Tuesday, 11 August 2015

KOFFIA 2015 | Family films

How to Steal a Dog - an adventure/action film for families will open the 6th Korean Film Festival on Wednesday 12 August in Sydney (screens nationally).

The festival are running a competition online to win tickets to the opening night screening - Take a photo of your pet and hashtag it with #KOFFIA2015 on facebook for your chance to win.

The beautiful animation from director Han Jin-wan Clearer Than You Think will also screen.

Both films will screen with English subtitles.
Korean Film Festival KOFFIA
from 12 August

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Monkey Baa | The Witches

Monkey Baa's The Witches is theatre at its most theatre like.  Theatre stripped bare.  Based on Roald Dahl's book of the same name, one actor (Guy Edmonds) takes on the entire story, playing over ten characters with limited costumes and props. 

My almost six-year-old sat on my lap and from the moment the actor started performing he was enthralled. My ten and twelve-year-olds enjoyed it too.  I enjoyed that they had to work for understanding.  That there were no fancy props, nothing literal.  It was as far from television you could get and while the little one got a bit lost sometimes at the end he understood enough and he experienced a version of what might be becoming the lost art of storytelling.

In our after-show discussions the children liked the effects, which are pretty limited, but my ten-year-old also pointed out the skill of a one-person show being able to tell an entire book of characters and this, I think, is why it's worth taking your kids to see it.

After a  sell-out season at the Griffin Theatre - The Witches makes a return to Monkey Baa in Darling Harbour over the school holidays.

Sarah and family.

DATES & TIMES: 30th June - 4th July (10:30am, 1:00pm)
VENUE: Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre
(across from the Children’s Playground in Darling Harbour)
TICKETS: $25pp / $90 Family 4 / $110 Family 5 / $23pp Groups 10+

Saturday, 20 June 2015

The return of the family program at Sydney Film Festival

With the disappearance of the family program from the Sydney Film Festival in previous years, I was delighted to see its reappearance in 2015. Families had the opportunity to experience a selection of international films, Australian documentaries and animation screenings.

There was a gap for young adults (14- 17 years) but younger audiences were definitely catered for this year.

Wide Open Sky

'This isn’t X-factor, this is Moorambilla' – Michelle Leonard

Lisa Nicol first heard about Michelle Leonard’s story from another mother at her child’s school.  Perusing the story led to the documentary Wide Open Sky that follows the  Moorambilla Voices regional choir concert from the audition process, and everything else in between led by the charismatic Artistic Director Michelle Leonard. The choir consists of kids from rural NSW that don’t normally have access to music education opportunities.

Lisa allows enough screen time for the audience to get to know the kids and the team behind the choir.

The screening we attended was a full house of a young and young at heart audience.

Wide Open Sky is a beautiful and inspiring Australian story.

Gayby Baby

The documentary shares the lives of four same-sex families through the eyes of the children (aged 10 – 12).

Gus is obsessed about wrestling, Ebony prepares for her audition for a performing arts school, Matt questions religion and Graham struggles with learning how to read.

Gayby Baby is an important and timely documentary for your kids to see to show that families are built on love rather than convention.

‘I don’t think it actually makes me that unique; it’s just different for every person growing up.   The people who raise you and make you who you are today are your family.' - Ebony

Songs of the Sea

Animated family films are getting churned out one after another – every school holidays another batch of kids films are released leading to them all starting to look like the same film.

The enchanting Songs of the Sea offers more depth and beauty to children’s animation avoiding the cookie cutter formulation.   A follow-up to The Secret of the Kells (screened within 2009 Sydney Film Festival family program) director Tom Moore has returned with an enchanting story based on the ancient Celtic myth of the Selkies told through hand-drawn imagery.

The story centers around Saoirse and Ben, two siblings who live with their father, a lighthouse keeper. Magical secrets about their mother are discovered as Saoirse and Ben find their way back home.

The Crow’s Egg also screened at the festival. It will be rescreening with the Travelling Film Festival – Newcastle 

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Sydney Film Festival 2015 | Children and Family

This morning the 2015 Sydney Film Festival announced a preview of  27 films and 10 documentaries featuring in their 62nd film festival (the full program will be announced on the 6 May at 11am). We are very excited that also revealed is the addition of an enhanced family/kids program. The family films announced in the preview include The Crow's Egg from India and Songs of the Sea from Ireland.

The festival is a wonderful opportunity to introduce your children to films that wouldn't normally make it the cinema in Australia and to also open the door to how other children live around the world.

We are looking forward to the full program announcement in May!

