Smart Kids II

FREE & open to all!

Est. 2016, SMART KIDS is a free, family-friendly summer film series at the Art Theater. Smart Kids II plays weekends July 2017. The Art Theater is known for our unique film programming, and we cherish the opportunity to share our vision with the families in our community. Building off of the success of our first year, this year’s program features an international selection of intelligent, beautiful, fun, and wide-ranging films. Particularly in this historical moment of hatred and ignorance, we see cinema as a beautiful opportunity to compassionately engage with the world, its many diverse inhabitants, and their stories.

All screenings in the series are FREE and OPEN TO ALL. Suggested age is 7-8+ but full content disclosure is available online. We suggest using Commonsense Media.

Short films from CU Film Society’s lauded Pens to Lens program will play before all films. See below.

This program would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors.*

Secret World LThe Secret World of Arrietty

G, 96 minutes

Studio Ghibli’s enchanting adaptation of the children’s classic The Borrowers—about a family of tiny people living beneath the floorboards of a home and the human boy who befriends them—is a marvel of hand-drawn animation. Featuring an uncommonly strong, complex heroine at its center, this is children’s entertainment at its most thoughtful, empathic, and imaginative. Featuring the voices of Bridgit Mendler, David Henrie, Will Arnett, & Carol Burnett. (2012, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Japan, 96 min)

Sat Pens to Lens pre-movie short: ALARM CLOCK (Wri. Nathan Lee, Dir. Emily Polk)
Sun Pens to Lens pre-movie short: THE STAR PRINCE (Wri. Parker Evans, Dir. Thomas Polk)

Red Turtle L

The Red Turtle

PG, 81 minutes

This Oscar-nominated animated fable is as delicate as a dream and as vividly immersive as an IMAX nature documentary. Dutch director Dudok de Wit collaborated with the legendary Studio Ghibli to be the first non-Japanese animator to helm one of their productions. The film begins as a Robinson Crusoe-like adventure tale, with a shipwrecked sailor cast away on an uninhabited tropical island. He attempts to escape by building rafts, but his efforts are repeatedly foiled by an enormous and mysterious red turtle. At this point, a stunning twist sends the film into the realm of parable, folklore, and fairy tale. Made entirely without dialogue, THE RED TURTLE relies on visual style to convey humor, emotional nuance, and the lush but dangerous beauty of the island paradise. (2016, Dudok de Wit, France/Belgium/Japan, 80 min)

Sat Pens to Lens pre-movie short: THE END OF THE WORLD (Wri. by Caleb Pyrz, Chase Vickers, Nik Johnson, & Brett Barcus, Dir. Robin Berthier)
Sun Pens to Lens pre-movie short: THE POTATO BOY (Wri. Shardale Negre & Kayla Gardner, Dir. Chris Lukeman & Tim Meyers)

Longing & Belonging L

Longing and Belonging: Live Action Shorts

NR, 70 minutes

This collection of live action shorts from the Seattle Children’s International Film Festival show how kids all over the world long for the same things: to love, to laugh, to love, to share time with their families, and find their passions. Get globally aware as you meet sweet children who dream of their homeland, boys and girls who feel passionately drawn to the arts, best friends who must overcome bullying, a boy who learns a big lesson about his parents, and an Alaskan Yup’ik teen who is competes not for himself, but for his whole community. (2017, Various Directors, Malaysia/Yemen/Brazil/Ireland/Iran, 66 min)

Featuring films from: the US, UK, Malaysia, Yemen, Brazil, Ireland, Iran, & indigenous Alaska.

Sat Pens to Lens pre-movie short: THE SEARCH FOR PIZZA (Wri. Evan Unzicker, Dir. David Schiller)
Sun Pens to Lens pre-movie short: LISTEN (Wri. Ethan Grinberg, Dir. John Siberg)

Zarafa L


NR, 78 minutes

An old man gathers his grandchildren to tell them the story of 10-year-old Maki, who is kidnapped by slave traders. He quickly escapes to find himself on an epic journey. Maki is determined to rescue his new friend, the orphaned giraffe Zarafa, from the Bedouin prince who is taking her to France as a gift to the King. Stowing away on the journey, he looks for opportunities to escape with her. Their travels take them to Alexandria, Marseille and Paris. But the slave trader is on the same route and he is still angry about losing Maki and wants him back! (2015, Rémi Bezançon & Jean-Christophe Lie, France/Belgium/Sudan, 78 min)

Sat Pens to Lens pre-movie short: BANANAS & MR. SNAKE’S ADVENTURE (Wri. Caleb Wolters, Dir. AJ Christensen)
Sun Pens to Lens pre-movie short: THE RUNAWAY TOILET (Wri. Adrian Blume, Dir.y Thomas Nicol)

Kid Chaplin L

The Kid

NR, 53 minutes

Charlie Chaplin was already an international star when he decided to break out of the short-film format and make his first full-length feature. THE KID doesn’t merely show Chaplin at a turning point, when he proved that he was a serious film director—it remains an expressive masterwork of silent cinema. In it, he stars as his lovable Tramp character, this time raising an orphan (a remarkable young Jackie Coogan) he has rescued from the streets. Chaplin and Coogan make a miraculous pair in this nimble marriage of sentiment and slapstick, a film that is, as its opening title card states, “a picture with a smile—and perhaps, a tear.” (1921, Charlie Chaplin, US, 53 min)

Sat Pens to Lens pre-movie short: LANCE LAWSON: THE CASE OF THE MISPLACED POLITICIAN (Wri. Mitchell Flanagin, Dir. Charlie Kessler)
Sun Pens to Lens pre-movie short: THE GOLDFISH (Wri. Katarina Blakeslee, Dir. Thomas Nicol)

*Special Thanks to:


MTD Logo Blue-Letters-Red-Swoosh     UI Credit Union logo
Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District
University of Illinois Community Credit Union


AW-ILLINOIS       sp_logo_color

Illinois American Water
Sullivan-Parkhill Automotive


EUC Logo           GEO-Sticker-Black-7cm        KesslerOpticalCPDLogo-4C-01WeDesignPrintPromoteYou 1 Pepsi_logo_2008.svg

Champaign Park District
The European Union Center at the University of Illinois
GEO Solidarity Committee
Kessler Optical
Minuteman Press
Pepsi-Cola CU Bottling Co.


Busey Bank
CU Pediatric Dentists
Prairie Fruits Farm
The Robeson Family Benefit Fund
Surface 51

About the Author

Back to Top ↑