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Fun films for all the family in International Children's Film Carnival 2012

     Two friends including one with magical hair travel back in time to an ancient city 1,000 years ago. A child and forest guardians come together to rescue an enchanted forest. Hans Christian Andersen's "The Ugly Duckling" is crossed with Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake". A gluttonous chubby boy questions his faith. A girl who pretends to run away from home discovers a murder case. A hearing-impaired girl dances to break through barriers. And lovely classic comedies from Charles Chaplin deliver fun-filled commentary on society. All these stories plus an array of fun characters including dogs and cats, an insatiable baby elephant, a mouse with big ears and a kung fu bunny will be featured in the coming International Children's Film Carnival 2012 (ICFC).

     Presented by the Film Programmes Office of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), the popular ICFC is part of the annual International Arts Carnival (IAC). Fourteen feature films from France, the Netherlands, Russia, Germany, Japan, the US and Hong Kong, etc, as well as 15 short films selected from around the world, will be shown from July 6 to August 19 at the Grand Theatre of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, the Cinema of the Hong Kong Film Archive and the Lecture Halls of the Hong Kong Science Museum and the Hong Kong Space Museum.

     The 14 feature films include two animation works from France in the mysterious "Tales of the Night" and "Mia and the Migoo", which brings out an eco-friendly message; the imaginative Japanese animation "Mai Mai Miracle"; the well-known fairy tale "The Ugly Duckling"; the humorous "Chubby Drums" and "Hands off Mississippi"; a detective story with action in "The Secret Letter"; further adventure in "The Crocodiles Strike Back"; Charles Chaplin's masterpieces "The Gold Rush" and "City Lights"; and two films for youths, "The Azemichi Road" and "First Position".

     In the "Special Screenings for Parents" programme, the Best Documentary of the 46th Golden Horse Awards, "KJ: Music and Life", and an Indian film on an ardent cinephile, "7 Days in Slow Motion", have been picked to share with parents the theme of children's needs and dreams.

     A visual delight, "Tales of the Night" (2011) features characters animated in the style of shadow puppetry. An old projectionist and two kids gather at an abandoned cinema and create six fables of mysterious fantasy spanning from Tibet to medieval Europe to Africa and featuring a werewolf, a dragon, a sorcerer and an enormous talking bee. The film was in competition at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival. With an eco-friendly message, "Mia and the Migoo" (2008) sees a girl named Mia embark on an adventure to find forest guardians to rescue a forest after a ruthless businessman plans to turn the forest into a luxury resort. The film was an official selection at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival and won the Best Animation Award at the 2009 European Film Awards.

     An adaptation of an award-winning novel by Takagi Nobuko and a Specially Selected Film of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan in 2009, "Mai Mai Miracle" (2009) is directed by Sunao Katabuchi, a protégé of the Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki. With her magical hair, "Mai Mai", a youngster called Shinko embarks on a time-travel trip back to an ancient city and she also helps to open the heart of a lonely transferred student, Kiiko. The Russian clay animation "The Ugly Duckling" (2010) is a crossover of a well-known fairy tale and the classical music of Tchaikovsky, and is a delight for audiences of all ages.

     "Chubby Drums" (2010), which shows that true beauty lies within, is set in Thinhaven, a place where nobody is fat. Chubby, who is fond of food, has trouble adjusting to the new environment in Thinhaven when he sets his sights on the most beautiful and skinny girl in the town. "Hands off Mississippi" (2007) is another film full of humour and wit, and features scenes of farm animals in the German countryside. Emma and her grandmother save a horse named Mississippi from being sold, but their action leads to a tug of war over ownership of the lovely horse. The film won Best Children's and Youth Film at the 2007 German Film Awards.

