CULTURE

Kids take center stage at a fun weekend festival

Kids steal the spotlight at the Athinais cultural complex as it launches a two-day tribute to children in film. Compiled by cinema critic Dimitris Danikas, the weekend festivities will include screenings of 12 movies (four of which are avant premieres), story readings, a puppet theater performance and funny antics by clowns. Screenings start tomorrow at noon with the adventures of Sully and his gang of monster children scarers in «Monsters Inc,» while at 2 p.m., Disney’s new film, «Treasure Planet,» an animated movie based on the classic novel «Treasure Island» but set in outer space, will make its Greek debut. Meanwhile, from noon until 4 p.m., storytellers Dimitris Avouris and Mania Maratou will keep children entertained with impromptu tales from around Greece (repeated on Sunday) and, from 4-5 p.m., the Prassein Aloga puppeteering group will stage the folk tale «The Princess With the Green Tail.» Birds will take flight at 4 p.m. with a screening of the French musical documentary drama about avian migration, «Le Peuple Migrateur,» while young star Haley Joel Osment appears at 6 p.m. in the movie «Pay It Forward» alongside Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, as he plays a young boy given the task by his teacher of making the world a better place, in his own small way. The Greek award-winning social drama «Hard Goodbyes: My Father» will begin the evening screenings at 8.45 p.m., presenting 10-year-old Giorgos Karayiannis, who won the Best Actor award at last year’s Locarno Film Festival for his interpretation of a boy struggling to deal with the death of his father. Another adult-oriented film, the Italian «Il Ladro di Bambini,» ends tomorrow’s program at 11 p.m. with the story of a carabinieri who forges a strong relationship with two children he is commanded to take to an orphanage. Ogres and bugs The reclusive ogre Shrek and his extroverted donkey friend start the day with an animated adventure on Sunday at noon, followed at 1.50 p.m. with a premiere screening of «Spy Kids 2,» in which young Carmen and Judi Cortez team up with another two spy kids and do battle against an evil scientist who wants to destroy the world. At 4 p.m., the Athinais’s public can take a dive into the world of insects with the stunning documentary «Microcosmos,» which will be followed by the award-winning Iranian film «Children of Heaven,» which relates the story of two poor children who learn a lesson in sharing. An avant premiere of the Hindi/English social comedy «Bend it Like Beckham,» about two Indian girls in England who want to become soccer stars against their traditionally minded parents’ wishes, follows at 7.30 p.m. and the program ends with the touching Australian social drama «Rabbit-Proof Fence,» which follows the long journey through the outback of three Aboriginal girls who escape from a government compound to which they had been sent to learn how to be servants. Children in Film at the Athinais cultural complex, 34-36 Kastorias, Votanikos, tel 210.381.9781-6, tomorrow and Sunday.