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Diversity at heart of film festival for kids

The second annual Children’s International Film Festival Aotearoa, Screenies, will be entertaining young audiences September 22-25 at TAPAC in Western Springs, Auckland.

The international film and media festival has been created specifically for kids aged 3-15 years old. Organisers hope this year’s programme of international children’s films will encourage young people to seek out and celebrate the positive aspects of other cultures.

“As Auckland becomes a more ethnically diverse city it is important to grow children who are aware of, knowledgeable about and accepting of different cultural and world views,” says festival founder, Janette Howe, producer and chair of the NZ Children’s Screen Trust (Kidsonscreen).

This year’s programme includes four international features, two packages of Asia Pacific short films from Australia’s Little Big Shots festival and seven other collections of short films from countries including Mexico, Japan, Belgium, Slovakia and Korea.

Flying the flag for local content Screenies 2016 shines the spotlight on Kiwi Kids Music with sessions featuring NZ music videos followed by live performances from artists and a screening of Vincent Ward’s The Navigator (pictured, top).

Mother of two Howe started Screenies to help ensure kids had access to quality media and screen content. “Instead of looking at media as ‘junk food’ this is an opportunity to show young people new worlds and perspectives, through film, that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.”

As well as engaging and entertaining children and families with quality international media made for kids, Screenies also inspires children to be content creators. Howe hopes that Screenies events such as free storyboard making workshops and holiday programmes, like the recent one that focused on creating short movies on mobile devices, will enrich children’s minds and grow their passion for film and storytelling. Screenies is also hoping to run a filmmaking intensive for children aged 13+.

In order to encourage children to be more aware about media and to advocate critical thinking, Screenies has been running a film review competition which closes 5 September.

Screenies will run 22 – 25 September at TAPAC, Auckland.

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