By Rizwanaa Shaikh
Children’s cinema is quite a new phenomenon in Pakistan and people don’t know much about the concept yet. But thanks to The Little Art (TLA), a non-profit organization that is going to hold an international children’s film festival in Lahore from 16-21 September, 2013. This is the fifth edition of this festival.
LICFF 2013 received almost 400 entries from 35 countries which is more than a handsome number. Out of 400, 94 films from 27 countries were selected. Films by local film makers are also included in this list. The submission deadline was, at first, 30 April, 2013. However, according to the LICFF organizers, the response from within the country, unlike from the international side, was pretty poor and they had to extend the deadline for getting more local representation.
This 6-day festival is being held at Alhamra Cultural Complex, Qaddafi Stadium, Lahore in collaboration of Ministry of Culture and Youth Affairs, Government of Punjab. Chief Minister Punjab, Mian Shahbaz Shareef also expressed his pleasure on the holding of the festival and said, “I hope that LICFF will promote inspiration among children and youth and broaden their horizons for tolerance and peace.”
The core purpose behind LICFF is film based learning and teaching. The films submitted and selected for the festival are made by and on the problems of children. This way, it becomes a complete domain of story telling and art work, opening various ventures for children and adults to raise their voice on local issues and make their presence felt by the world and people around.
Talking about film based learning and teaching, visual arts can surely be stated the most effective way to teach children different things and give them awareness. For example, a selected film in the category of Pakistani films (Under 18) is Dengue – The Silent Killer, and another one is The Infection, according to the LICFF website. Through such films, children and parents both will learn effectively how to fight the diseases and bad habits in an amusing and entertaining way.
The Little Art (TLA) has also announced a national art competition named ArtBeat. Festival director, Shoaib Iqbal told in an interview, “ArtBeat is a visual arts project to raise awareness about identity, rights, and social justice among children and youth.” With the theme “Me/My Rights”, the competition aims at providing children with a platform to express their inner feelings. Children and youngsters of 3-18 years of age from all over Pakistan submitted their work early this year. The winners will be given 30 different prizes and TLA has announced to fully sponsor two brilliant artists for Sharjah International Biennial for Children’s Arts.
The most important and the most pleasing thing regarding LICFF is that it’s our own country’s platform, open for all children and schools of Pakistan. This international film festival also provides indirect education and training to children as well as they can compare their work with the outer world to determine where they are standing. We have been provided with a podium at our doorstep. Now it’s up to our children and parents to take its full advantage and utilize the great opportunity to express their inner selves!