The 12th Ojo de Pescado Int’l Film Festival for Children & Youth took place in Valparaíso, Chile, from 25 August–1 September.
Once again the port city with its hills and elevators saw thousands of children walking happily through its colourful streets, on their way to movie theatres to watch films from around the world. The festival programmed 7 feature fiction and documentary films, 24 shorts, and 15 episodes of Latin American television series.
The Jury was made up of 32 children and adolescents. Their award for Best Feature Film for Children went to PERLIMPS, an animated film by Brazilian director Alê Abreu. The Best Feature for Teenagers was THE ORDINARIES (Sophie Linnenbaum, Germany): “This festival gives me hope for the future; it makes me very happy to see what children and young people are doing in the field of cinema”. The young jury members valued the film programme that didn’t underestimate them, that challenged them, and gave them the opportunity to opine on realities that are geographically distant but very close to their own processes of growth and recognition of identity.
Among the audience are many children who study in public schools, from families that live with massive economic difficulties, in a beautiful city that after the social revolt and the pandemic has seen an increase in poverty and crime. Festival director Alejandra Fritis Zapata: “Many of these children come to the movies for the first time with the Ojo de Pescado (the ‘Eye of the Fish’) Festival, they meet characters like Dylan from BIGMAN or Mina from DANCING QUEEN who, even though they are from distant countries, represent problems that are universal for childhood. As they are powerful and resilient, our audiences identify with them; they inspire them to see their complex realities from a different point of view.”