Sun Nov 16,2008

Cinema for Children Showcases Unique Films From Around the World

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) today announced the lineup of the most recent international children’s films that will delight young minds and welcome them to the festival experience.

Myrna Maakaron, Programmer of the Cinema for Children section, said: “from more than 120 children’s films we selected five wonderful stories from different parts of the globe that will engage emotions and bring delight to children and parents alike. Each one of these films tells the story of a child’s personal quest or journey and carries a strong message,  for example: how to ameliorate children and parents’ relations, or how to be good and honest, or how to protect our earth and nature and fight for peace and harmony.

I am confident that this year’s films will not only entertain the younger audience, but will also broaden their imagination and give them lessons for life.”

From influential director and writer Jacques-Rémy Girerd, founder of Folimage Valence Production, one of France’s most important animation studios comes Mia et le Migou, an ecologically-themed animated adventure about a young girl trying to find her father amidst an enchanted forest.
Pedro works drilling a tunnel through an area of exceptional natural beauty that is to become a luxurious hotel complex. But mysterious forces are working against the project. When a landslide blocks the entrance to the tunnel, Pedro is left trapped.

After her mother’s death, eight-year-old Mia leaves her home village, somewhere in a poverty-stricken country, and sets out to find her father Pedro but she has to cross a giant scary forest. On the construction site the greedy hotel promoter is alarmed by the discovery of a huge footprint and other inexplicable incidents.

Meanwhile,  Mia enters the mysterious fairytale world of the forest in search of her father – but first, her journey leads her to an extraordinary encounter… with the mysterious Migoo.

Fairytales are rife in fantastical animated action epic Gnomes and Trolls: the Secret Chamber, from director Robert Rhodin. Junior is a teenage gnome who invents peculiar gadgets in his tree-house laboratory.  But Junior’s very traditional father Jalle, the head gnome of the forest, would prefer his son follow in his footsteps and one day be in charge of his own forest.   On the eve of the first winter storm of the year, Junior helps Jalle distribute food to the animals, but then disaster strikes - the troll brothers Face and Slim steal all the food from the gnomes’ secret food chamber. Junior and his best friend Sneaky, a crow, embark on a heroic journey to the depths of troll cave to recover the stolen food.  Junior and Sneaky’s adventure takes them across vast landscapes and into epic encounters with bizarre animals.

Chock full of fast action, touching themes, and slapstick humor, ‘Gnomes And Trolls’,  serves up enough eye candy for audiences of any age. Elizabeth Daily and Kate Higgins amongst many others lend their voice to the animated adventure.

From Katsuhide Motoki, 10 Promises to My Dog is the heartbreaking story of how our beloved animals can teach us about life. Akari, a 14-year-old girl living in northern Japan, finds a stray puppy in her yard, and her mother explains that she must keep 10 promises to the dog as her new master. Over the next 10 years, ‘Socks’ the dog helps Akari heal from her mother’s death, recover from a move to a new city, and adapt to the ups and downs of adult life. The promises come to pass one by one throughout Akari and Socks’ life together, teaching Akari and viewers alike about the power of unconditional love.

Based on the best-selling book by Cornelia Funke, Inkheart, is the story of a young girl who discovers she has inherited her father’s ability to bring storybook characters to life The film stars Brendan Fraser, Paul Bettany and Eliza Bennett.

Meggie is 12-years old, and is thoroughly impatient with her father, who has always refused to read stories to her! But what Meggie is unaware of, is that her father Mo (Brendan Fraser) is possessed of a rare and powerful talent – when he reads a book, he can make the characters emerge from the story into real life.  But there is a danger: for every character brought to life from a book, a real person disappears into its pages.

And someone who does know of Mo’s talent is Capricorn (Andy Serkis), a ruthless villain who wants to possess Mo’s skill for his own benefit. And in his desperate bid to have Mo at his mercy, he kidnaps Meggie and holds her hostage. Now, Meggie discovers she has inherited her father’s marvelous ability – and sets about launching a daring rescue!

The Children’s Gala film comes from Dutch director Laurens Blok; the live-action The Seven of Daran: Battle of Pareo Rock tells the story of 11-year old Jimmy, who  lives in Africa on assignment with his hotel-executive mother, who is continuously absorbed by work and harldy finds time to take care of him. One day in a busy market, a lovely speaking giraffe called Seraf gives Jimmy a magical, life-saving medallion, and tells him about terrible wars between the region’s tribes—wars that only Jimmy is eventually able to stop. With his African friend Charita, Jimmy embarks on an adventurous trip through the African jungle,  watched over by Seraf. Will Jimmy and Charita be able to stop the war between the two African tribes? The cast includes Basil Appollis and Dave Brittz amongst a host of others.

Alongside the screenings, DIFF will feature its second Animation workshop, to be run by The Animation House from Denmark. It will be a three day workshop, during which each child will make a short animated film supervised by professional animators from Egypt, Denmark and Finland.  In addition, they will attend talks given by Mohammad Hareb (UAE), Jacques-Remy Girerd (France)  and Bill Plympton (USA) on their techniques and personal experiences.

The fifth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will run from December 11 to 18, 2008.

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