French à la carte

French Animation is always the crème de la crème. The shorts in these programs explore a diversity of techniques, from stop motion to cutout animation to computer animation. The messages are both uniquely French, while being universal at the same time.

All programs include theatrical screening and media education.

How to book?
Book a field trip or in-school session today.
Phone: 773.281.9075 ext. 3040

How much does it cost?
Field trips: Tickets are $6 per kid for groups of 25 or more and $7 for groups under 25. Chaperones attend free of charge based on an approximate 10:1 ratio of students to chaperones—there is a $10 fee for each additional chaperone. Refreshment packages are available.

In-School sessions: Session cost is determined by class size. We charge $8 per kid for groups of 50 or more, but there is a minimum fee of $400 for groups of 50 or less. There is an additional $100 fee for each additional 20 miles from Chicago.

Film still from Animal Neighbors and Friends program

Animal Neighbors and Friends

Grades Pre-K–Kindergarten

The characters in this collection know a great deal about the world around them already and are happy to share with us.

The animals in this collection of shorts know how to get things done! What happens when bunnies run out of ingredients for their favorite confiture? Set sail for the islands to get more carrots, of course! Then, in another short, animal friends learn to share their nuts—and learn how they grow, as well. And in another short—can one kitty learn thoughtful table manners from his buddies? In another short squirrel and bunny share their respective nutritional merits of their favorite yummy foods, in cooking and in song.

Themes: Adventure, teamwork, following directions, problem solving, individuality

Films: Pipsqueak Prince, Bali: "Signing Time", Little Hedgehog, Dimitri: "The Collection of Peanuts", Carrot Jam, Welcome to Bric and Brac: "Bath Time for Milo", and Scent of Carrots.

75 mins with media education. Screened in English.


Film still from Little Saucepans program

Little Saucepans

Grades 1–3

The characters in this collection of shorts make new friends in the unlikeliest places.

In one film, a man discovers a genie in a food can—but instead of extravagant wishes, yearns for simple pleasures. In another film, Anatole is misunderstood and hides under his constant companion, his saucepan. That is, until a kind lady shows him to celebrate his artistry and to embrace how special he really is. In another film, an unlikely group sets aside their differences to make the best meal possible. Includes 2014 Festival "Best of Fest" winner, Anatole's Little Saucepan.

Themes: Individuality, thinking in a new way, adventure, teamwork, artistry.

Films: The Story of the Mean Dragon, Page from a Notebook, Time Off, Delirious Tales: "The Chicken, the Elephant, and the Snake", Anatole's Little Saucepan, Giant Carrot, Captain Fish, The Genie from the Ravioli Tin, and Scent of Carrots.

75 mins with media education. Screened in French.


Film still from French Flights program

French Flights

Grades 1–4

The characters in this Francophone program are on the move! Join them as they make new friends and go on unpredictable adventures.

Joe, a deaf boy, befriends a space robot named Spanneroo, who has come crashing down to Earth. Spanneroo proves to be a master when it comes to fixing things, and soon takes Joe and his pals on an adventure that's out of this world! In another short, Dimitri is off his migration flight path and lands in Africa. He only needs a little help from his new friends to get reunited with his parents. Time for Take Off!

Themes: Accepting differences, adventure, teamwork, power of imagination, friendship.

Films: The Sun of Bagnolet Street, La Fontaine Turns Film-makers: The Crow and the Fox, The Tie, Spanneroo and Joe, and Dimitri in Ubuyu.

85 mins with media education. Screened in French.


Film still from Ernest and Celestine

Ernest and Celestine

Grades 1–4

Directed by Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patter and Benjamin Renner, this animated feature film gained traction at many festivals for its stunning visuals and touching narrative.

A tale of an unlikely friendship, Ernest is a bear who lives on the fringes of the bear community—a musician who doesn't exactly fit in. Celestine, an orphan, is an artist and has left her own mouse community. These two independent characters find support and comfort in each other, and form an unlikely bond in the face of the established order. Unanimously praised—don't miss this "artful, handcrafted and unforgettable piece of animation" (Indiewire). Based on the beloved children's books by Gabrielle Vincent, this Oscar-nominated film reminds us that sometimes two wrongs make a right.

Themes: friendship, differences, getting along, adventure, problem solving.

