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In his own quiet, unassuming way, Dan Bennett is one of the major forces of cinema in San Diego County.

His legion of readers know Dan as the film critic for the North County Times. Behind the scenes, Dan is the co-founder of the San Diego Film Critics Society (and the man to thank for inviting Thora Birch to town for this Saturday's screening of Ghost World), as well as the creator and driving force behind the San Diego International Children's Film Festival.

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Thora Birch and Dan Bennett at the 2002 San Diego Film Critics Awards Ceremony

The festival turns eight this year, and it's gift to San Diego is more than 150 films from around the globe geared for children and teens. Each program combines animated, live-action, and documentary short films specifically geared for different age groups. They are presented in one-hour blocks each day of the festival.

Unless you already have a ticket to the sold out Comic-Con, it's unlikely you'll be able to attend Sunday's event. Admission is free to all other screenings.

For more information, including a complete list of the films being screened, click here.

July 24: Comic-Con Screenings of short films from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Room 9

July 30 - 31: Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 30 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 31 Short films from around the world.

August 6: Carlsbad Library, Ruby Schulman Auditorium 1775 Dove Lane, Carlsbad Noon to 4 p.m. Short films from around the world.

August 6: San Marcos Civic Center Plaza 141 N. Twin Oaks Valley Road This special outdoor screening of short films from around the world runs from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

August 6 - 7: AMN Healthcare Theatre 12400 High Bluff Drive San Diego, CA 92130 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days Screening full-length family films from China, with English subtitles.

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