The Children's Rights Festival is organised by the Association for the Promotion of Creativity and Equal Opportunities Alternator. It was launched in 2009 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In order to remind the public of the commitment made by countries around the world that signed the Convention, the Festival uses the cinematic arts as a tool to draw attention to the rights of children and youth, as well as promoting creativity more generally.
Successes so far
From 2009 until 2020, the various programme activities of the Festival were attended by a total of 67,800 participants and a total of 289 films have been screened. In 2019, for the eleventh edition of the Festival, 23 short films and 6 feature films were selected.
Annually, students from approximately 150 schools around Croatia participated in one or more programme activities.
The Festival takes part in 22 Croatian cities: Čakovec , Dubrovnik, Koprivnica, Krapina, Novi Marof, Novska, Osijek, Pazin, Poreč, Pula, Rijeka, Rovinj, Samobor, Sisak, Slavonski Brod, Split , Šibenik, Varaždin, Velika Gorica, Vukovar, Zadar, Zagreb.
During the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 the Festival has been organized online and on Croatian Television and each year over 30 000 children took part in its activities - screenings, workshops, debates. By offering the programme online the Festival reached children and youth in small towns and villages where there is no cinema.
Creativity of children and youth
Despite the fact that the film is increasingly present in all forms of communication platforms and in our everyday lives, media literacy is not highlighted as an area that requires teaching and guidance in order for us to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of the use of moving images.
Filmmaking by children and young people has thus become an important part of the Festival. From year to year, films made by youth and children from Croatia and from around the world allow us to follow the areas of their lives that they want to draw our attention to. These films present issues – sometimes providing warnings, sometimes providing wonderful solutions.
The Festival’s School Lens programme features primary school films, while the programme entitled I think, therefore I film features an international selection of films made by secondary school students. These programmes, which feature screenings for other school students, tell us what children and youth like, dislike, what challenges them, amuses them, worries them. The selection of films is made by Croatia’s Ombudsman for Children Maja Flego and film critic Boško Picula.
What we advocate for and how
In addition to the right to expression, participation and accessibility of all cultural content, the principles of unity and equality are equally important to us. Culture should be accessible to all – this is a necessity and it should be unconditional. For this reason, we provide all our programmes free of charge.
From its first year, the Children's Rights Festival has strived to advocate the need for equal participation in culture and has both educated the public on this need and has reflected this principle in the Festival programme entitled The Conversation Begins with a Film. It seeks to respond to the needs and problems of children and youth by highlighting the burning issues presented in selected films.
Through the Festival we want to foster good relations between parents and children, in an accessible and inclusive way, by providing them with space and time to be together, to learn and to have fun. Stimulating family films, for all ages, are a tool of the Good Vibrations programme, which takes place in our partner cinemas for many years. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the programme will take place in partnership with Croatian Television (HRT), which will allow the public to watch the selected films via public television.
Dialogue and our common future
The Children's Rights Festival encourages partnership, dialogue and exchange. The Festival achieves this through a participatory approach to production and management that includes representatives of civil society organisations, public institutions, individual artists, cultural workers, experts in social work and education, as well as businesses.
Since 2009, the Festival’s partners are the UNICEF Office in Croatia (which initiated the launch of the Festival), the Croatian Film Clubs' Association, the Office of the Ombudsman for Children and Blitz-Cinestar cinemas.
The Festival is supported by European Commission Representation in Croatia, Croatian Audiovisual Centre, City of Zagreb, Agency for Electronic Media, Kultura Nova Foundation and Croatian Television.
A few years after the launch of the Festival, the entire production, organisation and implementation of the Festival was taken over by the Alternator association, whose dedicated work and commitment is supported by a large number of associates.
Despite the new circumstances, new locations and new ways in which we will present the Festival’s programme, we are delighted to invite you for the 12th edition of our Festival to celebrate the rights of children and youth, to hear what they tell us, to include them, and to ensure they are equal and equally happy.