For children by children – Express Tribune

LAHORE: The sixth Lahore International Children’s Film Festival will open on Monday (today) at Cinepax Fortress and Faiz Ghar.

More than 160 films from 45 countries will be screened at the six-day event organised by The Little Art in collaboration with the Cinepax Cinemas. The festival that opened at Faletti’s Hotel on Sunday not only promises films for children but also ones made by them.

Awards were given away to children whose films had been selected for the festival. Films made by Pakistani children will also be screened.

Of the 24 films received for the screening, eight have been produced by children at Lahore Grammar School Johar Town Campus, Azam Garrison, Beaconhouse National University and the Lahore College of Arts and Science, Burki Campus.

Youth of Pakistan, a film made by a LACAS team, was declared winner in the category of movies produced by Pakistani children.

Festival director Shoaib Iqbal said the sixth holding of the festival showed the growing popularity of entertainment for children.

He said collaboration and support were essential to holding such activities. “We require support to make the festival more relevant to our children,” Iqbal said.

Last year the festival was held at Alhamra Hall. The venue has been changed owing to technical issues.

“Learning for children has been limited to certain academic fields,” said Asghar Nadeem Syed, head of the Theatre, Film and Television Department of the Beaconhouse National University.

“Children’s needs are vast and varied. They are complete human beings… they can feel their surroundings by themselves at times.”

Syed said such festivals were vital for the growth and welfare of society, particularly children.

“These cannot be set aside merely as cultural events. These are informative and educational,” he said.

He stressed the need for addressing the issues of terrorism, tolerance and other social problems through films.

“We always try to put a check on children’s imagination. This is quite unfortunate,” said Adeel Hashmi, representing the Faiz Foundation Trust.

“We don’t ask for a lot from the government… it should just not put hurdles in the way for holding such events,” he said.

He favoured using the visual medium for promoting the culture and stories of Pakistan.

Cinepax Limited chairman Arif Muhammad Baig said cinemas offered popular entertainment. “We are living in a difficult environment. Children will suffer the most if there are no such activities,” Baig said.

Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan said the government was committed to promoting activities caring for the youth.

He said the Punjab was the only province that had given a youth policy providing ways to address the needs of children.

Films will be screened at the two venues from 9am to 1pm and from 6pm to 8:45pm. The Faiz Ghar will hold evening screenings. The festival will continue until November 15.

Published in The Express Tribune

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