Media lessons for the little ones during the summer holidays

Babelsberg. Cinema or TV night? Digitization has long since made the medium of film universally available on smartphones and tablets. Audiovisual content has become part of everyday life – especially for children. And this is where the Children’s Film University Babelsberg will start.

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More and more, “you’re surrounded by moving images every day,” says project coordinator Laura Caesar. According to a study by the Media Education Research Association Southwest, nearly every second household with children has a streaming service subscription. More than two-thirds of the six to 13-year-olds look at film offers on the Internet, for example on YouTube.

Recommendation: Videos only for children over 4 years old

“What you can observe is that children are exposed to media content at an earlier age,” Caesar continues. In general, the recommendation is not to let children watch videos before the age of four. But most children experience this earlier, and passive consumption reduces their media critical skills. “That’s why it’s super important that they actively acquire media criticism skills,” says Cæsar.

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Laura Cæsar will give children a look behind the scenes of film production.

Enthusiasm for the medium of film

This is exactly what Kinderfilmmuni Babelsberg wants to convey. The main goal is to get young people excited about the medium of film by giving them “a glimpse behind the scenes of film production” in a low-threshold way. Children must understand how films or TV programs are produced and also learn it themselves. People who cannot even imagine going to a film university are especially needed. Film production is about telling stories and giving people a voice – also outside of mainstream society. The Children’s Film University wants to break down educational barriers, promote fun in cinematic storytelling and at the same time convey media education.

31-year-old Laura Caesar has been part of the children’s film university for two years and has been project coordinator for the last year. As the first children’s film university in Europe, the project was founded in 2007 by the University of Film and Television “Konrad Wolf” in collaboration with the Film Museum Potsdam and the Thalia cinema. The portfolio consists of lectures, workshops and excursions. An annual lecture series that takes place at the film university “Konrad Wolf” starts in January and lasts until May. From November you can register next year.

More information about Kinderfilmuni is available at https://kinderfilmuni.projekte-filmuni.de.

More information about Kinderfilmuni is available at https://kinderfilmuni.projekte-filmuni.de.

Be close to the target audience

But how do you actually introduce children to film education? What is very important is the attitude of equals. “Stories that interest children and young people manage to take their target audience seriously and not lecture them from above.” In addition, according to Cæsar, it is important “to be close to the target group and to have trust in the children and young people. If you do that, it always works.” Laura Cæsar sums it up well: “Children can often think much more than adults. That is why it is important to empower children in film production to act independently.”

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The three-day television workshop is currently taking place in the Media Innovation Center Babelsberg. On the last day, children between the ages of eight and twelve record their own TV program of the event.

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Tour of Brandenburg

But what about film lovers for whom Babelsberg is too far away? Since 2020, Kinderfilmuni has toured with film lectures and workshops such as animation or writing workshops to the rural areas of Brandenburg. The free events are financed by the Ministry of Science, Research and Culture.

The goal of the so-called Brandenburg tour is to strengthen the cultural offerings in rural areas and “to create an offer that is accessible to everyone,” says Cæsar.

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also read

In France there is the Abitur subject “Film”

Cinemaphile France has long recognized that movies have an educational function. While film education has been institutionally entrenched in schools there since the 1980s, German media policy still lags behind. At specialized high schools in France, for example, there is the Abitur subject film, which is also part of the literature curriculum. In German curricula, on the other hand, there is no school subject dedicated to media education. “There is still a lot of room for improvement,” says Laura Caesar. The problem is that in Germany, film education is “defined as an interdisciplinary matter in the curricula.” It means: “Everyone is responsible, but no one really is.

By Wenke Bruchmuller

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