1: Amman, Jordan (25-29 January)
2: Oslo, Norway (20-22 February)
3: Johannesburg, South-Africa (23-28 March)
4: Istanbul, Turkey (5-9 April)
5: Belgrade, Serbia (10-14 April)
6: Salamanca, Spain (11-15 June)
7: North Ossetia and Ingushetia, Russia (16-20 and 21-25 July)
8: Lubumbashi and Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo (30 July - 3 August and 6-10 August)
9: Krsko, Slovenia (3-8 august)
10: De Vrolijkheid en Stichting Nowhere, Amsterdam (6-10 August 2007)
11: New Delhi, India (25-29 August)
12: Berlin, Germany (3-6 september)
13: Barcelona, Spain (3-7 September)
14: Amman, Jordan (6-10 September)
15: Yevpatoria, Ukraine (17-21 September)
16: Trstena, Slovakia (26-30 September)
17: Manila, Philippines (27 September - 1 October)
18: Mumbai, India (27-31 October)
19: Dubai, United Arab Emirates (13-17 November)
20: Tel Aviv, Israel (14-18 November)
21: Zilina, Slovakia (31 Oct-4 November)
Kids programming perspectives discussed at Chinh India Forum
It took a very refreshing approach to the fascinating subject of content for kids. The First Chinh India Forum and Kids Film Festival - held in New Delhi from 25 August to 1 September – stood out because it tried to move away from the crass commercialization that has come to signify kids’ content. It did this through a range of activities right from a workshop with kids, to the screening of films and a forum focusing on kids programming. The highlight was the awards for the films which were judged by children.
“We have started the Chinh India Kids Film Festival and Forum with the purpose of creating a platform where ideas and opinions about content for kids can be exchanged amongst national and international delegates,” said Meenakshi and Vinay Rai who were advisors to the forum and the festival.
The forum ran over three days and covered a wide range of topics. The key messages that came through were that kids are the same everywhere and that kids’ content should be created from a child’s perspective, rather than taking an adult view of the same.
Vahid Vahed, Founder of Auburn Children Film Festival (Australia) ran a series of short films and quipped that he got a similar response wherever he has showcased the films. “As adults we may all have complexities, but kids across the world, I think speak a universal language,” he pointed out.
“Kids today are digitally attuned, they grow quickly and in our aggressive consumerist culture we have somewhere lost touch with the culturally rich and intuitive forms of traditional entertainment,” added South East Asian Foundation of Children and Television (Philippines) secretary general Mag Hatol.
The session on the challenges of commissioning and producing children’s programmes was moderated by filmmaker Vinod Ganatra who said that it is very difficult to make programmes for kids, especially for the pre school age group. Panelist BBC’s Sue Nott made a presentation about the content being shown on CBeeBies a channel for kids from one year old to six year olds and CBBC, a channel for seven to twelve year olds.
Following her, Laura Di Nitto screened a few clippings from Italian pubcaster RAI TRE’s two hour daily kids programming slot. “Innovativeness and production quality is what we look for before we select a programme,” she said.
Unicef (Germany)’s Chris Schuepp shared his experience of working and doing workshops with children on video production. He also screened 26 one minute films made by 24 children including five nomadic kids, who participated in the workshop organised by Meenakshi Vinay Rai under the project ‘Evolving Software for Children by Children’. This workshop was headed by Nienke Eijsink and Floor Van Slochteren from One Minutes Foundation in Holland.
The session on the topic- What should children watch? Who decides? What do children want to watch?” was moderated by educationist Rajiv Trivedi and the panelists included Vahid Vahed, and Dr. Sreedhar, Director of Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia. Dr. Sreedhar cautioned that adults should guide children as to what they should watch.
The session on evolving an audio-visual vocabulary for children was moderated by Vahid Vahed with Mag Hatol, IFSHA’s Jasjit Purewal and eTVonline Head, China, Natalie Chan being the panelists.
“These days there are so many advertisements on TV that influence the children. They highlight the positives in such a way that the kids want every product shown on TV,” said Mag while talking on ‘Images plus children equals little consumers’. He stressed on the fact that the advertisers keep the children in mind and design the TVC’s in such a way that they easily accept whatever is being said.
How healthy such practices are in the long term perspective is debatable.
On the other hand, Natalie raised the issue of sex education and that it is a taboo in China and India to talk about it openly. “People are apprehensive of sex education being a subject in schools as they think that kids will get the information which they shouldn’t and will use it in the wrong way. Seeing this situation we started the website, sexedonline.com, which educates people of all age groups about sex and that it is not a bad thing.”
She showcased the site and interestingly the site has 2D animated content as well.
The session “How to conduct a workshop with children when you don’t know their language?” was illustrated by Meenakshi who screened a movie Tea and Magic Camera – When Culture is Their Language. The film is about a Japanese photographer - Masato Nisigai who comes to India with his wife and the workshop he does with the nomadic children on making a camera simply with cardboard, magic paper and magnifying glass. It conveys a message that how he couldn’t even speak English and yet he taught the kids the technique to make magic camera.
This was followed by a speech by UK Theater activist and writer Alan Hescott on working with young victims of war and violence. Alan shared his experiences about how it is difficult to understand the situation of the people who have faced a war.
The session on ‘Innovations in the area of kids programming’ saw the panelists screening many films, especially in the area of sports programming for kids. Meenakshi screened films from the ongoing series of workshops, Spandan, in which spastic and mentally challenged kids make animated films with different techniques like cell animation, cut out animation, leaves animated amongst others.
Concluding the session Ratan Katyayani, Lawyer and grassroot activist from Muktidhara, an NGO in Rajasthan spoke about the life of nomadic kids and how Muktidhara is working towards the betterment of this community.
Sharing her experiences of working with African children, RAI TRE’s Laura along with her colleague Andrea Camerini, who is an Italian Singer showed footage explaining how they are using music as a tool for inter-cultural understanding and peace building.
Some of the panelists suggested that Meenakshi and Vinay Rai should start working on a plan to launch a Chinh channel solely dedicated to kids’ content which should be decided by kids only.
“To begin with we are launching a Chinh web channel by January 2008 with approximately 150 three minute films made by web journalists we have hired” retorted the duo adding, “We also invite content from everybody who is interested to send their films. They have to be maximum three minutes long and will be uploaded only after they have been approved by a panel of kids.”
The forum came to a close with the distribution of awards to the winners of the Chinh India Kids Film Festival ’07.
The Chinh awards were given away to the best films in three categories including pre school films, early education films and animation films. The festival received 56 entries from 18 countries out of which Curious Cat from Japan won Chinh Gold in the pre school category, Colours from USA won the Chinh Gold and Chinh Silver was given to Kid Guides from Hong Kong in the early education category.
Special jury award in the early education category was given to Anita The Bee Keeper from Bihar (India). In the animation films category Arjuna, made by an Indian student studying in the USA bagged the Chinh Gold. Winning again, Curious Cat was awarded the Chinh Silver in the animation category, whereas Yet Another Gulliver’s Travel by Devansh, an Indian student from Panchagani, was given the Special Jury Award.
According to Meenakshi, the jury members were chosen after long rigorous selection and the shortlisted ones were given classes by experts on film appreciation and choosing the right film. The Kids festival concluded perfectly with the screenings of all the films.