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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Every year, someone asks why there are no children at PRIX JEUNESSE. There are two simple answers – the first is that this is a professional gathering, designed for expert analysis of program structure, development, content and age appropriateness. The second, and more compelling, reason is that children don’t naturally sit for 8 hours at a time watching television, not even with the aid of coffee and the promise of good German beer.

The festival has developed means of getting young people’s reactions to the finalists. A group of Munich schoolchildren judges the 7-11 category shows, and for the first time in 2008, seven international youth juries of teens year olds (including one organized by the ACCM, WTTW and the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival) screened, discussed and voted on the 12-15 category.

Still, every once in a while, children appear at the festival. One participant brought her 10-month-old baby (who was closely studied during the one “baby TV” entry, from NHK/Japan), and Meenakshi and Vinay Rai – filmmakers from India brought their two children, who often serve as their films’ presenters. Their youngest, Raghu, is the focus of one of the festival’s more controversial films, a dispassionate documenting of Raghu playing rather roughly with a kitten.

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