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Mo&Friese Children’s Short Film Festival
by Becky Tan

Parallel to the International Short Film Festival (Kurz(Short)Film Festival [IKFF]) we had the privilege of watching short films for young people for the 19th year, June 4-11, 2017. Each year the festival becomes more popular and this year there was record attendance as 4000 viewers of all ages went to 35 showings to see 63 films from 29 countries. There were special showings for school classes.

Luckily, one afternoon I garnered a front-row, end seat in 3001 Cinema to see a section called FREE FLIGHT (Freiflug). Everyone else in this front row was four or five years old. Behind us were more youngsters and their older siblings, fathers, mothers nursing babies, and grannies. We watched a caterpillar eat up all the leaves (DER KLEINE VOGEL UND DIE RAUPE), and a friendship between an old lady and a spider with only one leg, which ends with everyone knitting together (PAUTINKA). A bear that can’t sing and a bird that can’t fly help each other out, IN A CAGE. This film won top prize in the category four-to eight-years old; the jurors said, “The film shows that you have to learn things like in real life.” My favorite was PICCOLO CONCERTO, an animated film from Germany (actually, all films in this section were animated). Here a little piccolo wants to join a group of instruments (flute, drums, violin, accordion, horn, and oboe) that try to compose their own melody. Naturally, little Piko helps them to succeed. This was created by Ceylan Beyoglu from Turkey. She studied in Istanbul and Vienna, and came to Hamburg in 2013. Her film was especially interesting, because music was the international language, which everyone could understand.

After each short film, there was a discussion with members of the audience and Jara, age 4, sitting next to me, wanted to know how PICCOLO CONCERTO all came together. Ms. Beyoglu said that she made 24 drawings per second for the six-minute film and she worked on it for three years. I have noticed that young people often have questions and suggestions much more interesting or eye-opening than adults do in similar film presentations. Kids love to comment and often, the moderator has to end the discussion in order to show the next film. Why is the Mo&Friese trailer always more interesting than the adult festival trailer? This year the trailer featured a delightful animated garden.