PRAGUE — The 44th Zlin Festival of Films for Children and Youth, billed as the oldest and one of the largest kid fests in the world, opens May 30 with Philippe Muyl’s “Le papillon” (The Butterfly).
Pic stars Michel Serrault (“La cage aux folles”) as an older man saddled with a young child. France gets the spotlight again with a French Cinematography Day scheduled mid-week.
With a new director at the helm, Zlin will be transformed into a more biz-friendly gathering. Petr Koliha, formerly program director at pubcaster Czech TV and commercial channel Prima TV, is finalizing the list of 300 films representing 35 countries.
Monetary awards for debut and animated films and backing for new films by setting up meetings between producers and young filmmakers are among the changes to this year’s fest.
Cinema owners will have their own interest panel, Kidflix Special, organized by the Media Salles division of the European Union.
Animated films get heavy play, a nod to the strong Czech tradition in the field, and their own competition category.
Competition feature films are divided into two categories of eight films each, one for children and a second for youth. Debuts and films from the Vysegrad Four (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland) each have separate competition categories.
Jury and guests include reps from kidfests worldwide. Zlin will conclude June 5 with the launch of a Festival Train — a carriage converted into a cinema that will run throughout the Czech Republic this summer.