UNESCO supports CIAK Junior to engage in visions to build a better world
The festival which encourages to engage in visions and efforts to build a better world targets children aged 10 to 16.
Youth is the world's most important agent for creation and innovation. The sensitization, the engagement and the active participation of young people is of the key to promoting creativity. To put more young people at the heart of this process, opportunities and platforms should be created so that they can demonstrate their capacities and potential.
Since 2001, the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe supports CIAK Junior which is an opportunity for youth to get involved and be heard. The festival which encourages to engage in visions and efforts to build a better world targets children aged 10 to 16 from all over the world. In this project, they are given the opportunity to turn their own movie ideas into professionally-produced short films.
The films are then distributed among participating television networks for public screening. Over the years, CIAK Junior has been a valuable platform for children to tell their stories, display their creativity and exchange among different cultures.
The many perspectives brought by its young participants give rise to films that span a wide array of topics. This year, the competing films tackled identity exploration, teamwork, mutual help, inclusion, and friendship among others, revealing children's prominent concerns in their life as well as their responses in identifying solutions. Children celebrated with joy and excitement this prize-awarding ceremony.
The Award for Best film went to "The Invisibles to the Rescue", created and interpreted by a group of students from Puglia (Italy), on the topic of group acceptance. The film which also won the prestigious Award for Best International Film tells the story of Domenico, the most handsome student in a school. He is considered a great athlete by everyone but turns out to be just a ball boy. Once his secret is revealed, he is accepted by his classmates and becomes part of the group.
The special recognition of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe went to two films, ex aequo, from Bulgaria and China for their special focus on the values of identity building through cultural protection and on the harmonious living with mutual help and understanding.
"How the Lilac Smells", the contribution from Bulgaria, tells the story of Ekatherine, a curious little girl who, during a history lesson, explores the past and culture of the ancient city of Lovech and reveals her special identity based on those legacies. Culture is who we are, and what shapes our identity.
"The film is rich in content and creative ", said Mohammad Taufiq, UNESCO representative handing over the UNESCO Special Recognition. "We see not only the glorious past that previous generations have achieved, but also children's curiosity about their culture and identity, compassion toward valuable efforts and sacrifices made by others, and courage to take responsibilities for their own actions." Protecting culture is preserving and remembering what is essential and special to our existence in this world, through which we connect to our ancestors as well as to our future generations
From China, "The Ugly Ducklings" is a touching film about the friendship between a girl who dreams of becoming an Internet star and a little girl who recycles rubbish. The poor street girl realizes her dream of dancing with the help and support of 3 well-to-do girls. The young performer Xiaodou won the Award for Best Performance. This film received the UNESCO Special Recognition because no matter who we are, what we look like and where we come from, we all share the nature of human beings with equal rights. We prosper from the ability of mutual help and co-operation.
"We catch a glimpse of the world that UNESCO stands for: a sustainable future for our world would not be possible without understanding, tolerance, cooperation and mutual help among different peoples and nations. Each one of us can and must contribute in one's own way", underlined Mohammad Taufiq.
At the close of the ceremony, the Manfio brothers, Sergio and Francesco, were awarded the 'Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic' for their efforts in creating and organizing this Festival, which for over 29 years has encouraged connections among adolescents from numerous countries.