×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Kinderfest grows up as kidvid gets hot

Kidpics now boast myriad subgenres, sophistication

The Kinderfilmfest/14plus sidebar got off to a rollicking start with a slew of sold-out premieres as kids, families and school classes stormed the Zoo Palast, the sidebar’s main venue, over the weekend.

Kinderfilmfest and 14plus openers Peter Cattaneo’s “Opal Dream” and Wash Westmoreland-Richard Glatzer’s “Quinceanera” have already piqued Market interest with a number of buyers joining tykes and teens at the screenings.

At 29, the Kinderfest has become the premier place for new children’s films from across the globe and the industry itself has grown from infancy to at least young adult.

“It’s a very rare case when a company decides not to accept an invitation from us,” Kinderfest/14plus director Thomas Hailer explained.

Kidpics, no longer lumped into the quagmire of family entertainment, now boast myriad subgenres and new sophistication.

Case in point: Niels Arden Oplev’s drama “We Shall Overcome,” about a 13-year-old Danish boy inspired by the speeches of Martin Luther King to rebel against an abusive teacher.

“This film would be a nightmare for a U.S. producer to pitch, but children should not be underestimated — they experience the highs and lows of life and can appreciate quality stories. Kids can relate to stories of civil disobedience — no kid likes to be talked down to.”

The main criteria of the competish, Hailer said, is that “the point of view must be told from the same eye level as the main character.” Kids’ films today no longer have to be sugar coated, he adds. “We don’t go looking for specific themes, but they do emerge in the lineup.” This year’s thread is the impact of world migration on family life.

Although venues are selling out, Hailer said “making money is not the point. We are investing in the future of German cinema, in helping kids develop a taste for film.”

To that end, the already low-priced Kinderfilmfest/14plus offers discounts for groups of five or more to attract school classes.

The close cooperation with Berlin schools is paying off. “We have to support teachers who are brave enough to bring 40 or more kids to the screenings. If they are treated right, they’ll be back the following year.”

Although international in scope, the fest’s selection of 21 features, 12 in the Kinderfilmfest competition and nine more in the 14plus competition, has a northern European cast — not surprising since the Nordic territories, in particular, are among the most prolific makers of kidfare.

Seven of the pics in the Kinderfilmfest are from northern Europe, “Opal Dream” is a U.K./Australia co-production; three are from Asia and one is from Latin America.

The 14plus competition lineup of nine pics has a wider global spread, with two from North America — Canada and the U.S. — one from France, two from Asia and four from Northern Europe.

The five Asian pics in the feature lineup reflect in part an explosion in the film industries in several countries on that continent.

According to Ferdoze Bulbulia, chair of the fifth World Summit on Children and Media, to be held in South Africa in 2007, “Asia as a whole has a much greater interest in production of children’s programming and in development issues, such as girls’ education and child labor.”

The impact of multicultural societies is another thread that runs through the competish pics. Hailer points to “Schnitzel Paradise,” Dutch lenser Martin Koolhoven’s comedy about a Moroccan family trying to fit into Dutch society, in the 14plus competition.

The pic was also one of the three biggest box office hits in Holland in 2005.

“We were amazed at the courage it took to do such a film, and certainly, making it in Germany would be very difficult,” Hailer said. “We are not used to making jokes about our problems.”

Across Europe, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, funding and production of kids pics is being cut, but there are patches of turf where that clearly is not the case.

Scandinavia, partially through the bulging pockets of the five-territory Nordic Film and TV Fund, never seems to run out of money for kidpics.

“If you release a film at fall and winter holiday, you can make a lot of money here with children’s films,” said Klaus Rasmussen, sales exec for Nordisk Film.

Case in point: “Father of Four,” a film about a dad raising four kids that pulled some 500,000 admissions, more than a 10th of the Danish population.

“We do everything we can so that the films being screened here will also have economic success, and we are not trying to be artistic for arts’ sake, but our main job is to find brilliant films,” Hailer said. “Let the buyers and audiences take it from there.”

More Film

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Makes Concession on Film Financing in Agent Talks

    The Writers Guild of America has made a concession in film financing in its negotiations with Hollywood talent agents — the second in six weeks of talks. WGA West executive director David Young said Wednesday that it had made a “significant move” toward reaching a deal with the Association of Talent Agents for a revamped [...]

  • Noah Centineo He-Man

    Noah Centineo to Play He-Man in 'Masters of the Universe' Reboot

    From a boy (who’s loved) to He-Man. Noah Centineo is in talks to take on the superhero in Sony Pictures and Mattel Films’ “Masters of the Universe.” Brothers Adam and Aaron Nee are directing the reboot. Mattel Films is partnering with Sony on the movie, which is based on Mattel’s beloved toy line that spawned [...]

  • Disney Fox Takeover Placeholder

    Disney, Fox Employees Grapple With Day One Transition on Two Hollywood Lots

    What kind of a boss will Disney be? That’s a question facing employees at 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, National Geographic Partners, FX Networks, and other assorted parts of Rupert Murdoch’s former media empire. Wednesday was their first full day as staffers of the Walt Disney Co. and the initial moves have done little to [...]

  • Derek Tsang Hong Kong actor Derek

    'Better Days' Director Derek Tsang Lands in World Cinema Spotlight

    Hong Kong actor-director Derek Kwok-cheung Tsang has recently found himself in the spotlight of the world of cinema, but for the wrong reason. Tsang will be joining a Hong Kong filmmakers panel at FilMart on Thursday with Sunny Chan (“Man on the Dragon”) and Pang Ho-cheung (“Love in a Puff”). The 39-year-old filmmaker was expecting [...]

  • Jen Hollingsworth Lionsgate

    Lionsgate Promotes Jen Hollingsworth to Chief Operating Officer of Motion Picture Group

    Lionsgate veteran executive Jen Hollingsworth has been promoted to the newly created post of chief operating officer of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group. She will work closely with Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake to ensure the film division’s strategic initiatives and corporate priorities encourage filmmakers’ artistic visions to thrive. Hollingsworth will also head up the [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Solstice Studios Boards Thriller 'Unhinged' From 'Disturbia' Writer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Solstice Studios has acquired “Unhinged,” a psychological thriller from “Disturbia” screenwriter Carl Ellsworth and “Warrior” producer Lisa Ellzey. The studio is currently out to directors. The script revolves around an extreme case of “road rage.” It’s the story of a mother whose decision to hit her horn upsets the wrong guy and leads to some [...]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    'Bill & Ted 3' Sets 2020 Summer Release Date

    Excellent! “Bill & Ted 3” has a release date. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter will return to the big screen in “Bill & Ted Face the Music” on Aug. 21, 2020. The duo made the announcement in a short video shot at the Hollywood Bowl, where they’ll “never play.” Production began on Wednesday. Reeves will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content