Exciting times ahead in films for children ( and everyone interested) and we spoke to Asa Baldursdottir, the events program director
First we wanted to get to know how the festival started
The Cultural House Bio Paradis has since 2011 offered film education, that is now available for all school ages under the tutelage of a film scholar, Oddny Sen, that has developed the curriculum and it can therefor be said that there is a new generation emerging that has enjoyed a strengthened ability for film recognition and knowledge. We thought it would be an obvious follow up to form the first and only International Children’s Film Festival in Reykjavik at Bio Paradis and so introduce the ideology that lies behind a film festival for children and teenagers.The International Children’s Film Festival will be held at Bio Paradis for the fifth time from April 5th to the 15th. The festival has grown and is a staple of Icelandic cultural events, that has made its mark in the film culture of children and teenagers. The festivals protector is Vigdis Finnbogadottir, the former president of Iceland. The purpose of the festival is to open a venue for children, teenagers and their families to see interesting and quality films from all over the world that would otherwise not be shown in Iceland. The festival has increased the diversity of films for children, enhanced the film literacy and is an opportunity for the whole family to go to ambitious events and enjoy some high quality programming. Families have the chance to enjoy interesting films together outside of school hours where the youngest generation gets to know the concept of a “film festival”. This years chosen theme is tolerance.
And what does Asa do within the festival?
I am the programming director, which happens to be my full time job at Bio Paradis. Hronn Sveinsdottir, my co-worker, and I have been working this project from the beginning – but the challenges are many to work through. To begin with it has been very difficult to get the children’s films that have been made in Iceland in cinema worthy condition. We get many requests each year for certain titles, that we simply can not show, and that is a shame. This seems to be a common problem in Icelandic film culture, and we feel this needs to be addressed. But this year we will for the first time be offering an Icelandic film premiere , “Adam”, directed by Maria Solrun, as well as we will be having in attendance both Maria Solrun and her son, who is the lead actor in the film, the talented Magnus Mariuson, as well as Jim Stark, the films producer is looking into if he can attend. We will also be showing all six episodes of “Nonni and Manni”, which is one of the most beloved television show in Iceland for the family, directed by Agust Gudmundsson. We should also mention that we will be showing the american remake of “Benjamin Dufa”, “Benji the Dove”, but many Icelanders were involved in the making of the film.
Another big problem is that there are no domestic funds to apply to to dub or subtitle material for children and teenagers. It is really an access issue, where our choice of material narrows significantly and we need to be quite resourceful to solve this problem. This year we will be showing 4 dubbed children’s films, “Doktor Proktor og timabadkarid”, which is the festivals opening film, “Doktor Proktor og prumpuduftid”, “Graenuvellir- sjuklegt svinari” and “Krummi” – the first two being live action films based on the popular children’s books by Jo Nesbo, and the latter two we are showing in cooperation with Myndform. We have applied for a dubbing grant to Nordisk Film And Tv Fund for nordic childrens films, but we have not yet been able to apply for funds for dubbing films from other countries.Regarding the films we will be showing with Icelandic subtitles, we mostly work with the foreign embassies in Iceland, but there often is a lack of funding to support this kind of venture. We have however always subtitled one french film at each of our festival with the support of the French Embassy in Iceland.
Where do the films originate from?
But the most popular films we show are classics, our so called “nostalgic shows”. This year we will be showing “Stand by me”, “The Karate Kid” and “The Lion King” (in the original English version)
Any interesting events you would like to mention?
During the festival we will be offering courses- one of them is sketch writing for teenagers 13-15 years old held by Dora Johannsdottir, but she formed the improvisational group “Improv Iceland” and was the head writer of the Annual Comedy Show here in Iceland in 2017. Another is an acting course for younger children, 9-12 years old, directed by Olafur Sk. Thorvaldz, focusing on how to prepare for film auditions.We are also showing japanese films in cooperation with the Japanese Embassy, “Princess Mononoke” and “In this corner of the world”. After the showing of “Princess Mononoke” our guests will be able to get the names transcribed in Japanese with elegant calligraphy. Not to for get our opening ceremony, which is free of charge, everyone is welcome, Science Villi will be there with a demonstration and the opening film will be shown, dubbed in Icelandic, “Doktor Proktor og timabadkarid”
We thank Asa for all the information and of course encourage you all to help future generations create their own nostalgic memories by taking them to the movies !