Fantastic deliberations for the ADIFF’s Children’s Jury

Teachers and students brainstorm about which film will be the best flix photo: Salammbo Marie

Teachers and students brainstorm about which film will be the Best Fantatic Flix Film            photo: Salammbo Marie

Last year, the  Audi Dublin International Film Festival created a new young section of the event called Fantastic Flix. For the first time in 2017, the festival has partnered with the Temple Bar children’s cultural centre, The Ark. Every year, the initiative involves children from local Dublin schools with The Ark Children’s Council, which children from schools around Dublin’s inner city are invited to in order to help decide the future of the cultural hub, and participate in events.


As a new activity, 15 children from this committee took part in the Fantastic Flix Children’s Jury. The Jury get the opportunity to view and review titles from around the world, while ultimately choosing the winner of the Best Fantastic Flix Film of 2017.


According to Duffy Mooney-Sheppard, project coordinator at The Ark: “This is a wonderful opportunity for these eleven and twelve year old kids, as they can learn new languages with movies in Spanish or in French, for example.”


The Jury saw two films per week during January, and there are eight in total in competition: The Red Turtle, My Life as a Courgette (both Oscars nominees as the Best animated movie this year), Kai, Zip & Zap and the Captain’s Island, Snowtime, Abulele, In Loco Parentis and Louis and Luca – The Big Cheese Race.


On Wednesday the 15th, the day before the opening of the festival proper, six of the children reunited in The Ark to proceed in their deliberations: Ollie, Naoise, Ella, Kian, Lee and Kelly. For Duffy Moony-Sheppard: “sometimes the children can’t come because of some other activities, for example. So today, just six of them will have to make a decision for the Best Fantastic Flix Film and the Best Short Film of the selection.”


The meeting began with some ball games, to help relax the participants. Then Sarah Ahern, the Fantastic Flix Programmer, explained the significance of the jury’s choice to the children in attendance: “These kind of prizes are a big deals for a film maker. They can travel to other festivals with it, to show that you liked his film. This award will mean a lot.”


Then, they make a blind vote by raising their hands to choose three finalist movies. My Life as a Courgette, Zip & Zap and the Captain’s Island and Louis and Luca – The Big Cheese Race were selected.


Sarah Ahern said: “After each screening in January, they had to fill in some forms to evaluate the films depending on the sound, design, creativity, photography, lighting and the direction or design. It’s a unique experience because some of the movies may never be in Ireland again.”


After some deliberation, where the children put the positives and negatives of each film on three sheets, they finally chose Zip & Zap and Litterbugs. They recorded congratulatory video messages, with the help of ADIFF’s video production team, to send to the directors of each selected film.
Kelly Austin Ogan, one of the jury members said: “Not many kids get to do this, so I’m really glad that I had this great experience.”

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