Jordan’s first children’s film festival: Cinema to inspire young imaginations

cinema and film production
(Photos: Envato Elements/IMDb)
The first edition of the Jordan Children’s Film Festival will open today, giving young Jordanians the chance to develop their critical thinking and communication skills through animated and live-action films.اضافة اعلان

The festival, organized by Royal Film Commission, will feature daily free screenings from November 24 to 27 at the Rainbow Theater in Amman. It is the first festival of its kind in the Kingdom, and one of only a few in the region focused on children’s cinema.

During the screenings, children and their families will have the opportunity to view a variety of recent Arab and international productions, some suitable for children over 10 years of age and some for those above six.

Children’s films take their young viewers on a journey, with colorful and attractive scenes and emotive characters. Indeed, children tend to have much more imaginative perspectives than adults. Films designed for young audiences select imagery that will speak to young minds, even if they do not capture all the subtleties of the narration.

Films for children can also serve as a valuable aid to learning, allowing children to expand their knowledge of the world and language, develop their emotional intelligence, and expose them to spheres of life that may spark their passion for pursuits or stimulate the development of skills.

A learning experience
Cinema is one of the most remarkable forms of entertainment. However, many are unaware of the many advantages the seventh art offers for little ones.

Beyond entertainment, children’s films are educational. Through cinema, young ones can quickly pick up new vocabulary, expanding their lexicons. They can also expand their knowledge about world cultures, history, nature, science, and much more.

Another advantage of the cinema relates to the emotions it arouses in children, who are deeply impressed by what they see and hear in general — but much more when their attention is wrapped up in actions and dialogues appearing on-screen. Age-appropriate productions are tailored to guide children to identify other people’s emotions, understand social relationships, and pinpoint features of their  — or another — culture.

Quality films also convey positive and strong values, helping children to learn life lessons. Cinema that touches on delicate or controversial subjects in a manner tailored for young audiences can promote discussions between parents and children.

Finally, films help children learn other languages. The combination of action and sound effects can enhance foreign dialogues in a way that facilitates the development of a second language. Also, the conversations between characters on screen tend to be natural and dialectical, exposing young ears to authentic language.

The film festival features four narrative family movies, as follows.

Jackie and Oopjen (2020)November 24

A fun comedic romp through the art world with lots of spirit and energy, Jackie and Oopjen is about 12-year-old Jackie, who finds a second home at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, where her mother works. While Jackie wanders around after hours, Oopjen Coppit (from Rembrandt’s famous painting) suddenly appears in front of her, on a quest for her long-lost sister.

Jackie is used to solving other people’s problems and decides to take the painted woman home, so they can search for her sister. For Oopjen, the 21st century is a big adventure. For Jackie, the true adventure is in finally gaining a real best friend.

Jim Button and the Wild 13 (2020)November 25

In this sequel to “Jim Button and Luke the locomotive driver”, Dennis Gansel once again takes on the challenge of making a real children’s adventure film out of a Michael Ende fantasy novel. The two main characters, Jim Button (Solomon Gordon) and train engineer Lukas (Henning Baum), are starting off on a new adventure.

Dark clouds are gathering over the tranquil island where the pair lives: The pirate gang “Die Wilde 13” has found out that the previous film’s antagonist, Mrs Grindtooth (voiced by Judy Winter) has been defeated and now wants to take revenge. Meanwhile, Princess Li Si (Leighanne Esperenzante) is visiting Jim Button. Jim can confide in her his biggest secret: He finally wants to know the truth about his origins. In order to unravel the mystery and protect the land from another threat, the heroes embark on a dangerous adventure together with the steam engines Emma and Molly.

With elaborate CGI, the film imitates the look of a puppet theater. With enormous effort involved in production and animation, Jim and Lukas’ world appears like a model railway.

Six short films will also be screened on November 25: Bridge, Tuta and Zagzoog, I wish to Fly, White Night, A Shot of Support, and Corvine in addition to the feature film.

A Butterfly’s Heart (2021)November 26

This dreamy film deals with themes such as raising children, self-worth, and bullying. It is full of wonderful shots of nature, featuring insects lovingly cared for by a boy.

This is the story of 10-year-old Juozapas, a boy who survived a difficult birth with a rare but real condition of his heart beating outside of his chest. Throughout his young life, Juozapas has tried to avoid much interaction with other children, just to play it safe. Indeed, the center of his world is the magnificent deserted house nearby.

His closest friends are the many insects who occupy a terrarium, lovingly crafted by the boy in the form of a hotel. When a young girl named Rugilė arrives in town, Juozapas begins to discover new ways of seeing life and himself. Sensitive and charming, A Butterfly’s Heart is a beautiful story of one boy’s quest to find acceptance in an often-unforgiving world.

The film encourages children not to be afraid, to be themselves, to trust their friends, and to immerse themselves in the carefree summer of childhood.

Wolfwalkers (2020)27 November

Through a clever mix of graphic prowess and eclectic style, facetious voices embodied by a bewitching energy, particularly neat sound effects, and fluid and dynamic narration, Wolfwalkers impresses us as much by its technical composition as by its aesthetics. Taken from an old and little-known fable of Irish folklore, this third part of a trilogy initiated by Tomm Moore (following The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea) explores Celtic legends and Anglo-Irish history and beliefs.

In 19th century Ireland in a small town called Kilkenny, an influx of wolves has overwhelmed the ecosystem. A father and his young daughter Robin have just moved to town, seeking to address this threat. The film deals with themes of oppression, colonization, religious freedoms, and traditions, as well as the delicate balance between nature and industrialization. The visuals, created with a unique combination of 2D wood blocking and line drawing, both inform the narrative story and transport viewers to a mystical world.

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