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SECRET FOREST, THE

What to know: Feels like a classic Eastern European fairy tale.
SECRET FOREST, THE is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 5-12
15 minutes
Video and DVD
ANNA ANTONOVA
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With colorful costumes, talking animals and a touch of animation magic, this title feels like a classic Eastern European fairy tale. It is an entertaining and well-made adventure that celebrates kindness and a strong family bond. Two young girls learn to respect the environment and be kind to animals. When the younger sister gets in trouble after picking flowers she had promised not to pick, the older sister overcomes her own fears in order to rescue her from the Flower Fairy. This film may encourage children to respect the environment the next time they are out in nature. This film introduces children to classic Eastern European fairy tale characters. Beautiful imagery with colorful costumes for the fairy tale characters: Mermaid, Flower Fairy, talking goose. There are visual effects that make the forest look even more beautiful with butterflies, and a taste of fairy tale magic. The younger sister disobeys the mother's orders not to pick flowers in the forest. The older sister falls asleep and has a dream that becomes like a fairy tale: as a consequence of picking the flowers, her younger sister disappears, hidden by the Flower Fairy. The older sister goes on a quest to find her. She must pass a series of tests, including moving a frog from a talking goose's nest (she is afraid of frogs, but the frog is not scary), and making the decision whether she will kill a rabbit to free her sister. She has a kind heart and cannot kill the rabbit. The Flower Fairy tells her that she passed the test, and turns the rabbit back into her little sister. The older sister promises to teach the little sister how to respect the forest, and to protect her and be there for her always. Older sister is a good role model for the younger sister. She feels responsible to protect and teach her younger sibling. North American parents may object to the mother allowing young girls to go for a walk in the forest by themselves, but in the context of Eastern European culture (where this story comes from), this is a normal scenario. It is also a common scenario in fairy tales (Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood). Reviewed by Katarzyna K. KIDS FIRST! Juror
This short children's story teaches us to appreciate the ties between our sisters and brothers more than anything in the World. Only having lost her younger sister, Polina comes to understand, that she has to find her sister, despite all the problems she has to deal with. During her Search, Polina comes across various Magical Creatures. At this time she has to overcome a lot of obstacles, fears and even sacrifices her most beloved thing to get her sister back.
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