Zlin 49th international film festival for children and youth 2009, report by Rita Freitas
The 49th International Film Festival for Children and Youth took place during the week of 31.5.2009 to 7.6.2009. It is one of the longest film festivals running in Europe set in the city of Zlín, an industrial town which is famous for its Bata Company, the shoes trademark. Zlín is a very nice city, full of trees and green areas. Before it calls Zlín, this town was “The Green City”, which explains how green it is!
This year the members of FICC Jury were: Rita de Freitas (Portugal), Tania Patrini (Italy) and Josef Korvas (Czech Republic). The 3 members of the jury were supposed to see 15 films belonging to the 2 main competitions sections. We viewed 15 international feature films - 7 for children and 8 for youth - in 5 days. There were about 199 competing films and also in other non-competitive sections, like documentary, animations, old Czech movies and a retrospective of Spanish cinema.
About the films screened during the festival in the 2 main competitive sections, many were very commercial. We found several films mostly addressed to children and young audience, although some of them had a moral message that young people don't grasp.
In the beginning the FICC Jury had some difficulties in understanding which films to see, because the organization of the festival expected us to judge the movies belonging 3 different categories which unfortunately were screened simultaneously. Therefore our work was focused on two categories only: Children and Youth. This matter should have been cleared up between FICC and the festival organization before the event.
The FICC award, the Don Quijote Prize, was given to "Cobardes" directed by Juan Cruz and José Corbacho. It is about the bullying problem in schools. The directors treated the subject in a very simple but direct and cruel way. The film is suitable for young and adult audience and would be an interesting addition to film society programmes. The jury decided not to give any Special Mention to any other film in the competition. In fact there were not many remarkable films, except for a Danish film “Max Embarrassing” that won the main prize for Feature Films for Children and Youth and a Canadian one “C’est pas moi, je le jure!” by Philippe Falardeau that had already been awarded by FICC in TromsŘ Film Festival.
We saw films from other sections, mostly in International Competition of full-length European Debuts, where we could appreciate the awarded film “Pa-ra-da” directed by Marco Pontecorvo.
Besides the main cinema, there were 6 screening cinemas located close to each other. This was really good because we didn't need any transportation to move from one place to another, although the hotel where some members of the jury stayed wasn't close to the cinemas.
Because of the busy schedule there was not much time to visit Zlín. The festival staff prepared a visit to a nearby city, but not in Zlín. Fortunately, Josef Korvas, Czech member of the jury, kindly took us on a tour around the Batas Company town, which was very pleasant.
As members of the festival jury we were warmly welcomed and the stay in the Czech Republic was really enjoyable thanks to the assistance of Pavla Jahodova, our jury secretary and interpreter.
Rita de Freitas, member of the FICC Jury 2009.
URL of the festival: www.zlinfest.cz
STATEMENT: 49TH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH
ZLÍN, CZECH REPUBLIC, 2009
This year the FICC jury of the Zlín Film Festival, consisting of Rita de Freitas (Portugal), Tania Patrini (Italy) and Josef Korvas (Czech Republic), gave the DON QUIJOTE Prize to the Spanish film "Cobardes" directed by Juan Cruz and José Corbacho.
At the beginning the jury members didn’t get to a consensual decision, but after a long discussion the final decision was made and it was unanimous.
The film awarded broaches an actual problem in schools and families: bullying. Although there are many films about bullying nowadays, this one shows us in a very simple way how cruel a child can be. The main reason that was very relevant in jury decison was the element of surprise in the end of the film when the main character become - maybe - a bully himself.
The jury also appreciated the careful photography that matched the subject of the film and lead the spectator through a close look at the 12-years-old boy, letting us sympathize with him.
No Special Mention was given to any other film in the two main categories: Feature Films for Children and Youth.
Rita de Freitas