The 3rd edition of International Kids Film Festival was held in the Capital recently hosted by schools in 40-plus countries targeting over 2 million students and their families.SHALINI SAKSENA brings you a report
If one thought that film fetivals were only for those who were looking at serious cinema, they could not have been more off the mark. The International Kids Film Festival (IKFF) in its 3rd edition is a unique international film festival hosted by schools across the globe.
This year, India, the UAE, England, France, Mexico, South Africa and Saudi Arabia were some of the countries that were part of the festival. The aim of this festival is to provide an opportunity for students to watch some of the best of international children’s films. The reason for this festival was from two perspectives.
“The first, literacy leads to read and writer. But more content is being created and consumed in an audio-visual manner. The kids are not going to read and write as much as we did. For me to expose children to good content is basics to education. Film festival is an opportunity for kids to watch some fanstastic films. We had films from 35 countries in 25 languages. Around 100 films were shortlisted from 800,” Syed Sultan Ahmed, MD & Chief Learner@LXL Ideas, says
The other aspect, he tells you, was to teach the children about the world. One of the biggest change has been world migration. How do we prepare childeren to this? “We have to expose them to world issues, cultures and languages,” Ahemd tells you.
“Sadly, the kind of films that children are watching is commerical content. Good children’s films are available at film festival. Here, we are taking the festival to the children — to 9,000 schools out of which 7,500 are Government schools in Karnataka, Telangana, Assam and Andhra Pradesh. The whole idea is to show them good cinema,” Ahmed says.
The two-month global event included film screenings, filmmaking master classes and be part of world’s largest students filmmaking competition making it is learning process as well.
Some of the films that were screened at the festival were Maestro, Cup of Tea, 3 Feet, A Day in the Park, Dog Gone and Athleticus Gym Keeper. The films were divided on the basis of age: two-five year categoty, six-eight category, nine-11 category, 12-14 categoty and 15-17.
“Traditionally literacy meant our ability to read and write as all knowledge was in books, in today’s world of screens, literacy has a new definition — read, write and create. The big challenge today is that children across the world are exposed to very low standards of films and content. The best films that are made for children are not easily accessible to them. There is a big need to expose our children to good films, real world issues, cultures and stories,” Ahmed says who has introduced the concept of film pedagogy by creating school cinema and this film festival.
He opines that this film festival is a great opportunity for children to watch the best of world cinema right in their schools, learn the art of film-making and make films to participate in the world’s largest student film-making competition. The School Cinema App gives students and their families an opportunity to watch world cinema at their homes.
“This platform is a great example of the change that needs to be made in our education system. It is exciting, relevant, scalable and affordable — all the qualities that a good learning programme should have,” Ahmed says.
He tells you that while these filmswere about different issues and topics, one common theme was respect: Respect for the self, respect for other cultures, respect for others views and thoughts, respect for the environment, respect for labour and respect for the Arts.
A film that was much appreciated was 3 Feet that is directed by Giselle Geney from Colombia. “The film which is in Spanish is about a 10-year-old boy who loves football, goes through the mountainous town of Pamplona in Spain every morning in the company of his best friend (his soccer ball), playing with it before theschool day begins and getting his shoes dirty. Every day, he is scoldedduring the inspection of uniforms by his teacher Ramón, and forced to polish his shoes, while others enjoy their rest. Everything changes the day the teacher decides that not only will he punish Gonzalo during the break, but he will also take away his best friend forever,” Ahmed says.
The event also saw the presence of two child jury members — Akshyat Sharma and Anant Gokhale along with directors of School Cinema film, Saving Green — Shivani Monga and Najmus Saqib.
Not only this, the jury that chose the films not only had eminent personalities like Anna Nikina-Ruohonen, Ambassador, Education Innovations, HundrED Finland, Jaya Bachchan, MP, Manisha Koirala, actor and John Edmond, festival Director, Qurrnsland Film Festival, it consited of children aged nine to 17. These children were from cities like Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Mumbai.
Neha Jain, head of Films @LXL Ideas, said that one highlight of the last one year has been ‘Make Cinema’ — the filmmaking competition for students. “We were fortunate to watch some lovely films made by young, amateur filmmakers who had clearly put their heart and soul in their film. Our winners of Make Cinema 2018 as well as our Child Jurors from last year got the wonderful opportunity to travel to Italy and participate in the 50-year-old Giffoni Film Festival. We also hosted young people from Giffoni last year, and will be doing the same this year as well. We will also be having two of the winners of Make Cinema from Kyrgyzstan. They will be visiting schools in India and interacting with students here. Moreover, our other Make Cinema winners from 2018 get to be on the Child Jury this year,” she added.
The IKFF would not have been complete without the support and love of the many people and organisations it received over the last three years. The Australian Consulate in India is one of them. They brought in five films from Australia as well as a chance to meet a talented filmmaker.
“I would also like to thank our wonderful Film Festival partners Children's Film Festival Seattle, Providence Children's Film Festival, Busan International Kids & Youth Festival, Giffoni Film Festival, Boston International Kids Film Festival and Rolan International Childrens Film Festival Armenia,” Jain said.
Meaningful kids zone
India: 2018: 91 mins
Director: Deb Medhekar
It is a story of Rehmat Khan, a man from Kabul, Afghanistan who used to show films to children through his Bioscope. After fleeing to India, Rehmat befriends a little girl named Minnie who is of the same age as his own daughter.
My Grandpa is an Alien
Croatia: 2019: 79 mins
Directors: Drazen Zarkovic, Marina Andree Skop
The life of a little girl named Una turns upside down when her grandfather is abducted by aliens. In the basement of her house she accidentally finds out that grandpa is himself an alien whose ship fell on Earth a long time ago. His pilot, a grumpy little robot, stayed here as well. The two of them have less than 24 hours to find grandpa and save him.
India: 2017: 30 mins
Director: Akkta Panwar
The film that explores the life of a 5-year-old girl as she transitions from moving away from the city with her mother into her grandmother’s ancestral house in a small town in Rajasthan.
Her only escape is her imaginary friend, Seema. It is a film that explores a child’s imagination amidst strained adult relationships around her.
Apples and oranges
India: 2018: 23 mins
Director: Rukshana Tabassum
In the fantastical country of Fruitistan, the people are divided — not so different from the world we live in. In this land where people who eat apples and those who eat oranges don't get along, Tulip and Daisy become friends. Their friendship soon turns sour when they discover that one of them is an Appler and the other an Orangee. Can their friendship survive?
Canada: 2019: 11 mins
Director: Mahsa Razavi
A short drama about 8-year-old Ada living with her mother in Toronto, as they try to stay out of trouble and make ends meet . Ada tries to convince her newly immigrated mother to celebrate Thanksgiving by cooking a turkey. However, as Ada sets to celebrate Thanksgiving like a “true Canadian”, she discovers what it means to be an immigrant family.
A Field Guide to Being a 12 Year Old Girl
Australia : 2017: 20 mins
Director: Tilda Cobham-Hervey
This is a film about 12-year-old girls, made by 12-year-old girls, for 12-year-old girls, or anyone that has been a 12-year-old girl, or will be a 12-year-old girl, or wishes they were a 12-year-old girl.