Azra Kamran, a teacher of O level from Links School, shared that her students didn’t really know what to expect when coming to the mall. “They had an idea of a different kind of cinema, and we, their teachers, also couldn’t tell them much until we saw for ourselves what these films in the festival were all about,” she said. “But now that I know, I think it is a fine way of helping the younger lot to learn about different countries, their values and customs.”
The Festival gives us another medium of learning that can be employed to keep our children engaged. The fact is that the children of Pakistan, many of whom do not even attend schools, need more than just schools. They need our attention. Putting them in a classroom is not enough. The fact is that our children are more astute and emotionally evolved than most other kids. They’re maturing in a region that is overwhelmingly troubled, therefore they require special attention. There is a dire need for us to engage in meaningful discourse on children that extends beyond atrocities and injustices.
“Great Festival, with good lessons in movies and also motivational”, Arqish a young member of the audience. This year’s highlight was the inclusion of mentally challenged children of Karachi Vocational Training Center with the help of Australia Awards. Australia Awards also invited Australian Alumni families and children from Garrison Public School in Lahore which was another highlight of the event. They seemed to really enjoy the show as It was their first ever interaction with the films, they clapped after every film they watched.
Australian alumni added “We never knew that such a great effort is being put up since so long in our city. Hats off to The Little Art”!!! “This is better than regular field trips that children are usually taken to. It’s a good way to expose them to a different chapter which enriches their mind”, Mr. Hasham, Father of a little boy Asad. In most of the festivals, they just audit films that will get a silver screen discharge, and surveys typically show up instantly preceding that show. Also, for some little, autonomous movies and their makers, a Festival screening is the best way to get appreciation for their films.
Once the show ended, the children got ready to leave the cinema hall, queuing up for the group photos and feedback, jumping with giddiness, smiling and chatting constantly about the films with their friends. It was this particular heart-warming sight that gave us the motivation required to continue the International Children’s Film Festival every year. Zoha Ali, an 8th Grader, from Army Public School was really impressed by “Mere Paas Cinema Hai”. Mrs. Irram Mughees, the elementary Coordinator from the American School of International Academics, said “the festival was quite economical and a great source of entertainment for Kids of all age groups and these movies would really help in the moral training of the kids”.