KinoKino and PLUS: exciting new titles for children and youth

KinoKino, the cheeriest festival in town designed for elementary school audiences, has transformed into a year-round film program since last year! All films from the program will be presented at this year’s Zagreb Film Festival, with five feature-length films competing for the Best Film award, to be decided by the children’s jury! Fresh titles from Norway, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and Spain are in the running for the main prize, bringing coming of age stories filled with adventure, mystery, and fun. Screenings will take place at the Kinoteka and MSU cinemas during the 21st ZFF (6-12 November).

The program will feature the new film by Nicole van Kilsdonk, a Dutch director and screenwriter whose children’s films have been shown around the world, Okthanksbye, an adventurous tale about growing up, family, and friendship, as well as the effort to find one’s own place in the world. In the German mystery-drama My Life as Lotta, the first school trip turns into a nightmare – a haunted hostel, girls disappearing in the sand dunes – all challenges that young Lotta and her fearless team must face. In the sequel of New Tales of Franz, the skilled detective and smallest boy in the class will tackle new mysteries along with some old disputes. Through laughter and tears, set to lively rhythms, we will watch the Norwegian drama Dancing Queen about a girl named Mina who may not know how to sing or dance, nor does she have much confidence, but that doesn’t stop her from auditioning for the school dance group. The Spanish representative, Full of Grace, is inspired by real events from the childhood of Valdo Lope, a former player for Real Madrid, in which the nuns and boys from the boarding school come together in a common goal and football frenzy.

The most popular special program, KinoKino, First Time at the Cinema, will once again give the youngest audience the opportunity to experience the magic of their first encounter with moving images on the big screen during ZFF. Tailored for preschool children, who, in special conditions (dimmed lights, shorter screening duration), have the chance, accompanied by adults, to attend a film screening for the first time, the program will consist of several carefully selected short animated films.

For the first time this year, as part of KinoKino, a film screening will be held for young patients at the Sestre Milosrdnice University Hospital Center in Zagreb, as part of the Film in the Hospital program in collaboration with Sedmi kontinent.

Specially designed for high school-aged audiences, ZFF’s program PLUS brings stories about coming of age and everything that comes with it. This year, it will be partially screened in theaters and partially online. In the program selection, the standout is Delegation, which won Best Youth Film at the prestigious Zlín Film Festival and premiered at the Berlinale. It follows three Israeli high school students on a class trip to Poland, visiting Holocaust memorial sites. Next is Sea Sparkle, a tender supernatural tale about growing up, loss, and healing, which received special recognition at the Berlinale, as well as an award from the European Children’s Film Association. Finally, there’s Kung Fu Lion about Jimmy, a talented but hot-tempered teenager at a kung fu school in Rotterdam, who must first overcome himself in order to overcome others.

A special place in the PLUS selection is reserved for Futura, an important and intriguing documentary film by the esteemed trio of filmmakers – Alice Rohrwacher, Francesco Munzi, and Pietro Marcello. In this film, they embark on an exploratory journey across Italy, engaging in open conversations with teenagers of different backgrounds about the places they live, their expectations, longings, fears, dreams, and the obstacles they must overcome to achieve them. Premiered in the 15 Days of Authors section at Cannes, Futura discusses the future from the perspective of youth, and we’ll be able to watch it online on the platform during ZFF.