Films are all about dreams, about going to places and getting an opportunity to meet people from different countries, said the Ambassador of Netherlands to Pakistan Gajus Scheltema at the inauguration ceremony of the 4th Lahore International Children’s Film Festival held here on Monday.
Held at the Ali auditorium at the Ali Institute of Education, the ceremony marked the first day of the six-day long film festival in which 86 films from 32 countries will be screened.
Speaking at the ceremony Ambassador Scheltema, the chief guest, said festivals like these helped children share and explore the passion for films while aiding learning.
The event, which was scheduled to start at 5:30pm, started with a delay of almost 90 minutes because of the late arrival of guests.
The festival has been organised by Little Art, a non-profit organisation which aims to employ arts for educating children and youth.
In 2011, the festival was held in three cities and is expected to tour six cities this year –Lahore, Peshawar, Islamabad, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad.
“We have been able to bring thousands of children to our festivals by screening educational and entertaining films from across the world,” said Shoaib Iqbal, the festival director.
He said the festival would also encourage local filmmaking.
Iqbal said that last year around 18,000 children had been part of the festival.
Iqbal told The Express Tribune that 1,000 children had attended the first day of the festival.
Also present at the ceremony, along with her grandchildren, was artist Salima Hashmi.
Hashmi said it was great to see so many children turn up for the festival. She regretted that there was a dearth of such events in the country.
Festival patron Steve Ryan, who has been associated with the activity since 2007, hoped it would become a regular activity.
Noman Qureishi, creative arts therapist at Little Art, said children from institutes including the SOS, the Rising Sun Institute, Al Mashal and the Punjab Education Foundation had attended the evening shows. He said children belonging to marginalised sections of the society and low income backgrounds were accommodated especially during the evening shows.
The ceremony was followed by the screening of a Spanish short film titled The Pirate Ship.
Students from the University of Management and Technology, the University of Central Punjab, Kinnaird College, Beaconhouse National University, the University of Engineering and Technology and the National College of Arts have volunteered at the festival.
The festival will run morning and evening shows everyday till September 22. The first session will start at 9am and go on till 1pm. The evening screenings will run from 6:30pm to 9pm.
You can view the complete festival programme here.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2012.
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