Eric Beckman thinks there’s no reason why films can’t appeal to kids and adults alike, reports Steve Dollar in The Wall Street Journal (3/7/14). As a kid, he says his mother sometimes took him to "completely inappropriate movies," and the film he loved best was decidedly not meant for young eyes: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. As an adult, he founded the New York International Children’s Film Festival, with the idea of introducing "young audiences, and their families, to movies that were kid-friendly without necessarily being kid’s stuff."
"There was a dearth of exciting expression happening for young people, and that seemed a shame," says Eric. That was 17 years ago, and Eric’s film festival has been an annual event ever since. This year, the festival will screen "close to 100 features and short films drawn from some 3,500 contenders." Among them is We Are The Best!, "about an all-girl punk trio in 1980s Sweden." "It wasn’t made with a children’s audience in mind, but that doesn’t seem to matter," says Eric.
"I find the quality of the movies to be uniformly stellar … Sometimes I forget that I’m necessarily seeing films from a children’s film festival," says Christine Vachon, a film producer and sometime festival judge. "What we don’t want to do," says Eric, "is give them nightmares. We don’t want gratuitous (sax and violins). But to the extent a film deals realistically with those things, we don’t want to shy away from it. We cast an absolutely wide net. It’s difficult to know what is a children’s film or what isn’t, and that’s half the fun, I guess."