Berlin's 26th Kinderfilmfest has announced that its 2003 edition will boast 14 feature films and 16 shorts, including six directing debuts and a large number of world premieres.
The Kindfilmfest opens on Feb 7 with the Danish film, Someone Like Hodder (En Som Hodder) (pictured). Directed by Henrik Ruben Genz and starring Frederik Christian Johansen and Anders Lunden Kjeldsen, who will all be at the screening, the film is based on Bjarne Reuter's novel of the same name which won the Prize for Young People's Literature in Germany in 2000. It tells the story of a nine-year old boy who is instructed by a fairy to save the world.
A contribution from Israel - Abba Shahor Lavan by Eitan Londner - is about a 14-year-old girl's quest for her father. Discovering that he is living the life of an orthodox Jew, she begins to sense the person she needs beneath his convictions.
From Spain Imanol Uribe's film, Carol's Journey (El Viaje De Carol) is set during the Spanish Civil War and features a heroine who discovers the security friendship can provide in times of conflict. The leads are played by Clara Lago and Juan Jose Ballesta, also guests of the Kinderfilmfest.
Pelle The Police Car (Pelle Politibil) is a comedy from Norwegian director Thomas Kaiser, about a girl helped in her quest for her stolen bicycle by Pelle - a talking police car.
From the USA Peter Care's directing debut, The Dangerous Lives Of Altar Boys - which mixes live action and animated sequences - includes a performance by Jodie Foster who also co-produced.
In Wallah Be (Kald Mig Bare Aksel), Danish director Pia Bovin portrays the decision of a ten-year-old boy who, out of admiration for the cool Muslim kids in his neighbourhood, decides to become a Muslim himself.
Another Danish contribution, The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Bear (Drengen Der Ville Gore Det Umulige) from director, Jannik Hastrup, the Danish grand master of animated film - is a drama set in a world of eternal ice.
The festival will have three programs of short films. The first features stories of turbulence and conflict. The second portrays quieter encounters between adolescents from different cultural regions and the third will show animated shorts for very young viewers. These include Firefly (Jàotarpiòs), The Elephant And The Snail (De Olifant En De Slak) and Pipsqueak Prince (Le Trop Petit Prince).
The Kinderfilmfest's new partner, Fox Kids, will bring many of the young leading actors to Berlin and will provide TV and internet platforms for the festival's supporting events. There will be children reporters on location and - for the first time this year - a discussion between them and the international jury of experts from the Internet platform www.kinderfilmfest.net.
The festival runs from Feb 7 - Feb 16.