95 mins. with media education. Screened in French with English subtitles. English dubbed version also available.


Film still from  Eleanor's Secret

Eleanor's Secret

Grades 3–5

Watch your favorite characters from classic children's books leap from the pages in this lovingly animated feature! Featuring the voice of Jeanne Moreau, this film proves that the love of reading can give your imagination wings.

His favorite auntie has left young Nat her beloved library, but he is a struggling reader. Nat offers up the collection to a disreputable book dealer in an attempt to help his family save their fixer-upper, but surprise: the library is magical. Having discovered his friends, Alice in Wonderland, the Ogre, and Peter Pan, Nat must find the secret to keeping them alive for others, too.

Themes: Learning love of reading, struggling early readers, power of imagination, exploring beloved children's book characters, treasuring literary inheritance.

90 mins with media education. Screened in French with English subtitles.


Film still from Bon Voyage program

Bon Voyage

Grades 3–5

Get out your passport! Characters and creatures great and small are ready to travel near and far in this collection of short films.

In one film, accompany a tree in snappy red boots as it makes all types of new friends in the neighborhood. In another short, visit France, the blond boy, and his "mouton" as they let their fancy take flight. In the final short, help Simeon and his newfound friend rescue Pearl on a field trip gone awry.

Themes: Fresh animation from French and French-speaking countries.

Films: La Fontaine Turns Film-makers: The Crow and the Fox, Half-Dream, In a Small Boat, The Sun of Bagnolet Street, Air-Mail, One, Two, Tree, The Little Blond Boy with a White Sheep, and Snow.

75 mins with media education. Films screened in French with English subtitles.


Film still from Quests and Companions program

Quests and Companions

Grades 4–6

The characters in this collection of short films yearn for more—for adventure, for companionship, or for the simple pleasures in life.

In one film, a city cat dreams of a rooftop garden, but can it cross a busy city street, having never left the cozy apartment life? In another film, an outsider wishes to be part of games, like any other boy. Then, in another film, a man discovers a genie in a food can—but rather than wishing for extravagant things opts for a beautiful meadow and a pleasant meal with friends, instead. In the 2012 Oscar short-list film, Specky Four Eyes, a boy must wear corrective glasses, but refuses when they interfere with his imagination.

Themes: Fresh animation from French and French-speaking countries.

Films: Page from a Notebook, Anatole's Little Saucepan, So Many Forests, The Dunce, Sleeping Donkey, The Elephant and the Bicycle, The Genie from the Ravioli Tin, The Apartment Cat, Kali the Little Vampire, Specky Four Eyes, and The Centipede and the Toad.

90 mins with media education. Screened in French with English subtitles.


Film still from No Stopping Us program

No Stopping Us

Grades 4–6

The characters in this collection of animated prove that resistance starts with one step and once they get going, they are unstoppable!

In one film, the Sun is particularly Gallic as he gallivants down the streets of the town. In another short, a blond boy and his "mouton" are out on a spree, letting their fancy take flight. In the last short, older brother Ernest and his sister Colette move to the French countryside when World War II breaks out. Ernest finds new strengths while getting used to his new circumstances, from standing up to a threatening boar, to standing up to the local bully.

Themes: Fresh Animation from France and French-speaking countries, Occupation in France in WWII.

Films: The Frog with Holey Shoes, Good Evening Everyone, In a Small Boat, The Sun of Bagnolet Street, Air-Mail, One, Two, Tree, The Little Blond Boy with a White Sheep, Jean-Michel the Woodland Caribou, and The Long, Long Holiday.

90 mins with media education. Screened in French with English subtitles.


Film still from A Cat in Paris

A Cat in Paris

Grades 4–7

Directed by Alain Gagnol and Jean- Loup Felicioli, this Oscar nominated film explores friendship in peculiar places.

In Paris, Zoé's mom is a police detective on an important case of cat burglary. Meanwhile, Zoé's cat Dino leads a feline double life of his own! One night after bedtime, Zoé follows Dino out into the city, and meets the infamous cat thief, who isn't as evil as she thought. Zoé befriends the burglar with a heart of gold, and prowls the city with a ragtag group in a thrilling adventure of cops and robbers—Parisian style. C'est si bon!

Themes: Suspense, adventure, relationships, grief resolution, teamwork, new friends, felines.

