"FOCUS ON EUROPE - Kidflix Special"
Kidflix Special Malmö 2005
Interview with Mr Lennart Ström
Director of the BUFF Festival
The annual event devoted by MEDIA Salles
to exhibitors committed to programming for young people and schools
is moving North: in fact Sweden will be hosting the 2005 edition of
Focus on Europe – Kidflix Special.
Their partner in this event is the BUFF Festival, or the International
Children and Young People’s Film Festival, which has been held
in Malmö since 1984.
The third largest city in Sweden, situated in the extreme south at only
a short distance from Copenhagen, which it has recently been connected
to by the ambitious bridge over the Øresund, Malmö’s
international calling is further confirmed by this Festival.
“In a town which, thanks to its shipyards, had already started
attracting vast southern European communities in the ‘60s and
where today 25% of the inhabitants are not of Swedish origin, our Festival
is intended to be a window on the world”. These are the words
Lennart Ström, Director and animator of BUFF since its very beginnings,
uses to define the role of his festival.
“A window we invite children and young people to approach, thanks
to our firmly established collaboration with schools through the teachers.
And in line with our international calling, we offer films that are
not dubbed but have subtitles.
This means choosing a more difficult path – especially for younger
children – but one that offers the advantage of getting children
used to multilingualism, an essential aspect in the education of citizens
in a multicultural society”.
The difficult things are what Lennart Ström and his fellow adventurers
seem to prefer: in selecting the titles, they again let themselves be
guided by their intention to offer films that are less visible in the
usual distribution patterns. In connection with this Ström likes
to quote the words of a young lady who is budding cinema-goer: “When
I go out with my friends to the cinema on a Saturday evening we want
to have fun and that’s all; when I come to BUFF I want to see
a film that’s more involving because it talks about different
countries, perhaps in a foreign language and, even if there aren’t
famous actors, is about interesting topics. And that’s fun, too”.
But what happens to the films shown at BUFF after the festival screenings?
Ström’s answer to this question, which all festival directors
hear from exhibitors searching for children’s films, not only
for some special occasion but for the whole year, is as follows: “even
though we realise that the distributors are highly cautious where children’s
films are concerned, in our festival we want to give an extra chance
to those films that seem to us to be good or interesting ones. And even
though our festival is not linked to a film market, we know that several
buyers like to come to BUFF to see the films with the children and sense
their reactions. And then we have strong links with Skolbio. This initiative,
financed by the Swedish Film Institute consists in facilitating the
distribution of films for young people in the cinemas of over 160 locations
throughout the Country. BUFF is where the exhibitors belonging to Skolbio
gather every year to take part in a day of training and to see the films
that will be available to them in the immediate future”.
This link with the exhibitors takes on a new dimension in 2005: through
the collaboration with MEDIA Salles’ Focus on Europe event, exhibitors
from the rest of Europe, with representatives from the Continent’s
different regions, from Spain to Estonia, from Ireland to Italy, will
be joining their Swedish colleagues. As they say in Swedish: Europa
möts på bio.