The Athens International Children’s Film Festival returns for its 2nd edition focused on providing a cinematic experience that caters to a wide spectrum of audiences. A grand celebration for all children and their families, it provides entertainment, creativity, communication, community spirit and education from 18 to 24 November at the Megaron Athens Concert Hall and Danaos Cinema, with school screenings (18-22 November) and an original and delectable screening program for everyone (22-24 November).
This year’s Festival premiere will take place on Friday 22 November, at the SOS Children’s Village in Vari with the film “Binti” by Frederike Migom in the presence of the filmmaker and the protagonist of the film. Besides the premiere, the children are invited to watch the full screening programme and partake in all the activities of the festival at Megaron Athens Concert Hall and Danaos Cinema, and the guests will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the work of the SOS Children’s Villages and find out more about how they can participate.
“Binti”, dir. Frederike Migom, Belgium (2019)
The Festival presents a comprehensive cinematic programme with films for all ages: animated films for children aged 3 or older, short films with no dialogue or with live on-stage dubbing for children up to 8 years old, films with Greek subtitles for children who feel “older,” a specially designed programme for teenagers, educational activities and workshops and two original initiatives: the Crybaby Matinee and Baby & Me.
Crybaby Matinee: Families can come to the cinema with their babies in their arms to watch “Downton Abbey: The Movie” in a child-friendly screening event. The screening room is adapted to allow prams, baby-chairs and easy movement to allow parents to experience cinema in an understanding and supportive environment.
Baby & Me: This year, the Festival offers infants, babies and children up to 3 years of age their first experience of cinema, through screenings specially designed for this age group. With cute animated films playing in the background, babies will be able to crawl walk or run around in a specially prepared screening space with soft surfaces, dim lights and low volume.
“Racetime”, dir. Benoît Godbout, Francois Brichot, Canada (2018)
This year’s edition includes screenings in remote regions of Greece: Coinciding with the main screening programme in Athens, children from ages 6+ will watch part of the Festival programme at the Silk Museum in Soufli and the Roof tile and Brickworks Museum N. & S. Tsalapatas in Volos.
“By holding the premiere at the SOS Children’s Village in Vari and by hosting students from the island of Arki and the village of Pramanta in Ioannina, we intend to bring children’s content and the Festival experience to as many children as possible,” says Festival President Amanda Livanou. “This year, among other things, we are presenting a daring programme for children 13 years or older, encouraging the parents of teenagers to watch films with their children. The Teen Spirit section speaks the language of the young, with themes and subjects that are not easily discussed at the dinner table,” says Festival Director Calliope Charalambous-Krief.
“Zibilla”, dir. Isabelle Favez,Switzerland/Belgium/France (2019)
This year’s Spotlights feature:
“Animanimals” ATHICFF presents a selection from the beloved popular series of short films for ages 3+ directed by Julia Ocker. The award-winning creator makes shorts starring incredible animals on entertaining and funny adventures.
“Stereotypes, Spotlight on Gender Equality” A curated programme of short films for children ages 12 years or older, young girls from as far as Scandinavia and Israel stand up to a society that tries, and ultimately fails, to quash their dreams and desires.
“A Modest Defeat”, dir. David Barr, UK (2018)
Sensory-friendly screenings Part of the programme will be sensory-friendly for children on the autism spectrum (appropriate lighting and sound, appropriate distance between audience members. Illustrated educational materials will be made available).
Playroom and Foyer Activities In the foyer of Dimitris Mitropoulos Hall at the Megaron Athens Concert Hall, a specially designed playroom awaits, where children can play with educational applications on tablets, with WRO Football by Stem Education (Organisation for Educational Robotics, Science, Technology & Mathematics) and with “Building Hope,” the interactive installation / a huge toy by renowned artist Mark Hatzipateras, with brightly coloured pillows whose scale and technical specs are suitable for small children. The children and their guardians are invited to play creatively, assembling, building and composing, either by themselves or all together, entire cities, buildings, bridges and all sorts of environments.