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Kristiansand International Children's Film Festival 2006, by Christine Müh

The Kristiansand Childrens Film Festival, which took place for the 9th time in the region of Sørlandet in Norway, was an experience. A very good one for a member of the FIFS international jury which awarded the Don Quijote Award over for the first time in the festivals history.

The prize was to be given to one of the nine films running in the Youth Film section “Absolut ungdom!” for 14 year olds and above. The main programme of the festival consisted of 15 new international children films, buut there was more than that. Altogether more than 90 fiction films, documentaries, short films, essay films and children film classics were screened. As if this carefully selected programme was not enough, the festival was accompanied by a number of fantastic workshops and seminars. I was most fascinated by the workshops held by very experienced animation film artists - such as silhouette animation, plasticine animation, and cut-out animation. They were partly attended by school classes, the children allowed to take part had been picked carefully after their handed-in drawings.

There were a lot of school classes and families visiting the festival. And again it was fascinating to see the language skills of young Scandinavians: for Norwegian kids it is no problem at all to watch for example an Italian or South-African film with English subtitles and enjoy it! As a German one gets a bit envious thinking of how few good international childrens films will be dubbed into German and that a German adult is often is incapable of watching subtitled films- not to speak of children.

Our section of the festival, the youth-section, was not always very well attended though. Sometimes there was only the jury present, which made it hard to imagine how a young audience would react to the film. However, the selection of films was of very high quality. Still we easily agreed on the winner film: Koti-Ikävä/Homesick by Petri Kotwica. My jury colleagues were Hilde Gard (Tromsø Children Film Club) and Jette Carlsen (Danish Filmclubs for Children and Youth) and I enjoyed working with them a lot. All the international and Norwegian guests were accommodated in the same hotel just around the corner of the festival cinema “Fønix” and we were very well looked after. Almost every night there was a special event for the festival guests – be it a sightseeing tour to the local brewery or an invitation by Kristiansand Film Club for a shrimp dinner on an island. These social events added a very special atmosphere to the festival. It was easy to get in touch with people and I met a lot of really interesting and friendly international colleagues and Kristiansand locals.
So I hope to be back next year! A very recommendable and charming festival!

Christine Müh, Die Linse e.V.