85 mins with media education. Screened in French with English subtitles.


Film still from Zarafa



Grades 4–6

Inspired by a true story and the beloved French children's book, Zarafa is an adventure about courage and resiliency beautifully told through stunning animation. Directed by Rémi Bezançon and Jean-Christophe Lie.

Maki, a young African boy, escapes the clutches of an evil slave trader. After outwitting his captors, Maki befriends Hassan, a soldier from Alexandria, and Zarafa, a giraffe from Africa, who help him find his good friend Soula and return to his village in Africa. With the help of old and new techniques, Maki and his friends also attempt to destroy the evil trader and help Zarafa escape from her captivity in a French zoo. The characters in Zarafa perform tremendous acts of courage while crossing Africa and Europe. Together they create a fun and adventurous story that keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats!

Themes: Adventure, love for animals, bravery, French colonial history, African history.

90 min program with media education. Two screening options: in French with English subtitles or dubbed in English.


Film still from Phantom Boy

Phantom Boy


Grades 5+

The highly-anticipated new film from the Academy Award®-nominated writers and directors of A Cat In Paris is a stylish film noir caper, set in the shadowy streets and alleyways of Manhattan.

Leo is an eleven-year-old boy and he has a secret. A mysterious illness has transformed him into a phantom, able to leave the confines of his body and explore the city as a ghostly apparition. While in the hospital, he befriends Alex, a New York City cop injured while attempting to capture a greedy villain who has taken control of the city's power supply, throwing the metropolis into chaos.

Come along on a heart-thumping adventure as Leo swoops and soars above the greatest skyline in the world. Featuring the voices of Audrey Tatou (Amélie) and Jean-Pierre Marielle (The Da Vinci Code).

Themes: Urban adventure, deduction/sleuthing, career aspiration and independent adult validation, bravery, sense of duty, complementary teamwork, empathy, selflessness, emotionally managing serious illness, classic film genre (film noir).

105 mins with media education. Screening in French with English subtitles.


Film still from Adama



Grades 6+

This stunningly animated coming-of-age story is an exciting depiction of perseverance, personal striving, and fraternal bonds triumph.

As twelve-year-old Adama is about to experience his boyhood rite of passage, he and his brother's lives are changed forever. Adama lives in a remote African village, but his older teenaged brother Samba gets lured outside of their community to join the ranks of the Tirailleurs, (French West African soldiers recruited by the French during World War I). Despite all odds, Adama goes on a journey and finds his brother at the ferocious Battle of Verdun on the Western Front.

Themes: French colonial history during World War I, African cultural views, fraternal bonds, puberty rites of passage, persistence, bravery, resourcefulness, adventure.

90 mins with media education. Screened in French with English subtitles. .


Film still from Reflections and Dreams program

Reflections and Dreams

Grades 6–8

The characters in these shorts look to know themselves better and take the time to see just where they fit in.

In one film, a teen looks back to her youth to gain wisdom from her mother. In another film, a jealous toad looks to bring the downfall of a fellow creature, just by asking a simple question of self-reflection. And when a civil servant suddenly finds himself becoming ... an escargot ... will he crawl into his shell or persist in imagining himself all alone? Includes 2012 Academy Award Short List Film Specky Four Eyes.

Themes: Identity, reverie, re-imagining of self, role of individual versus the collective society, personal origins, interdependence and co-existence, standing out while fitting in.

Films: Birds of Sorrow, So Many Forests, Specky Four Eyes, The Centipede and the Toad, Tulkou, N'Djekoh, The Shell, and The Necktie.

90 mins with media education. Screened in French with English subtitles.


Film still from Belle and Sebastian

Belle and Sebastian

Grades 6–9

This adventure film directed by Nicolas Vanier will charm audiences young and old and show that courage and loyalty are not a matter of age.

Adapted from the popular series of novels by French author Cécile Aubry and filmed in the breathtaking, snow-covered Alps, Belle and Sebastian is the story of a unique friendship between an orphan and a mountain sheep dog during World War II. 6-year-old Sebastian lives in a small French mountain town with his guardian Cesar, who is determined to hunt down a huge beast he thinks is attacking his sheep. But Sebastian isn't convinced the dog is behind it. Amongst the chaos of the War, Sebastian befriends the dog, which he names Belle, and they work together to help a Jewish refugee family trying to get to Switzerland.

