Lenfest Kids: November Programming

For our November “virtual” Lenfest Kids, we’ve chosen three movies connected to Thanksgiving. 

Our classic is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), a mainstay of CBS’s Thanksgiving Day programming throughout the 1970s. Our animated film is Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), whose protagonist matches wits against three horrid poultry farmers Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. And our live-action film is the John Hughes’ comedy Planes,Trains, and Automobiles (1987), in which the comic odd couple, Steve Martin and John Candy, battle hilariously to get home in time for the holiday.

Watch Rob King, Lenfest Kids Programmer and Film Professor at the School of the Arts, introduce the November program below.


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Dir. Ken Hughes, 1968

United Kingdom, United States | G | ages 6+

While truant from school, young siblings Jeremy and Jemima meet the beautiful Truly Scrumptious (Sally Ann Howes), who falls for their widowed father, Caractacus Potts (Dick Van Dyke), and his various oddball inventions, including the family's noisy rebuilt car, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. One day at the beach, Caractacus tells Truly and the children a fanciful fable about the villainous Baron Bomburst (Gert Frobe) and his evil designs on the Potts family car. The film screened for years as a Thanksgiving evening tradition on CBS in the 1970s.

Amazon Prime Video | Archive.org (Free) | iTunes


Fantastic Mr. Fox

Dir. Wes Anderson, 2009

United States | PG | ages 7+

From director Wes Anderson comes his adaptation of beloved children's author Roald Dahl's novel about a fox battling angry farmers. Devil-may-care Mr. Fox (voice of George Clooney) quits chicken thieving to start a family with Mrs. Fox (voice of Meryl Streep). Twelve years later, he leaves his columnist job to rob poultry from three mean farmers who then devise a plan to trap Mr. Fox and others in the burrowing animal community. With his friends and neighbors, Mr. Fox saves his animal community and beats the farmers at their own game. A Thanksgiving holiday release from 2009.

Amazon Prime Video  |  Disney+  |  YouTube  |  iTunes


Planes, Trains, And Automobiles

Dir. John Hughes, 1987

United States | PG-13 | ages 15+

Steve Martin and John Candy star in John Hughes' classic tale of holiday travel gone awry. Neal Page (Martin) is an uptight advertising executive trying to get home to Chicago for Thanksgiving. When his flight is rerouted to Wichita, he reluctantly partners with Del Griffith (Candy), an obnoxious yet loveable salesman. Together, they embark on a cross-country adventure that includes various modes of transportation and hilarious mishaps. Planes, Trains and Automobiles is "a screwball comedy with a heart."

Amazon Prime Video  |  YouTube  |  Vudu  |  iTunes


Fun fact: Fantastic Mister Fox is based on the wonderful 1970 children’s novel by Roald Dahl, who was also one of the screenwriters on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Dahl, reportedly, was responsible for creating the figure of the Child Catcher, who doesn’t appear in James Bond-author Ian Fleming’s original novel.

Please note: We provide MPAA ratings and suggested age range ratings from Common Sense Media for your guidance, but as always, parental discretion is advised. ‚Äč

Get Creative Project

Stop-Motion Animation

Download the November Get Creative Details

In addition to our programming, we encourage Lenfest Kids participants to get inspired by the films we recommend by making their own film projects!

For this month, the Get Creative project is a Stop-Motion Animation film like Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox. (Behind the scenes of Fantastic Mr. Fox.) There are several phone apps available that will make the Stop Motion process easier for you. Here are some options.

iMotion (free - iphone only)  |  Tutorial using iMotion app

Stop-Motion Movie Creator (free - Android only)  |  

Stop Motion Studio Pro ($4.99 - iphone & android)  |  Tutorial using SM Studio app


Steps for creating Stop Motion:

  1. Think of a story. Write down in a few sentences what your story will be about, and brainstorm ways to make this story come to life with objects. Your plan might change as you go, but it’s important to have an outline. 

  2. Create a storyboard. On a piece of paper, draw pictures of each scene, and estimate the number of frames you will need for each scene. (Remember, the more frames per second you include, the smoother the animation will be). Around 10-12 frames per second is a good number. 

  3. Create your props. Props for stop motion animation can be crafted with ordinary household objects such as fruits and vegetables, utensils, plants, or magazine cutouts on popsicle sticks. You can also use action figures, matchbox cars, dolls, magnets and legos, or for the more ambitious, make your own puppets with fabric or polymer clay. Perhaps include cameos from pets and people. You might have all of your props ready before you begin filming, or you might create new props as you go. 

  4. Find a setting, and adjust lighting. Test your setting with your props to make sure that the lighting looks as desired. You can enhance lighting with flashlights, a phone light, or by adjusting the brightness or flash in the app. What different angles can you film from? Would the story work best in a mini-studio made with poster board, or a natural setting? 

  5. Begin filming. Set up your props, take a shot, move them a tiny bit, take another shot and repeat until you’re done.

  6. Edit your sequence and export. Once you have finished filming, you can adjust color, aspect ratio, transitions, speed, quality, add titles and credits, and even sound effects and music. When you are finished, the project is ready to be exported as a .mov or .mp4 file.

  7. Upload your video to this Google Form or email it to us at lenfest-center@columbia.edu.

We will feature selections from your submissions on the Lenfest website and social media.