Cinekid Reports: Cinema in Sneakers

Members of the Cinekid team regularly attend festivals and conferences for research, collaboration and knowledge gaining/sharing purposes. Our Head of Film Erik Tijman attended the Cinema in Sneakers festival as a juror and he reports about his experiences.

Cinema in Sneakers 2017: Erik Tijman reports

Most international festivals have one of more juries of industry professionals that decide how some of the awards that are handed out. Cinekid is no exception to this rule. For our film programme alone we have three juries, and count on them to award the prizes of Best Children’s Film, Best Dutch Family Film and Best European Short Animation. On top of the juries that cover the film programmes, additional juries also exist for our Television and New Media sections and for the projects that are pitched at Cinekid for Professionals. 
First edition with a jury of industry professionals
Being a jury member is always a great honor and this June I was delighted to be invited for ECFA jury service at the Cinema in Sneakers festival. It is a fantastic film festival for children and youth based in Warsaw, Poland. The festival has been running since 2013, and while it has for a while had juries consisting of children and parents, this was the first edition with a jury of industry professionals. 
I will never tire of jury work. Having the opportunity to watch a high number of carefully curated children’s films and then discuss them at length with other professionals from across the industry is always incredibly inspiring, and having the chance to deliberate about great films with others working in the field is a fantastic way to expand your own perspective and get a better sense of what’s happening in the current children’s film industry. For this jury, I had the luck to be paired with two charming and incredibly sharp colleagues, Viola Gabrieli, Project Manager from KIDS Regio, and Jan Naszewski from New Europe Film Sales. 
Strong titles
The film department of Cinekid has been hard at work researching titles for the upcoming edition, so some of the films we had to consider were not new to me, such as Cinekid’s terrific 2016 opening film OWLS & MICE. But the children’s film market is growing every year and the variety and quality of titles at Cinema in Sneakers was testament to that. As a jury we had to consider pre-school films such as the absurdist UP IN THE SKY as well as strong teenage coming of age stories such as the new Finnish film LITTLE WING. We also had to take into account the French dramatic family film HEARTSTRINGS and the surrealistic Slovak production LITTLE HARBOUR, which earlier this year had been awarded the Crystal Bear by the members of the Youth Jury Generation KPlus during the Berlinale. 
In the end our jury was pleased to give our ECFA award to the incredibly fresh and witty German film MOUNTAIN MIRACLE – AN UNEXPECTED FRIENDSHIP by director Tobias Wiemann. You will have a chance to watch this film and some of the other titles from Cinema in Sneakers at the upcoming edition of Cinekid Festival in October. Hopefully you enjoy discovering these titles as just as much as we did.