Have you booked your tickets? Shameless plugs are all I am good for now. No really, have you booked your tickets? They say it takes three times before someone actually acts so here it is… have – you – booked – your – tickets?
Screenies (née Pipikids) International Children’s Film Festival is full steam ahead and that in itself feels like an achievement, although one producer stuck his head in our office (we are squatting in Ponsonby) and said “Festivals are a thankless task.” Maybe so, but it is happening on October 22–25th (Labour weekend) and I am thankful to be finally putting a festival for children on the calendar.
What is there on offer at Screenies? For a start, a collection of film packages from Little Big Shots in Australia – a children’s festival now in its 11th year. Curated from around the world, these are tried and true packages for pre-schoolers to early teens – seen by thousands across Australia.
Remember The Witch in the Cherry Tree? The Three-Legged Cat? We also have the recently digitised Margaret Mahy short films from the NZFC to screen for a new generation.
Dipping a little toe in the water, Screenies has three feature films: My Friend Raffi a German crime caper starring a hamster. There are moments of jeopardy – including a hamster operation – but Raffi lives to scamper about on his many adventures.
Shana – The Wolf’s Music is a coming-of-age story that is soul searching and a touch raw. Set in a Canadian First Nations town and filmed with non-actors, it is about a young girl who is struggling to find direction after the death of her mother. A live wolf, spiritual themes and a troubled soul are bound to strike a chord with young teens. If you want an antidote to the Disney tween fare then Shana could be your film.
Pim & Pom is a charming animated story from the Netherlands, with a retro animation style based on the 1960s illustrations of Fiep Westendorp that adds an appealing and often humorous layer to the story.
Screenies can also now boast a world premiere with the NZ short film “Mad Pearse”. This 10-minute short will be playing with our “Forever Young” package. Directed by Christopher Campbell it is a New Zealand period drama about taking flight – capturing a time and place with the assurance of a much larger film. It is great to be able to showcase this short film and I hope that more New Zealand films for kids will find their way to Screenies.
True to wanting to be a space for kids to create, we are starting with a film camp for 13–16 year olds that is sure to be challenging for them and the Screenies team! The focus is on storytelling with a workshop by Paolo Rotondo followed by a sleepover and a day of filming. This intensive experience is for those teens with some experience making films and will be great for wannabe actors, directors, editors, cinematographers, soundies and budding producers.
Do come and join us on Labour weekend at TAPAC – or send your out-of-town visitors along. We are just across from the zoo – so you can get your animal experience and then pop in and share your love of world cinema with the next generation. We have a small grandparent concession too.
Thanks to our new programme sponsors Greenstone TV, South Pacific Pictures and the Goethe-Institut. If I haven’t hammered on your door it’s only because I didn’t think to or have just run out of time – so do support us if “Screenies” appeals – some Dolby sound would be nice.
Did I mention the tickets?
- Screenies is a registered charity (The Pipikids International Film and Media Trust)