In view of the rapidly increasing screen time among children and young people, the ZFF plans to promote media literacy. Zurich Film Festival and Generali Switzerland already teamed up last year to make its “ZFF for Kids” a year-round event at Sihlcity. Due to high interest, the “ZFF Studio by Generali and filmkids.ch” was also recently launched to compliment the bi-monthly workshops and film premieres. The six-month programme (course language: German) sees children aged between 8 and 13 learn about the various stages of film production and create their own short film, which then premieres at the 18th Zurich Film Festival (Sept. 22-Oct. 2, 2022).
ZFF Artistic Director Christian Jungen is particularly keen to implement the strategy to expand the range of events for children: “As a film festival, we see it as our social responsibility not only to curate and present a high-quality programme, but also to enable and promote the active and critical examination of moving images.”
“The importance of active film and media education can hardly be overstated in times of the TikTok and Netflix boom,” emphasises Yvonne Augustin, ZFF’s Head of Educational Programme. Particularly as the risks of excessive media consumption can best be prevented, according to the FOPH website, “by promoting media literacy”. Exchange with professional filmmakers encourages the children to reflect, thus giving them the freedom to form and express their own opinions – be that in the process of filming their own stories, or while sharing their thoughts with professionals during the discussion that follows the movie experience.
Launched in March, the “Studio by Generali and filmkids.ch” offers children the opportunity to experience at first-hand the exciting journey that is the making of a professional film. From story and script development to camera resolution settings, acting, sound, editing and post-production, they get to work on their own short film over the course of six months. The finished product will be premiered at Arena Cinemas Sihlcity on September 25 at the 18th Zurich Film Festival. The project allows children to creatively explore those topics that concern them or that they find amusing. The public screening also gives young film talent the opportunity to engage in dialogue both with like-minded people and those who think differently.
“I am particularly delighted that the expansion of the programme aimed at the youngest film fans has been made possible thanks to the dedication and cooperation of the filmmakers and of our partners”, says the Artistic Director about the strategic focus. The ZFF has been committed to promoting young talent since its inception: The three competition categories screen only first, second or third directorial works. “It thus acts as a springboard for newcomers such as, for example, Cary Joji Fukunaga, the director of the most recent Bond film NO TIME TO DIE, whose film SIN NOMBRE screened in competition at the ZFF in 2009,” explains Jungen.
The elaborate media education programme is only possible thanks to the generous support of Generali Switzerland, the Main Partner of “ZFF for Kids”, and the long-standing partner Sihlcity. Both partners not only support the project financially, but also provide creative ideas, and personnel resources. Mike Fuhrmann, CMO of Generali Switzerland, affirms the expansion of their commitment as follows: “Every child has a hidden talent. Promoting this talent early on in creative workshops is a special concern of ours. That’s why we are delighted to be able to offer a comprehensive support programme with the ZFF, where children can tell their own stories on film. These days, every child with a smartphone has the chance to develop a cinematic voice. When we give children the necessary tools to do so, we are fulfilling our social responsibility.”
The workshops and Studio courses are led by coaches from the film school filmkids.ch, which has already given thousands of children an insight into the filmmaking business since it was founded 15 years ago. Simone Häberling, the school’s founder and Managing Director, beamed: “We are delighted to pool our skills and take advantage of synergies. We have expertise in filmmaking and film acting, the ZFF in curating and organising great premieres. Like making a film, it only works if you pull together as a team.”
“It is also particularly important for us to welcome all children, regardless of their origin, financial means or special needs,” continues Yvonne Augustin. “We are therefore pleased to be able to offer appropriately designed workshops at Sihlcity every year during the festival. In addition, thanks to the commitment of the Kiwanis Club Zurich-Romandie, children from disadvantaged or culturally distant families can take part in the various offers free of charge.” All you need to do is send an email to [email protected] – all courses are held in German and places are subject to availability. In general, it’s worth booking as soon as possible because the popularity of the offers means the limited number of places are booked up quickly.