News / The Network


The Network - 08/11/2010


Robert Rider, Director of cinema at the Barbican Centre, London


Centre Barbican-Londres

What work do you do to encourage kids to take an active interest in film? Is it hard to persuade kids to see a wide variety of films at the cinema ?

We run the London Children´s Film Festival, which is the key element of us trying to give UK families the opportunity to enjoy great films from this country and around the world that never get shown in the local cinemas.
Our chief aim is to get people of all ages to see films at the cinema which is where they should be watched. We run a family film club every Saturday morning and we’ve got a festival called “Animate the World”, which focuses on children´s and adult animation. We also have a creative learning department, which encourages interactive activities with the kids during our festivals, such as animation workshops in which we´ll make a film in a day, and costume and set design workshops so that children can really get a sense of the film making process.

How are you funded ?

The Barbican is owned and funded by the City of London corporation, which is a local government authority. But we also sometimes apply to trusts and foundations or get corporate sponsorship, and then we´ve got the ticket sales.

What’s the age range of the kids involved? To what extent do you use film as an education tool ?

The main focus of the Children´s film festival is primary school age, but we do have some films within the festival for teenage audiences. We have Q&As at the start of some of the films with young actors from the films who talk to the audience about what it was like to act in the film and how it was made.

Do you go into schools to discuss film? Is it hard to persuade kids to take an interest in alternative films ?

Within London yes, our creative learning department goes out to schools and organizes more film making workshops in the lead up to the London Childrens´ Film Festival and then those films are actually shown on the big screen during the festival.
We show a lot of different European and world cinema films at the festival, which do prove popular, but we also show a couple of big, popular mainstream films as well to help attract the attention of families who wouldn’t normally come to the festival.

Outside of the festival, do you get much of a younger audience ?

If we´re running a Bellini season then no, but if it’s a season of someone like Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle), then it can appeal to all ages. We’ve got a strong heritage, the audience has grown up with the Barbican, so when they get into their 20´s they feel it was an important part of their growing up experience.

What are your plans for the future ?

With the Olympics coming up, and the fact that we are based on the edge of the East of London where they are taking place, we´ve got certain projects not finalized yet that are to do with working with schools, community groups in East London in the lead up to 2012.

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Interview led Chris Evans
November 2010

- Robert Rider
- The Barbican