News ID: 230803
Published: 0147 GMT September 04, 2018

Swiss film expert: Children's film festivals vital for familiarity with global cultures

Swiss film expert: Children's film festivals vital for familiarity with global cultures

A Swiss film expert underscored the vital role of international youth-based film festivals in making the children and teenagers familiar with cultures around the world.

Beatrix Sartori told a reporter from Iran's International Film Festival for Children and Youth that an annual Switzerland children film event named 'Cinemagia' is similar to the event in Iran and seeks to promote international cultural knowledge among youngsters.

Born in 1959 in the German district of Switzerland, Sartori is a member of Locarno Parent's Group Association's Management Committee and has been the arts director of Cinemagia Film Festival since 2001.

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?

BEATRIX SARTORI: 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 in 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 filmmakers 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 about Iranian cinema?

I like the Iranian cinema very much. In our Cinemagia Festival, we screened several films by Iran 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 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 can filmmakers in your country gain finance to produce 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 status 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 helpful is cinema 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 features made by Western countries or are they interested in national-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 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 began on August 30 and will end today. It features local and foreign films as well as some movie experts as members of the panel of jury.


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