PUNE: The Children’s Film Society, India (CFSI), in association with CM International School and Breakfast@Cinema along with Sakal Times YRI Buzz had organised Children’s Film Bonanza on July 6, 7 and 8. The programme included workshops, panel discussions, and a gallery walk. The aim was to showcase films and introduce young audiences to stories of their counterparts from different parts of the globe, and the idea of cinema as a medium of learning.
The workshops at the Children’s Film Bonanza which was conducted by Breakfast@Cinema focused on ‘Learning from Cinema’ for two age groups including students from the STD IV-VI, STD VII-IX. Students from STD I- III participated in the ‘Story Time for Tots’, a workshop organised to enhance their storytelling skills. Parents of children attended the festival which focused on how adults make meaning of the visual medium and how it can lead to a higher level of awareness for oneself.
On July 6, the programme was inaugurated by Swati Pandey, CEO, Children’s Film Society of India and the opening film Gattu was screened along with Nono The Zigzag Kid film. On July 7, the films screened were Kaphal which were shown exclusively to the students of CM International School, along with other films like Mahek Mirza, Abhay and Chota Sipahi were screened. Also, the day witnessed panel discussion on Navigating Content through the Current Media Explosion and Understanding Childrens through Children’s Films. On July 8, the film screened included, The Prince and the Crown of Stone, Kauwboy, Kaphal, and the closing film was Halo.
The films were screened during the three-day event through the CFSI repository. All films were in Hindi, or have a dialogue track dubbed in Hindi.
For the first panel discussion The panelists were Dr Mohan Agashe, Psychiatrist and Actor; Swati Pandey, CEO, Children’s Film Society, India; Dr Suneeta Kulkarni, Educational Psychologist with over 30 years of experience and Honorary Director,The Granny Cloud; Kranti Kanade, Filmmaker (Chaitra, CRD, Mahek Mirza). The Moderator of the programme was Shibangi Das, Teacher, Trainer, Film Reader and Co-founder of Breakfast@Cinema.
For the second panel discussion the panelists included Sonal Nade-Juvekar, Teacher, Pursuing PhD in Social Media at Pune University and Co-founder of Small Bean Media; Anjuna Menon, Teacher of Film, TV and Radio Production at SSLA, Founder and CEO of PhenoMenon Film School; Abhinav Kandarp, Experiential Learning Trainer, Filmmaker, Teacher and Co-founder of Breakfast@Cinema. The moderator of the programme was Prasanna Hulikavi Teacher/Trainer with over 30 years of experience and communications expert and avid storyteller, ex-acting Director at SIMC.
The first panel discussion ‘Navigating Content through the Current Media Explosion’ dwelled upon perspectives on how cinema helps children pick up values like tolerance, compassion, and empathy. The panel consisted experts who have been working towards introducing children to films from all over the world, as well as who had helped to build a sensibility whereby children feel interested in the medium, and understand the subtext of a film more effortlessly. They also discussed the various online and offline platforms one can explore to find age appropriate and entertaining content for children.
The second panel discussion had focused on ‘Understanding Children through Children’s Films’. The discussion was on film makers who spoke about their approaches to creating stories for children, the challenges involved therein, and how parents can look at these same stories to understand what drives their children.
The goal of Children’s Film Bonanza is to raise awareness about the sea of critically acclaimed content available for young audiences, and how films, while providing entertainment, are also veritable tools of learning about oneself, other individuals, communities, geographies, and the role which emotions play in binding the world together.
SWATI PANDEY, CEO, Children’s Film Society, India, said, “I am very grateful to C M International School. It is a new venture, introducing a children’s film festival as part of their curriculum. Imagination, I think, often stops and ends when we are children. Imagination as a process does not come to adults very easily because we get so caught up with the mundane, generally living and growing up. We forget what it is to be fantastical in imagination. For children, the brain starts as an empty slate. With the help of education and imagination comes creativity. That is what CFSI tries to hone.”
ABHINAV KANDARP, Co-founder and Chief Facilitator, Breakfast@Cinema, said, “We’ve always believed cinema speaks to our deepest emotions, experiences and memories. Our belief was vindicated when the close of the Bonanza brought our audience together as they hugged each other, even though they were strangers and cried tears of joy and hope while growing closer to their children and grandchildren. The children had become friends anyway, but even the adults felt connected to each other and to a sense of purpose. That is exactly what we had set out to achieve.”
RUPALI DHAMDHERE, Principal of CM International School, Balewadi, said, “In today’s times, when just learning through books is not enough, as we are creating global citizens. Films are a very powerful medium for educating children and also to empower them through educational movies. Learning from films is both enjoyable and motivating. Films provide a new creative window to students which once opened give them a wider perspective towards learning. There is more thought, acceptance, expression and reality involved when learning happens through cinema. The sole aim of collaboration with CFSI and breakfast@cinema was to unfold new digital opportunities that are available to them and that cinema is a great learning medium with a lot of potential which has not been used so far.”
SHIBANGI DAS, Co-founder and Chief Facilitator, Breakfast@Cinema, said, “For parents, knowing and understanding that cinema cannot be blocked out of their children’s lives is imperative. We need more such events to expose parents to the perils of passive media consumption and to expose children to screen heroes and heroines of their own age. The effort has to be sustained to ensure the right ideas reach out wide and catch on. Only then will the resistance to using cinema as a tool for learning reduce.”