Generation Parkway, a weekly film series for kids, will kick off at this year's Maryland Film Festival with a Saturday morning screening of "The Land Before Time."
With the vast majority of the Niarchos Foundation Parkway's programming aimed at adult audiences, the festival's staff has been exploring ways to attract a younger crowd. At the same time, they want to stay true to the theater's mission of focusing on movies and experiences audiences would be unlikely to find elsewhere in Baltimore.
"The idea of getting more general audience programming has been floating around for a while," said Keisha Nicole Knight, the festival's programming administrator. The emphasis, she said, will be on finding movies "that families can come to, and that can be interesting to cinephiles."
"The Land Before Time," directed by Don Bluth and executive-produced by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, was released in 1988. The animated fantasy tells the story of a group of young dinosaurs looking to reunite with their families.
The movie will be shown in a 35mm print, rather than the digital projection used for most movies today. Knight said she looks forward to introducing a young audience to the older technology, referring to it as a way of "educating their eyes."
She also said the film has a stellar reputation among animation aficionados. While talking to a friend who does animation, she said, he began extolling the film's virtues. "And then all of his animator friends got around us and started singing its praises. I thought, 'This would be a great film to start off with.' "
"The Land Before Time" is scheduled for 10 a.m. May 5 at the Parkway, 5 W. North Ave. Tickets are $13. Other movies planned for Generation Parkway, which will move to 1:30 p.m. Saturdays beginning May 12, include:
"The Secret of NIMH" (May 12), "Daphne & Velma" (a free preview screening May 19, before being released on video May 22), the French "Mune Guardian of the Moon" (May 26), a selection of shorts from the New York International Children's Film Festival (June 2), a 35mm print of "The NeverEnding Story" (June 9), the Chinese "Big Fish & Begonia" (June 16), Disney's animated "Beauty & the Beast" (June 23) and the French "Zarafa" (June 30).