The Crow's Egg
  • Director M. Manikandan
  • Original title Kaakkaa Muttai
  • Country India
Dubbed the next 'Slumdog Millionaire', this funny and charming film from South India is for both adults and older kids. Two mischievous and resourceful brothers living in poverty in a Chennai slum see an ad for pizza and become determined to taste this magical food for the very first time, setting off an adventure full of both triumphs and setbacks.

Songs of the Sea

  • Director Tomm Moore
  • Country Ireland, Luxembourg, Belgium, France, Denmark

    This enchanting treat for families is inspired by Ireland's rich Celtic folklore. Ben and his fairy-like sister, Saoirse, live on a rocky island, where seals bob up to inspect their every activity. Nominated for Best Animated Feature at this year's Oscars, this legend-inspired tale is chock-full of glorious imagery, captivating critters and lilting Gaelic music.

Sydney Film Festival
June 3 - 14 June 2015

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Vivid Sydney 2015 | Youth and Families

Vivid Light is always a major event on every family calendar. My stand out this year is Light Origami which invites viewers to explore the nature of reality by entering a giant 3D kaleidoscope.

This year we will also be including our children in our Vivid Sydney Ideas and Music adventures.

My daughter  (13 years) is a young creator - and I'm curious to learn more about her world. We will be heading to #NOFILTER  -  a 'conversation inspired by and showcasing the work of young creators and explore the distinct point of view youth can provide in the creative process. Young producers, animators, photographers and social media personalities will share insights into their own creative process, discuss what connects with their audiences, and offer key takeaways for anyone looking to learn from the future stars of content creation.'

She will also be attending An evening with Morrissey with her dad within Vivid Music.

My eldest son (16 years) will be into Feedback - A Music Conference for Young People - he is yet to explore the Vivid Music program.

And for younger kids - Archikids Play[ground] will be right up their alley in the Hyde Park Barracks as it transformed into an interactive playground. Not sure yet if it will be too young for my 11 year old son.

Dress Up Attack! = indie rock performances + interactive activities --- for young kids and their parents/carers.

The MCA Zine Fair covers all my kids.... the fair is a great introduction and inspiration into what they can create on their own and distribute.

So much to explore over May and June!

Creative school holidays

We are always impressed when we visit the QLD Gallery of Modern Art and its surrounds - jump off at South Brisbane and you have run of the galleries, library, museum and theatre.

The David Lynch exhibition - In Between Worlds is a great exploration for older teens. We can make a future  - Japanese Art after 1989 is perfect for all ages. Don't stop there - keep moving through the gallery to find amazing worlds for your kids to get lost in.

Back in Sydney, the Australian Centre of Photography has extensive workshops for kids that love to express their creativity through photography. Photograms, darkroom techniques, foto rally adventures, pinhole and camera craft.

The Art Gallery of NSW have events related to their The Photograph and Australia exhibition. Drop in and make retro cardboard cameras for younger children and for teens an instagram competition. Art Express also runs until the 19 April.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Art Month Sydney | Youth and Families

Last night we attended the opening evening of Art Month Sydney 2015 at the National Art School. The family program is full of architecture, photography and art experiences for your young ones. It is also wonderful to branch out the family program for older children.

Art Month Sydney - March 2015
various venues

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Sydney Festival 2015 for families

The 2015 Sydney Festival opens next week and has again another wonderful year for families with young and/or older children. Masquerade will be on the top of most families list  and Tabac Rouge will be magnificent.
Ali McGregor's Jazzamatazz! will knock the kids socks off and The Luck Child looks like fun.

This year we will be catching The Kitchen - in 2010 we all went as a family for Roysten Abel's The Manganiyar Seduction and we were all wowed.

There are plenty of free options across the city to keep you busy over the school holidays as well.
The Vegetable Plot - Melodies and vegetables
Hotbed Designs - Blocks prints and fabric paint
Dear Hope Street - A modern day message in a bottle
Australian Museum in the Village - Discover Hyde Park as a scientist
City of Sydney Lawn Library - Books take a holiday outside
Cool down with the Waterfall Swing at Darling Harbour
More free options.

To explore the full family festival program visit: http://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/2015/family

Sydney Festival
8 - 26 Jan 2015

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Penguins of Madagascar

My youngest son (10) and his friends headed to the preview of the new Penguins of Madagascar film. We have seen all the Madagascar films and the Penguins have also been our favourite characters in the Dreamworks franchise.

The animation follows Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private as they to attempt to save the world from the villain, Dr Octavius Brine. Penguins of Madagascar is a fun ride with plenty of side jokes to keep the adults in the audience from drifting off.

A great school holiday filler.

