Celebrating science and youth on the small screen
An international festival of television science programmes (13-15 October 2004), which is being held in France, will award the best scientific films targeted at young people on the small screen.
Young people are blessed with a sharp sense of curiosity. But the way the complexities of modern science are sometimes presented can often blunt this interest. In recognition of the difficulty of communicating science effectively to youth, the month-long International Scientific Audiovisual Conference (25 September-24 October 2004), Image & Science, has organised its very own youth film festival for the second year running.
|When the cat is away, the mice will play… A scene from ‘Eyes and ears open’|
© Image: SABC2
“The aim of the festival is not only to entertain but also to help young people to deal with their school curricula and to handle the difficult transition from adolescence to adulthood,” the festival’s website explains. The festival celebrates works that “give a young audience the intellectual means to satisfy their curiosity, to understand the world around them, and to equip them for the economic, social and cultural challenges that await them.”
The festival has nearly 30 shortlisted entries. With such intriguing titles as ‘The man who wanted to know everything’, ‘Which is more intelligent: a dog or a cat’, and ‘Be an astronaut: a profession of faith’, the contest promises to be an exciting, entertaining and competitive one.
‘I’m 13 years old and I smoke’ is a hard-hitting French documentary produced by M6’s Zone Interdite (No-go Area) that explores the issue of underage smoking in France. The figures, as the programme points out, are alarming: the average age children first light up has fallen to just over 11, despite strict French laws, and nearly half of secondary school students smoke. The programme interviewed several young tobacco addicts, including one, aged only 23, who is in hospital with broncho-pulmonary cancer.
On a lighter note, ‘Eyes and ears open’, produced by South Africa’s SABC2, is a nature programme starring indigenous African mice. The mice live in a traditional Zulu hut: the father is a ranger responsible for the wildlife in the bush, the mother gathers nuts and fruit for the family, while their son Toti learns how his friends Wikki Warthog, Gugu Goose and Jomba Toad live.
Image & Science has already held its International TV Science Programme Festival (27 September-1 October 2004). The main festival has three prize categories: the Jules Verne awards for best scientific policy at a television company, the Argos awards for best science website, and the Top Billing awards for student film productions.
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