Flatpack Festival
Film, and then some

Weird films for kids

Ian Francis
Monday 5th May, 2008 Posted by Ian Francis

After enduring the horrors of Nim's Island this weekend I turned to the web in search of some hope for childrens cinema. There are plenty of folks out there rightly lamenting the narrow choice on offer in the UK, although on the education front the launch of Film Club looks promising in terms of getting a wider range of movies into schools and giving teachers plenty of autonomy in choosing their own programme. (A lot of film ed in this country has been heavily studio-driven in the past with compulsory St Trinians goodie-bags etc.) Teacher friends have spoken with religious zeal about the effects that careful use of Google Video/YouTube can have on their pupils, and the podcasts on the Teaching for the Future blog are very much pushing in that direction. What would be really handy is more places gathering relevant material, particularly short material, under curriculum-related headings.

For more casual home viewing some great stuff can be found at Bangazee, a nice varied selection of youtube clips compiled by one half of Stratford-based animation duo the Brothers McLeod. 'Vinni Puh' goes down particularly well in these parts (below). Or if you're feeling ambitious the now-dormant but still-useful no-longer-dormant, and still-useful Alternative Films for Kids has loads of suggestions from a parent who is obviously quite happy to twist her offspring's melons now and again (including classic Saturday morning fare like Samuel Beckett). On the multiplex horizon, auteur types Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr Fox) and Spike Jonze (Where the Wild Things Are) seem to be mellowing with age and doing one for the kids, and Michel Ocelot's Prince's Quest arrives here on DVD in a couple of months. Any other hot tips to rescue us from Nim II would be much appreciated...

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