Father & Daughter Film Report 

I F F F  2016

For over two decades the International Family Film Festival has lead the way in presenting diverse films that reveal to all of us what the word family can involve around the world.  

In their YouthFest, where the youngest film makers were eight years old, two age categories of student film makers also reveal the younger generation's perception of family as well.

Did we mention that their Youth Fest has Comic Book entries too?

Short Films, Feature Films, Experts in the Industry Panel Discussions, Road Scholar Intergenerational programs, the IFFF Institute outreach programs to youth and families...really...so much to this festival we certainly couldn't cover even the tip of the iceberg...but we'll do our best.

Before we get to the films, let us honor the annual Friz Award (named for the legendary animator Friz Freleng, who introduced and/or developed such characters at Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Tweety & Sylester and a whole stable of Warner Brothers characters). 

The 2016 Honoree: Andrea Romano

Andrea has been casting and directing voices for over 30 years with credits at Hanna Barbera, Disney's Duck Tales, Winnie the Pooh, Batman the Animated Series, Avatar, The Las Air Bender and Sponge Bob SquarePants....to name just a few (and believe us, you could easily fill up this entire page with her resumé.

Andrea is also an eight-time Emmy Award Winning director, and has numerous awards in video games, commercials, promos & internet projects as well...!

Congratulations Andrea...!
Teaching Theatre History at Rutgers University, Andrea moved to Los Angeles where she began as an assistant and was franchised as a voice over talent in 1981.

Celebrity Appearances, Book signings & Workshops: Karen Workman

With four children and three of them working in the Hollywood film industry, Karen knows a thing or two about being a mother of child actors.
Originally from New Zealand and now living in Los Angeles with children who are actors in feature, short, student & independent films, national commercials, music videos, industrial and modeling projects, Karen's book offers a unique and practical perspective on surviving as a parent with a thriving child actor, or in her case, child actors.

Guiding parents on how to make strategic choices that will move both parent & child forward professionally, Karen also has insights on how to do so without sacrificing the core elements that support the importance of family.

Perhaps many a child actor and their parents could have been saved a lot of headaches and grief if they simply had read Karen's book...as well as kept their sanity.

Ready for some films...?


Director Sam Kadi does the near impossible by not only filming the people's experiences in what has become the ongoing tragedy in Syrian, but just as dangerous was the story behind the story on how they got the film out of the country.

Centered around the 26 year old iconic Syrian peace activist Ghiyath Matar, we see those who were involved in his cause for peace tell his story, which unfolds in captivating fashion, much like hearing about Charles Foster Kane in the Orson Welles classic...

...and keep in mind this is a documentary.

By the way this won Best Foreign Documentary this year at IFFF, and we are sure you will see this film win a lot, lot more.

This is a must see film, and is being screened to government officials from Qatar to Washington, D.C. as well as those who are seeking answers to what is going on in Syria.

We feel it is important to know who is working for peace over there, and although the beloved leader of the peace movement there was tortured and murdered, we need to keep his spirit alive - in Syria and around the world.


Winning Best Foreign Drama we remain in the category of tragedy with a film that is based on a true story, which shows us all what happens when you mix sadness, grief, misery, and sorrow into an absolute condition.

We follow a divorced mother of two in the aftermath of the Bosnian War as things go horribly wrong with her new love, then gets worse, and worse...and even more worse.

Talk about tragedy...this film personifies tragedy like none we've ever seen...

No matter how down you are in your life, after seeing Sabina K. you will immediately realize you've actually have it pretty good, especially when you are reminded this is based on a true story.

While an English major at Harvard University, writer / director Cristóbal Krusen intended pursuing a career as a novelist and poet, but a growing interest in photography and filmmaking led him to transfer to  New York University where he graduated with a BFA in Film and Television in 1976.  He later attended Art Center College of Design where he received his MFA in Film in 1989.

Working in multiple languages, Cristóbal is known for a poetic, visual style and the ability to draw intimate performances from actors (professional and non-professional). Above all, he is a “story-teller” who delights to engage his audience while addressing the deepest needs of the human heart.

And believe us, this film addresses the deepest needs of the human heart.


"Not everyone can live happily ever after..."

Well, just from personal experience many of us have learned that lesson in life, but what about in our fairy tales?  It seems there is almost an innate need for us to have a happy ending there....will we get one here?

Writer/Director/Producer Tom Albanese won Best Comedy Short with Charming at the IFFF and if you go to the film's website:


You will see a long list of awards, and for good reason: This is Prince Charming with a twist.  Well, actually several twists.  Wait a minute....actually a lot of twists, and believe us you will enjoy every single one.  Simply because, as Tom puts it:

Sometimes the prince and princess might not actually be good for each other, despite all appearances and what’s on paper. Maybe “true love” doesn’t happen the way we’ve always been told it does."

