Award-winning animation, adventure films from six nations in Dubai International Film Festival’s Cinema for Children segment

Published November 7th, 2010 - 09:54 GMT

The secret life of forgotten toys, a magical tree, a quest to recover the silver that transforms day into night and the classic Christmas tale of an enchanted nutcracker are some of the stories included in this year's 'Cinema for Children' segment at the Dubai International Film Festival 2010.

The five films in the popular family friendly programme combine Japanese anime, live action and 3D technology to bring to life stories from France, Poland, Norway, Japan, the United States and Russia.

From Poland, the fast-paced The Magic Tree, one of the most awarded children's films of the year, begins with a huge old oak tree cut down by people unaware of its power. The hundreds of objects made from its wood retain the tree's mysterious powers, including a red chair that can walk, fight and fulfill the wishes of anyone who sits on it. When the chair finds its way to a new home with three young children, it's the start of a series of incredible events.

From Japan, Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror suggests what happens to childhood treasures after we become adults. Sixteen-year-old Haruka accidentally stumbles upon a host of unlikely creatures who sneak into our world from a different dimension to gather the ditched and forgotten memorabilia and use them to build their own city. The award-winning film combines Japanese anime with Western-style 3DCG animation.

A second animation film, Eleanor's Secret (Kerity: La Maison Des Contes) from France, tells the story of a young boy who fights to save fairytale heroes. Although he isn't interested in reading and doesn't read very well, seven-year-old Nathaniel inherits his aunt's collection of old books. When his parents decide to sell the books, Nat realizes they are the only shelter for the timeless characters of children's literature, including Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. If the books are sold, they and their stories will disappear forever.

Elsewhere, deep inside the Norwegian mountains, blue gnomes guard the silver that transforms day into night. When the silver is stolen, gnome princess BlueRose has to overcome her fear of the outside world to retrieve it and save the world from darkness – and thus begin the adventures of Magic Silver

Myrna Maakaron, programmer for DIFF's Cinema for Children segment, said each selected film has been well received internationally and is sure to delight UAE families, children and the young at heart.

"This year the segment presents an eclectic mix of whimsical, entertaining, and imaginative films that will appeal to kids and adults alike," Maakaron said. "We've got stories of adventure, fantasy, childhood heroes and festive cheer, slices of different cultural backgrounds. These very special films are not only highly entertaining, in many cases they share valuable lessons."

The 'Cinema for Children' programme will be led by the star-studded The Nutcracker in 3D, based on the same story that inspired the world-famous Tchaikovsky score and ballet. The film tells the story of nine-year-old Mary (Elle Fanning) whose dull Christmas is livened up after the arrival of her Uncle Albert (Nathan Lane) and his gift of an enchanted nutcracker. On Christmas day, the nutcracker comes to life and takes Mary on a journey into a magical world of fairies, sugarplums and other Christmas toys come to life.

In addition to cast members John Turturro, Frances de la Tour and Richard E. Grant, the film also features eight new songs from Oscar-winning lyricist Sir Tim Rice of The Lion King and Evita fame. The Nutcracker in 3D will be the Cinema for Children red carpet gala screening and will have its international premiere in Dubai on December 17, 2010.

The seventh edition of Dubai International Film Festival 2010 will be held from December 12 to 19; the box office will open in late November. DIFF 2010 is held in association with Dubai Studio City and supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah, the home of the Dubai International Film Festival, are the principal sponsors of DIFF. Accreditation for DIFF 2010 is now open. 

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