The 8th edition of SIFFCY – Smile Int’l Film Festival for Children & Youth – this year came with more titles, more renown jury members and an interesting ECFA Award winner: THE CLUB OF UGLY CHILDREN (Jonathan Elbers, the Netherlands).
Among more than 100 films that were screened this year in various categories, there was a remarkable amount of top quality Indian titles, like India’s official entry to the Oscars VILLAGE ROCKSTARS (by Rima Das), PAHUNA (Paakhi A. Tyrewala) and CHUSKIT (Priya Ramasubban). These titles were compiled in the ‘Extra Smiles – Best of Siffcy’ section. With DOSTOJEE (TWO FRIENDS, Prasun Chatterjee) one of the domestic films brought home two awards: one from the CIFEJ Jury and the prize for Best Director in the International Competition. Only FRITZI – A REVOLUTIONARY TALE (Ralf Kukula & Matthias Bruhn, Germany & Czech Republic) did as well, with awards in the International Competition for Best Film and Best Story.
Other focuses on specific countries came from Iran (5 titles, curated by the KANOON Centre & Cifej), 10 recent German films (a Schlingel curation) and a special curation of 5 Hindi and regional feature films produced by the Children’s Film Society India.
The ECFA Award went to THE CLUB OF UGLY CHILDREN (Jonathan Elbers, the Netherlands) in which a young boy with big ears leads an uprising against a dictator with a fixation on physical perfection. The ECFA Jury – talking about physical perfection! – were Jerzy Moszcovics (Poland), Berit Andersen (Norway), Mikk Granström (Estonia), Eric Bilodeau (USA) and Catarina Ramalho (Portugal).