Youngsters under the age of 12 in Taipei don't seem to have many choices when it comes to cultural or arts events. More often than not, TV and computer monitors are the only available channels beaming limited enter-tainment the youth of today. An oasis in this cultural desert of the children's world, the second edition of Taiwan International Children's TV and Film Festival (TICTFF) returns to the Taiwan Youth Activity Center in Taipei with a dazzling line-up of 120 films from 37 countries.
"In Taiwan, there are five million pre-school age children who watch an estimated 1,000 hours of TV per year. But all we see on children's TV channels are educational programs or cartoons from Disney and Japan. So we think a TV and film festival is a good starting point to introduce more possibilities and ways of thinking in terms of children's entertainment and cultivation," the festival's curator Wang Geng-yu (
The biennial event is divided into two main sections: competition and curated programs. Twenty-five feature, documentary, animation films and TV programs were selected from 251 entries in the competition sections.
Program highlights include My Brother Is a Dog from Germany, a feature film about the 10-year-old Marietta who makes a wish and turns her four-year-old brother Tobias into a puppy.
Max Between Sky and Earth is an animation short by Belgian director Jean-Luc Slock and 35 children depicts the life of a little boy who lives upside down on the ceiling.
An experienced and energetic animation artist, Slock has traveled the world teaching youngsters how to make animated films and encourages young filmmakers to think independently and make their own comments on the issues raised in the works.
What: Taiwan International Children's TV and Film Festival
Where: Taiwan Youth Activity Center (Y17青少年育樂中心) , 17, Renai Rd, Sec 1, Taipei (台北市仁愛路一段17號)
When: Today through Jan. 17.
Tickets: NT$50 per film, through ERA ticketing outlets or online at www.ticket.com.tw
In the curated section, the Animated Airport program showcases three feature-length works from Denmark, Mexico and Luxemburg, and 33 shorts from around the world, while the Time Machine program features classic movies such as Charles Chaplin's The Kid and the 1950s Hong Kong film The Kid (細路祥), starring the 10-year-old Bruce Lee (李小龍). Another must-see in the program is the Bollywood-style The Blind Camel from India. The film tells the story of a camel shepherd's two kids who cross the Pakistan-India border to find their missing camels.
This year's Nation in Focus is France. Selections of animated shorts from the Folimage Animation Studio and the world-class Annecy International Animated Film Festival guarantee non-stop entertainment packed with imagination, creativity and fun. Based on the children's story written by Charles Perrault in 1694, the feature film Donkey Skin is a more experimental version of the fairy tale and bears a strong resemblance to French master Jean Cocteau's 1946 Beauty and the Beast.
One distinct feature of the festival is the Kids As Director program that showcases 25 films made by children from Taiwan and other parts of the world. In collaboration with Kids for Kids Festival, an organization under the UN, TICTFF selected 15 movies from the festival to offer a rare chance to see what is in the minds of youngsters from Canada, Belgium, Mexico, Argentina, Norway, Armenia, Ukraine and other countries.
As an annual event taking place in one selected country each year, Kids for Kids Festival takes up the role as an international platform for children around the world to make their own voices heard. All the works to be shown at the festival were created by youngsters and selected by a panel of children jurists.