Cultural education is currently a topic on the agenda at many of the institutions that work with children and young people, provide services for them or look to their future both in and outside school. The underlying aim is to anchor culture more firmly in the educational system since the arts are clearly a significant factor in terms of personal development, creativity and learning behaviour. No doubt about it: film belongs on the cultural curriculum – film as moving pictures in general but also as film criticism and production studies in particular. The places where children and young adults seek out these pictures and information about them, where they consume them or even make them themselves have all changed radically over the past few years. The same applies to the related media: the Internet, YouTube, mobile telephony, computer video games and DVDs for the home cinema. And the cinema as such? Has it outlived its usefulness? Or is it only for the forty-something generation who grew up with it? For more than twenty years now, the Dortmund | Cologne International Women‘s Film Festival has proudly presented a film programme especially compiled for children and teenagers – to be seen in the cinema. And will proudly
continue do so. Not because films screened in the cinema are inherently better; it‘s just that the effect is different. The darkened theatre and the big screen still exert their own fascination, surroundings for which the pictures have been especially composed, a conscious interaction of many artistic and technical components. With film stories often complex and multilayered, film history seen as a whole is also part of cultural history.
This year, we have selected a programme of ten fiction feature and documentary films, both short and long, for school students and their teachers to watch and discuss. Films that are based on the NOW WHAT festival theme. For children and young adults are often faced with difficult decisions. Do something or stay out of things? The films show characters of all ages and sizes who have either found an answer themselves or who are still searching for one.
After each screening, we offer a discussion platform for the school students to ask their questions about the film or, guided by the moderator, learn more about the film‘s production background and its specific cinematic language.
Thus the Dortmund | Cologne International Women‘s Film Festival, like other film festivals too, makes an important contribution to cultural education and media competence.
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