Childhood is a memorable part of everyone’s life. “Celebrate Childhood” was the mantra that set in the tone for ICSFF 2011. The fourth edition of the International Children’s Short Film Festival took off on a solemn note on the 2nd December 2011 at 10 am at the Don Bosco auditorium. Nearly 1675 children from 38 schools participated in this one day festival feasting their eyes on the 25 international children’s short films screened for this occasion. The guests of honour who adorned the dias at this festival were Director Vasanthabalan, Director Gaurav, Director Ravi Maria, Rev. Fr. John Alex – Rector & Correspondent Don Bosco Egmore and Rev. Fr. Xavier – Rector & Correspondent of Don Bosco Ayanavaram.

The initial prayer song by the Don Bosco choir set the tone for the festival. The classic dance on the theme of Don Bosco and his mission by the Fatima Girls, Kodambakkam was another colourful soul filling extravaganza. The lighting of Kuthuvilakku by all the chief guests was a symbolic and meaningful start to the festival. The festival director Fr. Harris in his welcome address welcomed the guests and spelt out the rationale of ICSFF and that a one day festival with a special screening on children based films was a fitting way to celebrate childhood and infuse positive values in them.

Director Vasanthabalan in a simple and unassuming way affirmed that educating children through films can have a powerful impact on their growth and development especially if schools and institutions can educate children to consume media in the best way. Actor and Director Ravi Maria in a very humorous note interacted with the children and expressed his joy that people have understood the power of short films and started using them. He stated that every story can educate and entertain, and wished that the viewing of short films could ignite the creativity of every film. Director Gaurav expressed his association with ICSFF and his joy in being one of the chief guests for the festival and encouraged the children to have positive and optimistic views of themselves and their potentialities and come out as great heroes creating a bright future for everyone.

Another interesting moment of the festival was the prize distribution for the ICSFF competitions in Poetry, Painting and Collage that were organized in more than 50 schools in and around Chennai reaching out to 4,000 children. These competitions gave the young minds an opportunity to give vent to their creative energy and express their skills and talents. The winners of these competitions were felicitated by the chief guests. The official declaration of ICSFF 2011 by all the dignitaries and the reading of the children’s pledge was a fitting finale to the inaugural ceremony. The screening of the short films followed the festival and a lively interaction from the children on the messages that they got from each film was very encouraging and kept the children lively.

ICSFF 2011, no doubt had a colorful display of international short films from USA, Romania, Canada, Cape Town, Ireland, Spain, Australia, Luxemborg and India and these films provided a wide range of thoughts on children’s daily life, their world of dreams and aspirations, their problems, humanity and strength of character. ICSFF is truly becoming a children’s festival each year offering a unique avenue for children to come together to relax, discuss, interact with peers from other schools and gain awareness and inspiration on themes related to Children.

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