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Russian critic: Children cinema vital in fixing broken links between adults, young ones

Tehran,A movie expert from Russia has expressed her views with regard to the cinema of children and youth, highlighting the role of these productions in fixing the broken links between adults and the young ones.

In an interview with Islamic Republic News Agency on Friday on the sidelines of Iran's International Film Festival for Children and Youth, Alena Sycheva, a film critic as well as a program director, talked about her personal experiences in the industry, the current status of the Russian cinema for young generations, and the Iranian films' popularity in the Eurasian country.

Sycheva has studied history, theory of cinema and film criticism at the Cinematology Office of Film Studies. She has ever since worked as a journalist, lecturer, instructor, and coach; in addition, Sycheva managed to organize and lead a cinema club and school of her own. She is the author of more than 400 articles on the topic of cinema.

Specializing in animation, short movies, and kids' movies, she is the program director of the 'Zero Plus' International Children's and Family Film Festival (Russia, Tyumen), program director of the 'New Horizon' International Youth Festival of Short Films and Animation (Russia, Voronezh), and program director of the 'Cinema Days' Festival of Russian films (Latvia, Riga and Rezekne).

Excerpts from the interview follow:

Reporter: Tell me about the status of children and youth cinema in your country.

Alena Sycheva: We have big and great traditions of the children and youth cinema in Russia, but now, we don't have enough finance for its development. However, Russian animation is very successful in the whole world. You may know 'Masha and the Bear' series; it's an example of our modern commercial animation, but we have very interesting full-length animation films as well. Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of full-length fiction children and youth films - only 5-10 films every year.

How do you assess the situation of Iranian cinema in the world?

Iranian cinema is currently considered one of the key [cinemas] in the world with an inspiring, original, and preserved spiritual approach, and a minimum of special effects, and at the same time, very metaphorical. For example, I watched 'The Pig' by Mani Haghighi during Berlinale 2018 and I liked it for its humor, humanism, empathy, and social significance. As a program director of Zero Plus International Film Festival, I am looking for good kids and youth films, and every year, I find valuable films from Iran.

In 2016, we released in Russia, at Tymen city, during our film festival Zero Plus, the short animation 'It's Time to Sleep' by Mahnaz Yazdani - very beautiful and a kind story for kids � and 'Let Our Men Dance' by Hiwa Aminnejad, and also 'One Nice Day' by Soosan Salamat. Actually 'One Nice Day' is my favorite film; I love that sensitive, kind, simple story about true selfless friendship.

In 2017, we involved in our festivals programs 'Chocolate' by Mehdi Heydari, 'The Orangish Tree' by Amir Houshang Moeini, 'Polychrome' by Negareh Halimi, 'White Shadows' by Mahdi Amini, and 'Susangerd' by Masoumeh Nourmohammadi. Mahdi Amini and Masoumeh Nourmohammadi were guests at our festival, visited Tyumen, showed their films to our viewers, and discussed their works with children.Also, Masoumeh returned to Iran with the award of our Zero Plus.

What do you think about children who are familiar with the culture of other countries in Iran's International Film Festival for Children and Youth?

I think demonstration of films about different cultures and countries is very important for kids and teenagers.

How in your country can film makers get financial facilities to produce their cinematic products?

Usually producers send an application for a subsidy or funding to the Ministry of Culture in Russia. Our government supports the creation of works of cinema and films for children.

How much does your government pay attention to children and youth cinema?

A few years ago, separate, special funding was allocated by the Ministry of Culture to children and youth cinema. However, these efforts have not yielded significant results yet. The fact is that Russian children's cinema is hard to succeed at the box-office in the cinema halls. Children and teenagers prefer to watch expensive and spectacular blockbusters from Hollywood. Domestic films remain low-budget and poorly attract audience. Besides, the producers of these films have no big budget for promotional campaigns. In any case, the development of children's cinema needs time and a lot of efforts.

To what extent is cinema helpful in preparing children and youth as future adults?

Cinema itself is not too helpful in preparing children and youth as future adults, but cinema gives a lot of reasons for communication and discussions of children with adults. At the festival, we hold discussions with the children after the shows and encourage parents to discuss movies with the kids. There were cases when parents, through discussion of cinema, fixed the destroyed communication with children. And movie is very helpful for teachers in their pedagogical work. We hold a special forum on film pedagogy and discuss with teachers the tremendous possibilities of using cinema in school lessons.

In your country, are children attracted to watching films made by western countries or are interested in nationally-oriented cinema?

Children are interested in all films, but not the dull ones. They don't care in which country the film is made. But unfortunately, movies from Hollywood seem more interesting, because they do not encourage thinking, contemplating, but only entertain and allow them to have fun.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA

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