Your Family’s Guide to KidFilm Festival

What to know about this free event happening in Dallas this weekend

Whether you’ve got junior Hollywood hopefuls or mini movie buffs in your clan, KidFilm, the longest-running and largest film festival for kids in the U.S., presented by USA Film Festival of Dallas, is an event the whole family can enjoy.

Running January 19-20 at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas, the 35th annual collection of children’s cinema works and events offers something for all ages and tastes. Yes, even for pre-K kids with very short attention spans. Oh and the best part? Every show and event at KidFilm is free.

Pick up tickets an hour before the flick begins (show times are 12pm, 2:30pm and 4:30pm each day) at the box office. Tickets are given on a first come, first serve basis. No reservations. Find the full schedule online.

Offerings include feature and short films, animations and comedies. You can’t miss the 12-for-1 deal happening on Saturday, January 19 at 1:15pm, when a dozen short animated adventure films are screened in Auditorium 2. The 57-minute event is great for all ages and explores timeless issues for tykes like sibling rivalries, making new friends and following your dreams.

Also on the lineup this weekend: crowd favorites like How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, a reimagining of a beloved fairy tale (Cinderella and the Secret Prince) and kid-friendly epics like Howard Lovecraft and the Kingdom of Madness and The Kids Who Would Be King.

Kicking off the festival is an event not to be missed by movie, book and TV lovers alike. On Saturday at 1pm, nab a seat in Auditorium 1 to meet Marc Brown and see two book-to-movie screenings.

You may not have heard of Marc Brown by name, but it’s likely that your family’s bookshelves, DVR and Netflix queue are filled with his many titles. That’s because the kid literature veteran (he’s served as writer and/or illustrator for over 170 books) is the man behind everyone’s favorite aardvark, Arthur. Join Brown as he reads from his upcoming book, Everyone Counts, before it is released this fall.

Then, settle in for two animated short film screenings when R.L. Stone’s Mary McScary and Judy Sierra’s Wild About Books—both illustrated by Marc Brown—come to the big screen. Bonus: your family can score free copies of Brown’s new book Everyone Counts (while supplies last) and then hang around to get your copy signed by the author.

Keep an eye on the festival’s website for final event details, including dates and times.

This article first ran in January 2016; it was updated with additional reporting in January 2019. ©ISTOCK