Penguins of Madagascar 
Released News Year Day
(to check if this film is suitable for your child visit the IMDB parents guide)

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Australian Ballet | The Nutcracker

Last week my daughter (13) and I went along to our first ballet and we were delighted that is was a dress rehearsal for  The Australian Ballet's production of The NutcrackerThe dress rehearsal was a wonderful insight into the energy and commitment that it takes to pull off the perfection that flows on stage from opening night.

The Nutcracker is a beautiful Christmas story set on Christmas Eve where the audience joins Claire on her adventures in a world conjured up by the magician, Drosselmeyer.

The evening ended with French lemon and sugar crepes from the Sarazine food truck.


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Wizard of Oz 3D | IMAX Darling Harbour | Giveaway

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz -  IMAX Darling harbour will be presenting this family classic in 3D. We love revisiting classics on the big screen and this will be one that will be catching over the school holidays.

CLOSED Our friends at IMAX have given us two family passes (2 adults and 2 Children) to giveaway to their Dec 7th (10.30am) screening. For your chance email info@artsrocket.org before 3 Dec and tell us who is you fav Wizard of Oz character/s and why - ours are the lolly pop kids.  (winners will be notified by email - other details)

Friday, 21 November 2014

The Tiger Who Came to Tea | Sydney Opera House

The Tiger Who Came to Tea was my daughters favourite book growing up. We would read it over and over again - even though she is now 13 we have pulled her old copy out and it has been wonderful to revisit.

Sophie has an unexpected guest and tea-time mayhem ensues. The Tiger Who Came to Tea is based on Judith Kerr’s picture book and includes magic, sing-a-long songs. It is playing at the Sydney Opera House from December 10 to 28. On behalf of the Sydney Opera House, we have one family pass (2 adults, 2 children) to giveaway to the 10.30am performance on December 10. To enter, email info@artsrocket.org and let me know who you would like to invite to tea - the more imaginative the better! Competition closes Wed, December 3. Good Luck! CLOSED
(The winner will be notified by email)

Friday, 14 November 2014

Japanese Film Festival | families and youth

The 2014 Japanese Film Festival has arrived in Sydney. We love this festival and we have put together a list of films that are classified.  The live action version of Kiki's Delivery Service will most likely be on top of the list for families but for older children there are some wonderful films/documentaries to catch.

Kiki's Delivery Service (G)

For the full 2014 festival program visit http://japanesefilmfestival.net/

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Our school holidays

  • The Walking Neighbourhood at Art and About Sydney. 
  • The Witches at Griffin Theatre - the marvellous Guy Edmonds made this Roald Dahl adaption his own.
  • Stop Making Sense - My youngest son and I celebrated the 30th anniversary of Talking Heads Stop Making Sense at Golden Age Cinema
  • Paper Planes film preview - which inspired paper planes being made throughout the holidays. If you walk past our house you will spot the paper planes left scattered along our street (our review will be out closer to the films release).

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Sydney Children's Festival | BIG

Our friends over at BIG will be at the Sydney Children's Festival today..... say hi to them at the Lawn library from 12pm.  Join them in making a tiny inside/outside portrait or create a response on a side by side postcard.

Also on todays list of fun things to do at the festival includes Hula hooping, KAPOW!, Paper, Torch Torch! workshop, Disco - Au Go Go  ++

The festival runs until the 28 September at the Seymour Centre.

Monday, 22 September 2014

The Walking Neighbourhood | Art and About Sydney

The Walking Neighbourhood is a concept that premiered in Brisbane in 2012 and involved children leading tours in their own neighbourhood - giving people a rare insight into the world of kids living in inner city suburbs.


Today we took The Walking Neighbourhood tour in Kings Cross that is running within the Art and About program. We all met in the Departure Lounge in the Rex Centre and selected which tour we wanted to take.  The departure lounge is an interactive waiting station where you can view the gallery of found items from previous tours, draw on the large map of Kings Cross, learn more out the tour guides and share what you love about Kings Cross. We all decided that the Underground Mystery tour was the one for us. (There were many other tours to choose from) Our tour guides Finn and Nick (aged 11) were confident and proud of their neighbourhood as they lead us around their underground hangouts.

The Walking Neighbourhood moves to Redfern next week. To  book tickets (free) or to get more information visit: Art and About Sydney.

Thanks Finn and Nick for sharing your world.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Thomas - Tale of the Brave

My five year old son has been into Thomas the Tank Engine since he was about two years of age. As soon as he started school this year aged five, he has become influenced by the older kids at school and therefore is now completely obsessed with superheroes, and unfortunately all that comes along with them like the violence and weapons.  So, I was a bit afraid that he would not be interested in seeing 
Thomas And Friends: Tale Of The Brave, as he hadn't shown much interest in the series lately through watching his DVD's or playing with his train set.

