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Peek inside a 5 year old’s imagination

January 23rd, 2017

Two of Toronto’s smallest screenwriters have dreamed big and created their own movie. Cave Small Cave Big, a short film about losing a cherished item and finding inspiration, makes its world debut at the AGO on February 16. Directed by Toronto artist Joële Walinga, the film was scripted by five-year-olds Madeline Harker and Adelaide Schwartz as part of a workshop series run by Walinga. In this professionally shot 11-minute film we follow the “Butterfly Girl” as she wanders through the woods searching for a cave. Catch the trailer here:


The film is part of AGO Art + Cinema, a new series that brings the best films by artists about artists to Jackman Hall. It is the first in a series of short films written by children. Following its world premiere on February 16, the film will be screened as part of AGO Family Day programming on February 20 – the perfect outing for parents and kids!


We caught up with the writers, Madeline and Adelaide (now both aged seven) to ask them about the screenwriting process, their favourite films and what they do when faced with lost objects.

AGO: What was the inspiration for this story?

Madeline: I would say, since me and Adelaide, when we were tinier, we would pretend that me and her were princesses and princes. She would be the prince and I would be the princess. So I think we kinda got inspired by that.

AGO: How would you describe the film to a friend?
Adelaide: There is this scientist and there’s this girl called Butterfly Girl and she’s in the woods looking for a cave, and she’s looking around in the woods, and she finds a cave and makes a model and then there’s a scientist who sneaks into her room and steals the cave and makes an experiment on it and then it becomes a real cave. It’s a happy movie but one part of it is sad. The part where Butterfly Girl wakes up and cave is gone.


AGO: How long did it take you to write the movie?
Madeline: Probably three weeks. Well, three days. In three weeks.

AGO: What part of filmmaking interested you the most?
Adelaide: I liked when I drew, and when I would watch movies to get inspiration.

AGO: What’s your favourite film?
Madeline: Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
Adelaide: Kiki’s Delivery Service.

AGO Art + Cinema screenings run from January to March, with premieres on Wednesday evenings and repeat performances happening Thursdays through Saturdays. For the full schedule, including screening times, special guests and tickets, visit Did you know that AGO members get a discount? Find out how to join here.

For more details about Family Day at the AGO, visit and be sure to book your tickets in advance online to save $10 off the cost of a Family Pass.

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