     "The Secret Letter" (2010) is a detective story with exciting gunfight scenes. A little girl, Eva, accidentally stumbles into a murder case, picks up a secret letter and gets caught by gangsters, who unexpectedly are related to her father. As the sequel to last year's "The Crocodiles", "The Crocodiles Strike Back" (2010) is another exciting adventure with the same line-up of characters. To investigate a series of freak accidents in a factory, the "Crocodiles" are back on the job in the name of justice. 

     With comic touches, Charles Chaplin's timeless classics comment on society and human nature. To introduce the younger audience to Chaplin's talents in acting and directing, two of his well-known classics will be screened in the "Masterpiece" programme. In "The Gold Rush" (1925), the tramp played by Chaplin goes to Alaska to look for his fortune in gold. He meets the miner McKay and finds the gold mine, but only has a lady in his mind. In "City Lights" (1931), the tramp falls for a blind flower girl. He sweeps the street and takes up boxing in order to earn money to help the girl obtain surgery. Both films have been listed in the US Library of Congress' registry and were selected for the 100 Greatest Films by the American Film Institute.

     In addition to children's cinema, two films for youths will be screened in the "Special for Youth" programme this year. They are the Japanese film "The Azemichi Road" (2009), which depicts the hearing-impaired Yuki who dances to break through barriers, and the American film "First Position" (2011), with six young ballet dancers dancing through fierce competition with no guarantee of winning, and experiencing an important passage in life.

     All parents want their children to be successful, but do they pay attention to their children's dreams and individual needs, and share the passage of time with them? The "Special Screenings for Parents" programme this year will show the documentary "KJ: Music and Life" (2009) by Cheung King-wai. It features a young piano prodigy, Wong Ka-jeng, who is tired of people evaluating him by his achievements in music and who distances himself from his family and schoolmates. Contrary to his father's wishes, all he wants is just to be human. The Indian film "7 Days in Slow Motion" (2009) shows an ardent cinephile, Ravi, who despite the struggle against time and his busy school schedule insists on making a Bollywood film and discovers something about his mother and his friends. 

     Live Cantonese interpretation and English subtitles are available for "Tales of the Night", "Chubby Drums" and "Mia and the Migoo"; "City Lights" has English intertitles; and other films have Chinese and English subtitles.

     Fifteen short films from various countries and places including the UK, France, Estonia, Slovenia, Belgium, Israel, Germany, the Mainland and Hong Kong will be screened at the ICFC in the "World Animation & Shorts" programme. Kwan Chung-yeung, a professional scriptwriter, director and actor of children's drama, will host the interactive sessions in Cantonese.

     Selections in "World Animation & Shorts 1" include "Just So Stories - The Elephant's Child" (2008), on an insatiable elephant who gets a new nose; "Miriam and the Flood" (2006), on a child and a hen playing in a bathtub; "Nicolas & Guillemette" (2008), with a character made of string looking for a girlfriend; "Origin" (2011), on water droplets; and a story about longing for love in "Mouse for Sale" (2010). Selections in "World Animation & Shorts 2" include meaningful films like the loveable "The Elephant" (2006); the animation "Kungfu Bunny 3 - Counterattack" (2009); the story of a new immigrant in "Drifting" (2011); and "Cristiano's Shirt" (2011), with two children trying to get their dream shirts by all means.

     Tickets priced at $55 will be available from tomorrow (May 11) at all 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. Programme and discount details can be found in the booking brochure of the ICFC or in the IAC programme brochure available at all LCSD performing venues.

     Credit card bookings can be made at 2111 5999 or via the Internet at For programme enquiries, please call 2734 2900 or browse the website at

Ends/Thursday, May 10, 2012


A film still from "Tales of the Night" (2011).


A film still from "Chubby Drums" (2010).


A film still from "The Crocodiles Strike Back" (2010).


A film still from "The Secret Letter" (2010).


A film still from "Mai Mai Miracle" (2009).


A film still from "Mia and the Migoo" (2008). 

A film still from "Hands off Mississippi" (2007). 

A film still from "City Lights" (1931).


A film still from "7 Days in Slow Motion" (2009).




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