Cinekid: The Kids Are Alright
Cinekid is among the world's biggest and buzziest film, TV and media events for kids - and has also become a key destination for executives producing and commissioning content for young audiences. Nienke Poelsma, Head of Cinekid for Professionals, is well placed to comment on shifting trends within children media in the Netherlands and beyond.
Among changes Poelsma has noticed is a new emphasis on animation and a move away from the big screen. The Junior Co-Production Market, the two day Cinekid event at which new projects are pitched, bought and sold, is receiving more and more animated films and series.
Some of the Netherlands' top production companies are presenting new projects. For example Submarine, the Amsterdam and LA-based company run by Bruno Felix and Femke Wolting, is unveiling its new TV preschool project Pol The Pirate Mouse. Scripted by Tingue Dongelmans, this is an animated yarn based on a graphic novel about Pol the pirate, a city mouse who ventures into the wilds aboard her pirate's nest. Meanwhile, Marleen Slot's Viking Film (the outfit behind Sundance selection Dirty God) is partnering again with Swedish outfit Snowcloud on Mini-Zlatan and Uncle Darling, a live action kids' film looking at same sex marriage.
From further afield, Quebec-based 10th Avenue Productions is presenting its latest animated project Beluga Blues, scripted by Andrée Lambert. Belgian animation outfit Lunamine has a new animated project, The Only Child, an adaptation of a bestselling book which it is making as a co-production with China.
For the first time, Cinekid is hosting a works in progress section, open to producers who have at least eight minutes of footage to show. Through the new section, Submarine is presenting its modern day fairy tale Coppelia, which mixes animation and live action. Directed by Jeff Tudor, Steven de Beul and Ben Tesseur, the project was previously in the Cinekid co-production market. Another work in progress which also started life in the co-production market is ambitious Norwegian pre-school film Ella Bella Bingo, produced by Frank Mosvold of Kool Produktion and sold by Studio 100 Film.
Cinekid's Industry Forum will ponder the way that kids communicate with adults and how adults should interact with kids. Among the executives who'll be contributing to the discussion are Meredith HalpernRanzer of Wow in the World (one of the biggest podcasts for kids in the US), Joel Silverman from Kids Know Best in the UK, marketing guru Lily Yan from Nelvana/Corus Ent (Canada) and Shabnam Rezaei of Big Bad Boo Productions, Canada.
Unlike some other festivals which insist on nothing but premieres, Cinekid will invite films that have played elsewhere if there is a worthwhile reason for doing so. For example, Geneviève Dulude - De Celles' A Colony, winner of the Crystal Bear in Berlin's Generation programme is screening and the director will be in town to discuss its themes, which include violence, bullying and discrimination among young teens.
For years, Dutch cinema audiences have loved their family films. However, admissions for children's movies are currently dipping, not just in the Netherlands but across Europe. Delegates will discuss new research looking at box office trends.
"I think Dutch children's films are struggling. We had the glory days with Bos Bros and their beautiful productions," Poelsma says. Filmmakers, she suggests, don't always take the children's audience seriously. Cinekid will remind them that it is crucial that they do, and that they neglect the audience of the future at their peril.
SEE NL Magazine #36 September 2019 / Locarno - Venice - Toronto - Netherlands Film Festival Issue
SEE NL is published four times per year by Eye International and The Netherlands Film Fund and is distributed to international film professionals.