The Kinderfilmfest will be celebrating its 25th anniversary during the coming Berlin International Film Festival. Renate Zylla, Kinderfilmfest director, is proud of the festival's quarter-of-a-century history of international children's cinema.
To honour this occasion, the book "Moments, Meetings, Emotions – 25 years Kinderfilmfest" will be published. It will portray events and developments of the most significant children's film festival in the world and record unforgettable moments, such as Sophia Loren's visit or the festival's opening by Chinese actress Gong Li. Moreover, the book will highlight 50 films that have shaped the festival, including Busters Verden (Buster's World) by Danish director Bille August, Wrony (Crows) by Poland's Dorota Kdzierzawska or Rang-E-Khoda (The Color of Paradise) by Majid Majidi from Iran.
The coming festival will present a broad program of international productions. This year's films embrace an audience of four to fourteen-year-olds more clearly than ever before. Whether mystery, comedy, adventure story, action film or fairy tale, these movies all have a poignant intensity and offer compelling performances by their outstanding actors. Directors from Australia, Iran, Poland, Denmark, and Canada as well as Germany display sensitive perceptions of what children feel.
The opening film is Minoes. In this magical, cheeky production from the Netherlands, cats expose an environmental scandal. Director Vincent Bal ( Man van Staal - 2000 prizewinner) has created a fantastic world in which Carice van Houten enchants as the cat lady.
Gaurav Seth's first film A Passage to Ottawa is a wonderful surprise. The director, originally from India, shows us through the eyes of a child how East meets West. And while unfolding this tale, Seth presents Canada's multi-cultural society. Using a metaphoric film language, he relates how a boy seeks a strong man for his mother.
In the Norwegian film Glaskår (Scars), Lars Berg (prizewinner Kinderfilmfest 2000) challenges the topics first love, loss by death and forbidden fatherhood. In a gentle way, he outlines the maturation of a 12-year-old.
A true adventure film for children is Hildegarde from Australia. Here director Di Drew succeeds in interweaving suspense and humor. To save their duck Hildegarde, three children put themselves in danger. Tara Morice (Strictly Ballroom) plays the siblings' single mother.
In Oliver Dommenget's film Hilfe, ich bin ein Junge! (Help, I am a boy!) magic has a bewildering effect on challenges encountered in real life. Dominique Horwitz (Nachtgestalten / Nightshapes) is delightful in a father role. After the success of Mistkerl / Bloody Nuisance (Kinderfilmfest 2001), Studio Hamburg produced this film directly in cinema format. Renate Zylla is extremely pleased to have a German film in the program, especially since barely any children's films are produced for the cinema in Germany.
The selection of films has not been concluded yet, but a great competition can be expected – and it will be enhanced by the splendid quality of this year's short films.
Dec. 20, 2001