Astra Film Junior takes youngsters on an educational journey around the world in 23 films
Astra Film Junior, the educational documentary film festival dedicated to children and teenagers, returns to Sibiu between October 9 and 16.
Designed for three age categories - 6+, 11+, and 15+, the AF Junior educational program includes film screenings in cinema halls and in the Astra Film New Media full-dome 360 cinema, followed by didactic activities, film workshops, and a comic strip contest.
In the 6+ category, the organizers have chosen films that tell the life stories of children close to their own age, children who came out of anonymity by thinking outside the box, through a constant desire for knowledge and insight.
Yang, an 11-year-old boy from China, makes many sacrifices to learn all about traditional Chinese theater (The Monkey King, 2019). Aatos, Amine and Flo, three inseparable friends from a neighborhood in Brussels, are looking for answers to big people's questions (Aatos and the World, 2019).
Azat and his colleagues, from Tartastan, are 12 years old and as little journalists, they go on an important mission each week (Azat and Youtubers from Tartastan, 2018). In turn, Clara, Matei, and their friends embark on a journey full of adventures in the Danube Delta (Sentries of the Delta, 2022).
And the film #On the Web answers questions such as How does the internet work? and Who are the trolls?
Viewers in the 11+ category will learn about the dreams of children from different corners of the world: Asho, from Iran, wants to become a famous actor (Asho, 2019); Ayana, a girl from Kyrgyzstan, would like to be first in an exclusively male sport (Ayana, 2019); Rehad, from Denmark, wants to become a pigeon breeder (Bird Boy, 2019), and Julieta, a young woman from the Netherlands, initiates an action to clean the ocean, which she considers her second home (Julieta & the turtles in the plastic soup, 2020).
In the 15+ category, high school students will discover the life of one of the most followed 14-year-old girls on Instagram (Girl Gang, 2022), the artistic maturation of a Norwegian singer who drops out of school to become a pop star (Aurora, 2019 ), or the way in which the image of the communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu is perceived by today's teenagers (You Are Ceaușescu to Me, 2021).
Through the documentary films selected for them, young people will learn how to react to sexual predators in the online environment (Caught in the Net, 2020) and what are the effects of the rapid spread of artificial intelligence - saving humanity or, on the contrary, its total control (iHuman, 2019).
Young viewers are also invited to the immersive full-dome cinema 360 screenings in the Dome installed in Piața Mare (Astra Film New Media Full Dome special program). Here they will learn that there are other sources of light besides the Sun (Travelling with Light, 2019); mysteries of the Universe will be revealed to them with the help of the largest radio telescope (Star Dreaming, 2021); and they will get to follow the story of interstellar messages carried to extraterrestrial civilizations by space probes launched 45 years ago (VOYAGER: the Never-Ending Journey, 2019).
At the same time, young viewers will retrace Captain Cook's journey through the Pacific Ocean (The Navigators, 2021); see how an electronic music composer finds inspiration in the sound of the Arctic Ocean (-22.7C, 2021); and follow the adventures of Shorty, Indigo and Jake in Legend of the Enchanted Reef (2021), a film for the whole family, full of humor and imagination.
"We have a generation that consumes a lot of audiovisual content from an early age but is given too few opportunities to reflect on it. The role of the Astra Film Junior program is precisely this: to provide them with the necessary tools for the formation of critical thinking and for exercising the agility to understand the audiovisual content to which they are exposed", said Dumitru Budrala, director and founder of Astra Film Festival
Astra Film Junior also contains a film workshop for high school students, which aims to enhance both the ability of teenagers to understand a documentary film and the process by which it is made, and the ability to speak in public.
The comic strip contest is another interesting educational tool through which children and teenagers are called to analyze and interpret the films they’ve watched and tell their own story through comic strips - an exercise to strengthen the skill of creating a work on a given theme.
The teaching staff and educational counselors who will accompany the children to the screenings will benefit from training, in which they learn how documentary cinema can be used in the educational process. There will be a special screening for them: the disturbing documentary film Why didn't you stay for me? (directed by Milou Gevers, 2020), which will be accompanied by a presentation and followed by a free discussion about the help we can offer to children who are going through difficult times after the loss of a parent.
Additional details about the Astra Film Festival program are available on the website.
(Photo source: Astra Film Festival)