A scene from "Belly Flop"
“Belly Flop,” a breezy animated short from South Africa, is one of the 13 kids’ films featured in a showcase screening Saturday at Memorial Auditorium. | Courtesy

Kids (and, for that matter, parents) who don’t have the patience to sit through the latest Disney live-action reboot will have the chance on Saturday to enjoy a collection of short animated films from around the world. “Through the Rainbow,” presented by the Louisville Children’s Film Festival, includes 13 short films from seven countries, including one created by a 14-year-old animator.

The special showcase event will have two screenings Saturday, June 8, at Memorial Auditorium in Old Louisville.

Many of the short subjects — they tend to run about four minutes in length — have a light, playful tone, said Dr. Martha Nichols-Pecceu, chair and founder of the film festival. But other selections address themes and issues that give young viewers something to think about.

“A lot of these stories are about children facing their fears, or facing a challenge and coming out with some imaginative, creative way to triumph or prevail,” she said.

Among Nichols-Pecceu’s favorites is “Belly Flop,” a cute computer-animated short from South Africa about a young girl’s hit-and-miss adventures at the local pool.

“I like them all, but I love ‘Belly Flop’ because I think it’s about that first summertime experience when you jump into the pool and remember that you can’t dive,” she said. “A lot of kids will have empathy for this character.”

A scene from "Little Red Ridding Hood"
“Little Red Ridding Hood” imagines a newer, badder future for the wolf. | Courtesy

A more thoughtful tone is set in “Albert and Aidan Sykes,” an animated storyboard of a recorded conversation between 9-year-old Aidan Sykes and his dad about growing up as an African-American in Mississippi.

“It’s really touching,” said Nichols-Pecceu. “It is a conversation between a son and father; it has to do with the dreams the father has for his son. There is a serious side to it that is very touching, but there is also a lot of joy and love.”

Other shorts in the showcase include “Robbie’s Fears,” created by 14-year-old Enrique Delzer, and “Little Red Ridding Hood,” a comedic Czech short that Nichols-Pecceu described as “very striking.”

The collection of shorts screening Saturday was curated for this year’s edition of the prestigious Children’s Film Festival Seattle, and this weekend’s program will among the first time it has screened elsewhere, Nichols-Pecceu added.

(You can see the full lineup at the Louisville festival’s website.)

Nichols-Pecceu built ties to the Seattle festival and other organizations as she worked to launch the Louisville event two years ago. Its initial success was followed up by this February’s second edition, with screening and events at venues across the Metro area, including the Ogle Center at Indiana University Southeast.

Saturday’s showcase is an extension of the festival and is part of the Fund for the Arts Cultural Pass summer program. Admission to the event is free for Cultural Pass members, and $5 for the general public.

“We thought this would be a good way to keep the momentum going through the year, so that people don’t forget about us,” Nichols-Pecceu said. “It’s a great opportunity for us.”

A scene from “Robbie’s Fears”
“Robbie’s Fears,” the story of a how a young person deals with the fears that keep him up at night, was created by 14-year-old animator Enrique Delzer. | Courtesy

The film festival also is excited to be screening kids’ films at Memorial Auditorium, which recently installed a digital projection system, she added.

“We thought it would be a fun venue to try, because, you know, it’s downtown, it’s historic, it’s a fun building to discover, and it’s also international,” she said, noting that Memorial hosts a collection of historical flags. “That kind of fits with our theme of showing films from around the world — traveling through this collection of films.

“It’s just a magical place to see a movie, because you are sitting in these red velvet seat, kinda like your own airplane, and you’re all facing the same direction, and the lights are going to go down, and you are going to be transported to another place,” she continued.

There’s also free popcorn and pre-show crafts.

Tickets for “Through the Rainbow” can be purchased or reserved at the Memorial Auditorium website. Showtimes are 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The event is suggested for kids aged 3-12, but adults will get a kick out of many of the shorts. Memorial Auditorium is located at 970 S. Fourth St.

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Ken Hardin is a business consultant and freelance writer based in Louisville.