Children’s Cinema Day

Join us on Saturday 15 April as we create the world’s largest virtual cinema, where your living room or bedroom becomes part of Leeds Young Film Festival.

On Saturday 15 April we want you to watch a film wherever you want, however you want – it can be at home on your TV, in the car on a tablet or even with friends on a laptop. You could even come and see a film in the festival! All we ask is that you watch a film that you have never seen before and either send us a photo of yourself watching the film or write a really short review and send it to us.

If you need some inspiration as to what to watch we have created a list of the Top 10 Films we recommend young people should see before they are 12, as well as some suggestions of family films you can find on Netflix, Amazon Prime and BFI Player.

Leeds Young Film Festival Top Ten

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Dir. Steven Spielberg, USA, Cert U
The beloved sci-fi drama from Steven Spielberg about a young boy and the abandoned alien he befriends
My Neighbour Totoro (1988)
Dir. Hayao Mayazaki Japan, Cert U
Two young sisters discover that the forest next to their new home is inhabited by magical creatures who take them on adventures
Toy Story (1995)
Dir. John Lasseter, USA, Cert U
The first full CGI animated film from Pixar is a funny, moving and action packed story about friendship, jealousy and belonging
The Iron Giant (1999)
Dir. Brad Bird, USA, Cert PG
A young boy befriends a giant robot from outer space that a paranoid government agent wants to destroy
Bend it Like Beckham (2002)
Dir. Gurinder Chadha, UK / Germany / USA, Cert 12
A humerous culture clash where an Indian family in London tries to raise their soccer-playing daughter in a traditional way
Whale Rider (2002)
Dir. Niki Caro, New Zealand / Germany, Cert PG
Remarkable coming-of-age story about an iconoclastic young girl in a Maori community who wishes to be the next chief of her tribe
Azur & Asmar: The Princes’ Quest (2006)
Dir. Michel Ocelot, France / Belgium / Spain / Italy, Cert U
A visual masterpiece from award-winning animator Michel Ocelot that combines cut-outs with CGI to create a magical fantasy world
Paddington (2014)
Dir. Paul King, UK, Cert PG
A great modern live-action children’s films based on the beloved books about a young talking bear and the family that adopt him
He Named Me Malala (2015)
Dir. Davis Guggenheim, United Arab Emirates / USA, Cert PG
An intimate portrait of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, a 15 year-old girl targeted by the Taliban for going to school
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
Dir. Taika Waititi, New Zealand, Cert 12
Juvenile delinquent Ricky Baker and his grizzled foster uncle go on the run from the authorities in this New Zealand comedy


To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Dir. Robert Mulligan, USA, Cert PG
Award-winning film about a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defending a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Dir. George Roy Hill, USA, Cert PG
Timeless classic western about two bank/train robbers fleeing from the law in the Wild West
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Dir. Mel Brooks, USA, Cert PG
Probably the funniest spoof movie ever made
Return of the Pink Panther (1975)
Dir. Blake Edwards, UK, Cert PG
Bumbling Inspector Clouseau is a comedy icon of British film
Annie (1982)
Dir. John Huston, USA, Cert U
Auteur John Huston turns his hand to adapting this famous musical for the big screen
Ferris Beuller’s Day Off (1986)
Dir. John Hughes, USA, Cert 12
The ultimate slacker movie about a cool kid cutting class
Labyrinth (1986)
Dir. Jim Henson, USA/UK, Cert U
Cult fantasy adventure from Jim Henson of the Muppets
Drop Dead Fred (1992)
Dir. Ate de Jong, USA, Cert 12
Anarchic comedy starring Rik Mayall as an invisible childhood friend who reappears to cause chaos
Clueless (1995)
Dir. Amy Heckerling, USA, Cert 12
Wonderful updating of Jane Austin’s Emma to modern day sunny Calafornia
Hackers (1995)
Dir. Iain Softley, USA, Cert 12
A group of young cyber hackers get more than they bargained for. One of Angelina Jolie’s first films
Shaolin Soccer (2001)
Dir. Stephen Chow, Hong Kong/ China, Cert 12
football fans and martial arts fans won’t be disaapointed in this fast paced comedy about a group of monks who take up football
Big Fish (2003)
Dir. Tim Burton, USA, Cert PG
Tim Burton delivers a modern fantasy about a man trying to repair the relationship with his aging father through his tall stories
Wallace and Gromit in Curse of the Were Rabbit (2005)
Dir. Steve Box, Nick Park, UK, Cert U
Aardmann’s first feature film starring Wallace and Gromit is a masterclass in stop-motion animation
Akeelah and the Bee (2006)
Dir. Doug Actchison, USA, Cert 12
A young black girl in South LA dreams of making it to the national Spelling Bee final
Charlotte’s Web (2006)
Dir. Gary Winick, USA, Germany, Australia, Cert U
Another adaptation that is done incredibly well using CGI. Great voice actors including Julia Roberts, Kathy Bates, John Cleese, Robert Redford
Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008)
Dir. Gurinder Chadha, UK, Cert 12
Great adaptation of the teen coming-of-age stories about the embarrassment of teenhood
The House of Small Cubes (short) (2008)
Dir. Kunio Kato, Japan, N/A
Winner of Academy Award for best animated short film
Fantastic Mr. Fox ( 2009)
Dir. Wes Anderson, USA, Cert PG
Wes Anderson does stop-motion, voices by George Clooney, Merly Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray
How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Dir. Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders, UK, Cert PG
Great big screen adaptation of beloved children’s books that deals with several issues in a mature way
Project Nim (2011)
Dir. James Marsh, UK, Cert 12
Documentary about a chimpanzee that scientists raised as human and taught sign language from Oscar winning director James Marsh
#chicagogirl The Social Network Takes on a Dictator (2014)
Dir. Joe Piscatella, USA/ Syria, N/A
Fascinating documentary about a young Chicago teenager who helped coordinate the Syrian revolution through social media
I Am Big Bird (2014)
Dir. Dave LaMattina, Chad N. Walker, USA, Cert 12
Documentary about the man who has played Big Bird for his whole life
Moomins on the Riviera (2014)
Dir. Xavier Picard, Hanna Hemilå, Finland/France, Cert U
Adapted from Tove Janssen’s legendary comic books, the second Moomins Movie was a smash hit at LYFF 2015
X + Y (2014)
Dir. Morgan Matthews, UK, Cert 12
Asa Butterfield gives an exceptional performance as a socially awkward boy who is a mathematical genius
Eddie the Eagle (2016)
Dir. Dexter Fletcher, UK, Cert PG
Dexter Fletcher directs this feelgood underdog story about England’s unlikely ski-jump hero in the 1988 Olympics

