Live Out Your Golden Ticket Fantasy, and Other Cinematic Adventures

Providence Children's Film Festival's Reel Connections turn an afternoon at the movies into an engaging (and educational!) activity.

Get thee to the movies, parents and children.

The Providence Children’s Film Festival, from February 17 to the 26th, brings kid-friendly, independent shorts, documentaries and feature films to the region every February vacation week. It’s a nice alternative to the franchise-dominated multiplex and, my favorite part, it creates a space for dialogue between kids, parents, local experts and filmmakers.

PCFF’s Reel Connections aren’t stuffy lectures. The interactive segments, which occur either before or after specific films, encourage viewers to dive deeper into a film’s subject. Even the wiggliest of wiggle worms can get onboard with a raptor meet-and-greet, a frog demonstration, an African dance performance or a Willy Wonka-themed golden ticket contest.

Here are five PCFF Reel Connections you shouldn’t miss:

Saturday, February 18, Gilder Center for the Arts, The Wheeler School, 216 Hope St., Providence

Follows the 1 p.m. screening of Kayayo (free)

The Providence Presbyterian Ghana Choir performs Ghanaian songs, talks about life in Ghana and shows kids how to hold carrying baskets on their head like the kayayo in the film.

Sunday, February 19, Gilder Center for the Arts, The Wheeler School, 216 Hope St., Providence

Follows the 1:45 p.m. screening of Mr. Frog ($8 children and seniors, $10 adults)

Angel Bazinet from Biomes Marine Biology Center in North Kingstown will talk about where to find frogs in New England and how to help protect them. She’ll also answer questions from the audience.

Sunday, February 19, Gilder Center for the Arts, The Wheeler School, 216 Hope St., Providence

Precedes the 3:45 p.m. screening of Brothers of the Wind ($8 children and seniors, $10 adults)

Before the film, meet a raptor in the lobby, and at 3:45 learn about the birds and find out how Born To Be Wild Nature Center rehabilitates and/or cares for Rhode Island’s injured and rescued raptors.

Friday, February 24, AS220 Main Stage, 115 Empire St., Providence

Follows the 6:30 p.m. screening of Sonita ($8 children and seniors, $10 adults)

KALI MA HipHop is Providence’s female dynamic duo: Maxx Millanova and Konscious Keke, accompanied by Deejay Kellan. They use powerful lyrics and playful vibes to light up the stage.

Sunday, February 26, RISD Auditorium, 7 Canal Walk, Providence

Coincides with the 3:45 p.m. screening of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory ($8 children and seniors, $10 adults)

In the spirit of Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket Contest, PCFF has partnered with local candymaker, Glee Gum. The first 100 children attending the screening of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on Sunday, February 26, will recieve a free Glee Gum candy sample. Five samples will have golden tickets redeemable for a special prize.

For a full lineup of films, visit providencechildrensfilmfestival.org.