Kids, doc events hot in Holland

Cinekid kicked off its 19th edition Oct. 22

AMSTERDAM — Tiny Holland is something of a Mecca for film fests. While the prestigious Rotterdam event unspools in January, October and November are devoted to kidpics and docs, respectively.

Amsterdam’s Cinekid, believed to be the largest children’s film and TV festival in the world, kicked off its 19th edition Oct. 22 with 15 features in competition.

Event regularly draws upwards of 35,000 visitors as well as 200 international children’s media professionals.

This year’s fest includes features that treat serious themes in lighter ways, such as opening pic “Bonkers,” Iranian lenser Gholam Reza Ramezani’s “Hayat” and Chinese director Fang Gangliang’s “Story of Xiao Yan.”

With kids spending much more time multitasking on computers than at the movies, fest’s thrust is evolving, with awards for multimedia and Web sites and a new-media exhibit hall. This year the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs kicked in additional funding for the first time to support the tech side of the festival. “Our research shows children spend the same amount of time on media — all platforms — as they do in school. We want to encourage them to create,” not just play games, said fest director Sannette Naeye.

Environmental theme

The upcoming Intl. Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) is the most prominent event outside North America focusing solely on docs. This year’s edition adds a special focus on the environment, with 17 films in the Green Screen section.

Pics screening at the fest, which starts Nov. 24, include Werner Herzog’s “The Wild Blue Yonder”; Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s “Our Daily Bread,” about the environment and agriculture; and Martin Maracek’s “The Source,” about the multinational role in environmental problems.

Opening night film is “Sisters in Law.” Event also focuses on world terrorism, with screenings of “Hamas, Behind the Mask” and “Our Own Private Bin Laden.”

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