Presentations 2nd European Exchange
Mieke De Jong – Story writing for children’s film and series
A good children’s film, is a good film for everyone. Stories with children always have drama, because children are the beginners in our world. They face a lot of issues they do not yet understand but already have to deal with. And they are depending on their parents, teachers and family to do so. Conflict is everywhere, when it comes to children. And conflict, isn’t that what scriptwriters are looking for – everywhere and always? A warm plea for taking children and children’s films serious.
Mieke de Jong is a scriptwriter for both film and television. Her stories are crowded by strong characters in unusual situations. She wrote many children’s films, amongst them are EEP!, Tony 10, Spoon and Bonkers. Spoon is the story of orphan who lives in a department store where he is looking for a mother, but then he finds a father instead. In her film Bonkers, the manic depressed mother of a 9-year-old girl comes home with an elephant. But Bonnie the 9-year-old girl finds a way to help her mother. Bonkers was awarded 13 prizes all over the world and Spoon was honored at film festivals in Hyderabad, Kristiansand, Hollywood and Iran. Her feature film Winter in Wartime about a 14-year-old boy in the second World War who wants to be a hero, was shortlisted for the Academy Award for best Foreign Film in 2010. Her films are much appreciated by both children and adults. She wrote the script for Rintje, an animated series co-produced by Beast Animation and to be broadcast on Ketnet next year.
Yves Ringer – On the Sly and Birds of Passage
In Birds of Passage, Yves Ringer’s third feature film, Cathy turns 10 and for her birthday her father gives her a present that is a little out of the ordinary: a fertilised duck egg. Her father warns her: the duckling it will produce will think the first person it claps eyes on is its mother. And that first person, against all odds, is Margaux. While Cathy is quite prepared to let Margaux play the role of mother duck, the latter’s parents have a different view on the matter: overwhelmed by their daughter’s condition (she suffers from a serious physical disability that means she is confined to a wheelchair), they don’t believe she is capable of taking care of the duckling. Desperate to live a normal life at last, Margaux runs away with Cathy so that she can love and look after her little duckling far from the grown-ups who are trying to stop her from doing so.
Yves Ringer is a Belgian screenwriter, director and producer. He wrote and produced his first feature film The Foal in 2006. The Foal was followed by the award-winning On the Sly in 2011 and Birds of Passage in 2015. On the Sly was selected for the Generation Kplus programme of the Berlinale and for more than 80 other festivals around the world and won the ECFA Award 2012 for Best European Children’s Film. Bird of Passage won prizes in Montreal, Zlin and Copenhagen.
He makes his art-house children’s films with his brother Olivier Ringer. Their films have a very own Ringer signature. Find out more about their vision on filmmaking for children.
Jannik Hastrup – Social engagement in film for young audiences
Jannik Hastrup is a Danish writer, director, producer, illustrator and animator. He has for more than 5 decades directed and delivered more than 100 animated films among these 14 features and is the director of some of the most beloved Danish animated children films. He is considered “Denmark’s grand master of animation”. He has directed animated classics such as Circleen (created in 1957 and later on brought to the big screen in three features), Benny’s Bathtub (1971), Samson & Sally (1984), War of the birds (1990),The boy who wanted to be a bear (2003) and Tale of Two Mozzies, just to mention a few. Some of his films are seen as political or social.
His films show a big social and political engagement. In 2013, 2014 and 2015, he makes the series Asylum Child. The animated series is based on true stories of children’s everyday life in asylum housing in Denmark. Like Jamila, whose friends come and go because they are deported from Denmark. She misses them, thinks about life, does belly dancing and checks out boys. He will talk about the series and about social and political engagement in film for young audiences and story writing for animation film.
