Films for the Family at the London Film Festival

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The London Film Festival ( 9th – 20th October) offers a rare opportunity to see some films from around the world the whole family can enjoy. This year there is a Gala screening of Foosball 3D, an animated feature. Anyone who saw the Oscar-winning The Secret in their Eyes should be intrigued as it’s made by the same Argentinian director Juan José Campanella….Also in the Family section are features from South Africa, Germany , France, Spain, Denmark and a Uruguay/Colombia co-production, Anina. Good to see so many live –action films in the mix too and also a rare UK contribution to the family film catalogue, Side by Side, a first feature from director Arthur Landon. Trailers for most of them can be found on YouTube (or Vimeo for The Kids from the Port) if you want to get a taste, and hopefully an appetite. But look beyond the family section too – there may well be other movies lurking under categories that could also be of interest: in particular we spied The Rocket in the ‘Journey’ section which was in Generation K Plus at this year’s Berlinale. It won the Chrystal Bear ( the main prize in Generation) and is reviewed in our April blog by Laura Kloss.

It’s a pity the Family section of the Festival is still the smallest – a total of 8 feature films out of a total of 234 in the Festival -and perhaps the least publicised. But if we want more in future years the Festival needs to be convinced they will attract a big audience – so vote with your feet and go!

Foreign language films have subtitles but some will also have an actor reading the text which younger views can listen to through headphones. But why not suggest they try without them first – they may find it easier than they think!
More information on all the film at : www.bfi.org.uk/lff

Jenny Thompson

‘Scary Stories’ DVD release: vintage films for a new generation of children

Scary Stories

 

Ever heard of the Children’s Film and TV Foundation? It was founded in 1951 by Lord Rank ( he of the Rank Organization – if you’re old enough you may remember the iconic ‘Gong Man’) and funded by the Eady Levy, with the enlightened aim of making British films for British children. Over more than 50 years of activity it produced well over 150 low-budget features and TV series. Sadly it’s now defunct, as try though it did, it could not persuade the Lottery Film Fund, nor anyone else to provide niche funding for children’s films after the demise of the Eady Levy. However the CFTF’s catalogue of films has been handed to the BFI who are gradually releasing some of the highlights on DVD.

Scary Stories the 4th volume of the CFTF collection is released on September 23rd, including a film by John Krish, Out of the Darkness.

Krish also directed another film The Salvage Gang which follows the adventures of three children in pursuit of a bed through the streets of late 50’s London. I showed it to a group of primary school children and asked them to tell me all the things that seemed different about the lives of children then compared with now. They produced some fascinating responses, not least of which was the greater respect with which the adult characters treated the children! It’s also a great film to show to demonstrate the many ways in which London has changed since those children’s grandparents were young. The Salvage Gang is included in London Tales (Vol 1), and other volumes are titled The Race is On (Vol2) and Weird Adventures (Vol 3) , which includes neglected films by Powell and Pressburger (The Boy who Turned Yellow) and Alberto Cavalcanti.

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I’m including the DVD titles because the BFI make them very hard to find out about on their website and they don’t seem to be listed under the ‘Family’ section of the BFI shop website. The only sure way to find them seems to be to type their titles into the Search bar. They can be ordered from the BFI and also from Amazon.

Jenny Thompson