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Through the eyes of children
"Our aim is to provide insight into the hopes, aspirations and fears of today's children."
Among Israel's many film festivals, at least one keeps the kids in mind. The Tel Aviv International Children's Film Festival will be screening child-themed movies from around the world, this Wednesday to next Saturday at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. The event not only features movies for children but also movies created by children, as well as those dealing with issues facing kids in the modern world. "Our aim is to provide insight into the hopes, aspirations and fears of today's children," explains festival organizer Gila Almagor, long-time leading lady of Israeli cinema. Movie enthusiasts can choose from films in a variety of categories. An impressive selection of international offerings include US import Akeelah and the Bee. Starring Angela Basset and Laurence Fishburn, this film tells the poignant story of Akeelah, the 11-year-old daughter of a dysfunctional family, whose entry into the Scripps National Spelling Bee provides a welcome distraction from her difficult home life. Another highlight of this section is Finnish production Valo. Inspired by the authentic, 100-year-old diaries of a young boy, this is the valiant tale of two children who risk the wrath of their community to teach their underprivileged counterparts to read. Both films are entrants in the festival's International Competition. Comprised of eight entries, the contest will be graded by a panel of Israeli and international judges, including British Film Institute director Amanda Neville, German actor Costas Papananstasiou and Israeli director Amos Gitai. A noteworthy contribution to the Films by Children category is Blind Date, a creation of Israeli schoolchildren, depicting the relationship trials of a blind girl. Another Israeli film in this section is The Revenge, the tale of a young Russian immigrant whose attempt to wreak vengeance on his bullying schoolmates has dramatic consequences. Produced by the children of new immigrants, the film reflects their experiences adjusting to Israeli culture. Children aged 10- 12 can enjoy a selection of movies catered to their age group. Aimed at promoting the idea that young people should play an active role in their own destinies, Changes features documentaries about children and narrated by them. Tamar Wants to Hear follows the daily trials of a deaf girl, and German-produced Kevin: Hear Me Out charts the progress of a young boy coming to terms with his stutter. Other categories featured at this year's festival include Children's Movies by Israeli Film Students; Short Films from Norway; and "Films by Palestinian Children." For tickets and information, call (03) 691-3811 or visit Prices range from NIS 15 to NIS 4O.
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