DIFF’s New Programme Caters to Under-12’s

Sun Dec 10,2006

The programming repertoire of the Dubai International Film Festival (2006) has been enlarged this year with a collection of five delightful films expressly for children.

“Everyone can remember a film they saw when they were children that they loved and that made a lasting impression on them. That is the kind of film we gathered for this programming segment—-they are all very special tales with the ingredients children love. It is a wonderful way for children in Dubai to learn about different cultures and be part of the festival excitement. And parents might find that they enjoy themselves just as much as the young ones,” said Children’s programmer Myrna Maakaron.

From Finland comes inspirational tale Valo, in which two brave boys, Valo and his friend Ville, open a school for impoverished children. When some of the adults find out about the school, they try to shut it down, but Valo and Ville are determined to be disobedient, at least this once, if it means they can share their education with the less fortunate. The film was based on the diaries of Finnish artist and philosopher Aleksanteri Ahola-Valo (1902-1997), and is set in the early 1900’s.

Vili Jarvinen and Joni Kehusmaa, the boys who play Ville and Valo, will be in attendance when Valo screens on Thursday, December 14 at 5:30 pm at Mall of the Emirates Theatre 10, and on Friday, December 15 at 12:34 pm at Mall of the Emirates Theatre 8.

The Ugly Duckling and Me is an animated modernization of the classic children’s tale, featuring a street-wise rat who unwillingly becomes the only guardian of a hatchling who is, unfortunately, very ugly. While ‘Ratso’s’ original plan is to gain fame and riches by convincing the world he is ‘Ugly’s’ father, the two become attached through their adventures with a host of cute creatures of all shapes and sizes.

Director Michael Hegner and producer Ralph Christians will be in attendance for the screening, at 8:00 pm on Thursday, December 14 in the Dubai Media City amphitheatre, across the man-made lake from the CNN building. 

The Robber Hotzenplotz is based on the popular German fairytale about the legendary thief. The Robber Hotzenplotz might brag, “I steal what I like, that’s what I’m known for,” but he’s met his match this time! Two young boys, Kasperl and Seppel, go searching for their grandmother’s missing coffee mill and encounter a ‘crocodog’ (dog transformed into a crocodile), a miniature castle, a fairy, and a sorcerer—-the essential fairy tale ingredients, rolled into one.

The Robber Hotzenplotz screens on Friday, December 15 at 3:15 pm and on Saturday, December 16 at 5:15 pm at Mall of the Emirates Theatre 8.

Two of the films in the Children’s Programme, Happy Feet and Charlotte’s Web, are already international hits. Animated musical Happy Feet tells the story of Mumble, voiced by Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings), the only penguin in the Antarctic that cannot sing. He is cast out of his group and embarks on a search for a group of friends that will appreciate his amazing tap dancing skills. The voices in Happy Feet belong to a glittering cast: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Brittany Murphy, and Robin Williams.

Happy Feet screens at 5:30 pm on Monday, December 11 at Mall of the Emirates Theatre 2.

Charlotte’s Web is the latest screen adaptation of the beloved children’s book of the same name, starring Dakota Fanning as Fern, the girl who lovingly raises Wilbur the piglet. When word gets out that Wilbur’s days are numbered, it’s up to Fern and Wilbur’s best friend, Charlotte the Spider, to save his life. Oprah, John Cleese, and many other celebrities bring the tale to life.

Charlotte’s Web will screen at the Madinat Arena on Friday, December 15 at 6:00 pm.

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