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The Network - 12/06/2015


Kristiansand festival, a real springboard for the exhibition of children’s films in Norwegian cinemas


Kristiansand International Children’s Film Festival (KICFF) takes place every spring in the city of Kristiansand, where it attracts a large audience and a number of international guests. In addition to films from all over the world, the festival also consists of workshops, seminars and special events, designed for both a general audience and industry professionals. Interview with Danckert Monrad-Krohn, Director of the festival.

Could you shortly describe the festival?

Kristiansand International Children’s Film Festival has, since its first edition in 1998, been Norway’s main arena for presenting new films for children and youth. With an audience of about 15,000 people, between 250 and 300 screenings, 75 to 100 film titles and workshops offered to at least 500 pupils, KICFF is undoubtedly the country´s most important film event for children and youth and also Norway´s largest non-commercial cultural event for children.

Kristiansand Kino (Fønix), member of the Europa Cinemas network, launched Kristiansand International Children’s Film Festival in 1998. The festival was held for the 18th time in 2015 from the 21st to the 26th of April.

The festival gets its funding from a mix of both local and national support, in addition to sponsors.

Who are the audiences of the Festival?

The audience consists of kinder gardens, primary schools, secondary schools, high school and family audience. In addition we also arrange Professional Days, which attract a number of national and international industry guests every year (exhibitors, festival representatives and buyers from television and the cinema industry). The festival has a long tradition of attracting professionals from Norway and abroad.


What kinds of films are being screened?

We offer children and young people quality films in different genres from all over the world. We mainly screen feature films, but we also include short films and documentaries. Films are presented in a unique setting where the audience can meet with filmmakers and actors.

What are the nationalities of the films dominating this year’s edition?

We screened 85 films from 22 different countries this year. A majority of the films are European and we have a focus on Nordic films. In addition, we notice that films from The Netherlands have a special appeal to our young audience and this year we had a record of 9 Dutch films in our program.

How many admissions did you have for your 2015 edition?

The audience number reached 13,212 in 2015. As a comparison, there are approximatively 10,000 pupils in elementary school in Kristiansand. In addition to simple film screenings we also arrange seminars, work-in-progress presentation, family events outside Kristiansand Cinema and animated workshops for children; all of which attract a large number of children and parents

Who are the winners of the 2015 edition?

The Film & Kino Children's Film Award 2015 went to the Argentinian film The Games Maker (Juan Paplo Buscarini). The ECFA Award (given by the European Children’s Film Association) went to the Oscar-nominated Song of the Sea (Tomm Moore). The audience voted Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Fury (Ask Hasselbalch) as their favorite and the Youth Jury awarded Remake (Per Gavatin & Andreas Öhman) as the best film in the youth section.


What do you think is the impact of such a festival on films that have been included in your programming? Do they stand a better chance of meeting their audiences in the future?

Yes. Absolutely. There are a number of films that have gotten Norwegian distribution after being screened at KICFF. KICFF offers a very good showcase for testing out material on Norwegian audiences and our Film & Kino Award, offering the winner around 9,000 € for Norwegian distribution. Through the years, this award has resulted in distribution of such titles as Lepel (Willem van de Sande Bakhuyzen, The Netherlands), The Italian (Andrey Kravchuk, Russia), The Magic Tree (Andrzej Maleszka, Poland) and Lost in Africa (Vibeke Muasya, Denmark); films that would have been inaccessible to Norwegian audiences without the festival’s effort to promote them.

All Norwegian distributors are invited to the festival, as are Norwegian cinema exhibitors. The value of having distributors see films with target audiences in theatre should not be underestimated and, in a small country like Norway, the cinema programmers also have a considerable impact on what’s going into distribution.

How would you explain the general success of children’s films in Norway (3 Norwegian children’s films – Doktor Proktors Prompepulver, Kaptein Sabeltann, Karsten og Petra - ranked 3rd, 4th and 5th in top films by admissions in 2014 in Norway)?

These films are based on well-known successful stories from books and characters that Norwegian children and parents are familiar to. It is great to see that well-made Norwegian children films get such a big success, and that it is not only big Hollywood productions who reach our top 10.


Claudia Droc, June 2015