Day 3 of Film Bazaar at the ongoing 53rd IFFI’s, kicked off with an interesting and thought-provoking session on “Bringing Children’s Films into Mainstream Viewership.” The session was moderated by Children’s Film Curator, Content Developer and Creative Producer, Monica Wahi.
Well-known directors, producers participated in a panel discussion as part of the Knowledge Series at IFFI. ‘Bringing children’s’ films into mainstream viewership.’ Panelists included Prasoon Joshi, Chairman of Central Board of Film Certification and CEO McCann World Group India, renowned film producers, Manish Mundra and Jitendra Mishra together with UNICEF India Chief of Communication, Advocacy and Partnership, Zafrin Chowdhury. The hour-long session, moderated by Monica Wahi, well known curator and creative producer, focused on important aspects of creative scripts and stories, financing, distribution, and finally creation of a demand and broadening audience base for films that celebrate childhood and courage, determination and resilience of children, while highlighting issues and challenges they face.
The 75 Creative Minds For Tomorrow, an initiative of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, supported by UNICEF and launched at IFFI, promotes young talents to express themselves in a filmmaking challenge (53 hours) on the theme of India @100. The five films produced will be broadcast globally by In Shorts.
The panelists discussed how children’s movies produced in India are acclaimed internationally yet do not attract mainstream popularity from the audience. With great efforts being made by UNICEF and NFDC, their collaboration will bring handpicked films to the audience from a child rights perspective. These films will highlight the real issues faced by the children, and make the audience aware about the rights that should be enjoyed by every child.
This panel has come together to explore unique and more impactful methods of bringing to light the obstacles that the children and youth have to face. Chairperson, Central Board of Film Certification, Mr. Prasoon Joshi expressed that it is our societal duty to watch, produce and promote children’s movies and make sure that they travel across the world. He added, “Yeh jo bache hain, woh hamari bunyaad hain, kal ki buniyad hain (They are the foundation of our society and the future we talk about).
Prasoon ji also asked the media to take this as an opportunity to echo out the need and exposure which should be given to children films in India. Upon being asked why Indian animation movies which are made for children fail to impress in comparison with Marvel and big Hollywood movies, the lyricist expressed, “We have good ideas but the presentation lacks somewhere.”
Chief, Communications, Advocacy and Partnership, UNICEF India, Mrs. Zafrin added that according to her, the children’s films must authentically bring out the voice of the children. Children should feel included, where they find their voice and expression as they have many things to offer.”
Filmmaker and CEO of Drishyam Films, Mr Manish Mundra, stated how having a star value is still something that drives the movie’s commercial value. “When you make such (children) cinema, and make it without stars, you take courage and invest but you don’t find audience and space because you don’t have a star value.” he said.
He also added how the government should roll proper rules for OTT for making kid films, and also make this as a part of children’s learning curriculum. This would feed and showcase our children about the knowledge and awareness of children films, instead of feeding the mainstream content. Each OTT must have to do some children films every year, as part of that rolled out rule.
On the other hand, Odia Film Director, Mr. Jitendra Mishra gave his viewpoint of how as adults, we need to be more responsive towards children’s films. He said, “Children’s films are to be made for parents too. And as an audience, we need to be more responsive towards children’s films.”
The moderator of the session, Monica Wahi addressed the issue of very few films being made on children. “Children’s films are less than 2% out of overall films produced in our country, and most of them are about marginal backgrounds.”, she said. She added that it’s been 100 years of cinema and we still have not made a place for the children’s content.