Amazon Prime

Whale Rider (2002)
Dir. Niki Caro, New Zealand / Germany, Cert PG
Remarkable coming-of-age story about an iconoclastic young girl in a Maori community
Persepolis (2007)
Dirs. Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi, France / USA, Cert 12
Autobiographical story about a rebellious young girl growing up in Iran
Son of Rambow (2007)
Dir. Garth Jennings, UK, Cert 12
Very British comedy / drama about a young boy who decides to make the unofficial sequel to Rambo to become popular
Astro Boy (2009)
Dir. David Bowers, Hong Kong / USA / Japan, Cert PG
Modern adaptation of classic 1960’s Japanese manga story
The Age of Stupid (2009)
Dir. Franny Armstrong, UK, Cert 12
Fascinating documentary told through the eyes of a future historian from 2059 after global warming has destroyed the planet
The Gruffalo (2009)
Dirs. Max Lang, Jakob Schuh, UK, Cert U
Excellent adaption by Magic Light Studios, also in LYFF 2017
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-sec (2010)
Dir. Luc Besson, France / USA, Cert 12
Wonderful action adventure film from Luc Besson similar to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hanna (2011)
Dir. Joe Wright, USA / UK / Germany, Cert 12
Fast-paced action crime thriller about a teenage girl with extraordinary powers on the run from the people who created her
The Gruffalo’s Child (2011)
Dirs. Uwe Heidschötter, Johannes Weiland, UK, Cert U
Excellent adaption by Magic Light Studios, also in LYFF 2017
Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
Dir. Benh Zeitlin, USA, Cert 12
A six-year-old girl escapes the flooding bayou of her home in the deep South and goes in search of her mother
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Dir. Wes Anderson, USA, Cert 12
Wes Anderson’s offbeat comedy about two young who flee their New England town, resulting in a town-wide search party
Room on the Broom (2012)
Dir. Jan Lachauer, Max Lang, UK, Cert U
Excellent adaption by Magic Light Studios, also in LYFF 2017
The Imitation Game (2012)
Dir. Morten Tyldum, UK / USA, Cert 12
Benedict Cumberbatch plays cryptoanalyst Alan Turing who broke the enigma code turning the tide of World War II
The Lorax (2012)
Dirs. Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda, USA, Cert U
A very good adaption of the beloved Dr Seuss story
Ender’s Game (2013)
Dir. Gavin Hood, USA, Cert 12
Asa Butterfield plays a computer games genius recruited to fight against an alien invasion in this great book adaptation
A Story of Children and Film (2014)
Dir. Mark Cousins, UK, Cert PG
Mark Cousin’ s engrossing documentary about the history of children’s role in film across the world
Godzilla (2014)
Dir. Gareth Edwards, USA, Cert 12
Modern update of the cult Japanese monster movie about a huge dinosaur
Paddington (2014)
Dir. Paul King, UK, Cert PG
One of the best modern live-action children’s films based on the beloved books
The LEGO Movie (2014)
Dirs. Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, USA / Denmark, Cert U
The first full length LEGO movie is smart, funny and appealing to both children and adults
Shaun the Sheep The Movie (2015)
Dirs. Mark Burton, Richard Starzak, UK / France, Cert U
Aardman’s beloved mischievious Shaun gets his first full length feature film
Song of the Sea (2015)
Dir. Tomm Moore, UK / Ireland, Cert PG
Beautiful Oscar nominated animation about the Irish myth of the Selkie
April and the Extraordinary World (2016)
Dirs. Christian Desmares, Franck Ekinci, France / Belgium / Canada, Cert PG
Screened in LYFF 2016, an excellent animation about an alternative steampunk world
Heidi (2016)
Dir. Alain Gsponer, Germany, Cert U
Screened in LYFF 2016, a great new adaptation of the timeless story
The Idol (2016)
Dir. Hany Abu-Assad, Egypt, Cert PG
Biopic about the Palestian boy who won ‘Arab Idol’ in 2013 and is now a goodwill ambassador for the UN
The Shamer’s Daughter (2016)
Dir. Kenneth Kains, Denmark / Norway / Czech Republic / Iceland, Cert 12
Fantasy drama about a girl born with the powers to look into people’s souls and make them feel ashamed of themselves

