A refreshing relief from the norm of kiddie movies is available this Sunday, as the American Film Institute features a program of short and imaginative films directed by women and starring children. The show is part of the second annual Women in Film Festival, a one-month series of independent films sponsored by Washington Women in Film and Video (WIF). This year WIF will offer, for the first time, an afternoon of shorts geared for children eight to 12. The five award-winning films include an animated fairytale, an Eskimo legend and a woodsy study of freedom and friendship. "My chief reason (for selecting these films) was because I thought they were very imaginative and they represented films in different genres," said Kitty King. "The primary reason we're showing children's films is a lot of women get into film through their children," added King, co- chairwoman of WIF, a three-year-old organization of about 250 local women involved in all aspects of film and radio. The program at AFI, which is for one show only at 4:30, lasts a total of 65 minutes. The films are mostly low-budget, and at times that's apparent; but the acting, much of it by untrained children, is generally good and the entertainment value is far above that of standard television fare. The most charming of the films is "Dragoncastle," a 13-minute animated fairytale set in a mythical kingdom of clay. When a fire-breathing but friendly dragon is chased from the castle by an inept knight summoned for the task, the kingdom is suddenly beset by moat monsters. The knight, who regularly falls off his horse, is dispatched to sweet-talk the dragon into returning to his basement apartment in the castle. The longest feature, "The White Heron" (26 minutes), also demands the most perseverance from the viewer. Set in Maine in the late 19th century, the story concerns a young, solitary girl and a hunter; both love wildlife, in different ways. The hunter offers the girl $10 if she will lead him to the nesting place of a white heron. The girl agrees, until she realizes that the hunter's aim is to kill and mount the bird. An intelligent production, it manages to avoid stereotyping either barefoot nature- lovers or hunters, but the lack of action could be a problem with restless viewers. More frolicsome is "The Fur Coat Club" (18 minutes). Two nine-year-old girls, best of friends, spend their afternoons stalking people in fur coats and scoring successful touches. In the course of one afternoon they invade a fur store where they get locked in the storage vault for the night. Two robbers who break into the store are accidentally caught by the girls. By the film's end, the girls have given up fur but adopted new games. "Movie For My Mittens" is a one-minute animated tribute to a pair of mittens that get lost after they get loose from their home on the sleeves of a winter coat. "The Owl Who Married a Goose" is a seven-minute fable based on an Eskimo legend; a love affair between an owl and a goose is drowned when the owl tries to land in his mate's lake. As in most of these films, there's a moral here, but kids won't have to get it to enjoy the show. FILMS FOR CHILDREN -- Sunday, 4:30, at the Kennedy Center, AFI theater. AFI and WIF members and children under 14, $1.75; members guests (up to three), students with ID, military and senior citizens, $2.50 and non-members, $3.50. Call AFI box office, 785-4601.