Not many good news stories come out of Pakistan these days but the Lahore International Children’s film festival (www.lahorehildrenfilm.com) is definitely one of them. Its declared aims are ‘ to screen the best films made for and by children from around the world… and to educate children through new media and film on a number of topics such as, cultural understanding, peace, religious harmony, global citizenship and environment. Our festival is also trying to revive the tradition of collective movie watching experience in Pakistan. We hope to nurture children to become future filmmakers or at least appreciate the art of film and support it in their future lives.’
The Festival was started in 2008 by Shoaib Iqbal the hugely energetic and visionary director of a Lahore-based children’s arts organisation, The Little Art (www.thelittleart.org).It has since grown from a relatively modest event in Lahore, drawing audiences of 14,000 in its first year to a festival travelling across 6 cities bringing together a total of 40,000 children to watch an international selection of films; last year they screened 83 films from 33 countries. There are also filmmaking workshops for children and sessions for teachers on using film in the classroom.
This year the Festival will also be a competition and they are inviting international submission in 6 categories: Best Children’s Feature Film, Best Animation Feature Film, Best Short Film (Animation), Best Short Film (Live Action), Pakistani Cinema, Best Child Made Film. So if you are a producer why not support the festival by submitting a film? There is no fee for submission. The deadline for entry is May 31st. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to submit.
Another founding aim of the Festival is to encourage Pakistani filmmakers to make films for children. The Festival is also already working with young professionals there to produce short films for their young audiences. There is very little indigenous children’s television in Pakistan and films made for children are almost non-existent so growing an audience is a key element in encouraging more production for children.