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Report – Best Friends Forever?

Posted on: Friday 07 July 2017 12:25pm by Lyndsey Smith

This session addressed the issue of the lack of feature length children’s films being produced in the UK. Would the ideal situation be to follow the German and Dutch model and bring together broadcasters and funders to collaborate on projects?

Takeaway:

  • Collaboration between broadcasters and funders is a way to gain high quality content
  • Funding schemes are a way of encouraging new content
  • Longevity of a project is key in children’s film

Detail:

Head of Business for NTR Hedda Bruessing explained how their mission was to “bring special programmes to everyone”. The children’s department is the biggest section of the broadcaster, and with 25 per cent of programming aimed at children she believes that kids deserve content linked to their development. By collaborating with the Dutch Film Fund, it is hoped they can stimulate the production of high quality children’s films.

Dutch Film Fund’s Signe Zeilich-Jensen explained how there are currently a number of films being produced in the Netherlands which are being supported through the film fund. With a strong tradition of producing children’s films in the Netherlands, the aim was to expand the production away from adaptations into more original content. The Cinema Junior scheme allows for a number of scripts to be considered for production with the top two being allocated funding in 2019.

A similar scheme is also being run in Germany with the Outstanding Films for Children Scheme, which aims to create two films a year. According to Dr. Astrid Plenk and Margret Albers key to this is the collaboration between all broadcasters and international partners, in order to have a variety of stories and genres being expressed on screen.

Both the German and Dutch models had the same budget share between the broadcasters and funders, with the broadcasters providing only 30 per cent of the films budget with the other 70 per cent being provided by the film funds.

BBC Children’s are currently exploring how they can begin to create feature length films for children. Jackie Myburgh, Business Controller for BBC Children’s, explained how a commissioned feasibility study led to the decision to branch out into films. These may be feature films of current CBBC programmes but could also be standalone projects made for a theatrical release.

All panellists were in agreement that an important element to consider with children’s films was the longevity of the final product: A film that can be repeated and be revisited for years after its release, and could be something shared across generations.

Lyndsey Smith

About the author

Lyndsey Smith

CMC Blogger

Lyndsey is currently studying for an MA in Children’s Television Production at the University of Salford. She previously gained a BA in Journalism and Media at Bangor University and has worked as an edit assistant and a video journalist. Her interests include writing, theatre, and of course children’s television. She is also a leader… Read more

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