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Tumbleweeds Film Festival for Kids coming up March 6!

Posted By Salt Lake County ZAP
February 28, 2020

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Ethan Morris, Utah Film Center

Media literacy begins at the young age of 4-years-old and is becoming an increasingly important lifelong skill. In response to this, Tumbleweeds Film Festival for Kids, the Mountain West’s longest-running international film festival for families, was founded by Utah Film Center Executive Director Patrick Hubley in 2011. It offers access to curated media that teaches empathy, critical thinking, and shows diverse perspectives. 

Patrick believes that, “This year's slate of films will take audiences on a thought-provoking, imaginative, and empowering journey around the world. International films make up the majority of the program and we are thrilled to explore and discuss the universal themes alongside our young viewers.”

This year, Utah Film Center has expanded Tumbleweeds to two weekends, March 6-8 & 13-15, with public screenings and festival field trips March 9-12. All public events including free film screenings and clubhouse activities will be held at the Salt Lake City Public Library.

In addition to culturally-enriching curated films, audiences can participate in media arts workshops and explore a variety of free clubhouse activities designed to balance visual content, active play, and critical thinking, empowering them to tell their own stories.

Festival workshops are designed to connect kids with experts and give them the tools to enhance their storytelling. This year workshops on claymation, special effects makeup, sound effects, augmented reality, and storytelling will allow attendees to craft their own works of art and gain a new perspective on the media they consume.  

Media education offered by Tumbleweeds also reaches a diverse student audience through festival field trips. In 2020, our goal is to have public school students make up 50% of total festival attendance. Students and educators attending festival field trips engage with filmmakers, industry experts, and receive standards-aligned study guides for use in the classroom. Last year, 37% of field trip attendees were from Title 1 schools.

One educator who participated in a Tumbleweeds Festival Field Trips last year commented, “We loved the Tumbleweeds experience!  The documentary was everything we hoped for and more for our students!... When we take students out of the school to learn and research we refer to it as Fieldwork not field trips because our goal is for students to assume the role of researchers and experts.  It is a hands on growth mindset practice, so your workshops were a vital component of our purpose for the day at Tumbleweeds. Thank you so much for this wonderful learning opportunity for our students!  We are constantly amazed at how closely what you are accomplishing at The Utah Film Center coordinates with our [expeditionary learning] model!”

Utah Film Center fully believes that educational and cultural opportunities like Tumbleweeds festival field trips should be available to all students regardless of location and income. For the past two years, staff have been focused on developing partnerships that encourage engagement from under-resourced communities, such as refugees, immigrants, students living near the poverty level, and students living in rural communities. Partnerships, with the Refugee Services Office, for example, help us understand the barriers to participation for Tumbleweeds, including transportation and admission.

If you would like to participate in Tumbleweeds Film Festival for Kids, festival passes and tickets can be purchased here.

Please contact our development office at, 385-240-2124 if you would like donation or sponsorship information.

We hope to see you and your family at Tumbleweeds!