Report – Green Shoots in Children’s and Family Films

Posted on: Friday 08 July 2016 1:33am by Zarin Virji

The session illustrated strategies of making children’s and family films outside the studio system


  • A dearth of lower- and mid-budget family fare films in the UK as the film industry is risk-averse
  • The British film industry, including big studios, is supportive of Indie films
  • Indie films can gain funding and audience interest through release at festivals and school screenings, tie-ups with book publishers and the making of shorts


Nicole Carmen-Davies, UK Indie Producer, defined ‘family films’ as films which depict a beautiful world that children can relate to. Such films need to be aesthetically layered so that they appeal not only to the targeted age group but to a wider audience. These films must inspire child-like wonder in adults. Their short film, ‘Litterbugs’ has helped them to finance their feature film.

Ansgar Ahlers, Producer/Director, DSC9000ForeSeeSense, outlined his ten year struggle to make ‘Bach in Brazil’, an award-winning film, still playing in cinemas after 15 weeks of release. The film was co-produced by NFP, Germany and Disney, Brazil. The theme of the film as well as the sub-titles in German and Portuguese, posed part of the problem. The funding nightmare was compounded by differing regulations in both countries.

Phil Parker, Co-founder, BCr8ve, who has worked alongside Ahlers in this project, emphasised that the primary challenge was the non-existence of a market for this kind of film.

Pauline Burt, Chief Executive, Film Cymru/Wales, shared her conviction for public funders to stimulate the market with seed funding. In the last decade, the cost and difficulty of reaching kids has been a constraint in making these films. However, social media can be employed to reach out to the family audience. Filmcymru/Wales has developed a partnership with Chicken House. They have prepared a long list of books that could be turned into films through engaging with children at library events.

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Zarin Virji

About the author

Zarin Virji

University of Sheffield, Student

Zarin Virji's twin passions are teaching and writing. She has been a teacher, head teacher and teacher trainer for the past 25 years in Mumbai, India. At present she is studying Creative Writing at the University of Sheffield, UK Read more