Preview: Best Friends Forever?

Posted on: Friday 30 June 2017 3:46pm by Viola Gabrielli

 Viola Gabrielli, session producer on Best Friends Forever? asks ‘can broadcasters and funders work together to finance children’s features films?’

Let’s talk about it…   At 12.45 pm Thursday 6 July, in the Hubs Common Room

For more years than we like to remember, Kathy Loizou (Director of CMC) and I have been discussing children’s feature film production. Most of the time we wonder why the UK has such a problem in producing feature films for children – particularly live-action of different genres. It seems that other European countries that face the same obstacles do much better. Moreover, they’ve been able to establish and maintain a special focus on production for the young generation.

For most countries in Europe a diversified and valued independent film and media culture for children in Europe is not self-evident. The American examples of classic family entertainment dominates their markets. ‘Real’ children’s films which are based on originated stories and made specifically for children are an endangered species. However, children love good stories and have the same right as adults to enter worlds with contemporary heroes that touch them and make them laugh, and follow challenging situations that stimulate their critical consciousness. We think that children must be respected as an audience and offered a variety of experiences and film tastes. Films of all genres should be  available to a young audience.

There are British children’s films that are still in good memories like ‘Son of Rambow’ Cerrt 12A). Moreover, UK people are popular as consultants for media projects in other countries; are active in lobbying for European children’s films; and lead writer’s labs in Europe like the German Academy for Children’s Media. However, when it comes to independent and original UK IP in film production for children there seems to be a glass ceiling. Most importantly creative producers lack opportunity to experiment and fail when creating content.

Germany and the Netherlands might have come up with a solution. They have established several initiatives that reduce the risk of the creative producers and have successfully created feature development and production schemes. Both countries have done this by bringing together broadcasters and funders in order to finance independent films for children, with 30% or more of the financing coming from TV.

Bring your lunch bags, exchange with the people who are making these schemes work and take part in a discussion on how we can revive the kids’ feature film in the UK.

Margret Albers, Board Spokeswoman, Association for the Promotion of German Children’s Film, Germany
Hedda Bruessing, Head of Media Business, NTR, Netherlands
Signe Zeilich-Jensen, Children’s and Family Film Commissioner, Netherlands Film Fund, Netherlands
Jackie Myburgh, Business Controller, BBC Children’s, UK
Dr. Astrid Plenk, Editorial Director, Children’s & Social, MDR, Germany

If you want to do some homework before the session, take a look at our information on the Netherlands and German Children’s Feature Film Schemes.


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Viola Gabrielli

About the author

Viola Gabrielli

KIDS Regio, Project Manager

Viola has developed a passion for European film culture, with particular focus on films for children and youth. Before driving the lobby initiative KIDS Regio, she organised Germany’s ‘Academy of Children’s Media’, a writers’ lab for professionals developing children’s film and book projects along with its transmedia potentials. Viola started… Read more