Little Big Shots – Children’s Film Festival

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Catering to children around Australia, the little big shots film festival seeks to encourage and inspire discussion and creativity …

Exactly what is Little Big Shots?

Little Big Shots is an international children’s film festival. Basically, that means we look right around the world for the very best films for kids and we bring them back here to Australia, to screen them for kids right around the country.

What’s the history behind the festival?

The festival started just as an idea, back in 2004. We thought it would be amazing to have a festival just for kids in Australia, because there wasn’t one here at that time. After doing some research, we discovered that there was a really large network of international children’s film festivals. So we made some connections there and held the first Little Big Shots in Melbourne in June 2005.

Since then, it has grown. The festival premieres a new program each year in June in Melbourne. After that, it tours around for the next 12 months to about 20 different venues. After Melbourne each year we screen at the Sydney Opera House, the Adelaide Festival Centre, as well as a lot of much smaller regional venues and town halls.

we’ve also done some international touring, so we’ve screened in Singapore, Indonesia and South America.

Logistically, how do you go about preparing these films for a viewing?

We screen all short films for kids. Putting together the program, it’s a mix of films that have been made by adults for children, as well as films that have been made by children themselves.

The films come from all around the world. Each year we have at least 20 different countries represented in our program.

We’re also looking for a range of different styles, so live action, animation, documentaries, drama. We take the short films and we package them up into a session that runs for about an hour. Each session is appropriate for a different age group.

Within a session or a screening of Little Big Shots, kids in the audience will see at least one Australian film, at least one film that has been made by a kid and a whole range of different film styles and films from different countries.

The idea is that it’s something a bit different to what they might see normally at the local Multiplex, and the kids find the films very inspiring, thought provoking, interesting and enjoyable.

What’s the aim of the Little Big Shots?

We definitely choose films that encourage discussion of things like cultural diversity and languages, different family dynamics and issues like friendship and bullying … as well as just promoting film making as an art form and encouraging more film making for kids.

Also hoping to inspire some creativity within the kids themselves, by giving them this avenue through which to potentially have their films screened. We’re hoping to encourage more kids to make films and get interested in film making and telling a story that way.

What are some of the films included in this year’s line up?

In our 2010 program overall, there are about 80 different films. One of the films, which has won many different awards, is an animated version of the children’s book Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers. A lot of people are quite familiar with that story.

It’s about a little boy who one day finds a penguin on his doorstep and he tries to help the penguin find its way home. That’s a real favourite in the 2010 program.

Another really gorgeous film is called The Brunswick Browns, which has been made by a 6-year-old boy. It’s about his pet chooks in the backyard, who are affectionately known as the Brunswick Browns. It’s a really nice example of a film made by a kid, and it shows that you don’t really need fancy technology or a budget to make a great little film.

There’s another nice film that’s been packaged into the younger age group section – for 2 to 5-year-olds. It’s been made by a group of school kids in regional Victoria, the South Gippsland area, that’s called I Love my Teddy, which they wrote and performed as well as filmed. The film was made with the Grade 6 students in the school in conjunction with the Prep students to try to help them ease into school life. It’s a really cute film.

Other films include Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, an animated film for children aged 2 to 5 from the USA and Back Stage, an Australian animation for older children aged 5 to 15 – among many others.

What age groups does Little Big Shots cater for – in terms of viewing audience and for those interested in submitting films?

We start with kids as young as 2, through to teenagers of around 15. There’s really no upper limit – we find adults enjoy the films a lot as well. There’s no violence or swearing or anything like that, so they’re easily enjoyed by people of all ages.

As far as film makers submitting films, we love to receive submissions from people of all ages – kids and adults, so there are no restrictions there at all.

How do you actually source all the films you use in the program?

We’re actually calling for entries at the moment. If people want to get on the website: www.littlebigshots.com.au there’s information about how to submit a film.

I also spend a lot of time attending other film festivals and browsing other film and news sites, looking for potentials.

Each year we travel to the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, which is on in October. That’s one of the biggest in the world – it’s certainly the biggest in North America, so it’s a really good place to source international content.

Are there any limitations to the genres that people can use in their submitted films?

No – none at all. We screen music videos, family documentaries, fantasy and animation – we’re happy to consider just about anything.

How has the 2010 tour been going so far?

It’s been really nice. We’ve had a few new venues, as well as returning to some of our regular ones as well. It’s been a good season.

This program will continue touring up until around June 2011. Then we’ll be launching the new program in Melbourne, which will begin its tour.

Thank you Chloe.

Little Big Shots film packages for both younger (junior) and older (senior) children, will be screened at The Glasshouse in January as part of the Summer Fest 2011 program.

For dates and session times, please check the website: www.glasshouse.org.au, contact the Glasshouse Box Office on 6581 8888 or see the ad on page 11.

Ticket prices for both junior and senior sessions are $6.50 per person.

Interview by Jo Atkins.


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