Reel 2 Real presents the second feature in its Films for All Ages series on Sunday afternoon (March 4), at the Vancity Theatre. The Secret Letter is an award-winning Dutch film that falls well inside the “we would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for you meddling kids” genre, as 11-year-old Eva stumbles on a crime syndicate apparently being run by her neighbour. It also falls within Reel 2 Real’s pledge to present quality world cinema while developing critical appreciation among the juvenile set—a mission the nonprofit society has pursued in various ways since its inception in 1999.
“There’s been a lot of discussion in the past that kids are exposed to a lot of violence and inappropriate content, and there’s a lot of criticism of media in general,” executive director Venay Felton told the Straight. “But there’s very little awareness that there are very many high-quality films out there from all over the world. These are very popular movies in their own countries, so the festival is just trying to raise awareness about that. There are alternatives.”
This is certainly a resonant idea for any parents exhausted by the full-spectrum, cross-platform marketing juggernauts that tend to come steaming out of Hollywood. Reel 2 Real is also committed to putting kids behind the camera, and to that end there’s an animation workshop—open to all, not just ticket holders—in the theatre from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. (The screening starts at 3 p.m.).
“It’s an informal drop-in, so anyone who wants to come, can,” Felton said. “It’s mostly cutout animation. The kids make their own backgrounds and characters, and they tell a short story and we post it on YouTube and add music, and yeah: it’s cool!” Not only that, it’s free. The screening, meanwhile, costs $8 for adults, $6 for kids, and $5 each for groups of 10 or more (cash only at the door). For more information, visit www.r2rfestival.org.