Smurfs: The Lost Village / Image Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Herbie, E.T. – remember them? Those are my childhood movie memories.

Well, kids nowadays have oodles of options when it comes to things to watch. And for kids in Toronto, every year they get a chance to experience the best of the best in children’s film at the TIFF Kids International Film Festival, starting this week April 7 until April 23, 2017.

As I studied the stellar line-up, I realized that I do have one thing in common with my kids — Smurfs!

While this was my favourite Saturday morning cartoon, our kids meet the blue guys on the big screen with Smurfs: The Lost Village. This all-new take on the mushroom-living buddies follows Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy, and Hefty on an adventure through the Forbidden Forest to find the magical Lost Village. Directed by Kelly Asbury for kids 6-13, it’s the festival’s opening night film. Here’s a peek:

So what else to watch? There are 160+ from 40 countries for kids 3 and up. Here is the full schedule  – below, a few suggestions by age:

For kids 3+

Reel Rascals: Animated Tales is a series of short films fr, Russia, Japan, Switzerland, UK and Denmark.

For kids 6+

Based on a classic German children’s picture book, Rabbit School is the perfect Easter Weekend flick.

For kids 8+

From the directors of The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom, Revolting Rhymes pays tribute to the late Roald Dahl with six animated stories based on his twisty fairy tales.

Ages 10+

Sucker for French films? Heartstrings tells the tale of 12-year-old Marie, a talented cellist who is concealing the fact that she suffers from a degenerative eye disease. Or, Room 213, a Swedish ghost story about three roommates at summer camp who come across a supernatural mystery.

Free programming

In celebration of Canada’s 150, TIFF continues its free year-long programme Canada on Screen with special screenings like the Canadian classic mini-series Anne of Green Gables.

Made in T.O.

DAM! The Story of Kit the Beaver follows kit the beaver as she tries to help her family build their dam. This was commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and features an original score from Erica Procunier, performed by the TSO.


Getting there: TIFF Bell Lightbox is on King St. at John. There is lots of paid street parking ($4/hr) and private parking in the area. On TTC, it’s just west of St. Andrew Subway Station and along the 504 King St. Streetcar route. The exhibition is located on the ground floor. No strollers permitted. Backpacks must be checked (free); coats $2 (free for kids.)

Cost: Tickets for non opening and closing nights flims range from $10 (kids) to $14 (adults). Combine with TIFF’s digiPlaySpace (here’s a peek from our visit) for $21 (kids) and $25 (adults.) Festival passports also available.