About the Festival

New York International Children’s Film Festival was founded in 1997 to support the creation and dissemination of thoughtful, provocative, and intelligent film for children and teens ages 3-18. The Festival experience cultivates an appreciation for the arts, encourages active, discerning viewing, and stimulates lively discussion among peers, families, and the film community.

What We Do

The flagship New York City Festival has grown from one weekend of films into the largest film festival for children and teens in North America. Screened over the course of four weeks at venues throughout NYC, the Festival program – narrowed down from roughly 2,500 international submissions – is comprised of approximately 100 short and feature films, filmmaker Q&As, retrospective programs, parties, and premieres. Audience members of all ages vote on the Festival-winning films. The Festival is an Academy Award® qualifying festival, one of only four film festivals in New York State – and only two children’s film festivals in the country – to hold that honor. Winners of the Festival’s juried prizes are eligible for consideration at the annual Academy Awards®. In addition to presenting the annual event, New York International Children’s Film Festival is a multifaceted arts organization that offers year-round engagement.

The Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization.

Year Round in NYC

Year-round screenings include premieres, encore screenings of past Festival films, and filmmaker events. Recent programs have included: a preview screening of He Named Me Malala with Academy Award® winning director Davis Guggenheim, an early screening of Big Hero Six, and a sneak preview of Disney Nature’s Bears followed by a Q&A with narrator John C. Reilly and Disney Nature ambassador Jane Goodall.

National Programs

We partner with local cultural organizations in cities including Boston, Miami, Westchester County, and Philadelphia to present one and two-weekend festivals that include the same excitement and many of the same interactive components as the New York Festival. In addition to these satellite events, the Festival’s Best of the Fest touring program brings films to theaters and arts organizations around the company that might not otherwise have access to independent and international film programming for young people.


New York International Children’s Film Festival is dedicated to sharing the transformative power of film to entertain, educate, and inspire. Our Film-Ed initiative gives children the tools to become active viewers and to ensure that the conversation continues outside of the theater. The initiative includes hands-on filmmaking workshops, field trips, and free and discounted participation opportunities for students from low-income families. These programs serve over 7,500 students, families, and educators each year.