Jean Charles Nbotti Malolo – Dance and Sign Language to tell your story
In his animated films Jean Charles Mbotti Malolo merges two of his passions: dance and drawing. He does it in The Heart is a Metronome, in Le Paon and in his last short film The Sens Of Touch. In The Sens of Touch, Chloé and Louis, the main characters in the film are deaf and thumb, but that doesn’t stop them from hearing each other because their movements are becoming words. In The Sens Of Touch the mixing together of dance, music and sign language creates a rhythmical abstraction that feels like a new language or a new universe. A universe that is as much appreciated by both adults and children.
Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo graduated from Emile Cohl school in 2007. His graduation film, The Heart is a Metronome, received several international rewards included the Hiroshima festival debut prize 2008. He fell in love with the pencil when he was very young. Since he is fourteen, Hip-hop dance became also important in his live. Ten years later he joined the Stylistik company as professional dancer. After he spends some years as background designer and animator in the feature film industry, Jean-Charles directs his third short film The Sens Of Touch at the Folimage studio.
Chris Westendorp and Jaap Peter Enderlé – Writing Boys
Writing of the script for Boys is the first project that Chris Westendorp and Jaap Peter Enderlé enchanted together. In the film Boys, Sieger, a 14-year-old boy falls in love with one of his friends but doesn’t want to have these feelings. Living in a small town with a widow father doesn’t make it easier for Sieger to stay true to himself and accept his gay sexuality. Jaap Peter and Chris will talk about the choices made for the script about burgeoning gay sexuality. The choices made to make the film appealing to young audiences nowadays but also to write a story that is at the same time of all times.
Chris Westendorp started as a documentary maker. She directed Westwood Loves you, Mohammed and Ongeletterd. For the documentary Westwood Loves You she received the Prins Bernard Cultuurprijs. Immediately after winning the prize she begins to write screenplays. She writes episodes of the series One Night Stand and Bitch Fight (Van God Los) and re-writes the script for the television movie Lellebelle. As script-doctor she works on the script of the feature film Olifantenvoeten directed by Dan Geesin. The film won a Gouden Kalf. Boys (Jongens) is directed by Mischa Kamp. Chris Westendorp also worked with Mischa Kamp on her another feature film Het Paard van Sinterklaas and she wrote the script of Dorsvloer vol Confetti directed by Tallulah Hazekamp Schawb and screened after the exchange.
Jaap Peter Enderlé wrote for the Dutch Television Met Donker Thuis and two episodes of the acclaimed television series Van God Los. Together with Chris Westendorp he wrote the story of the feature film Jongens directed by Mischa Kamp. The film won a lot of prizes and got nominated for the Emmy awards in 2016. He continues writing for young audiences, with the thriller for children Bungalow 414 and again with Chris Westendorp Kleine Criminelen. In 2015 he re-writes Roald Dahn’s Fantastische Meneer Vos for theater for young audiences.
Martin Rehbock – About a Girl and a good fight-write
In About a Girl directed by Mark Monheim and written by Mark Monheim and Martin Rehbock, Charleen, 15 years old and Kurt Cobain’s biggest fan, wonders why “growing up” has to be so complicated. One day, feeling especially melodramatic and rebellious, she decides to pull the plug on her life. Luckily, she fails – and discovers what fun life and love can really be!
How to write an attractive and good script for a young audience about a teen who wants to commit suicide? This is what we asked him to talk about. Well, unfortunately director Mark Monheim and screenwriter Martin Rehbock consider the script of About a Girl (from today’s perspective) only as quite alright. And they didn’t have a young audience in mind writing it. And the notion that it’s a less conventional topic might depend on a certain view on the world. So, he doesn’t know if he can rise to the topic; he certainly will try his best. But he promises to talk about the crucial question ‘Wouldn’t it be fun, if…?’, the power of a good (what I call) fight-write – and what the music of the Eels has to do with all of that.
Martin Rehbock followed a training in publishing before he started his studies film, Modern German Literature and theater science. He worked as a marketer in a publishing house when he founded together with Michael Stehle IMBISSFILM. He is the head of the IMBISSFILM office in Lübeck. For IMBISSFILM, he develops the movie scripts and concepts and he is the head of film production.
