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International Children's Film Carnival 2009 offer array of stories

     What makes an unhappy orphan becoming a joyous Santa Claus? How can a timid boy rescue his grandparents from a monster tree? Why did a simple tug-of-war become a chaotic war? How can six lovely stray dogs cross a dangerous highway to reach their dreamland? Can a computer whiz-kid survive in a snowstorm without his mobile phone? What's life like without chocolate? All these enjoyable stories will be featured in the popular International Children's Film Carnival 2009 from July 3 to August 9.

    As part of the annual International Arts Carnival (IAC) this summer, the International Children's Film Carnival 2009 will showcase a variety of outstanding children's feature films, animations and shorts from around the world.

    The 10 feature films are: the lively "Mid Road Gang", the exciting "Amazon Jack 3 - Jungo Goes Bananas", the lovely "Mamma Moo & Crow", the moving "Christmas Story", the Japanese animation "Chocolate Underground", the funny "Ricky Rapper", the delightful comedy "Dream Team", the heartwarming "No Network", the adventurous "Dayo" and the 3D animation "Sing to the Dawn".

     Presented by the Film Programmes Office of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), the screenings will take place in the Lecture Hall at the Hong Kong Space Museum and Hong Kong Science Museum, and the Cinema of the Hong Kong Film Archive during the festival.

     The stray dogs in "Mid Road Gang" (2007) dream of reaching the fantastic charity home Dogtopia. With a lively cast of canine characters that range from lady to tramp, from playboy to kingpin, cheeky dialogue and amazing stunts, the cuddly dogs deliver non-stop laughs that will enchant people of all ages.

     "Amazon Jack 3 - Jungo Goes Bananas" (2007) features a rare creature that is kidnapped and has to escape from an evil scientist, a brutish hunter, a nosy TV hostess and a loony psychiatrist. A rollicking adventure with fast-paced storyline, the film is full of colourful illustrations and a cast of exotic jungle creatures which will thrill young kids.
     Mamma Moo may be a big, brown cow but that doesn't stop her from learning how to ride a bicycle, climb a tree, or even ice-skate. She even becomes a friend of the grumpy crow. Her bottomless goodwill and readiness to try new things send happy vibes to everyone. Selected for screening at the Berlin Film Festival 2009, "Mamma Moo & Crow" (2008) features many songs with cheerful melodies for kids to hum along with.

     Shot in Lapland, the legendary home of Santa Claus, "Christmas Story" (2007) traces Nicholas's heartrending childhood and the origin of Christmas presents. As a little boy, Nicholas lost his parents and was sold to a mean carpenter. Yet, Nicholas found a way to repay the kindness of those around him with the help of reindeer. This film reminds the audience of the true spirit of Christmas - it is better to give than to receive.

     How will life be if chocolate disappears? Three brave kids disobey a government's order to eat tasteless food and start an underground movement to make chocolate and put sweetness back into life. Adapted from an English children’s book, "Chocolate Underground" (2009) has all the popular elements of Japanese animation - characters with pretty faces, a charming imitation of European life and dynamic robotic combats.

     It is fun to rap with music. There is nothing more important than drumming for the 10-year-old cute red-headed boy in "Ricky Rapper" (2008). His life turns upside down when an anonymous love letter accidentally reaches his neighbour. But the adventure really begins with the arrival of his aunt’s cousin Fanny the Freezer against whom he has to battle for the right to rap and dance.

     A delightful comedy, "Dream Team" (2008) features team spirit, friendship, perseverance and selflessness. Ten mischievous but loveable Thai boys join a national tug-of-war competition, but their trainer is a teenage soccer coach who has never known the menace of naughty, squealing kids, not to say the parents who are even more uncontrollable than their sons.

     For Kalli, his mobile phone is like an extension of his arm. He is sent deep into the mountains of ruggedly beautiful Iceland to spend Christmas with his father. A snowstorm causes a communication breakdown in the mountains and he finds himself in grave danger. Can he trust his stepsister who claims she's a witch? In "No Network" (2007) the little boy in the great wilderness, where mobiles and notebooks are useless, learns to rebuild connections with his family.

     "Dayo" (2008) is the first full-digital 2D & 3D animated feature produced in the Philippines. A timid boy, who doesn't know how to stand up to school bullies, finds the courage to become a warrior with magical power and rescues his grandparents who are snatched away by a monster tree. He embarks on an awesome fun-ride to a fantastical land where he becomes friends with many strange mythical creatures.

     Another 3D animation with songs and animal characters, "Sing to the Dawn" (2008) is an expensive Singaporean feature. A peaceful village is in danger of being bulldozed and turned into a giant casino. The villager Somchai thinks his family will be saved by marrying his daughter Dawan to the landlord's son. However, Dawan's dream is to go to college and have a career. Through her intelligence, she wins a scholarship and uncovers the secret of the village’s land ownership.

     All feature films have English subtitles. "Mid Road Gang", "Amazon Jack 3 - Jungo Goes Bananas", "Mamma Moo & Crow" and "Dream Team" are accompanied with live Cantonese interpretation by professional dubbing artists Ms Pat Kwok Bik-chun and Mr Cheung Chun-shing.

     Twenty-three fascinating animated shorts from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Argentina, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Hong Kong are joining the carnival this year in the "World Animated Shorts" programmes.

     Some of the highlights include "The Balloon" (2008), "A Sunny Day" (2007), "Don't Let It All Unravel" (2006), "My Mother is an Alien" (2008), "Carrot on the Beach" (2008), "Hug" (2007), "Banking on Escape" (2007), "Love" (2006), "The New Species" (2007), "Pole Hole" (2007) and "The Busker" (2008).

     Some works in the "World Animated Shorts" programmes are in their original languages with English and Chinese subtitles together with a Cantonese introduction by Mr Kwan Chung-yeung.

     Tickets priced at $44 are available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessionary tickets are available for full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Discounts from 10% to 20% for purchasing tickets of film programmes or performing arts of the IAC are also available.

     Programme and discount details can be found in the booking brochure of International Children's Film Carnival 2009 or in the IAC programme brochure at all LCSD performing venues. Reservations can be made by phone on 2734 9009 or via the Internet at For enquiries, please call 2734 2900 or browse the website at   .

Ends/Friday, May 15, 2009


Picture shows a film still of "Amazon Jack 3 - Jungo Goes Bananas" (2007).


Picture shows the film still of "Christmas Story" (2007).




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