In 1827, a young giraffe named Zarafa was shipped from the Sudan to Paris, where her arrival caused an immediate sensation.
That true history forms the basis of Zarafa, an animated French film that combines Zarafa’s story with that of Maki, a 10-year-old escaped slave. Beginning in Africa, where Maki befriends the young giraffe, the film chronicles an epic journey, and a powerful bond, that stretches across the Sahara to Egypt and Marseilles and on to the blue-gray streets of post-Napoleonic Paris.
This weekend, the Center for the Humanities and the Film and Media Studies Program, both in Arts & Sciences, will screen Zarafa as part of WUSTL’s Ninth Annual Children’s Film Showcase.
Presented in conjunction with Cinema St. Louis and the 21st Annual St. Louis International Film Festival, the showcase will feature 10 screenings, as well as lectures and Q&A sessions with visiting filmmakers, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 9, 10 and 11.
All events are free and open to the public and take place in Brown Hall Auditorium. For more information, call (314) 935-5576 or visit cenhum.artsci.wustl.edu.
Schedule of Events
Friday, Nov. 9
6 p.m.: Disney’s A Poem Is …
Q&A with producer (and St. Louis native) Brian Hohlfeld.
This short-form animated series — each episode lasts only a few minutes — is designed to cultivate fond memories of Disney classics and to introduce younger viewers to the beauty of a poem. Ages 5-8.
7 p.m.: Tigger, Transformers and Tropes: Telling Stories in TV Animation
Screenwriters Nichole Dubuc and Brian Hohlfeld — who have more than 300 animated episodes to their combined credit — host this discussion of how shows are created and explore the ways animated storytelling continues the tradition of mythic narrative. All ages.
Saturday, Nov. 10
Noon: Family Shorts Program
A selection of more than a dozen animated shorts from around the world. All ages.
2 p.m.: Le Tableau (2012)
Directed by Jean-Francois Laguionie
Halfie Claire runs away into the forest, her beloved Ramo and best friend Lola journey after her, where they tumble through the canvas and into the Painter’s studio. In French with English subtitles. Ages 8 and older.
4 p.m.: Will (2011)
Directed by Ellen Perry
Eleven-year-old Will Brennan is soccer team Liverpool FC’s biggest fan. Life is turned upside -down when his long-absent father, Gareth, dies suddenly. The boy runs away to Turkey to honor his father’s memory, and finally accomplish his dream. Ages 10 and older.
7 p.m.: Liars, Fires and Bears (2012)
Q&A with director Jeremy Cloe
Eve and Dave have a plan to reunite with Eve’s brother; the two embark on an unlikely cross-country road trip. With a precocious kid behind the wheel and an immature man-child navigating, Eve and Dave discover that the quickest route to their destination is through each other. Ages 10 and 0lder.
Sunday, Nov. 11
Noon: Zarafa (2012)
Directed by Rémi Bezançon
Ten-year-old Maki does everything in his power to thwart the Prince of the Desert and return Zarafa, an orphaned giraffe, to its native land. In French with English subtitles. Ages 8 and older.
2 p.m.: Tales of the Night (2011)
Directed by Michel Ocelot
The film weaves together six exotic fables that each unfold in a unique locale, including Tibet, medieval Europe, an Aztec kingdom, the African plains, and even the Land of the Dead. In French with English subtitles. Ages 8 and older.
4 p.m.: Winter’s Daughter (2011)
Directed by Johannes Schmid
Kattaka lives in Berlin with her pregnant mother and the man she thinks is her father. When she discovers her true biological father is a Russian merchant sailor, she sets off in an old van on a trip along the Polish coast to find her “real” father. In German, Polish and Russian with English subtitles. Ages 10 and older.
7 p.m.: Camilla Dickinson (2012)
Q&A with director Cornelia Duryée Moore
This adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time centers on 15-year-old Camilla Dickinson. Seeking to escape her parents’ difficult relationship, Camilla forms an unlikely friendship with Frank, who introduces the sheltered teenager to a colorful and mysterious new world. Ages 12 and older.