New kids' film festival to screen oldest surviving animation online

A still image from 1926's ‘The Adventures of Prince Achmed’, directed by animation pioneer Lotte Reininger.

Undaunted by the impact of Covid-19 on festival programming around the country, Nenagh Arts Centre in Tipperary is taking the inaugural edition of its planned Childrens' Film Festival online, making new work from all over the world accessible to families and genre enthusiasts alike.

Starting as they mean to go on, festival programmers are opening their proceedings with a slice of cinematic history, with an online screening of the oldest surviving animated film, alongside a documentary on its creator, German artist Lotte Reininger.

“We are so excited to be screening so much amazing work from near and far,” said Eva Birdthistle, Artistic Director of Nenagh Arts Centre.

“We can’t wait to show our young Irish audiences work that hopefully will entertain and inspire in equal measures, such as the creative animation by Lotte Reiniger, a genius of her time. Even though ‘The Adventures of Prince Achmed’ is nearly 100 years old, it is as creative today as it was back in 1926.”

On Friday June 12, at 6.45PM, the festival will screen ‘Lotte: That Silhouette Girl,’ a short documentary on Reiniger and her mastery of paper figures and stop-motion animation, followed by Reiniger’s ‘The Adventures of Prince Achmed,’ the oldest surviving animated feature film, showing at 7PM.

Workshops held online on Saturday June 13 are part of the Cruinniú Na nÓg programme, dedicated to creative learning for children and young people, where they can learn to animate, create puppets, and draw storyboards for their own motion-picture masterworks.

That afternoon, student works from Ireland, Japan, and Germany explore themes such as music, magic, family, and food. and the evening's programme showcases the epic fantasy adventure ‘Jim Button and Luke The Engine Driver.’

On Sunday, pre-school animations bring the stories of witches, a bear and one exceptional princess to life, and the creators of The Gruffalo bring the tale of accident-prone dragon 'Zog' to life, while at 6pm, the winners of the first Nenagh Children’s Film Festival weekend will be announced.

The three-day festival will be hosted on an online Virtual Festival platform, and boasts a lineup of 37 films from Ireland, Russia, India, Germany and more, suitable for children of a pre-school age and upwards. For more information on online access and a full programme of events, click here.

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