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Feast of Amusing Films in International Children's Film Carnival 2004

An innovative and imaginative stoke bird, a lonely wolf, a legendary Loch Ness beast, a magic paintbrush, a curious matchstick and a smart spider are among the array of fun characters to be featured in the International Children's Film Carnival 2004 to be held from July 14 to August 29 in the annual summer extravaganza at "International Arts Carnival" (IAC).

This year's carnival will showcase many outstanding and educational feature films as well as animations and shorts from around the world. Classics including the fun and captivating award-winning French film "The War of the Buttons" and the groundbreaking Hollywood sci-fi "E.T. the Extra Terrestrial - The 20th Anniversary" will also be shown specially for the new generation.

Presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), the screenings will take place at the Theatre of the Hong Kong City Hall, the Lecture Halls of the Hong Kong Space Museum and the Hong Kong Science Museum, and the Cinema of the Hong Kong Film Archive.

"E.T. the Extra Terrestrial - The 20th Anniversary" was one of Steven Spielberg's sci-fi classics. It portrays how a group of children, with love and care, help a stranded alien botanist to return home. Yves Robert's black and white film "The War of the Buttons" is not just a pleasurable memory, but an everlasting film enjoyed by all children. Two armies of young schoolboys decide to fight not by wrestling but by a war on confiscating buttons, shoelaces and belts from their enemies. What will happen if one side loses all buttons? The film won the Prix Jean Vigo in 1962.

With beautiful animation combining impressionism, Asian ink drawing and computer-generated images, "The Boy who Wanted to Be a Bear" tells the riveting story of a boy born to hunter parents but raised by polar bears in the Artic World. The film won the first prize (Adult & Children Jury), Feature Film or Video, Animation of the Chicago International Children's Festival in 2003.

The story of "Barber Yoshino" takes place in a peaceful small Japanese town where all the boys have the same haircuts. A revolution starts when a city boy with dyed blond hair moves to the community. In "Raining Cats and Frogs", Tom and his family, together with the animals, try to avoid an imminent flood. They take a long drifting journey in an ark, but will they succeed? Both films received Special Mention at the Berlin Kinderfilmfest in 2004.

"The Winter Song" features how a special teacher brings her unconventional teaching methods to four children who live on a mountain. At first there is conflict, but soon there is a compromise to fit the wilderness in harmony. The film won the Best film of the year at the Athens' International Children's Film Festival in 2003.

Not to be missed is "Someone Like Hodder" which won the first prize (Adult Jury), Feature Film or Video, Live Action of the Chicago International Children's Film Festival in 2003. A nine-year-old Danish boy who is full of imagination, is told by a fairy that he was chosen to save the world. With determination and celebrity friends, he sets out to cut the world down to size.

With an aim to widen the scope and exposure of children to the film culture from every corner of the globe, animations and shorts from countries like Latvia, Peru, Iceland, South Africa and Scotland are joining the carnival for the first time.

Some of the highlights include the remarkable animation "Joe" which is a story on kindness and dignity of a real-life hero, the Scottish mythology of a legendary beast "Loch Ness Kelpie", the "Micro Wolf" with the world's biggest appetite, the imaginative "The Sky in her Eyes" on creative ways to deal with a girl's loneliness, and "Match Scratch Fever" featuring a curious matchstick who wants to explore life outside the box.

Except "E.T. the Extra Terrestrial - The 20th Anniversary" which is in English, "The War of the Buttons", "The Boy who Wanted to Be a Bear", "Someone Like Hodder", "Barber Yoshino" and "The Winter Song" have English subtitles while "Raining Cats and Frogs" is dubbed into Cantonese. All works in the "World Animation and Shorts 1, 2, 3 and 4" series are in English or with English subtitles together with a Cantonese introduction.

Tickets priced at $40 are available for sale at all URBTIX outlets from Friday (June 4). Half-price concessionary tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. There will be a 10% discount for each purchase of three to four different events of IAC and 15% discount for five different events or more.

Programme details for the Children's Film Carnival can be found in the promotional booklets or in the IAC programme brochures at all the LCSD's performing venues. Reservations can be made by phone on 2734 9009 or on the Internet at .

For information call 2734 2900 or browse the website at .

Ends/Tuesday, June 1, 2004
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