Thousands of children, families and educators will gather for this year’s Athens International Children’s Film Festival, which returns for its second edition November 18-24 to provide entertainment and educational experiences for youth.
The program takes place at the Megaron Athens Concert Hall and Danaos Cinema — as well as a few “away-game” locations — and includes school-specific screenings and public screenings.
The public opening on November 22 will feature Belgian film “Binti” by director and filmmaker Frederike Migom. The film centers around a 12-year-old girl from the Congo living in Belgium who enjoys vlogging and aspires to fame. But when police raid her home to deport her and her father, she finds her dream on the verge of collapse. Binti sees only one solution: her father must marry the mother of her new friend, Elias, so that they can stay in Belgium.
The premiere will take place at the SOS Children’s Village in Vari, Athens to provide a cinematic experience for the extended family of the SOS Children’s Villages — an international nonprofit which serves children in need.
Screenings will also take place at the Silk Museum in Soufli and the Rooftile and Brickworks Museum N. & S. Tsalapatas in Volos to offer the festival experience to children in remote areas of Greece.
“With my co-founder and friend Amanda Livanou we created this festival with the purpose to promote intelligent film making for children, youth and their families” Festival Co-founder Calliope Charalambous-Krief said.
Sponsored by COSMOTE TV, the Athens International Children’s Festival includes films for all ages: animated films for children aged 3 or older; short films with no dialogue or with live on-stage dubbing for children up to 8 years old; films with Greek subtitles for children who feel “older;” a specially designed program for teenagers; and educational activities and workshops.
“This year, among other things, we are presenting a daring program for children 13 years or older, encouraging the parents of teenagers to watch films with their children,” Charalambous-Krief said. “The Teen Spirit section speaks the language of the young, with themes and subjects that are not easily discussed at the dinner table.”
Charalambous said that the festival also includes two child-friendly initiatives to include parents and infants in its programming.
One initiative, called “Crybaby Matinee” adapts the screening room to allow prams, baby-chairs and easy movement. The other, “Baby and Me,” offers tailored screenings for infants, babies and children up to 3 years old. While animated films play in the background, babies will be able to crawl walk or run around in a specially prepared screening space with soft surfaces, dim lights and low volume.
The festival also provides educational field trips for children from remote regions of Greece. Students from Arki and Pramanta will be hosted in Athens to attend screenings, participate in workshops and take a tour of the Acropolis and adjacent museum.
“By holding the premiere at the SOS Children’s Village in Vari and by hosting students from the island of Arki and the village of Pramanta in Ioannina, we intend to bring children’s content and the festival experience to as many children as possible,” Festival President Amanda Livanou said.
Tickets are available at ticket booths of the Megaron Athens Concert Hall and Danaos Cinema and at Public stores.
Featured image / Thalia Galanopoulou, AIFF
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