Swiss film expert: Children filmfest vital in familiarizing them with different global cultures

Tehran, Sept 3, IRNA - A Swiss movie-savvy has underscored the vital role of international youth-based film festivals in familiarizing children and teenagers with different cultures all around the globe.

In an interview with IRNA reporter, Beatrix Sartori expressed her views with regard to children and youth film festivals, while mentioning an annual Swiss children film event named ‘Cinemagia’ similar to Iran’s that targets the promotion of international cultural knowledge among youngsters.

Born in 1959 in the German district of Switzerland, she is a member of ‘Locarno Parents Group Association’s Management Committee. Since 2001, she has been the artistic director of ‘Cinemagia’ Film Festival.

According to Sartori, ‘Cinemagia’is a movie gathering which takes place every year in October with screenings during the week for all levels of school classes and for families on the weekends. In the summer, she organizes film workshops for kids and teenagers, where the kids produce an animated short film or a fiction picture, under the supervision of an adult.
Excerpts from the interview follow:

Reporter: What is the status of children and youth cinema in your country?

In Switzerland, we have four regions with different languages. There is the Swiss German region, the French region, the Italian region, and the Grisons region. In the Swiss German region, the production of new movies is higher than other regions, so a part of them are also movies for kids.

How much do writers care about children in your country?

We have some famous stories for kids from Switzerland, so these books have been used to make family films. There are for example: ‘Heidi’, ‘Rascals on the road’, ‘ma vie de Courgette’, ‘Schellenursli’ and ‘Molly Monster’. In Locarno, we have now a film school, so some young and active film makers are encouraged to produce short and feature films for adults as well as for children and youth (in the short film competition you can find a work from a young filmmaker from Ticino).

What do you know about Iran's children and youth cinema and in general the Iranian cinema?

I like the Iranian cinema very much. In our Cinemagia Festival, we screened several films from Iranian directors including Jafar Panahi, Abbas Kiarostami, and Babak Payami.

Cinema helps us better understand each other's life, and understanding our own world is one of the goals of life; how can cinema succeed in this respect?

Yes, this is the main purpose of our festival as well. For all films that we screen in the program,we create educational cards for kids and teachers to encourage discussion and understanding of other cultures.

Tell us about the importance of hosting by Iran’s International Film Festival for Children and Youth in the Middle East?

I hope I will learn more about the current production of Iran's children and youth cinema, and discover some new Iranian directors.

How in your country can film makers get finance to produce their cinematic products?

I have heard from directors that it is not so easy to receive financial support in Switzerland.

How serious is the competition in children and youth cinema in your country?

There is no competition, because there are not so many films for children and youth.

How do you assess the situation of Iranian cinema in the world?

I think Iranian cinema is well known in Switzerland, especially in our region ‘the Ticino’ because of the Locarno Festival.

How much is cinema helpful in preparing children and youth as future adults?

We organize our festival because we think that it is important for kids to see and understand how lives of children and adults can be very different in other countries. Furthermore, we hope that they can learn about the variety all over the world, and keep it in mind as a positive memory when they become adults.

In your country, are children attracted to watching features made by western countries or are interested in nationally-oriented cinema?

Most of the films screened in cinema are western films, but if there are Swiss films in the dubbed version of our different languages they are very attracted.

Iran’s International Film Festival for Children and Youth is a week-long event, held in the central province of Isfahan. The latest edition of this festival is slated for August 30 to September 5, featuring various local and foreign films as well as some movie experts as members of the jury.


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