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Highlights - 27/05/2009

 

Cinema Public Films : From distribution of films aimed at young audiences to education based on the moving image

 

On 28 October French cinemas saw the release of L’Ours et le magicien [The Bear and the magician], a new programme of short animated films from the Latvian studio AB, distributed by Cinéma Public Films. Time to take a look at the endearing approach adopted by this company involved in the distribution of films d’auteur and its director, Valentin Rebondy.

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Valentin, who has developed a penchant for Young Audience films, has set himself the goal of "pursuing durable development in the field of exhibition". Not content merely to distribute the films, he gets involved, holds puppet workshops, transports a ten-panel exhibition on film sets and animated film techniques and also provides teaching materials. For L’Ours et le magicien, Valentin has embarked upon a road show in his lorry, a week before the film is released, on a journey which will take him to seventy-five film theatres over fifty days.

Flashback. In 2005, during the Mon Premier Festival, Cinéma Public Films presents The Three Musketeers, a Latvian animated film by Janis Cimermanis. During its screening, the film team achieves notable success by introducing the puppets. For Valentin, this screening marks "the starting point for considering how to go about bringing a film to a young audience".

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In 2008, with Le Bal des Lucioles [The Fireflies’ Ball] by Nils Skapans, screened during the European filmmakers’ Tour of France, the experiment enters a new stage. The Tour, organised by Europa Cinemas during France’s EU presidency, gives visibility to the initiative with various follow-on screenings. Valentin travels throughout France with the film team, meeting 70,000 film enthusiasts in 150 cinemas.
For the distributor, "it is all a way of seeing the distribution and this is the issue at stake here. We are involved with the film theatres at an early stage and we strive alongside the exhibitor to find an audience. It is also a way for the theatre to acquire an identity." The cinema becomes a place of discovery. Children and adults are captivated by the puppets and the film production processes and the event gives rise to artistic and educational projects.
The cooperation between distributors and exhibitors works really well. Valentin and his team prepare educational materials with the help of the expertise of the cinema education outreach workers. The cinema is promoted by the action of this distributor and the exhibitors appreciate the company’s involvement in the field.
During the tour of Bal des lucioles, Cinéma Public Films becomes aware of the demand from Young Audience youth workers for training in animation techniques. The organisation therefore extended an invitation, at its own expense, to four cinema education outreach workers – all female - to train them in traditional animation techniques in Riga, the Latvian capital, at AB’s premises, to let them get their hands on the ...  modelling clay! For three days, the studio provided them with the set and three directors. The four cinema education outreach workers were assigned the task of directing a short film, assisted by the production unit.
At the end of their stay in Riga, the cinema education outreach workers left with a kind of teacher’s briefcase containing four puppets corresponding with the different stages in the production of a film, an instruction manual, a flip book for kids and a DVD of a professional shoot. From now on, they will have the knowledge and the tools, which will enable them to pass on more of what they have learnt.
Today, Cinéma Public Films wants to give a European dimension to its operations by offering a training platform in animation techniques and by collaborating with other distributors to disseminate the works. A word to the wise is enough…

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