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FOCUS ON EUROPE - Kidflix Special - Speciale ragazzi
Last update: 04 February 2005






"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.

Elisabetta Brunella