CHIFF 2024: family fun with new film premieres this winter holidays

The Children's International Film Festival returns this weekend for month-long family fun with film premieres and events from 8 June to 14 July.
A Cat's Life. Image: MC4, Orange Studio/CHIFF

The Children’s International Film Festival (CHIFF) is back with a month-long celebration of cinema designed to for young audiences and families.

This year, in a deviation from previous programs, CHIFF will run throughout the winter school holidays, with films screening from 8 June to 14 July 2024.

Screening in Sydney (Ritz Cinemas) and Melbourne (Classic Cinemas, Lido Cinemas and Cameo Cinemas), the Children’s International Film Festival program features 18 Australian premiere titles, a program of family short films and special events tailored to young filmgoers aged from three years old and up.

The 2024 festival line-up includes films in English, as well as a selection of foreign language films with English subtitles.

‘The cutest, funniest, and most action-packed film festival in Australia returns in 2024 for a whole month of movies that will have our youngest cinephiles and their families delighted and enthralled,’ said Thomas Caldwell, Artistic Director of CHIFF.

‘More than ever, our program reflects our passion for presenting our audiences with films that represent all corners of the world,’ said Caldwell. ‘From heart-warming family dramas to fantasy, superheroes, and sporting tales, films for pre-schoolers and older kids (and adults!), animation and live action, there is truly something for everyone at CHIFF.’

Read: MIFF 2024 first glance: Memoirs of a Snail, Audrey, I Saw the TV Glow, and more

Highlights of the program include Pixar’s latest Inside Out 2, where teenager Riley navigates unexpected new emotions; Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds, where sisters Juliette and Carmen journey into a magical odyssey, and A Cat’s Life, a tender tale of a friendship between a young girl and a rescue cat.

A Greyhound of a Girl celebrates family bonds and life’s challenges, adapted from a book by Roddy Doyle, while Christmas on Cobbler Street brings a heart-warming Christmas tale set after World War II. 

In animated works, check out Kensuke’s Kingdom, featuring the voices of acclaimed actors like Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer), Sally Hawkins (Paddington), and Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai); and don’t miss  Chicken for Linda!, a humorous and heartfelt tale that has been winning accolades around the world.

There are special events for the kids, too. New Australian/Irish animation My Freaky Family brings Halloween vibes with a call for audiences to dress up in their scariest costumes for a chance to win prizes, and Just Super inspires audiences to don their favourite superhero costumes, enhancing the immersive experience of this fun and gentle superhero story.

Leigh Hobbs as CHIFF special guest

Artist and author Leigh Hobbs and filmmaker Katrina Mathers. Image: CHIFF.

This year, CHIFF welcomes renowned Australian artist and author Leigh Hobbs as its special guest. Known for his beloved characters like Old Tom and Horrible Harriet, Hobbs was the Australian Children’s Laureate in 2016 and 2017.

The premiere screening of Hobbs’ short film Mr Chicken Goes to Mars will be followed by a Q&A with the artist and filmmaker Katrina Mathers. This is Hobbs’ first foray into making his own animations. He wrote the story, hand-painted all the backgrounds and animated the characters, working in close collaboration with Mathers to produce and direct the film together.

The Children’s International Film Festival runs from 8 Jun to 7 July 2024. For tickets and more information, visit the CHIFF website

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports