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American Women's Club of Hamburg

The 14th Michel Kinder und Jugend Filmfest

This festival is like a school reunion since I have been attending it for fourteen years now. I have watched it grow and change over the years and every year there are always new surprises. This year included films to suit several different age groups. There were animated films, live action films, documentaries and a Hamburg TV detective series to boot. They have workshops which included geocaching which is a digital treasure hunt, mask building, script writing and an acting course. There were podium discussions, and the kids coming in groups from the schools were having lots of fun and learning new things at the same time.

The Hamburgische Kultstiftung has been donating 5000 euros to the Michel Filmpreis which is decided by a jury comprised of seven young teenagers, 12 to 16 years old. This year’s winner was the French film FANNY’S JOURNEY(Le Voyage De Fanny) by director Lola Doillon. The actors were Fantine Harduin, Juliane Lepoureau, Leónie Souchaud. It is a story that takes place in 1943 where the young Jewish girl flees from the national socialists. She soon becomes the leader of a group which is trying to make it to Switzerland to secure their safety.

Siv Solver Vilse
Catti Edfeldt/Lena Hanno Clyne, Sweden/Netherlands

This film which, first appeared at the Berlinale, made an impression due to its life-like animation set in a dream landscape rich in color, yet strange and unpredictable. The little girl Siv meets the new girl at school, Cerisa, and likes her due to her extravagant clothes and vivacious way of talking. She is then invited, for the first time, for a sleep over and finds that everything seems strange and even a bit scary. It dives into the psychological fears that every child could have when doing something new and at the same time finds a wonderful solution for Siv to deal with her fears. (SRS)

2 Girls
Jeo Baby, India

This film should be shown at the Federation of American Women’s Club (FAWCO) conference in Mumbai next March. It clearly shows the discriminations that the female gender faces on a daily basis. The film has a very simple and straight-forward story progression which begins with the rules which restrict what girls are allowed to do or not to do. Two sixth graders, who are best friends, dream about all the forbidden things they would like to do, until one day they have had enough. They decide to skip school, go to the large department in the center of town and then go have a look at the beach. But once they are caught, they face extreme punishment for their actions. Director Jeo Baby said that this film was naturally not a hit in India due to its moral and political statement. He said it was a labor of love, that everyone one worked hard and for free, and that they all stayed in one house and ate together, in order to save money for the film. There is a final statement to celebrate Women’s Day and how far women have to go in India before they find their equality. (SRS)

Kerstin Straub, who is head of communications from the organization Plan International Deutschland e.V., spoke to the young audience about the theme of this film. She answered questions and also tried to convey the differences between the lives of the girls here in Germany versus those girls in India. Plan International Deutschland tries to improve the lives of invisible girls around the world. It tries to make cities safer and gives girls power in their communities so that they may be able to take global action – an honorable organization to receive donations. (SRS)

Soner Caner/ Bari Kaya, Turkey

This film also was the opening film for the 2016 Berlinale. High in the mountains of Turkey is war, but in the valley below, the children play innocently and don’t feel the effects of the trouble that lies on the border. At age nine Rauf decides to become a carpenter and leave school. His apprenticeship takes him to the man who builds coffins. Despite his age he has fallen deeply in love with the man’s daughter who is much older than he is. She longs for a pink scarf, a color unknown to him. The color pink represents not only love but also life and hope. This film is a beautifully sad, anti-war film with an important message. (SRS)

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