BFI Player – Free 30 Day Trial

A Trip to the Moon (1902)
Dir. Georges Mélies, France, Cert U
Georges Mélies short is one of the earliest examples of sci-fi and special effects
Frankenstein (1931)
Dir. James Whale, USA, Cert PG
The most famous adaptation of Mary Shelley’s seminal novel about a scientist and his creation
Emil and the Detectives (1935)
Dir. Milton Rosmer, UK, Cert U
The British adaptation of the much-loved German children’s book is an evocative adventure on the streets of pre-war London
Hue and Cry (1947)
Dir. Charles Crichton, UK, Cert U
The first of the great Ealing comedies stars a group of street kids who go up against a criminal gang on the street of London
The Bicycle Thieves (1948)
Dir. Vittorio de Sica, Italy, Cert U
One of the greatest films of all time, this neo-realist Italian film follows the troubles of a man and his young son in post-war Italy
The Magnet (1950)
Dir. Charles Frend, UK, Cert U
A man cons a young boy out of his magnet only to be troubled by his conscience in this Ealing comedy
Dracula (1958)
Dir. Terence Fisher, UK, Cert 12
Hammer Studio’s Dracula is arguably the most famous version with Christopher Lee embodying the bloodsucking count
Boy and Bicycle (short) (1965)
Dir. Ridley Scott, UK, Cert PG
Ridley Scott’s first film about a boy who plays truant meandering around Hartlepool
The Boy Who Turned Yellow (1972)
Dir. Michael Powell, UK, Cert PG
The final collaboration of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger
Class of ’74 (1974)
Dir. Barry Cockcroft, UK
It’s the last year of school for three 16 year old girls in Sowerby Bridge and they’ve some important decisions to make
Tarka the Otter (1976)
Dir. David Cobham, UK, Cert PG
Based on the book by Henry Williamson, the film earned a place on the Channel 4’s list of 100 Greatest Family Films
Gregory’s Girl (1980)
Dir. Bill Forsyth, UK, Cert 12
A very British coming-of-age story about a gangly young boy and his crush on the most popular girl in school
E.T. The Extra-terrestrial (1982)
Dir. Steven Spielberg, USA, Cert U
The beloved sci-fi drama from Steven Spielberg about a young boy and the abandoned alien he befriends
Back to the Future (1985)
Dir. Robert Zemekis, USA, Cert PG
The action packed comedy classic about a time-travelling teen who has to go back in time to save his own past
Flight of the Navigator (1986)
Dir. Randal Kleiser, USA, Cert U
1980s family sci-fi at its best: 12-year-old David disappears for 8 years and awakens with his brain filled with intergalactic star charts
Nanny McPhee (2005)
Dir. Kirk Jones, UK, Cert U
Emma Thompson stars as the governess employed to tame a widower’s seven unruly children in this family favourite
The Woman in Black (2011)
Dir. James Watkins, USA, Cert 12
Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) stars as a young lawyer in this terrific adaptation of Susan Hill’s gothic novel
Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
Dir. Benh Zeitlin, USA, Cert 12
A six-year-old girl escapes the flooding bayou of her home in the deep South and goes in search of her mother
Difret (2013)
Dir. Zeresany Berhane Mehari, Ethiopia, Cert 12
A 14 year-old girl who was kidnapped by an armed gang, faces the death penalty for killing the man who raped her
Like Father, Like Son (2013)
Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan, Cert PG
Two boys switched at birth have to adjust to their natural parents
The Golden Dream (2013)
Dir. Diego Quemada Diaz, Guatamala, Cert 12
Three Guatelemalan teenagers undertake the perilous journey to the US in search of a better life. Mark Kermode recommended
The Rocket (2013)
Dir. Kim Mordaunt, Australia / Laos, Cert 12
A boy tries to restore the fortunes of his nomadic family by building a giant rocket
The Fits (2015)
Dir. Anna Rose Holmer, USA, Cert 12
An eleven year old African American tomboy takes control when a series of seizures starts affecting people at her gym
Sing Street (2016)
Dir. John Carney, Ireland, Cert 12
Set in 1980s Dublin, young Conor struggles to fit in to a new school until he starts a band to impress the cool Raphina
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
Dir. Taika Waititi, New Zealand, Cert 12
Juvenile delinquent Ricky Baker and his grizzled foster uncle go on the run from the authorities in this New Zealand comedy