Smile Foundation’s SIFFCY or Smile International Film Fest for Children and Youth programme aims to entertain, engage, educate, and empower young people. Smile Foundation truly believes that cinema is more than just entertainment; it is one of the most effective tools for depicting reality and emulating morals. Films become an exciting and engaging medium for young people to examine important personal, social and global concerns.
The 8th edition of SIFFCY 2022 was virtually held between 24th and 30th April 2022. This year’s focus was on helping children and youth who had been isolated due to the pandemic for months with little to no social interaction. Disruptions in daily routines, schooling, recreation, and unfortunately for many, losing a loved one, have all taken a toll on children’s mental health, leaving them scared, frustrated and anxious about their future.
This year SIFFCY featured over 100 ﬁlms from 50+ countries that were showcased during this one week. These ﬁlms aimed to provide an escape to children whilst also educating, empowering and engaging–g them. They helped address issues such as loneliness and depression that plague many, especially during such difﬁcult times. ‘Good cinema’ is vital in helping children and adults alike in coping and overcoming challenges and eventually returning to the new normal.
These ﬁlms play a huge role in the character development of children. The auditory or visual information that children and adolescents encounter can have an everlasting impact on them. Children look up to the characters depicted in cinema as role models and sources of inspiration. Consequently, character depiction is critical; it inﬂuences and aids in personality development.
Good ﬁlms also foster a sense of empathy and generosity in children. Children and youth could be the ﬁnest change agents in their families, communities, and even the country if they are exposed to good cinema early on.
While prominent ﬁlmmakers aren’t known for making ﬁlms that target a younger audience, several small creators are producing quality ﬁlms for children and adolescents. It’s critical to emphasize high-quality ﬁlms with a message and SIFFCY aims to provide a stage for the same. We want to encourage ﬁlmmakers to produce more of these ﬁlms and make them accessible to a wider audience the world.
The 8th edition of SIFFCY featured ﬁlms from Germany, Latin America, Iran and the Czech Republic. Through online platforms, ﬁlms from various genres and categories were played including new award-winning ﬁlms and renowned classics. Oscar award-winning ﬁlms and ﬁlms screened at leading festivals like Cannes, TIFF and Berlin were also a part of SIFFCY 2022. With an international jury from 15 nations, the ﬁlm festival provided a worldwide vision. The selection of ﬁlms showcased included feature ﬁlms, short ﬁlms, documentaries, and experimental ﬁlms created by adolescents. Several workshops and discussion sessions for children and young adults were also held during the festival.
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