I am pleased to be part of the jury at the Youth Film Festival these days. Not only because of the strong movies that I may watch, but also because of the unique atmosphere at the festival, created by the organization and its many enthusiastic volunteers. The meetings with the children are the absolute highlights of the festival. It is so nice to exchange views with young movie fans, who often amaze me with their sharp observations. Moreover, I had never attended a film festival where the juries loudly shout ‘supercool’ before every film screening!
Back row: members of the organisation and the professional jury. Front row: the amazing children’s jury
For more information on the Youth Film Festival, which takes place in Antwerp, Bruges, Kortrijk and Ghent, see www.jeugdfilmfestival.be
Two years ago, I wrote this blogpost about the festival.
This week, the European Youth Film Festival (Het Jeugdfilmfestival, JEFF), an annual several-day screening event of European audiovisual creations in Antwerp and Bruges, takes place. On last year’s edition, a brainstorm on children’s film in Flanders took place, an initiative that received a warm welcome by the Flemish audiovisual sector. Here you can read the report (in Dutch) of the brainstorm. I presented the keynote talk on this brainstorm, which can be watched here (in Dutch):
Following the keynote talk, I wrote an opinion piece for the Belgian newspaper De Standaard, which you can read here (in Dutch). In this piece, I point at the fact that Flanders has a very poor tradition of producing and supporting children’s films, particularly when comparing to regions such as The Netherlands and Denmark. I argue that the momentum has come to change this situation and finally take serious the youngest segments of the audience. This, however, demands effective efforts from both the policy and the industry actors. A few months later, the sector was happy to hear that the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds, VAF) announced a support grant specifically aimed at children’s films screenplays. The results of this policy initiative should become clear during 2015 and 2016. Meanwhile, the European Youth Film Festival engaged itself to work further on the results of the brainstorm. To be continued…
At the brainstorm; panel discussion with three young and talented directors Wouter Bongaerts, Janet van den Brand and Kevin Meul