“Children are not made to sit still.” During the recent JEF festival, the experience screenings offered children plenty of space to play. A success formula that also pleases the exhibitors: with a minimum of effort a unique audience involvement is created.
The magic formula: plenty of commotion before, during and after the screening. The audience is urged to be active and not sit still during the film. “Sitting through a movie is an effort for some children. That’s why we’re breaking with the classic “going to the movies” approach. Think of it as translating the well-known sing-along formula to a child audience. This stimulates the connection among the children and makes cinema the shared experience again that we have been missing so much recently,” says workshop developer Elfi De Vos. This is done, for example, through a clip that “warms up the movie muscles”, or a bingo game in which kids put on stickers whenever they recognise certain objects on the screen. These screenings were offered with carefully selected films: NO-NO GOES TO SPACE, KIWI & STRIT 3 and the classic JUMANJI.
Last year there was the JEF Do-it-cinema, a labour-intensive formula offering craft and movement assignments with PAT & MAT films. The groups with children and (grand)parents were small and needed intensive supervision for rather demanding assignments, such as constructing a pipe system through which you could blow your own folded kites with a leaf blower. Now more simple activities could be offered by exhibitors to their audience. Elfi De Vos: “They receive a package put together by JEF and hardly need to provide any guidance. Thanks to the high activity level, families are highly involved in the screening, the youngest children can fully participate, just like parents showing their most active side.”