So true in real life, Tom, so true....


 The logline of "...a young girl attempting to escape the misfortunes of living on the streets of Skid Row Los Angeles through the power of her mystical imagination; while simultaneously trying to protect the bond with her addict mother" should give you an idea that some powerful themes and emotions are at play.

And they are...in spades.

The delightful surprise is that every component of this film follows the formula for art as prescribed in ancient Greece: entailing beauty, wisdom, and truth.

You see beauty, wisdom, and truth in every aspect of this film - the story telling, the dazzling visuals, the score, the cast, the crew, the choreography and of course the story itself.  To see more, check out the website:


where you can get the DVD or download the film.  Do it.  It's well worth it.



 RICEBALLS is a heartwarming story about love, pride and resilience.

Premise: Since the passing of his Australian wife, Kenji has been doing his best to bring up his only son, Josh. While he is in two minds whether to move back to Japan with Josh, Kenji starts making clumsy Japanese riceballs for his son, with the hope he will remain connected to his cultural heritage. Eventually, those riceballs strengthen their bond and help them overcome the pain of losing their loved one.

This film depicts a father’s hope and the challenges he faces while passing down traditions to his son who is growing up between two cultures. Being a universal theme, we are certain this story will connect with many people regardless of their cultural background. While we don't have a trailer (well, the film is only 10 minutes long) there are some wonderful clips on writer/director's Shingo Usami's website:


Check it out, and certainly see it when given the opportunity...!


The film follows the story of a young boy who, led by his yearning for a material object - a super hero costume - ultimately finds something of much greater worth.


A well-intentioned Chinese immigrant father tries to teach his son, David, how to “make it” in America. When David becomes enamored by a Superman costume in a store window, his father sees an opportunity to impart to his son the importance of hard work, thrift, and delayed gratification.

By doing chores and saving coins, David begins to acquire the money needed to purchase the coveted costume. In the meantime, though, he forms an unexpected friendship that ultimately eclipses his initial objective. When the time at last comes for David to reap the rewards of his diligence and frugality, it turns out that the lessons he’s learned transcend those his father intended.

For more on this film, please go to:



Click on the poster above to see the trailer...

Ten years after her tragic death on Halloween night, Charlotte begins to reappear to her mother, Marie, in a series of nightmares - or are they? Only adding to her distress is the news that her young son, Luke, now has a mysterious teenage friend he calls ‘The Halloween Girl’ - and her name is Charlotte. Has Charlotte really returned - and is Marie’s dark secret now in danger of being revealed…?

Directed by Emmy Award-Winning Writer/Filmmaker Richard T. Wilson, who was born with the filmmaker's love of classic ghost stories ('A Christmas Carol', 'The Turn of the Screw') and his passion for shining a light on troubled souls, and the tortured spirits that relentlessly pursue them - in this world, and the next - has certainly created a classic story here...with a twist.

More we can't say or we would give away the ending...sorry.


First, a tragic statistic: 

With this fact in mind, award-winning director Jennifer Perrott, who grew up in a Defence Force community, has written a poignant and tender film about an Aussie soldier struggling to return to family life after war. Told through the eyes of his young daughter, this story looks at the challenges facing returning service personnel coping with trauma and the effects on their families. It has a hopeful and positive ending.

Besides being a stunningly beautiful film on all fronts, we also like the insight on how war comes home, and hopefully films like this will bring more attention to all those returning veterans who whether they know it or not, need the extra love and support from our communities on so many different levels.

Check out the web site:


As we mentioned earlier, in the space we have here we can only barely scratch the surface of all the great films, panels, workshops, and multitude of other things that went on at the International Family Film Festival...

So it looks like we are going to have to do a PART II sometime in the near future...

But before we go, you have to see one of the Kids Fest winners:


As we mentioned earlier, entries into this festival are as young as eight (8) years old, and we have to give a shout out to the winner of the:


by (now) 10 year old Cameron Bontrager, who made a film about her friends when she was nine.  Amazing also is that she was in the 8 - 13 year old category so she beat out a lot of older kids...!  Way to go, Cameron!  We bet mom and dad are proud and that we are going to see a lot more of you in the theaters of tomorrow...

Actually her film is still going around the film festival circuit, so we will have to wait until she releases it, Dad and I will post it on our Facebook page so you can check it out....and it will sure to bring a smile to your face...just look at hers...

Again, there were so many great films going on that even with Amanda covering one theater and David in the other, we STILL couldn't see all of the great films at the festival.

One way to get a hold of us (in case we missed your film) or to get an update on IFFF or other festivals (or when, for example we finally get a copy of Cameron's film discussed above), feel free to LIKE or FOLLOW our

Father Daughter 
Film Report 
Facebook Page:

so you can get updates, interviews, tips & trends in the industry as well as all kinds of films that filmmakers send us to post up...!

Til next time....!