Cinekid started 30 years ago as a new initiative of theatre and conference centre De Meervaart in Amsterdam. It was the year in which the Dutch film was put firmly on the map with titles such as The Assault, Abel and Flodder. Dissemination of culture was a broadly shared ideal. Ten years earlier the Berlin film festival started a subdivision for children and the first film festivals for youth appeared.
Cinekid also had its own TV corner in De Meervaart. One screen, a video recorder and some cushions on the ground. No matter how small, the roots of the present Cinekid were here. The foundation is now regarded as a global multimedia player with a maximum coverage of the primary target population.
SIZE AND REACH
Cinekid grew rapidly. The festival on location expanded into a promotion programme for youth film distribution in 30 cities throughout the Netherlands. In these cities, Cinekid started local film festivals for children together with art cinemas. The popular festival now attracts some 60,000 visitors and is one of the most successful cultural festivals in regard to the reach of the primary target population.
In Amsterdam, one of every four children gets in touch with Cinekid each year. Nationwide Cinekid communicates with approximately 20% of all primary schools in 2014 and gives workshops on a daily basis across the Netherlands. The foundation is considered a leading institution by peers at international level. Its distinguishing features are the programme of pure youth productions, the supply of multimedia and particular attention for the industry as a whole. Multimediality matters today since media are developed on many interactive types of media for various fast changing platforms (such as TV, consoles, mobile media, cinema, websites). Children are large-scale users of multimedia. Dutch children spend four hours a day on media, which is more than the time they spend at school on a yearly basis. In the US this is already as much as seven hours.
Halfway into Cinekid’s existence, New Media became an important element. What started as Kids&Bits in cultural, art and debating centre De Balie, grew rapidly into the present 1,200 m2 MediaLab, full of interactive installations and workshops. Although film still figures largely for young audiences, the multimedia part in particular appeals to children and the MediaLab became an instant success.
CINEKID FOR PROFESSIONALS
The Cinekid Foundation has created a programme intended especially for international (European) professionals. Quality improvement is essential to allow the industry to develop. Seminars were organised as well as an international conference, three co-production markets and network meetings. Every year European buyers of television programmes visit the ScreeningClub to view over 250 new children’s productions and determine what will be broadcast in their countries the following year. Cinekid particularly puts Dutch productions in the forefront, and their quality is now internationally recognised.
The nationwide media education programme actively involves children into youth media, which systematically influence their intellectual, emotional and social development. The programme aims to reinforce quality awareness in relation to media. The education is innovative, makes use of interactive tools and distinguishes itself with a practical approach for children.
To offer equal opportunities to all children, including ethnic minorities as well as the lowest income bracket, Cinekid recently relocated the entire festival. It now opens on the Wednesday before the autumn holidays. Schools make eager use of the opportunity. Already at the beginning of the autumn holidays Cinekid has welcomed more than 4,000 school children while the MediaLab, where children can try new technologies, is sold out.