Elementary-school aged directors from Taiwan and around the world screened films on the environment, disease and other topics in Taipei on Sunday as part of an international children’s film festival.
The biennial Taiwan International Children’s Film Festival, which began on Thursday and ends this Thursday, mostly features films made by adults that deal with children’s issues.
However, Sunday was devoted to films made by child filmmakers, including 10 short documentaries and animated films produced by Taiwanese elementary school students. The 10 films were the result of a project funded by the Public Television Service Foundation, which organized the festival, to encourage Taiwanese children to shoot their own films.
Sunday’s films, many of which were produced by children from remote areas in Taiwan and abroad, explored issues such as environmental protection, the stigma of HIV/AIDS, disadvantaged children, and family and sibling relationships from a child’s perspective.
Lin Kai-ti, 11, from the outlying island of Kinmen, said he decided to make an animated film about rare white dolphins after learning that a petrochemical plant was scheduled to be built along coastal areas of Changhua County, threatening the dolphins’ migration route.
“I saw the news about the Kuokuang petrochemical project on TV and it made me angry,” said Lin, who dreams of becoming an environmental scientist. “So I decided to make this animation to tell everyone the importance of protecting sea animals.”
Lin Yung-chin, Lin’s father and one of three teachers assisting the eight students in the film crew, said the children made their own paper puppet characters and took more than 5,000 photographs for the production, which tells the story of Chinese white dolphins from the future urging human beings to stop polluting the Earth.
In the movie, the human beings fought court cases to help prevent pollution, though Lin Yung-chin said the children had originally thought about having people in the film use violence to resolve the problem.
Meanwhile, youngsters from India presented a film about a 10-year-old girl infected with AIDS to express their concern about people who experience discrimination because of the disease.
“We made this movie because there are lots of people around the world who are suffering from AIDS,” 19-year-old Hima Chandran, the director of the 10-minute film The Savage, told a local audience in a question-and-answer session after the film.
The film is about an Indian girl who was isolated by her peers and community because of the disease.
“We don’t think we can change the attitudes of each and every person in this world, but we would be happy if our movie inspired a few audiences and changed their attitudes toward patients and ex-patients [of AIDS],” said Chandran, the oldest director to screen a film on Sunday.
Sanjeev Sivan, the director who assisted the Indian youngsters in making the film, said he was impressed by a Taiwanese film that discussed the lives of twins and their companionship.
“I could not have done it so naturally. Because it was kids, they were able to do that,” Sivan said.
The festival, the largest of its kind in Asia, will screen 89 feature films, animations, documentaries and TV programs from 27 countries.