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posted: 9/21/2017 6:00 AM

Kids fest comes to the suburbs

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  • Video: "Oddsockeaters" trailer

  • "Oddsockeaters" is one of several movies from the Chicago International Children's Film Festival to be shown at the Wilmette Theatre.

    "Oddsockeaters" is one of several movies from the Chicago International Children's Film Festival to be shown at the Wilmette Theatre.

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    "Next Door Spy" is one of several movies from the Chicago International Children's Film Festival to be shown at the Wilmette Theatre.

 
 

The 34th annual Chicago International Children's Film Festival has a suburban hook this fall: A portion of the festival will play Nov. 3-5 at the Wilmette Theatre, 1122 Central Ave., Wilmette.

Here's the deal: On Saturday, Oct. 28, the Wilmette Theatre will offer a special sneak peek of the program, so mark your calendars.

How did this prestigious festival decide to screen in the cinematic wilderness of Wilmette? I called Wendy Sharon, executive director of the Wilmette Theatre to ask.

"I had been looking for a long time for quality children's programming," she said. "It's hard to find."

After checking, she discovered one of the best kids festivals in the nation was "just down the street" at Facets Multimedia, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago.

Sharon contacted festival director Ann Vikstrom. They met and hammered out a deal to bring the kids' fest to the North Shore.

"I don't have a theater or film background, but I've always had this frustrated creative side," said Sharon, who has worked primarily in corporate accounting. "This festival has helped me fulfill that."

Sharon, now in her third year as executive director of the theater's not-for-profit parent organization, lives in Highland Park.

She had nothing but praise for Facets, the festival's corporate parental company.

"They're so easy to work with," she noted.

Festival family passes can be purchased at facets.org/cicff. Individual show tickets will be available in October. The 34th festival -- the first Academy Award-qualifying kids fest on the planet, by the way -- runs Oct. 27 through Nov. 5 at various venues to be announced.

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