The movie is along the lines of the previous films; Thomas and his friends learning important lessons. In Thomas And Friends: Tale Of The Brave, Thomas and Percy learn that bravery can be shown in many ways and that being supportive and encouraging of others is an important part of friendship. Thomas learns to deal with his fear of the unknown and also deals with negative peer pressure and how it affects himself and his friends. My son sat through the whole film and I could see that he really felt connected to the situations that Thomas was placed in, and as being of school age those situations arise with him daily. We later talked about the movie and how Thomas dealt with his problems, so it was refreshing to have a dialogue with my son that enabled him to open up about his emotions and their connection to Thomas's experience, rather than our usual conversations of generic superheroes challenging evil!

Thomas And Friends: Tale Of The Brave was enjoyable for both myself and my son. I'm glad I took him along to see the movie as it has reinvigorated his friendship with Thomas the Tank Engine. My son is back to watching his Thomas DVD's and has also begun playing with his train set again, so hopefully Thomas will stay with him a few more years before the superheroes take him over completely.

Review by Rose Miller

Thomas - Tale of the Brave is now screening nationally.

We are giving away three family passes  to a Hoyts Jnr screening of Tale of the Brave (2 adults and 2 children) - email info@artsrocket.org with your name and postal  address and tell us what your child loves about Thomas the Tank engine before the 7 August.  

Only winners will be notified. Terms and conditions.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Friday Finds | Arts Rocket

I found some time last night to put together a small selection of our Friday Finds.......

Here is my official list of Friday Finds for Friday 4 July 2014:
  • Expose your kids to cinema.... Last month I re-watched DO THE RIGHT THING with my eldest son (now 16) and as it celebrates it's 25th anniversary - the messages are still very clear.  It was wonderful to share this film with him for the first time. Search out films in your local dvd store that show them the world but are also age appropriate. 
  • Let your kids have their own space in your garden - let them dig it up and go crazy. If you don't have space for a garden - get a herb box
  • Lastly - have fun over the school holidays and enjoy your time together.

Kids in the Garden - Butterflies, birds and planting peas

We asked Sarah from Grow Eat Enjoy for some tips on how to get creative outside over the school holidays........

Ok, so we’re nearly through the first week of school holidays, the weather is great, hopefully your children are too and I’m sure we’re all having fun.  But there’s another whole week to go so here’s some garden ideas to keep up your sleeves in case you find yourself lying in bed at night wondering how you’re going to fill another day.

Make butterflies out of used milk bottles. This is a little tricky to cut but a good tracing exercise if your kids haven’t fully mastered scissors yet.  Cut out the shape of a butterfly from the sides of your milk bottle.  When you have 5 or more you can thread them with fishing line and hang them in your garden.  They look sweet, flutter in the breeze and may even signal to cabbage moths that these plants are taken thus saving you that annoying task of picking caterpillars off your brassicas.
Make birds out of used milk bottles.  This is like a magic trick and children of 8 or over love it.  You can paint them afterwards and string them up in a similar way to the butterflies.  Instructions here Persist, with practise these get easier and better.

Plant peas.  Big seeds for little fingers.  Even if they sit on the surface they’ll still often germinate so hard to go wrong.  And they grow quick, and taste sweet.  You can eat the tips or wait for the pods.  You can even grow chick peas at this time of year which are a pretty alternative.  Soak your store bought chick peas in water and watch them sprout.  Plant them out or keep them in damp cotton wool and watch the plant unfold before your eyes.

If nothing else just get them outside observing.  Dig a hole, climb a tree, pick your neighbours rosemary, smell it, taste it, stick it in a jar of water and pretty soon it will sprout roots and you’ll have a rosemary of your own.

Monday, 30 June 2014

LEO | Sydney Opera House

The stage consisted of a large screen and an empty room - the lights darkened causing tiny apprehensive whispers to circulate around the room. When the lights went up we are introduced to a man and his suitcase - how did he get there and most importantly - why was he there?

LEO is a beautiful performance incorporating physical theatre, video projection, dance, music and a piece of chalk. French acrobat William Bonnet glides around the room with his movements projected onto the big screen pulling us into alternate worlds. Bonnet's strength is spectacular but not surprising with his extensive background in aerial acrobatics.

The young audience were in fits of laughter as they jumped from screen to room in delight of this gravity defying adventure.  A small segment consisting of a repetitious dance routine may have little ones restless but will be enjoyable for older children and parents.

How does this lone man eventually leave the room?
Well......we will leave that up to you to find out.

Recommended for school holidays.

until 13 July
Sydney Opera House
for ages 8 and over