The festival, with the theme “Dream the Future,’’ runs Jan. 25-Feb. 10 at several theaters. More than 168 films in 22 languages will be shown, most at Northwest Film Forum.

Share story

“Mama, are we there yet?”

The question is universal, but the setting is Mexico, the language is Spanish and it’s delivered with the aid of English subtitles in a dreamy new film, “Treasure,” about a 7-year-old boy, Dylan, who visits the Pacific Coast of Mexico with his family.

For the next 95 minutes, they frolic on the beach, toy with a guitar, soak up the sun and sunsets, and warily deal with wildlife from turtles to scorpions. The ghost of Sir Francis Drake seems to guide Dylan at times, though the movie is charmingly laid back about its plot points.

Movie preview

Children’s Film Festival Seattle 2018,

Jan. 25-Feb. 10 at SIFF Cinema Egyptian (805 E. Pine St.) and Northwest Film Forum (1515 12th Ave.); $12 general admission, $9 for children and seniors, $7 for NWFF members. Festival passes are also available. For more information, tickets and the full schedule: 800-838-3006 or

Directed by Maria Novaro, “Treasure” makes its Seattle debut as part of the 2018 edition of the Children’s Film Festival, presented for the 13th time by its longtime director, Elizabeth Shepherd, Jan. 25-Feb. 10 at several locations.

“What we stand for,” she claims, is “racial equity and diversity, inclusivity, social justice, global awareness and the best of age-appropriate visual storytelling for young people.” The aim, she adds, is “tearing down walls, not building them.”

Opening night is Thursday, Jan. 25, at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian, which is showing Hayao Miyazaki’s two-hour 1986 fantasy classic, “Castle in the Sky,” at 7 p.m. A preshow costume contest and performance by Kaleidoscope Dance Company kick things off at 6:30 p.m.

“We’re very excited to be in a bigger venue for opening night,” Shepherd says.

The festival moves to Northwest Film Forum on Friday night, Jan. 26, with another oldie but goodie: Karel Zeman’s rarely screened 1958 Czech fantasy, “Invention for Destruction,” which was inspired by the novels of Jules Verne and the pioneering animation of Georges Méliès. (It was originally shown in the United States as “The Fabulous World of Jules Verne” in the early 1960s.)

The international flavor of the festival all comes together in a German documentary, “Not Without Us,” that follows the lives of children in 14 countries.

“Dream the Future’’ is the theme of this year’s festival, which is sponsored by The Boeing Co. More than 168 films in 22 languages will be shown. Most are shorts, though some of the more ambitious ones stretch the definition of “short film.”

Irresistible are the 25-minute British romp “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” about a family that finds the great outdoors both scary and eye-opening, and the sweetly surprising Australian gender-bender “Mrs. McCutcheon,” which clocks in at 16 ½ minutes.

Also lengthy but worthy: “Pieces of the Jigsaw Puzzle,” about the impact of cerebral palsy on the relationship of a brother and sister, and “The Autograph,” a Bollywood-style musical about a lucky 10-year-old infatuated with his idol.

Shepherd says the shorts are “the heart and soul of the festival: great short-film programs that we really labor over.” Their only agenda is to give the kids a “round-the-world experience.”

The festival’s Pancake Breakfast and Short Film Smorgasbord is back again on Feb. 3 at 9:30 a.m. and will be held in the social hall of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption, 1804 13th Ave., Seattle; $15 general admission or $55 per family of four. Classes, workshops, talks and field trips are also on offer.

An afternoon awards program will end the festival Feb. 10, with prizes chosen by an all-kids jury.