New Delhi, April 24, 2023: Film from the Czech Republic ‘Even Mice Belong in Heaven’, where two mortal enemies, mice and fox become best of friends in the animal heaven moved the heart of the jury to bag three awards. It included the Best Feature Film and the Best Story (Children) awards at the ongoing Smile International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFFCY). The international film festival is held every year to recognise creative talent and to encourage children and youth centric cinema.
‘Gandhi & Co’ becomes the lone Indian film to win an award during this year’s SIFFCY. Produced by Mahesh Danannavar and directed by Manish Saini, Gandhi & Co is a light-hearted Gujarati comedy movie. It depicts a story taking along Gandhian values of harmony and honesty in an entertaining way. This film won two awards, namely in the best director and best actor categories.
SIFFCY is a testament to the power of storytelling and its ability to inspire, impress and entertain children. The week-long event is showing over 150 handpicked films from across the globe for over 100,000 school children across India through 50 simultaneous screenings. It provides filmmakers with an opportunity to connect with young audiences too.
“Cinema, with its larger-than-life characterisation, awe-inspiring depiction and inherent unique power, will continue to remain relevant as one of the best creative tools. Using good cinema, we want to contribute to positive societal change that begins with the young minds. With our 10th edition next year, we want to reach one million young audience,” said Mr. Santanu Mishra, Chairman of SIFFCY and Executive Trustee & Co-founder of the Smile Foundation.
The unique film festival serves as a platform to promote children’s films and create awareness about the importance of quality cinema for young audiences, and this is a step towards achieving that goal. SIFFCY aims to encourage and recognise the efforts of filmmakers who produce quality cinema for children across the globe.
Here are some of the winners for this year’s awards and categories, which include both animated and inspiring films.
1) International Competition, Best Feature Film (Children): Even Mice Belong in Heaven, The Czech Republic, France, Poland and Slovakia
2) Best Feature Film (Youth): Oskar & Lilli, Austria
3) Best Actor Award: Dhyani Jani and Hiranya Zinzuwadia for Gandhi & Co (Gujarati), India
4) Best Story Award: Even Mice Belong in Heaven, The Czech Republic, France, Poland and Slovakia
5) Best Short Film Award: Why Did the Giraffe’s Flower Fade (Persian), Iran
6) Best Next Gen Award (Film made by Children): The Most Boring Granny in the Whole World (German), Germany
7) ECFA (European Children’s Film Association) Award for best film: Even Mice Belong in Heaven
8) CIFEJ (International Centre of Films for Children & Young People) Award for best film: Tales of Franz (German), Germany
9) Film Critics Circle of India (FCCI) Award for best film: Tales of Franz, Germany
10) Best Director: Manish Saini for Gandhi & Co (Gujarati), India
11) Best Short Film (Children) by Young Jury: Witch Fairy, Belgium
12) Best Short Film (Youth) by Young Jury: You Have Many Parts (German), Germany
Two categories were specifically adjudged by the Young Jury (comprised of 50 children and youth from five countries), recognising the best short films made for young people. ‘Witch Fairy’ from Belgium won the Best Short Film (Children) award, while ‘You Have Many Parts’ from Germany was awarded the Best Short Film (Youth).
Mr. Santanu Mishra added that in recent years, there has been a growing demand for children’s films in India, and efforts are being made to produce more of them. Through our efforts, we want to recognise and encourage young filmmakers to produce age-appropriate content that can cater to the potential and the need of the hour. This initiative not only promotes creativity but also helps shape the minds of young viewers.
“The festival aims to promote the art of filmmaking and encourage children to appreciate and create cinema that reflects their own unique perspectives. On the sidelines of screening films, every year workshops, training and orientation programmes, and interactive sessions with filmmakers are organised under SIFFCY to inspire young minds to explore the ever-evolving world of cinema also as a future career option,” explained Mr. Jitendra Mishra, SIFFCY Festival Director.
About Smile Foundation
Smile Foundation is a national-level development organisation directly benefitting over 1.5 million children and their families every year, through more than 400 welfare projects on education, healthcare, livelihood and women empowerment, in over 2000 remote villages and slums across 25 states of India.
Smile Foundation is also a widely respected brand known for its continuous innovations and strives to sensitise the privileged mass across the globe so that they come forward, take on the social problems of the world as personal challenges and fight them back. And in order to grab their attention, Smile Foundation has been developing films as a core area, which are creative, innovative and are a balance of the right content and the right quality.