Nienke Poelsma – Cinekid Script Lab
Cinekid Script Lab is a project-driven lab for an international group of writers and writer/directors to further develop their plans for children’s feature films in all stages of development. The coaching the lab responds to the specific writer’s and story’s needs occurring along a two-phased trajectory. The Cinekid Lab is built around the idea that each individual filmmaker and each project should be seen in their very own context and for each of them the development approach and creative process will be different. At Cinekid Lab filmmakers are coached and supported by (inter)nationally acclaimed advisors who will push them to their creative limits. During the entire lab each filmmaker will have his/her own script coach to guide them through the four-month journey. Nienke Poelsma, the new head of Cinekid for professionals, comes to Brussels to present the Script Lab.
Prior to Cinekid, Nienke served as Coordinator CineMart & Rotterdam Lab at International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). In her position she oversaw the industry side of the festival and in particular the Rotterdam Lab. While studying Film Nienke started working for CineMart, the established co-production market of IFFR. A year later she was appointed as Producer Rotterdam Lab, a training course for emerging producers taking place during CineMart. In this function she travelled around the world to find interesting partners, speakers and topics to deliver a well-balanced programme. Constantly expanding her network and knowledge Nienke was promoted as Coordinator CineMart & Rotterdam Lab which made her oversee the CineMart selection, programme, Rotterdam Lab, financing, team and many other industry activities.
Peter De Maegd – The Baron storytelling for converged media for young audiences
Peter De Maegd is an independent film producer who’s turning his focus on the new opportunities of the converging media. He was involved in the production and marketing of over a dozen feature films. With his company Potemkino, he developed formats like Where is Gary?, Monster, Miss Homeless and Welp. Innovative projects that combine inventive storytelling, the potentional of the internet and new financing strategies. He is, in collaboration with Caviar Films, one of the producers and story architects of the TV series The Spiral which was simultaneously broadcast in 8 countries and invited the audience to experience the story on tv, online and in reality. The series starts with a heist where six major works of art are stolen. The thieves invite everyone to search for the paintings, hidden deep in www.spiral.eu. You can simply enjoy the thriller series on TV or experience the story through the game, the online community and the physical events. He financed part of the film Welp by a crowdfunding campaign and developed a game and app with it.
He will be talking about The Baron, his new project with Hans Vercauter. The Baron is an animated series for children from 6 tot 11 years old that will be broadcasted by Ketnet next year. At the same moment a game and an app will be lauched on the web.
Voyelle Acker – transmedia and digital storytelling for children’s media
Transmedia is a huge challenge for a Public TV Group as France Télévisions to keep its younger audiences. While the Youth Programs Direction is keeping producing an ambitious and quality TV series line-up, both for preschoolers and kids, France Télévisions Nouvelles Ecritures digital lab experiments and developp differents ways of telling stories to kids, exploring games, serious games, a large range of apps and even linear digital formats as digital short series.
After hosting a TV show for La Cinquième (ex-France5) and editing a website about interactive fiction between 1999 and 2001, Voyelle Acker spent 10 years in children’s television starting as a production assistant in a NYC animation studio. After her return to France, she worked five years at M6 as a program advisor and then head of acquisitions and development, then joined France 3 as deputy head of chidren’s programs. After the merge of the three youth departments (France 2, France 3 and France 5). She was promoted head of new formats and new media in the youth and children’s direction of France télévisions. In 2011 she joined the new-born Direction of Digital storytelling and Transmedia. During the presentation, she will talk on the transmedia projects she developed for young audiences.
