical Journeys
Been longing to share the wondrous animated world of Hayao Miyazaki with your child on the big screen? Wait no more! This fest features two titles from the Japanese master, My Neighbor Totoro, and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind / Kaze no Tani no Naushika. 

The festival will also screen Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are, the 2009 adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic illustrated tale of little boy-turned-king Max on an island of monstrous creatures.

Modern Times

photo: Chaplin/United Artists / The Kobal Collection / Autrey, Max Munn

Full lineup and age recommendations:

Thursday, Nov. 3, 6:00pm & 8:00pm

The Dark Crystal (Ages 7 and up: features brief violence and scary images.)
Friday, Nov. 4, 9:15pm
Tuesday, Nov. 8, 3:00pm

Girls in the Middle Ages / Les filles au Moyen Âge (Ages 11 and up: features brief explicit language and comedic violence and peril.)
Friday, Nov. 4, 5:00pm
Sunday, Nov. 6, 5:00pm

Lamb (Ages 12 and up: features adult themes and realistic violence.)
Saturday, Nov. 5, 4:30pm

Microcosmos (Ages 6 and up: vivid sequences of animals may appear frightening to some children.
Saturday, Nov. 5, 1:00pm

Miss Impossible / Jamais contente (Ages 11 and up: features underage drinking and smoking; mild explicit language, and discussions of sexuality and abuse.)
Friday, Nov. 4, 7:00pm

Modern Times (Ages 6 and up: features comedic violence and mild drug use.)
Saturday, Nov. 5, 7:00pm
Tuesday, Nov.  8, 5:00pm

My Neighbor Totoro / Tonari no Totoro (Ages 6 and up: features brief mild nudity and scary images.)
Friday, Nov. 4, 3:00pm
Sunday, Nov. 6, 1:00pm

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind / Kaze no Tani no Naushika (Ages 10 and up: features scary images and sequences of peril and violence.)
Saturday, Nov. 5, 9:00pm (subtitled version)
Monday, Nov. 7, 3:30pm (dubbed version)

Phantom Boy (Ages 8 and up: features moderate violence, some frightening scenes, and a sexually suggestive situation.)
Sunday, Nov. 6, 7:00pm

Steamboat Bill, Jr. (Ages 6 and up: features comedic violence and peril.)
Sunday, Nov. 6, 3:00pm
Tuesday, Nov. 8, 1:00pm

A Town Called Panic: Double Fun (Ages 5 and up: features animated violence and slapstick.)
Saturday, Nov. 5, 3:00pm

Where the Wild Things Are (Ages 8 and up: features mild depictions of sexuality and alcohol use and brief explicit language.)
Sunday, Nov. 6, 9:00pm

My First Film Fest
Nov. 3-8
Film Society of Lincoln Center
Walter Reade Theater
165 W. 65th St.
Upper West Side
(212) 875-5601

What kids’ film is a must-see on the big screen? Tell us in the comments below! 

— Mimi O’Connor