Smart Kids 2018

All Smart Kids screenings are FREE and open to All.

Est. 2016, SMART KIDS is a free, family-friendly summer film series at the Art Theater. Smart Kids 2018 plays weekends in July & early August. As in previous years, the films in the program were carefully selected from the International children’s classics canon as well as the best of last year’s releases in the animation genre. The series starts with Hayao Miyazaki’s 1989 beautiful and beloved film Kiki’s Delivery Service (Japan) — a timeless story about a young witch who goes to the big city and makes a life for herself. The following weekend is Next Door Spy (Denmark), which premiered just last year and tells the story of ten-year-old Agathe-Chrisine who runs a small detective bureau from the basement of her building. Lila’s Book (Colombia-Uruguay) — another 2017 release — follows a children’s book character whose adventures begin when she falls out of the pages of her paper world. We also have a 2006 live-action film — the celebrated Akeelah and the Bee (U.S.), about a girl from Southern Los Angeles who aspires to reach the National Spelling Bee Competition. And last but not least, we bring Kid Flicks Two (Various Countries) — a selection of some of the best short films from around the world, curated by programmers at the 2018 New York International Children’s Film Festival.

Suggested age for the different films varies but full content disclosure is available online. We suggest using Commonsense Media.

Short films from CU Film Society’s lauded Pens to Lens program will play before all films. See below.

This program would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors.*

Kiki’s Delivery Service

July 7 & 8 at 11:30am

Japan | Hayao Miyazaki | 102 min.

Recommended ages: 5+ | in English, dubbed

From the legendary Hayao Miyazaki comes the beloved story of a resourceful young witch who uses her broom to create a delivery service, only to lose her gift of flight in a moment of self-doubt… READ MORE.

Pens to Lens pre-movie short: THE DOUBLE MACHINE (Written by D.J. Wang, Directed by Andrew Gleason & Chris Lukeman)

Next Door Spy

July 14 & 15 at 11:30am

Denmark | Karla von Bengtson | 77 min.

Recommended ages: 7+ | in Danish, with English subtitles

Girl detective—check! Skater boy—check! You think you’ve got the stock characters down, but snoop around with the witty and wise Next Door Spy and you’ll find that things aren’t quite what they seem… READ MORE.

Pens to Lens pre-movie short: SUPER AMAZING MAN VS. DR. EVIL (Written by Ella Kirwan, Directed by Anne Lukeman)

Lila’s Book

July 21 & 22 at 11:30am

Colombia-Uruguay | Marcela Rincón | 76 min.

Recommended ages: 8+ | in Spanish, with English subtitles

Lila is a character in a children’s book. One day she suddenly falls out of her paper world and into the “real” world… READ MORE.

Pens to Lens pre-movie short: FLOWERBOY (Written by Elise Colgrove, Directed by Dan Drake)

Akeelah and the Bee

July 28 & 29 at 11:30am

U.S. | Doug Atchison | 112 min.

Recommended ages: 8+ | in English

A heart-warming drama, Akeelah and the Bee is the story of Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer), a precocious eleven-year-old girl from south Los Angeles with a gift for words… READ MORE.

Pens to Lens pre-movie short: THE 9TH ANNUAL COMMUNITY OPPOSITE DAY (Written by Aidan Henry, Directed by Charlie Kessler)

NYICFF: Kid Flicks Two

August 4 & 5 at 11:30am

Various Countries | Various Directors | 79 min.

Recommended ages: 8+ | in English & with English subtitles (Cat Days & Hello Salaam) or no dialogue

With a compelling range of styles and themes, Kid Flicks Two offers clever, thought-provoking films sure to inspire audiences ages 8+ to expand their horizons… READ MORE.

Pens to Lens pre-movie short: THE PERFECT FRIEND (Written by Rosalie Anderson, Directed by Emily Polk)

*Special Thanks to:


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Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District


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Illinois American Water
The European Union Center at the University of Illinois


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Dixon Graphics
Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) Solidarity Committee
Kessler Optical
Minuteman Press
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery


CU Pediatric Dentists
Arcadia, A Lumen Café
The Robeson Family Benefit Fund

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