Juan Morali – Audience design for My First Highway by Kevin Meul (TBC)
In his presentation Juan Morali will talk about Audience Design basic working tools using Kevin Meul’s teenage thriller My first Highway to illustrate them. My First Highway is a dark teenage movie in which a young boy learns about love and life in the cruelest way. He tries to be a hero while he should try to be his best self. In the film Benjamin meets during the annual family holiday local girl Ann. Around her he feels very much alive and he falls completely in love. One drunken night she shares her terrible secret: she wants to find the man that raped her. Benjamin promises to help her get revenge, to be her hero.
Juan Morali specialized in marketing, media communications, and graduated with a BA in Theatre Arts & Latin-American Literature at the University of Texas. During his career, he has designed communication and advertising campaigns and strategies for media groups such as Canal+, Via Digital, MediaPro and Grupo Zeta; managed the contents and finances of film and TV productions for Filmax and worked in film distribution at On Pictures; he has collaborated as a marketing consultant with Universal Networks (Calle 13 & Studio Universal), Nike, Coca-Cola and Häagen-Dazs. He was cofounder of the interactive marketing company Liquid Media and new media consultant for Dr.Troy in Barcelona. Juan also teaches graduate seminars on cultural resource management at Universidad Complutense and Universidad Carlos III in Madrid and is currently working as transmedia developer for the leading TV production house Grupo Ganga. Right now in the makings of creating digital Marketing and Distribution company addressed to independent film and audiovisual contents in Spain. He also worked on a Transmedia advertising campaign “Viva la Resistencia” with one the leading agencies in Spain (Shackelton) where we produced a live short musical theatre piece (20 min) to support a HPV prevention campaign addressed to teenagers and young adults. Juan Morali is a TorinoFilmLab coach for Audience Design.
Sahim Omar Kalifa – Children and war
Sahim Omar Kalifa is a Belgian-Kurdish filmmaker. In 2001, he came to Belgium, and in 2008 he got his Master’s degree in filmmaking at Sint-Lukas Film School, Brussels. Kalifa has won 80 international awards with his short films Land of the Heroes, Baghdad Messi and Bad Hunter. Bad Hunter won the Jury Prize in the Muhr Short Film Competition at the 2014 Dubai International Film Festival. The most prestige Award was at 61st Berlinale with Land Of The Heroes as Jury Award – Best Short Film Generation. Baghdad Messi won 50 international Awards and it is shortlisted for the Oscars. Bad Hunter won also several international Awards at some important film festivals, like the Jury Award at 59th Valladolid, 38th Montreal World, Dubai IFF and Flickerfest International Film Festival. Sahim Omar Kalifa was chosen in Istanbul as Best Kurdish film director in 2014.
Land of the Heroes tells the story about Dileer and his sister. In a land devastated by war, Dileer and his sister want to watch cartoons on television, but that proves to be more difficult than either of them expected. Saddam’s victory propaganda monopolizes the TV. And while their mother and auntie are polishing artillery, they must tolerate cousin Malo, a bullying little spitfire. Under sweltering heat, both adults and children display the desensitizing effects of war.
In Baghdad Messi, Hammoudi, the biggest Messi fan in the world, is missing a leg but that doesn’t prevent him from playing football with his friends. Truth is, his mates let him play on their team only because they can watch the UEFA Champions League matches on TV at his place. As the final approaches, Hammoudi’s TV breaks, and his friends ditch him. Hammoudi begs his father to go to Baghdad to get the set fixed before the match – but the streets are not safe.
Margret Albers – Friendship, Love & Guinea Pigs – Stories that touch a Nerve
On the basis of three award winning films the presentation will give examples of stories that touch the young audience and will give insights into their judging criteria. Margret Albers has been managing director of the Children’s Media Foundation GOLDENER SPATZ and director of the German Children’s Media Film Festival of the same name since 1996. In addition, she is the board spokeswoman of the Association for the Promotion of German Children’s Film. Together with Thomas Hailer and Greg Childs, she is responsible for the direction of studies at the Academy for Children’s Media. She is also project director for the initiatives Outstanding Films for Children, and Television from Thuringia.