The ECFA Award for Best European Children’s Film 2020 has been won by BINTI by director Frederike Migom (Belgium). This film tells the story of a young girl who claims her right to live a normal life and dream her own dreams, even if she doesn’t have the legal documents to prove that she really exists. Other ECFA Awards went to BLOEISTRAAT 11 (Best Short) and HOW BIG IS THE GALAXY? (Best Documentary).
The award was presented at the European Children’s Film Community Award Ceremony during the Berlinale on 22 February, 2020. Collecting the award, director Frederike Migom thanked the audience: ‘When parents come to tell you that their children suddenly asked at dinner “why people need papers to be allowed to live “, then you know that you have achieved an important goal with your film.’ Producer Katleen Goossens (Bulletproof Cupid) addressed film professionals and policymakers: ‘It is extremely important that we continue to make films with a positive message, even if the topic is sensitive, and I call on all partners and financiers to continue to support such films, as they are absolutely indispensable in the world that we live in today.’
At the same event, the ECFA Doc Award 2020 was handed out to HOW BIG IS THE GALAXY by director Kseniya Eliyan (Russia), a documentary giving insights in the Dolgan community, one of the last indigenous communities pursuing their traditional nomadic life in the extreme north of Siberia. Producer Max Tuula: ‘Even under harsh and difficult conditions, these people succeed in living harmoniously with their families, sharing a message of happiness and pureness that sets an example for us all.’
The ECFA Short Award for Best European Young Audience Short Film of the year went to BLOEISTRAAT 11 by director Nienke Deutz (Belgium). This film shows two young girls at a key moment in their lives: the summer of saying goodbye to childhood. Producer Annemie Degryse (Lunanime) came to collect the award with words of praise for director Nienke Deutz: ‘For Nienke, technology is primarily a tool to visualize emotions in a film. That is a crucial element in her work, especially in BLOEISTRAAT 11.’
The ECFA Award is the only European children’s film award voted on by professionals and represents the voice of approx. 150 youth film organisations from 41 different countries.
Margret Albers, President of ECFA said: ‘The nominated films all deal with topics that are central to the lives of young audience of today. The three films that won the awards talk about ecology, about sans papiers, about a mediatized world in which strong children set their own priorities. They combine social problems of a complex contemporary society with stories about personal growth and fulfilment. This is proof that ECFA and its members are very well aware of the world of their target audience, and that the children’s film industry provides films with a universal relevance.’
Throughout 2020, 18 different children’s film festivals hosted an ECFA Award jury, selecting one title to ECFA’s shortlist. All shortlisted films competed for the final ECFA Awards: the Best European Children’s Films 2020. The members of ECFA, all of them active in the children’s film industry, viewed the shortlist and voted for the winners.
Complete list of festival participating in the ECFA Awards:
JEF Festival (Antwerp, Bruges, Belgium), BUFF Children & Youth Film Festival (Malmö, Sweden), Kristiansand Children’s Film Festival (Norway), Ciné Jeune de l’Aisne Festival (L’Aisne region, France), Film Festival for Children & Youth (Zlin, Czech Republic), Cinemira (Budapest, Hungary), Spirit of Fire Festival (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia), Children’s & Youth Film Festival (Oulu, Finland), Just Film Children & Youth Film Festival (Tallinn, Estonia), Schlingel Film Festival for Children & Young Audience (Chemnitz, Germany), Lucas Festival for Young Filmlovers (Frankfurt, Germany), Ale Kino! Young Audience Film Festival (Poznan, Poland), Olympia Children’s Film Festival (Pyrgos, Greece), Filem’on Children’s Film Festival (Brussels, Belgium), doxs! – Documentaries for Children & Young People (Duisburg, Germany), Smile Film Festival (New Delhi, India), Kino Dzieci Kids Film Festival (Warsaw, Poland), and Short Film Festival (Oberhausen, Germany).