An international forum on "The Development of Children’s Film" was held in China National Film Museum. It was supervised by Film Bureau of State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television P.R. China and Elementary Education Department One of Ministry of Education, P.R. China. It was also hosted by International Center of Films for Children and Young Adults (CIFEJ), China Children’s Film Association, China National Film Museum and China Film Culture Institute of Beijing Film Academy.

It was started by opening ceremony which was addressed by Zhou Jindong, The Deputy Director General, Film Bureau, SAPPRFT, Zhang Dongyan, Director, After school Education Division, Elementary Education Department One, Firdoze Bulbulia, The President of CIFEJ with a CIFEJ Trailer, Sun Lijung, Vice President of Beijing Film Academy and Chen Zhiqiang, Secretary of Party Committee and Deputy Director of China National Film Museum.

The forum concluded 2 topics:

1. Focus on the Filmmaking for Children

2. Children’s Film: Media Education and Social Engagement

The hostess of topic 1 was Ms. Zhang Zhenqin form China and the speakers were: Ms. Sannet Naeyé from the Netherlands, Mr. Vinod Ganatra from India, Ms. Fereshteh Taerpour from Iran, Mr. Faith Isiakpere from Nigeria, Mr. Andrzej Roman Jasiewicz from Poland and Ms. Li Hong from China.

Sannette, introduced Cinekid by showing a short film and then she explained about Cinekid goals. She also introduced Cinekid activities as: festivals, Cinekid for professionals (coproduction market, conferences, screening club) and Cinekid education (media literacy).

Then she gave explanations about 3 important factors about children’s films: Scenario (what makes a children’s film), Values (know your audiences) and Direction (how to realize a children’s film). At the end, she talked about an agreement on coproduction of films and documentaries between China and Netherlands which is expecting to be signed by the end of 2014.

Vinod was the next speaker. The title of his speech was: “Breaking myth about children”. After Thanking Dr. Hou and other organizers of the forum he said: “There is a ‘MYTH’ about working with children. I have travelled the world over with my 3 films and many people asked me ‘How do you find working with children? My answer is ‘I enjoy working with children ’. I am sure film makers here will have the same answer. This is because I am a storyteller not a teacher. In fact, I have learned many lessons from children.

Then he continued with some of his memories with children during film making and the way that children teach us.

Ms. Fereshteh Taerpour, was the third speaker. The title she talked about was: “My experience on making children’s films in Iran”. She said: “The Children Cinema should be reviewed, designed and performed as a chain. A chain of research, production, distribution, marketing and showing…. We as the children filmmakers; must make the films that acknowledge them with our past and their future. We are in shortage of time and the children grow up very fast. We should make films For them not in the Name of them. Learning filmmaking techniques isn’t so hard, but having love in your heart and an aim in your mind and creativity in your work are the most important things. No country and no culture can have a good cinema for the children all over the world without them.” 

The fourth speaker was Mr. Faith Isiakpere. The topic he talked about was: “Producing quality media for children – educational series for children and young people – Mandela Africa – Egypt”. After showing a short animation film about Nelson Mandela, Faith talked about a documentary which is going to be made on the base of Mandela’s personal diary.“The aim of Mandela’s Africa – 50 years later; is to map this journey, and in so doing, to assess Africa, its challenges and triumphs, between 1962 and 2012” he said.

The next speaker of this part was Andrzej Roman Jasiewicz. He is producer, writer, film director, stage director and the founder of the polish–British Film Foundation for Young Audiences. The topic he talked about was: “Something about international films”.

The last speaker was Ms. Li Hong who talked about useful methods on making a children’s film. She said:”After having finished 14 children’s films in 13 years, I’m very glad to share with you my own experience in film making.” After talking about the details of her experiences, she said: “let us work harder to make ourselves a qualified film maker who has the taste, the virtue and the patience.”

The hostess of topic 2 was Ms. Firdoze Bulbulia from south Africa and the speakers were: Ms. Ema Pendiuc from Romania, Ms. Maikki Kantola from Finland, Mr. Dragan Milinkovic Fimon from Serbia, Ms. Christine L. Mendoza from USA AND Mr. Zhang Haibo from China.

Ema was the first speaker. She introduced herself and explained about how Little Stars School; the first School of Film and Television for Children in Romania, dedicated exclusively to children aged 5 to 12 years old; was established. Then after showing a short film about Little Stars School, she talked about foundation, goals and activities of her school and also the positive effects that such activities can have on the children.

Then Maikki talked about film workshops as a part of media education. She talked about the aims and benefits of the media education. She believes that Film Education can be considered as a part of media education and film-making can be a new language to communicate and also can be as a form of therapy- projects. It also gives the self confidence to the participants. At the end she said: “Film is a tool for activism. It’s possible to educate and make educational material, health and environment.”

The next speaker was Professor Dragan Milinkovic Fimon who talked about “Film in Schools”. First he talked about film’s power of speech. Then after proposing the question “What have the schools done for correcting education of the young members?”,he explained important responsibilities of the schools. In the next step, he talked about how films could be used in schools. At the end he concluded: “Since using Film is the topic of the day and its get more popular day by day, schools must analyze and pay attention to the existing condition of Film. Possibly, such a Film course has been predicted as an addition to literature course. This possibility and also other countries experiences can be used where Film course has been earlier established.”

The last speaker was Christine L. Mendoza who talked about “youth media education and social engagement”

First she talked about the aims and purpose of youth media in the USA. Then she talked about youth media genres. She explained about the Educational Video Center which is a 30 year old, Emmy Award winning youth media organization based in NYC that works with youth in a holistic way to develop. At last she talked about social engagement.

Haibo Zhang (Abo Sir) was the last speaker. He talked about the research they had done on the children’s media literacy education, research and practice. The results showed that the children are now another generation, they are another kind of person, they are “Digital Natives”. Children in the new media environment need to have the ability to “media literacy”. In the new media era, parents, teachers and children need to improve media literacy. So at the end of 2013, Guangzhou children’s media literacy education center was set up in China. The center has had many training courses, experimental classes and campus lectures in the field of media literacy for children, parents and teachers.

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