Ten Out of Ten Over Fifty: Prix Jeunesse Suitcase

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2013 3:31pm by Jan Leventhall


Kissing, Pissing and Cross Dressing at the Prix Jeunesse!  

Just a taster of the varied content showcased at this years Prix Jeunesse suitcase.

Produced and Presented by David Kleeman – Chair of International Advisory Board for the Prix Jeunesse

Blogged by Jan Leventhall.

“I’ve never been to the Prix Jeunesse but people always bring the suitcase back – it’s like visiting a gallery.  It fills your head with ideas and points of view – invaluable”  Tim Jokl

“I loved the session and came last year as well.  Particularly the breadth of types of films.”  Olly


“Good enough, isn’t!” says David Kleeman on why some shows are memorable, award winning and stand the test of time whilst others don’t.  Those that do are the shows that are innovative and use the best possible shots to create magical moments.

In case you missed them, ten shows that stood the test of time:

1. Design Ah! – 2012 – Japan – An extraordinary animated visualisation of design in which  the red man learnt what all we British know, the benefits of queueing in a line!  (You had to be there….)

2. Hasse’s Diary – 1992 – Sweden – A young boy’s animated diary reveals that all is not so perfect in his world.  Short innocent sentences and non-sequitors effectively used to give us insights into a child’s thoughts on his life.

3. Stones: Guatemala – 1994- Denmark – A haunting account of child stone breakers, this Danish programme memorably shows how children worldwide grow up with “equal dignity even under unequal circumstances.”

4. The Day I Decided to be Nina – 2002 – Netherlands – Very ahead of it’s time a young gender dysphoria child shares thoughts, dilemmas and fears, of being bullied in a dignified way.

5. A Lot of Liking – 1996 – Finland – Words of wisdom from children on dating and their first crushes.  “With a girl you have to be nice and smart all the time” – of course!  Funny, Innocent and sensitive stuff.

6. Confessions of an Adolescent – 1996 – Brazil – More dating advice from older kids, “Mysteries are great – men love them!” Cheesy romance alongside a genuine exploration of teen love.

7. Children of the Luna – 2002 – Sweden – A slick tension building opening to a children’s Nordic noir.  “E.E. Nesbith would have done it differently,”(comment from the audience!)

8. Truckers – 1992 – UK – The first Terry Pratchett work to come to TV, a major broadcast undertaking and technologically advanced for it’s time.  Would anyone have the resources to invest in such as major project as this today?

9. Round the Twist: Little Squirt – 1994 – Australia – Schools boys having a peeing contest caused international controversy about it’s suitability for broadcast at the time.  However, it was shown in the UK with very little reaction, beyond enjoyment from the viewers of this popular series.

10. Exam Conditions – 1994 – UK – A silent film that masterly established character although perhaps the bullying scene may be riskier today.


2013 is the 50th Anniversay of the Prix Jeunesse. The purpose of this session was to provide a taster of different award winning programming from across the world.  The programmes shown were chosen not necessarily because they are better,  but because they are different.

David Kleeman warned that it is very easy to look at programmes from other countries and cultures, decide that they wouldn’t play in the UK and let the veil drop.  What is interesting is to question why do these programmes work where they come from.  Why have we seen three programmes from the Netherlands on transgendered youth for example, or why have Denmark sent production teams to Guatemala to film young stone breakers?   Why are the Scandinavian countries able to programme much darker or controversial stories  than many other territories?

How does humour travel?  No solutions were offered, perhaps sometimes the pressures of regulation and the commercial world make us reluctant to take risks.  Unfortunately our ‘love affair’ with children’s television ‘ is getting very beauracratic!’ (misquoted from Confessions of An Adolescent!)

So – next year in Munich, for the last two days of May and the first four of June.  It’s free to register, free to enter for both broadcasters and independent producers and you can have 6 memorable days watching around 80 programmes from around 50 countries, discussing the culture of  children’s television. You won’t find any better inspiration!

The Prix Jeunesse  suitcase is closed for this year … but don’t forget to collect your own personal suitcases from the Workstation on your way home….


Jan Leventhall

About the author

Jan Leventhall

Formerly Development Executive for Children’s and Young People’s Programmes at Central/Carlton Television, Jan was involved in the development of a range of children’s programmes including ‘Press Gang’ and ‘Harry’s Mad’.  She was the originator and associate producer of seven series of the multi-award winning C4 series ‘Wise Up.’  More recently… Read more