Tel Aviv International Children’s Film Festival Goes Green
Written by: Ayelet Dekel
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” – The Tel Aviv International Children’s Film Festival opened last night, Sunday, July 22, 2012 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, with host Tal Moseri quoting the well-known Native American proverb. Now in its 8th edition, this year’s festival places an emphasis on children and the environment, with a view to creating a better future for all. As Festival Director Michal Matos said, “Creating for children is like creating for adults, it just demands more responsibility, imagination and the ability to listen.” The festival’s opening film was Nicostratos the Pelican (Greece/France 2011), starring Emir Kusturica, one of the films participating in the International Competition.
Today will be an especially green day at the festival, with features and documentaries relating to children and the environment, children and animals, the KUKI program (a part of Interfilm – The International Short film Festival of Berlin with films about children from different parts of the world), and a new festival event: A solar-powered Hyde Park. Taking place at 17:00 on the Tel Aviv Cinematheque Plaza, a solar-powered stage will be set up for children only, to take a stand and answer the question: What kind of future do we want? The event is produced in cooperation with Eco-Cinema and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and will be filmed and uploaded to Facebook, ensuring that the children’s voices will be heard just about everywhere!
Last night’s opening was festive indeed, beginning with a dance number by young dancers from the Orli Tassa Studio in Givatayim. In attendance were French Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot; Greek Ambassador to Israel Kyriakos Loukakis; festival guests film producer Jan van der Zanden (Netherlands), director Mischa Kamp (Netherlands); and jury members: head of jury, director and screenwriter Dan Wolman (Israel); producer Marjo Kovanen (Finland); KUKI Kids Film Festival program coordination Monica Koshka-Stein (Germany); director and actor Åsleik Engmark (Norway); and members of the youth jury: Ariel Ferdman, Yonatan Yosefzon, Ram Shachar, Ron Pirotsky, Michaela Cohen, Turhi Nivin, Uri Noy, Gal Grudka, Asal Siskin, Sophie Maxine Carmon, Itamar Erez, Yoav Assulin, Asher Shaked Timor.
Tel Aviv –Yafo Mayor Ron Huldai greeted the audience, and referring to issues of education in Israel and the discussion of establishing “core subjects” said, “Music, art, dance and theatre are the core subjects of education for democracy in Israel.” Midnight East says: Amen.
It was a most festive evening indeed, with a heart-warming surprise: Alon Garbuz, Director of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, presented Gila Almagor-Agmon, Festival Chairwoman with a bouquet of flower balloons in honor of her birthday! The acclaimed actress and author said, “This is the best birthday ever – since I was ten years old and had a birthday and no one came, I don’t celebrate my birthday.” (Almagor’s childhood memoirs are beautifully recalled in her books The Summer of Avia, and Under The Domim Tree – both have been adapted to film, and the second will be screened at the festival).
International is more than just a word in this festival, with its dedication to opening as many channels of communication as possible through films and workshops. On this note, the performance of a chorus of parents from the Bialik-Rogozin school in Tel Aviv, singing a version of Israeli poet Chaim Nachman Bialik’s “Take Me Under Your Wing – Hachnisini Tachat Kanfech” was a moving celebration with plenty of groove.