28.05.2013 - UNESCO Venice Office

CIAK Junior Youth International Film Festival: UNESCO award goes to Israel

© CIAK Junior International Film Festival 2013

Four out of the seven short films in competition at the 24th Edition of the CIAK Junior International Film Festival held in Cortina d’Ampezzo from 20-25 May 2013 focused on the issue of bullying in all its forms, in particular over the internet. In all the stories, diversity acceptance turned out to be the toughest challenge to face. UNESCO awarded a special recognition to the short film “Look at Me” presented by teens from Israel.

Since 2001, the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), is collaborating with Gruppo Alcuni and supporting CIAK Junior - The Cinema made by Children. The Festival is a creative approach to shape the future generations (school-aged youth) of film actors, screenwriters and directors. It aims at increasing public awareness of the educational role of cinema and at encouraging youth creativity and the expression of cultural diversity as a means for dialogue and better mutual understanding.

UNESCO recognizes that youth have a fundamental role in the implementation of the Organization’s mission, particularly in promoting sustainable development within: education, intercultural dialogue, the management of natural resources (especially water) and communication. In a rapidly changing world, this implies the need to learn and to carefully evaluate the state of the planet and, most importantly, to accept and modify behaviours and lifestyles. With their energy, sensibility and creativity, youth often demonstrate - much more than adults - that they are willing to accept these challenges and to elaborate concrete solutions towards sustainable development.

CIAK Junior calls upon youth from Europe and around the world to create an audio-visual product from start to finish, covering all phases, and taking part in the production of a short film. Every year, the young participants present films which clearly expresses their concerns, the daily challenges they face, their hopes and their willingness to propose changes which they think need to be addressed so to have a more equitable, peaceful, stable world - in other words, a more livable world.

Philippe Pypaert, UNESCO representative, joined the members of the International Jury to review the films competing in the Festival. A UNESCO special recognition was assigned to the short film which best expressed the mission and mandate of the Organization: “Look at Me” (original title “Tistaklu Alaay”) directed by Gily Boraks, produced by Lahav NPO - Children’s channel, and presented by Israel.

The winning short film of the UNESCO award tackles the subject of cyber-bullying. As the Internet increasingly becomes a central part of our lives, there are inevitable negative aspects, one of which is “cyber-bullying”. The issue is particularly alarming in the developed world, where such technologies are more widely available. “Look at me”, unlike the other films in competition at CIAK Junior, not only denounces the problem but also provides a solution in its happy ending. Courage, resourcefulness and creativity are conveyed by Netta, the protagonist, through the messages she posts, inviting us to take a look at ourselves and inside ourselves.

In addition to its support of CIAK Junior over the years, the UNESCO Venice Office continues to successful collaborate with Gruppo Alcuni and, within the second cartoon series of the H2Ooooh! Initiative, it encourages youth around the world to create and share their own stories on how to better safeguard and protect the precious natural resource of water. During the Festival, the cartoon produced in collaboration with the UNESCO Amman Office (Jordan) in the frame of the initiative was screened for the first time, together with the 4 cartoons produced by the participants during the Festival. Two of them were related to water issues and the other two to the Garbage Patch State. The cartoons will be on air soon on the UNESCO Venice Office’s YouTube channel.

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