25th New York International Children’s Film Festival – Asian Feature Films

We take a look at the Asian feature films that will be screened at the New York International Children’s Film Festival which will take place from March 3 – 19, 2023

Blue Thermal by Masaki Tachibana – Japan | 2022 – 103 minutes

Tamaki is ready to create an exciting social life for herself at university when she, quite literally, bumps into the members of the aeronautics club, knocking over their glider plane. With the pricey damage done, she begins working in the club to compensate. The grace that Tamaki lacks on the ground she quickly finds in the sky, but in order to fly high, she has to catch a thermal—no easy feat for a team that relies on reading the sky rather than high tech devices. Then there’s her older sister, Yano, who holds a grudge and will use sneaky means to win the contest for herself and her teammate, the too-cool-for-school Hatori. But Tamaki plays fair and square, even to her own disadvantage, as she’d rather have a stiff rival than win by the competition’s careless mistakes. She wants nothing more than to repay club captain Kuramochi, not only for the damaged glider but for taking her under his wing and helping her discover her power and passion. But when he disappears, will she find a runway back that feels like a win? (NYICFF 2023)

March 4, 2023 | Saturday | Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Brooklyn | 11:00 am
March 11, 2023 | Saturday | SVA Theatre | 1:00 pm


Goodbye Don Glees! by Atsuko Ishizuka – Japan | 2021 – 95 minutes

Start with Stand by Me, add a bit of Goonies, top with a dash of Stranger Things, mix well with visually dazzling sylvan and celestial animation, and you’ve got Goodbye Don Glees! Deliciously umami, this year’s must-see, Oscar-shortlisted story is about being a teen and the mundanity and hilarity that comes with it. Teen trio Roma, Tot, and Drop collectively go by “Don Glees,” a sly take on their glum (not gleeful) but adventurous outlook. When they are caught literally playing with fire, the group is called into question and they must set off on a quest through the forest to prove their innocence. Along the way, individual motivations, like Toto’s singular focus on studying medicine and Drops’ sweet belief in the power of friendship in the face of challenge, are put to the test. The result is cosmic, gutting, goofy—and yes, even gleeful—in this tough yet tender anime answer to Boyhood. (NYICFF 2023)

March 4, 2023 | Saturday | Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Brooklyn | 1:30 pm
March 11, 2023 | Saturday | SVA Theatre | 3:15 pm


Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Keiichi Hara – Japan | 2022 – 116 minutes

Kokoro has had enough of the buzzing bells, shouting teachers, noisy hallways, and mean classmates at her middle school when she decides to just stay home. Bored and trapped, she finds a portal in her bedroom mirror that whisks her away to an enormous castle, where she’s greeted by the mysterious and gruff Wolf Queen—a wolf in girls’ clothing or the other way around, she’s not sure. Along with six other smart but world-weary students, she must follow all of the Queen’s rules, including a strict curfew. They are all in search of a magic key, hidden somewhere in the castle, that will grant whoever finds it any wish they want. As they conspire over strategy and share their stories, bonding in a place that’s free of fear and judgment and learning when to make (and sometimes break) their own rules in the name of friendship. Maybe the adults will begin to understand that it’s the circumstances, and not the kids, that need to change in this meaningful anime adapted from Tsujimura Mizuki’s popular YA novel. (NYICFF 2023)

March 11, 2023 | Saturday | SVA Theatre | 5:45 pm


One Summer Story by Shuichi Okita – Japan | 2020 – 138 minutes

Between competitive swim team practice and cramming for classes the anime Buffalo Kotek is Minami’s only respit from her hectic life. So it feels a lot like kismet when she discovers that her classmate Shohei, and aspiring manga artist, shares her obsession—and that his brother is an amateur detective. It seems as though Minami’s finally formed the perfect team to help her unravel a big mystery of her own, following a recent trail of clues that just might lead to her long lost father. The timing couldn’t be better when an out-of-town swim competition presents itself as the perfect alibi, and she sneaks off to the Japanese coast to discover a whole new side of herself in this bold and charming story of anime, friendship, family, and the life aquatic. (NYICFF 2023)

March 5, 2023 | Sunday | Film Forum | 3:30 pm


Panda! Go Panda! by Isao Takahata – Japan | 1972 – 72 minutes

We’re flashing back to a Festival classic that our youngest audiences may have missed! From the legendary team that formed Studio Ghibli (with original concepts and character designs by Hayao Miyazaki) comes two deliriously delightful animated featurettes. Seven-year-old Mimiko has somehow persuaded her grandmother to take off by train and leave her home alone. She’s quite capable of handling all duties of home and hearth, but gets more than she bargains for when PapaPanda and baby Panny turn up at her door. Their round bodies, wide grins, and off-kilter clowning offer the first glints of another charming neighbor to come. Infused equally with the amazing and the absurd, this seriously fun Totoro precursor is sure to win over new audiences and seasoned Ghibli fans alike. Panda, Go Panda, indeed! (NYICFF 2023)

March 4, 2023 | Saturday | Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Brooklyn | 11:15 am
March 11, 2023 | Saturday | SVA Theatre | 11:00 am


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