Bangkok Children's Film Festival aims to educate as well as entertain
It is a fact that often slips adult's minds: children today know how to watch movies before they know how to read. The concept of visual narrative comes naturally to them, and thus the movie culture _ dismissed by some as mere "entertainment"_ is very important in the process of educating young, impressionable people.
From Jan 9 to 14 _ in the week leading up to Children's Day _ the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority and the Thai Film Foundation will host "Bangkok Children's Film Festival" at the auditorium of Lumpini Park, where films made by adults for kids, or made by kids for kids, will be screened to kids in a friendly atmosphere.
"The idea is to let the children get used to the collective experience of watching movies with a lot of people," says Chalida Uabumrungjit of the Thai Film Foundation. "Kids today only watch television, but to watch a movie as a member of the audience in a dark room will train them to have a concentration and help them appreciate the true value of movies. We'll show every movie in 35mm film, not on DVD or VDO, and we hope the children will get the idea of how it's much different _ how it's more fun _ seeing a movie this way."
The programme includes international films of various child-friendly flavours, plus Thai short films commissioned specially to screen in this festival. Some highlights are as follows:
An award-winning film from Chicago International Children's Film Festival tells the story of a pelican who's curious to know how humans live their lives. So the bird morphs himself into a boy and starts making friends with his quirky neighbours.
Raining Cat and Frog
This French animation dreams up a scenario of the next Biblical Flood, when carnivorous animals find themselves on the same boat as their herbivorous counterparts.
Kids for Kids
A collection of 15 short films made by children, all of them award winners from Kids For Kids Film Festival, the world's biggest competitive kid's cinefest.
Waen Wiset (The Magic Ring)
A Royal home movie shot by King Rama VII, The Magic Ring is a silent film starring the monarch's own children in an improvised narrative. The screening will be accompanied by live performance of traditional Thai music by a children's band.
Frankie is deaf. He misses his father whom he never saw. His mother pretends that his father's still alive by sending postcards from various countries, claiming that his old man is working on a cruiseship that sails around the world. But when that ship anchors in Frankie's hometown, his mother has to come up with a way to perpetuate her fiction.
Taro the Dragon Boy
A Japanese animation about a boy called Taro, who sets out to look for his mother after she has been cursed to become a wandering dragon.
Doraemon and Nobita
An animation based on one of the most famous Japanese cartoons, this movie version features the chubby cat and his human friend in an adventure with an army of robots.
Shining Boy and Little Randy
Starring Japanese boy actor Yuya Akira, Shining Boy and Little Randy tells the story of a bullied boy who finds out that he can communicate with elephants. He travels to Thailand to train at an elephant camp and becomes the first Japanese mahout.
All of the movies will be shown in 35mm film. Most of them will be Thai-dubbed. Admission is free.
For more information and the schedule call 02-800-2716 or visit www.thaifilm.com.