Sowing seeds of imagination

right to entertainment

This is one of the movies that will be screened at the Children’s Film Society; India’s (CFSI)’s 16th International Children Film Festival — ‘The Golden Elephant’.

A heart-warming tale of a poor farmer’s seven-year old son Tingya (Sharad Goekar) and his unique bond with the family’s pet bullock – Chitangya, this will surely tug at your heart strings in more ways than one. “I am really excited about making children’s films and want to give children a world that they want to live in,” says producer Ravi Rai.

This passionate filmmaker has a couple more movies with child protagonists up his sleeve including Chanda — a movie on adoption and the girl child, and Aat Paat Nagar, an 8-year-old girl’s journey to get a magician to help her 11-year-old handicapped brother regain his leg. 

Directed by Vishal Bharadwaj and based on a children’s novel written by Ruskin Bond, The Blue Umbrella is another movie that will be screened in the non-competitive category. Set in a village in Himachal Pradesh, this is the story of young Biniya who trades in her bear-tooth amulet with a blue umbrella and the turmoil she faces when it is stolen. The movie explores a gamut of human emotions and raises questions around the pursuit of power, dominance and materialistic pleasures.

In fact, this is one festival with its heart in the right place. To make visually challenged kids participate in the film festival, there have been special screenings held with the help of commentators. About 250 child delegates from all over the country are expected to take part in the festival.
Debutant director Sooni Taraporevala’s Little Zizou is a fast-paced and poignant comedy in which its 11-year-old soccer-mad Parsi protagonist’s fervent wish is that his idol, football player Zinedine Zidane visits Mumbai. This movie explores the fine nuances of the Parsi community and is also being screened in the non-competitive section.

Animated encounters
Using Indian folk stories laced with a generous dollop of traditional Indian art and music, Munjal Shroff’Krish, Trish and Baltiboy, uses three distinct visual styles — animation treatments, cutout animation and miniature painting to weave an interesting fable. Debuting at this festival, this one is about the musical trio of Krish, Trish and Baltiboy and has three separate stories based in Punjab, Kerala and Rajasthan. Each story  draws inspiration from its location and uses its cultural diversity while driving home a message as well.

The festival will screen about 70 films from across 20 countries and has three main sections -— International Competition, Asian panorama and Children’s World (non-competitive). The best part is that this year’s films were selected not only by a special committee of experts from CFSI but also by a cross-section of children. The festival will also involve prominent celebrities, national and international jury members, stalwarts from the business of entertainment sharing the dais during open forums discussing various entertainment issues related to children.

Nandita Das, the Chairperson of CFSI says “This year we have an interesting range of films from around the world. And to broaden the festival experience, we have a series of workshops, conducted by experts that are going to enthrall the children. Filmmakers, writers, educators, parents and of course children themselves, will participate in various forums.”

This will be the first year where UNICEF and CFSI are partnering towards promoting a holistic approach to child rights. Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of Convention on the Rights of the Child, the festival is also celebrating the right to entertainment as a basic child right.

Some of the Asian Panorama films to be screened include Two Men’s Classroom, Mai Mai Ti’s 2008, The Magic Aster (China), The Cunning Tailor & The Young Man,  I feel Pity for the Ozone Layer (Iran) and Siri Raja Siri (Sri Lanka). Indian movies include The Lost Rainbow, Trashed and Fuel  among several others. Some of the international films to be screened include New Species by Evalds Lacis from Latvia, Russian Pavel Fattahutdinor’s The Twelfth Summer and Jeanine Reutemann’s Pink Nanuq .
Over the years the festival has contributed immensely in the promotion of cinema as a means of education and entertainment for children. This year it hopes to be bigger and better. The festival will be held at Hyderabad between November 14 and 20.

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