Imogen Thomas about EMU RUNNER

“Emus have a curious nature, which worked to our advantage”

Nine-year-old Gem Daniels lives in a remote Australian town. As she copes with her mother’s death, Gem finds solace in the company of a wild emu. This heart-warming story plays out against the challenges that come from living in a small and isolated community. “It was a privilege to share these people’s lives. I think that is a gift for all of us” says director Imogen Thomas.

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“The best stories are often with the outsiders”

Sam, who is often described by friends as “weird”, is spending the holidays on a coastal island in the north of The Netherlands. Even in the company of his brother, his parents and herds of tourists, Sam still has a gift for ‘feeling alone’. Until he meets Tess, an elusive girl carrying a big secret. Being friends with Tess is not just fun, it is also a challenge, as the girl’s wandering thoughts and impulsive decisions often put their relationship to the test. This summer, they will both learn about the importance of friendship, trust and about families, that you should cherish instead of flee from.

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Drazen Zarkovic about MY GRANDPA IS AN ALIEN

“We cherish a bit of eccentricity”

Ignored by her classmates, Una has grandpa as her best friend. But one night, when strange light beams are circling over the garden, grandpa disappears. Kidnapped by aliens! That’s a story nobody would believe. Until Una meets the small robot Dodo, who shares with her a family secret: your grandpa is an alien! When her mother suddenly gets sick, Una and her robotic friend have only 24 hours to find grandpa and save mum.

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“We need people like Pippi!”

You might regularly meet a bunch of crazy characters in children’s films, but rarely will you meet one as unique as Rocca. She’s living her life to the fullest, not every day, but every moment, day after day. While her dad is watching over her as an astronaut in outer space, 11-year-old Rocca lives alone with her squirrel, for the first time in her life attending a normal school. Like the rightful granddaughter of Pippi Longstocking, Rocca is ready and willing to turn your whole world upside down.

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Floor van der Meulen about THE LAST MALE ON EARTH

At Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya, the Most Eligible Bachelor in the World has found his final resting place. After 42 years on this planet, the last male northern white rhinoceros, Sudan, has passed away. THE LAST MALE ON EARTH portrays the gentle giant’s last months.

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Chicken-shit meets Beautiful Eyes

40 years ago, Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader decided to cross the Atlantic in a tiny sailing boat. Nine months later his boat was found off the coast of England. Without Bas Jan. Why did Ader venture into such a daring voyage and how did he overcome his fear?

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Nora Fingscheidt about SYSTEM CRASHER

Wild, disturbing and dissonant

‘System Crasher’ – this unofficial term refers to a young person who pushes the youth welfare system to its limits, and finally to failure. In this case, we’re not talking about a troubled teenager, but about Benni, a traumatised 9 year old girl, who has already been rejected from numerous foster families, community houses, special schools and she always ends up in children’s psychiatry. Everyone is overstrained with this unpredictable, manipulative, violent little girl and her inexhaustible energy. Finally there is Micha, Benni’s final straw to cling onto. But Micha already has a family.

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Jim Loach about MEASURE OF A MAN

“We had to drag ourselves out of bed to catch the light”

The Zlin Festival has a special nose for youth cinema. Every year some seemingly obscure titles are picked up from the darker corners of the independent Anglo-Saxon market, emerging as true festival revelations. This year there were several, like JELLYFISH (UK), INDIAN HORSE and GIANT LITTLE ONES (Canada) and METAL HEART (Ireland). One title from the US that caught attention was MEASURE OF A MAN by Jim Loach.

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