It is that time of year to relish the films on offer at the NZIFF. It is a hunting ground for undiscovered gems, scorching documentaries, sweeping dramas, the weird and wonderful and the inspiring.
As adults dipping into the world of the festival we can meet up with friends for a coffee beforehand, plan our movie selection over Facebook and review our choices on any online forum of our choice. It is great that there is a selection of films for “all ages” to watch too. But it is our festival – we look forward to it and some of us couldn’t live without it. As adults we also have a number of festivals that whet our appetite for stories – DocEdge for documentary, the French, Italian, German and Architecture film festivals to name just a few.
Pipikids is about creating such a space for kids. It is a dedicated film and media festival for children and youth that creates a world for them to share stories, to meet, to discuss and to be inspired by the world of film. It is about storytelling and sharing stories in place where you can meet and be together – like the original campfire. Children’s film festivals are established in countries all around the world from Bangladesh to Dubai, and this year Chile has also launched a new festival.
In Udaipur, India a new three-day festival was launched in March: “The objective behind this festival is not only to expand children’s film market or encourage makers to come forward but also to nurture talent from a very young age. If we can showcase the right content and create a conducive environment for children to pursue film making or allied creative career paths, I ‘m sure we will get great talent emerging out of our country,” said collector Ashutosh AT Pednekar.
Pipikids has similar aims. It is about bringing diverse stories for kids from around the world into a space where they can be inspired. I hope that the stories connect with children and encourage them to tell their own stories. I hope it also encourages more stories to be made for children – recognising that they are a diverse audience with many different interests. Maybe one story will spark a connection with someone in the audience and inspire them beyond the world they know.
It is difficult launching a new venture in an industry that has been through hard times and is never awash with cash. I do, however, want to say that children are deserving as audiences now but will also be audiences in the future. It is about growing an audience who love stories. In whatever way our stories are shared in the future, connecting kids with storytelling now is about connecting them to the power of the imagination.
I would like to specially mention Bradley Walker of Native Council who was the first to help bring Pipikids to life with a website. We are now in pre-launch and the new website will be launched when we announce our small but hopefully meaningful programme. Yes, I am still looking for support and sponsors to help make Pipikids a vibrant and enriching event – and to bring it to not just Auckland but nationwide with a film competition and digital media lab.
Pipikids 2015 is supported by Foundation North, the NZ Film Commission, Native Council and partners with TAPAC and Little Big Shots. Pipikids will hold its inaugural edition at TAPAC, Auckland 22 – 24 October.