Danish children's films in Arabic

ACROSS BORDERS. Six Danish children's films are shown with Arabic voice synchronization at the children's film festival Danish Youth Cinema on the Road, Lebanon 2012, which takes place in seven Libanese regions from 29 October-16 November. "Many daily challenges and experiences are the same for all children and teenagers despite cultural differences," says Maria Lindhardt from the Danish Embassy in Beirut.

At the children's film festival "Danish Youth Cinema on the Road, Lebanon 2012", arranged by Danish embassy in Beirut, Lebanese children and youths can watch Danish films with Arabic voice synchronization. The festival started on 29 October and runs until 16 November.

The six films at the festival are:

• "War and Peas" by Jannik Hastrup
• "The Boy Who Wanted to Be A Bear" by Jannik Haastrup
• "Having A Brother" by Esben Toft Jacobsen
• "Max Embarrassing" by Lotte Svendsen
• "A Tale of Two Mozzies" by Flemming Quist Møller and Jannik Hastrup
• "Fighter" by Natasha Arthy (shown with English subtitles for an older audience)

The films include are animation, drama, short and feature-length films. What they have in common is tackling subjects relating to children's everyday lives, problems, hopes and dreams for the future.

Collaboration with local communicator

Lebanon consists of many different religious and cultural groups, and it's been a challenge for the festival organizers to balance the different social and cultural patterns. Maria Lindhardt from The Danish Embassy in Beirut explains:

"Many daily challenges and experiences are basically the same for all children and teenagers despite cultural differences. However, we needed to find a way to 'translate' the individual film's message, seen from a Danish perspective, into a Lebanese context. The solution has been to use a local communicator to disseminate the central themes to the audience."

This is the first time the festival is being held and the goal is to present Danish culture to Lebanese children and teenagers from the ages of 6-18. The films are being shown in cooperation with schools, libraries, and cultural centers and the presenters hope to reach a broad audience. Following the films there will be a discussion with the children.

The Danish Film Institute has, based on experience with a string of other international projects, advised on how to disseminate film to a young audience in an engaging manner, how best to present the films, and how best to discuss the films with the audience afterwards.

Overwhelming interest

The festival takes place in seven regions of Lebanon: Tripoli, Zouk Mikael, Bourj Hammoud, Nabatieh, Hermel, Baakline and Saida. According to Maria Lindhardt, international cultural activities outside of Beirut are rare, and therefore interest from local parties has been overwhelming.

The festival has financial support from The Danish Agency for Culture, The Danish Institute in Damascus, and The Danish Film Institute. The Danish Film Institute is represented on The International Culture Panel, which has among others, the Middle East as one of the important areas of focus.

Read more about "Danish Youth Cinema on the Road, Lebanon 2012" on the Danish Embassy in Beirut’s Facebook page and at The Danish Embassy in Lebanon's website.