Belmont World Film’s 13th annual family festival presents films from around the world Jan. 15-18 at the Regent Theatre in Arlington and the Studio Cinema in Belmont. There will be plenty of quality films about kids doing extraordinary things, but it’s adults who are likely to be most inspired.
That’s the hope of Dedham author and illustrator Peter Reynolds. The festival features animated versions of several of Reynolds’s popular kids books, including “The Dot,” “Ish,” and “Sky Color,” which screen Jan. 16 at 10:30 a.m at the Regent. Reynolds, who also owns the Blue Bunny bookstore in Dedham, will introduce the films and engage in a post-screening discussion. He calls the three films his “creatrilogy.”
“These three books are designed to get viewers thinking about creativity and how they can use their talents and gifts to make their mark,” says Reynolds in an e-mail. “I want to move the entire audience. I think the big surprise will be that the adults who have taken their kids to see these films will discover that the messages in my stories are for them as much as their kids.”
Reynolds’s own company, Fablevision, animated his films for Weston Woods Studios (the video arm of Scholastic Books), which since 1953 has produced films based on children’s books. The festival offers two programs of Weston Woods Studios films on Jan. 17 and 18 at 10:30 a.m. at the Studio Cinema. These include the New England premieres of “Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs” and “That Is Not a Good Idea” by Mo Willems, “A House for Hermit Crab” by Eric Carle, and “Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla” by Katherine Applegate (Jan. 17). Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is honored on Jan. 18 with film versions of several books about King including “Martin’s Big Words” by Doreen Rappaport.
The festival opens Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. with a 75th anniversary screening of Walt Disney’s “Fantasia.” The 1940 classic of animation and classical music by Beethoven, Bach, Tchaikovsky, and Stravinsky, orchestrated and conducted by Leopold Stokowski, kicks off the Regent’s “Through the Decades Classic Film Series,” a yearlong celebration of the theater’s 100th anniversary.
Other festival highlights include the New England premiere of a documentary from Paraguay, “Landfill Harmonic” (Jan. 17, 1:30 p.m., Studio Cinema), about members of a youth orchestra who live next to one of South America’s largest landfills, and whose instruments are made out of garbage. The film traces how the young musicians get to perform live with some of their favorite heavy metal bands, including Megadeth, catapulting them into the global spotlight. “Imba Means Sing” (Jan. 19, 11:45 a.m., Studio Cinema) chronicles the world tour of the African Children’s Choir, made up of children from the slums of Uganda. “The Games Maker” (Jan. 19, 3 p.m., Studio Cinema), stars Ed Asner and Joseph Fiennes in a tale of a boy (David Mazouz) who becomes obsessed with the competitive world of games creation.
For more information, go to www.belmontworldfilm.org.