NYICFF Announces Debut of New Online Film Education Program for Schools and Families

NEW YORK, Nov. 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The nonprofit arts organization, New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF), announced today that it is expanding its signature film education program, FilmEd, to launch as a free online program serving K-8 classrooms nationwide. Innumerable students, families, and educators grapple with the challenges of distance education, isolation among students, and unequal access to arts enrichment. At the same time, teachers need materials to initiate meaningful dialogues around racism and inequity from a young age, including media in which children can see themselves and their experiences represented. In response, NYICFF has mobilized to launch online film screenings and curricular materials for schools nationwide that reflect these needs and underscore the importance of diverse representation onscreen from the outset for young audiences.

NYICFF has crafted three FilmEd Classroom experiences of short live action, documentary and animated films, from a diverse group of US and international filmmakers. Organized by grade-level for K-8 classrooms, the programs amplify BIPOC stories, highlighting the individual filmmakers and voices behind these stories. Film-specific lesson plans and discussion guides support teachers in leading meaningful activities and conversations that expand their students’ understanding as they share observations, ideas, and experiences with one another. This rich distance-learning arts experience strengthens core literacy and critical thinking skills, and supports social emotional learning, including empathy building. FilmEd Classroom supports a next generation of global citizens to connect, understand, and thrive.

Executive Director Nina Guralnick said of the FilmEd program, “As an international film festival, we see the impact and value films bring to young audiences and their power to spark meaningful conversations. Such films allow for an artful exploration of complicated themes and issues while also engaging, and often entertaining, kids and families. We recognized the need to serve educators at a critical moment with film and curricula that encourages important classroom discussion across the country, whether in schools or in homes.” 

NYICFF plans to develop and offer new FilmEd Classroom modules highlighting thematic elements that explore issues of environmentalism, gender, social justice, and more. 

Expansion of NYICFF’s FilmEd Program was made possible by generous donations from long standing partner, Goldfish Crackers, who believes in the power of storytelling to influence and shape young lives and is dedicated to help amplify diverse voices. Additional ongoing support is generously provided by the New York Community Trust, a CARE grant from Humanities NY, and the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation. 

For more information on FilmEd and alerts on new modules visit:


The New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF), now in its 24th year, supports the creation and dissemination of a more intelligent, diverse film culture for young viewers, serving children, parents, educators, and filmmakers, to spark dialogue and understanding through film. A year-round 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, NYICFF cultivates an appreciation for the arts, encourages active viewing, stimulates discussion, and expands cultural access. Through its  FilmEd program, National Program, Oscar-qualifying annual Film Festival and Industry Forum, NYICFF serves classrooms, families, filmmakers and cultural organizations. 

NYICFF’s FilmEd Program uses film to foster media literacy and critical thinking skills, particularly impactful for struggling readers, alternative learners, and M/ELL students. Programs are both grade-specific and thematic, and have included Girls’ POV and Spanish language/Latinx programs. Prior to the pandemic, FilmEd’s NYC-based programs historically served over 8,000 K-8 students annually through in-person theater-based field trips. As part of NYICFF’s commitment to broaden access to the arts, 70% of students attending were from Title I schools (40% or more of the population at or below the poverty line) and received free access to the program. 

New York International Children’s Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, with support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. NYICFF is supported by Humanities New York, the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation, and the New York Community Trust. Funding for the FilmEd program is provided by Goldfish Crackers. 

To learn more about NYICFF, visit: www.nyicff.org.

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SOURCE New York International Children’s Film Festival

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