Parents will be glad that the Ninth International Children’s Film Festival at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque is on now and is running until July 24. This festival is a rare and valuable opportunity to introduce children to the world of cinema that is not filtered entirely through the lens of Pixar and Disney.
There are independent filmmakers all over the world making movies for children of all ages – the festival is intended for children from four to 15 – that don’t get the attention that the big-budget cartoons and star-studded formula comedies get. This festival strives each year to introduce Israeli children to recent films that will inspire their imagination, as well as entertain them.
The festival will screen more than 40 films from around the world, most of which have won multiple international awards and will have their Israeli premiere here. Most of them will not have a theatrical run following the festival, so this is the only chance to see them here on the big screen.
The opening night film will be Starry Starry Night
, a complex, award- winning drama from Taiwan. The Panorama Section of the festival will have a special emphasis on films from the Far East.
This year, the festival will feature a special program devoted to film adaptations of Astrid Lindgen’s books. The 1988 English-language adaptation of her best-known work, the Pippi Longstocking series, The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking
, will be shown. So will the 1984 film Ronja Robbersdaughter
, a Swedish film for which Lindgren wrote the screenplay. There will be readings of Lindgren’s works by writers and actors, as well as a special program on her life and work for adults.
Israeli children familiar with the David Grossman novel The Zig Zag Kid
will be happy to see a film adaptation of that beloved book.
Directed by Vincent Bal, the film, entitled Nono
, the Zig Zag Kid
, has been a huge international hit and won the Young Audience Award at the European Film Awards and the Audience Award at the Montreal International Children’s Film Festival.
Another famous literary adaptation will have its Israel premiere at the festival, a new animated version of Pinocchio
. This film, which is much more faithful to the classic novel by Carlo Collodi than the Disney version, has been dubbed into Hebrew and is a much darker version of the story. The film’s world premiere was at the Venice festival last August.
Actress, author and director Gila Almagor is the festival chair this year, and her much-celebrated 1989 film The Summer of Avia
will be screened. Based on her novel, Almagor stars in this moving coming-of-age tale.
There will be competitions for best films and videos, and the winners will receive cash prizes. There will also be prizes for the best student films.
A number of workshops and classes for children will be held, including one on how to create a soundtrack.
Following the successful pitching event last year, there will be a second one in which filmmakers who aspire to make films for children and have written proposals in various workshops will pitch their ideas to a group of filmmakers from Israel and abroad. There will be cash awards for the successful pitches.
Parents will be especially happy about the prices. Tickets to most of the films and programs cost NIS 40, a great value when you consider the quality of the movies in this festival.
Another wonderful aspect of the festival is that grandparents accompanying their grandchildren will be admitted for free.To learn more about the festival offerings, visit the festival website at http://www.cinema.co.il/. You can also visit the festival’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/events/2148 86011997526/
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