Fest for youth-skewed pics plans educational center

The Czech Republic’s Zlin Festival is teaming up with a film school and university to launch a training center for directors and producers of children and youth films.

The fest, which has a new name and logo, is Europe’s leading showcase for tyke films.

The government-backed initiative, with the Tomas Bata U. and Zlin Film School, should see the Alexander Hackenschmied Institute open by the fall.

Petr Koliha, Zlin’s artistic director, said the move is part of a revamp to make the event more relevant to the industry.

Koliha is in Berlin to fill out his program. The fest, which runs for a week beginning May 29, is prepping an industry event that will promote sales of youth films to TV stations in central Europe.

Koliha hopes to expand this to a broader region in coming years.

“The main goal for us is not only to be a one-week festival but to provide year-round support for children’s film,” Koliha said.

The 51st edition of the fest will be held in the new convention center and, along with the traditional competition programs — children and youth films, animation and European debuts — will feature sidebars on Italian cinema and a Walt Disney focus, celebrating the 110th anniversary of his birth.

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