The official jury for the New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF) has been unveiled, with “Passages” director Ira Sachs, “Broad City” co-creator Ilana Glazer, “Into the Spider-Verse” producer Peter Ramsey, and actress Uma Thurman among the A-listers presiding over the 2024 festival.

IndieWire exclusively reveals the full jury lineup, as well as the jurors’ personal favorite films from growing up. The 2024 installment of NYICFF boasts Cannes-premiered animated film “Chicken for Linda!” and buzzy Neon release “Robot Dreams” among its program, as well as anime film “The Concierge” and sequel “Dounia – The Great White North.” The Oscar-qualifying festival will take place March 2 through 17. See the full lineup here.

The full jury committee includes Ilana Glazer, Uma Thurman, Sony Pictures Animation head of story Guillermo Martinez, Matthew Modine, “Doc McStuffins” creator Chris Nee, “Migration” director Benjamin Renner, filmmaker Ira Sachs, Phillipa Soo, head of artistic recruiting at Titmouse Animation Ellen Su, “The Spider Within” director Jarelle Dampier, and Peter Ramsey.

The Jury decides the Jury Prize for Animated Short and Live Action Short, which will be announced on March 21. The Jury Prize makes the selected film eligible to compete for the Oscars in best Animated Short Film and Best Live Action Short Film.

Below, see the NYICFF jury’s selected favorite kids’ films of all time.

Ira Sachs
The films that were most formative for me as a child were not films specifically geared to kids, but instead movies like Douglas Sirk’s “Imitation of Life” (seen at age 11), Sidney Lumet’s “Dog Day Afternoon” (age 10), and Bob Fosse’s “All that Jazz” (age 12). I’m very grateful for the old movies shown when I was young on late-night TV, and also for my father, who like many divorced men of the 1970s, took his kids on the days he had them to whatever was playing at the neighborhood cinema, ratings be damned.

Ilana Glazer
“Mrs. Doubtfire” was my favorite movie as a kid (and adult, tbh) because the balance between comedy & tragedy was so accessible. Robin Williams was such an extreme example of both, and even as a kid I could so feel this parent’s desire to just be around his children. This story is funny, beautiful, and led with the female spirit; I just love it.

Guillermo Martinez

My pick would be Tim Burton’s “Batman.” I was 8 years old when I watched it and I thought it was the greatest thing I had ever witnessed. From the visual to Danny Elfmam’s incredible score, it continues to have an impact on me to this day.

Matthew Modine
For me, it was the innocence and seemingly simplistic beauty of “Bambi.” A film that presented a bucolic world of natural beauty where animals peacefully commingle, flirt, play, laugh, and fall in love. 

Of course, the animal characters in the film are anthropomorphized and live in a world where there are no “natural” dangers. Instead, danger comes in the shape of humans. How horrifying it was to have only just met Bambi and his sweet and loving mother, that she is shot and murdered by some unseen human. I wonder, with the prevalence of school shootings, if this young generation Alpha would be traumatized by the death of Bambi’s mother? Have young people become inured to shootings and death? 

The film carries a strong environmental message that everyone can easily understand. A beautifully animated film that presents the forest and all it’s denizens living in blissful harmony — only to be ravaged by humans, first with their guns and later when they carelessly cause a fire that burns the animals home to the ground. I can’t think of another film that has had more impact or influence on my vision of nature and the beauty of love and friendship.

Jarelle Dampier

My most formative childhood movie was “Kill Bill.” I was about 12 when I saw it for the first time. I remember watching the scene highlighting O-ren Ishii’s painful past — It was the most incredible thing I’d ever seen. That scene made me realize the power of animation.

Ellen Su

I’d say “Kiki’s Delivery Service” comes to mind. I really appreciated seeing a film about an adolescent girl setting out on her own for the first time and learning valuable life lessons. Especially now as an adult where so many of us face burn out, “Kiki’s Delivery Service” has a powerful message about taking care of yourself and being okay with failures.

Phillipa Soo

When I think back to the art that shaped me as a young person, “Mary Poppins” stands out. First of all, Julie Andrews is a huge inspiration. And the film — a female lead, a world sparked by the imagination, filled with music and song — I was so drawn to it.  Looking back, I realize this film was remarkable. “Mary Poppins” portrayed children as capable and essential to understanding joy. That as adults, children — even our own inner child — can teach us so much about ourselves.

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