When the opportunity came up for us to visit the children's cinema screening of E.T. as part of the Paul Frank Bicycle Film Festival, I must admit, I did have to do a sneaky search on Google to figure out what on earth it meant. On the face of it, it's all of the things we like, all in the same sentence. Kids stuff, funky monkey clothes, good movies and bikes. But all in one sentence seemed too good to be true. Turns out it wasn't.
So if you're as vague as I initially was, let me enlighten you. The Bicycle Film Festival (BFF) is a week long festival of movies that feature bikes. Simple. This is the 10th year it's been running which is an indication of
how popular it is. The screening of E.T. was inevitable, what with its classic BMX racing sequences and iconic bike-against-moon scene. It was also a great opportunity to clarify the point with my kids that we actually invented BMX bikes in the 1980's. Luckily, the Barbican Centre obliged with a great venue, and what better place to host the event. Their upcoming London Children's Film Festival looks really interesting and I guess this was a good way of getting the word out too. Definitely check it out if you're stuck for Saturday morning activity.
The day itself was mad. It was clearly a very popular event, "The most busy the Barbican children's Saturday cinema had ever seen!" according to the enthusiastic compere. The foyer was filled with activities from collage making to drawing - all with a monkey or biking twist. There was also a big monkey mascot for the all-important photo opportunity. My kids (7 and 9) still believe mascots are the real deal, so this was almost the highlight of the day. Long may the innocence continue. The staff and helpers were really nice and my hat goes off to them for being so calm and helpful in the inevitable chaos of excited kids that filled the room.
E.T. didn't disappoint, even though it is nearly 28 years old now (I know!). You can't go wrong with a Spielberg movie when you have kids to entertain. That and Shrek maybe. After many laughs, a few tears and the inevitable trips to the loo, it was time to head back to our normal activity-mad Saturday. We'd loved to have stayed longer as the Barbican seems always to be crammed with little activates, hands-on music workshops, tours and cool stuff hanging from the ceiling (like the rhinestone encrusted bicycle my daughter fell in love with). Alas, a drama class for child number 1 beckoned.
Suffice to say we now have some MORE stickers on bedroom doors, the Paul Frank seat cap has been gainfully employed as a shower cap and we'll be back next year.
Loved Dino's review? Check out his blog at dino.co.uk