Berlin Film Festival: Day 3 – Young People’s Cinema

Posted 22 February 2018

giant pear

As the films I’ve seen over the past couple of days haven’t exactly been the cheeriest, I decided to start the day with a film I’ve been looking forward to for AGES: a Danish animation called ‘The Incredible Story of the Giant Pear’. I was not disappointed. We meet an elephant called Sebastian and a cat called Mitcho who go on an adventure to find their friend – and beloved mayor of Sunnytown – JB, who has mysteriously disappeared. This leaves their village open to the deputy mayor, Twig, who wants to take control and build a town hall big enough to block out the sun (not cool, Twig…not cool). A series of events lead our heroes to end up going on this journey in – you may have guessed it - a giant pear. The animation itself is stunning, and the cross-sections that let the audience see into the titular giant pear and other constructions are a juicy slice of genius. I’m so excited for this to be released in the UK in a few months: it’s wonderfully funny, touching, and not too simple that children or adults will get bored, so makes it a perfect film to get together and watch.

On my agenda today was to attend the European Children's Film Association (ECFA) AGM, so I didn’t have as much time for watching films. However, I managed to squeeze a market screening in of something I’d never heard of called ‘Some Freaks’. I’m really interested in films that are for young people or about childhood and adolescence and this sounded right up my street: it’s about three friends – bound together by what makes them different - getting ready to leave for college. What I liked was that the characters were not simple stereotypes: they were complex and shifting, and there is no neat ending where either everything works out or is completely destroyed. Things got a bit sloppy in the second half when they move to college and some moments just seemed unnecessarily cruel but overall it was an interesting move away – but not a complete departure - from what we’ve come to expect from representations of teens on screen.

The rest of the afternoon was spent at the AGM, which was a great opportunity to meet with people from around the world - from festivals, distributors, film educators and more – who are involved with supporting film for children and young people. There are some incredible projects underway, including a service for children who spend a lot of time in hospitals to have access to festival films. At the reception after the AGM I got talking to different people who run film festivals for young people from the Basque Country, France, Poland, Latvia, Sweden and more. The dedication to getting children and young people watching a diverse range of high quality films from around the world is wonderful. Eventually, I found myself with a group of Swedes and we went to the Swedish Film Institute party…followed by the Norwegian party, which involved more dancing and singing than I was prepared for after attending other – somewhat more reserved -  receptions over the last few days!

Linnea Pettersson

Linnea Pettersson

Programming Assistant Read more posts by Linnea Pettersson

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