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Child filmmakers in the spotlight at Taipei film festival

2012/04/02 21:04:00

Taipei, April 1 (CNA) Mostly elementary-school aged directors from Taiwan and around the world screened films on the environment, disease and other topics in Taipei on Sunday as part of an international children's film festival.

The biennial Taiwan International Children's Film Festival, being held March 29-April 5, features mostly films made by adults dealing with children's issues.

But Sunday was devoted to films made by child filmmakers, including 10 short documentaries and animations produced by Taiwanese elementary school students.

The 10 films were the result of a project funded by the Taiwan Public Television Service Foundation, which organized the festival, to encourage children in the country to shoot their own films. It was the fifth time that the foundation had funded such projects.

Sunday's films, many of which were produced by children from remote areas in Taiwan and abroad, explored issues such as environmental protection, the stigma of AIDS, disadvantaged children and family and sibling relationships from the children's perspective.

Lin Kai-ti, 11, from Taiwan's outlying island of Kinmen said he decided to make an animated film about rare white dolphins after learning that a petrochemical plant was scheduled to be built along the coastal areas of central Taiwan's Changhua County, threatening the dolphins' migration route.

"I saw the news about the Kuokuang petrochemical project on TV and it made me angry," said Lin, whose dream is to become an environmental scientist.

"So I decided to make this animation to tell everyone the importance of protecting sea animals."

Lin Yung-chin, Lin's father and one of the three teachers assisting the eight students on the film crew, said the children made their own paper puppet characters and took over 5,000 photographs for the production, which tells the story of Chinese white dolphins from the future seeking help from human beings to stop polluting the earth.

In the movie, the human beings fought court cases to help prevent pollution, though Lin Yung-chin said the children had originally thought about having people in the film use violence to resolve the problem.

Meanwhile, Indian youngsters who appeared at the festival to present their film about a 10-year-old girl infected with AIDS expressed their concern for people discriminated against because of the disease.

"We made this movie because there are lots of people around the world who are suffering from AIDS," 19-year-old Hima Chandran, the director of the 10-minute film "The Savage," told a local audience in a question and answer session after the film.

The film is about an Indian girl who was isolated by her peers and community because of the disease.

"We don't think we can change the attitudes of each and every person in this world, but we would be happy if our movie inspired a few audiences and changed their attitudes toward patients and ex-patients (of AIDS)," said Chandran, the oldest director to screen a film Sunday.

Chandran said many people believe that only adults can shoot films, "but now we have proved that children can also handle cameras."

Sanjeev Sivan, the director who assisted the Indian youngsters in making the film, said he was impressed by a Taiwanese film that discussed the lives of twins and their companionship.

"I could not have done it so naturally. Because it was kids, they were able to do that," Sivan said.

The festival, the largest of its kind in Asia, will screen 89 feature films, animations, documentaries and TV programs from 27 countries.

(By Christie Chen)