Themes: Friendship, courage, adventure, honesty, WWII resistance, resourcefulness.

120 mins with media education. Screened in French with English subtitles.


Film still from The Painting

The Painting


Grades 8+

Enjoy a feast for the eyes and the imagination in this feature-length animated film about an imaginary world where characters in paintings come to life.

Meet the impeccably painted Alldunns, who live in a majestic palace, and the Halfies, who are shunned by the Alldunns because the Painter has left them incomplete. Meanwhile, the untouchable Sketchies, simple charcoal outlines, are banished to the cursed forest. Follow the adventures of Claire, a Halfie, and her beloved Ramo, an Alldunn, as they journey to discover what the Painter has in mind for all his creations.

Themes: Overcoming prejudice, social divisions, hierarchies, and stereotypes; bravery, love and friendship, styles of painting/drawing.

95 mins with media education. Screened in French with English subtitles.


Film still from Taking the Plunge program

Taking the Plunge


High school

The characters in these short films explore their identities in different directions.

In one film, can a young woman finally jump off the high dive, or is she trapped in her relentless, indecisive ennui? In another film, Sense of place, belonging, identity, career aspirations—where do these real-life characters in Burkina Faso see themselves going? In another film, the daughter of a film director fixates on a French film classic and imagines herself part of the world of cinema. But cinema is illusion, oftentimes far from imagined reality!

Films: Birds of Sorrow, I Am As I Am, The School of Fine Arts, I Can't Wait, The Mist Is Coming In, Taking the Plunge, Wanderer of Saint-Marcel, Angélique's Day for Night, Pondering, Tulkou, and N'Djekoh.

90 mins with media education. Screened in French with English subtitles.


Film still from Identity vs. Reality program

Identity vs. Reality


High School

Where does one go when one is now part of the adult world of work, obligation, family? Is it possible to still be an individual—or is one's fate only as a cog in a machine not of one's making?

In a beautifully animated short film, a policeman reflects on his ancestry and loss of identity, constantly bullied by his superior officer. In another film, a respected office worker finds himself part of an unexpected scheme in a parallel universe. The triumphs of the individual do not go unnoticed in this collection of powerful and inventive animated shorts.

Films: Ben Hora, Engine 371, The Woodcutter, O'Moro, The Shell, The Necktie, and Fard.

90 mins with media education. Screened in French with English subtitles.


Film still from Palette Cleansers program

Palette Cleansers


High school

The best of recent animated shorts from the French-speaking world await!

In one short, a mysterious musician's double bass performance draws everyone to his sunrise concert on a watery stage. Inspired by real-life concerts in Switzerland's Lake Geneva, this animated short beautifully incorporates surreal visuals. Then, the colors of an old-fashioned airmail letter are the palette for an upbeat animation features a muscular boxer, his pet goldfish, an enamored neighbor, and her mischievous black cat. Finally, when a single mother brings home her new husband, Hugo's life is changed forever. With stunning animation and deep emotion, the film details the family's transformation.

Films: Blotting Paper, The Four Neck-less, Good Evening Everyone, In a Small Boat, Air-Mail, Once Upon a Leaf, One, Two, Tree, Paris, Reclining, The Sun of Bagnolet Street, The Zebra, Two Friends, Aubade, Jean-Michel the Woodland Caribou, and My Home.

90 mins with media education. Screened in French with English subtitles.


Film still from Children of the Princess of Cleves

Children of the Princess of Cleves


High School

This compelling feature documentary by director Régis Sauder interweaves passages from the novel concerning love, fidelity and morality with unusually frank interviews with the students about these issues in their own lives.

When the teenaged students of Diderot High School in France begin reading The Princess of Cleves in class, the parallels between their own lives and the events of the novel soon become apparent. Featuring students of different ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds as they read and study the novel in preparation for the "Bacc" (baccalaureate exam), this film provides insight into the way literature can both imitate and impact student's lives.

Themes: Classic French literature as themes resonate with daily lives of working-class, urban high school students; literary characters' situations as personalized by individual reflection; class distinctions; restrictions of immigrant cultural morays.

85 mins with media education. Screened in French with English subtitles.


  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation