Director Gust Van den Berghe’s Blue Bird has been nominated for the European Film Academy’s first Young Audience Award. The other two nominees are Boudewijn Koole’s Dutch feature Kauwboy and Sister from French director Ursula Meier, both Berlinale winners. On 10 June, all three films will be screened to a young audience, acting as a jury, in six European cities.

Gust Van den Berghe's Blue BirdThe Young Audience Award, initiated to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the European Film Academy (EFA), is intended to honour European features that appeal to young audiences. The nominations were chosen by a committee of three judges made up of Berlinale Generation director Maryanne Redpath, artistic director Florence Dupont of Sancy’s Film Festival for Young People (France) and Jerzy Moszkowicz, director of the International Young Audience Film Festival Ale Kino in Poland.

With a great diversity among the submitted films, the jury discussed films of various genres and formats, in the end selecting three high quality films that will challenge young audiences but which haven’t necessarily been made exclusively for them. All nominees come with a strong awards pedigree. Meier’s Sister won the Special Award Silver Bear at this year’s Berlinale, while Kauwboy was lauded as Best First Feature in the Generation section in Berlin.

In 2011 Gust Van den Berghe’s Blue Bird was selected for the Directors’ Fortnight at the International Film Festival in Cannes. The film, about two African children embarking on a quest to find their lost blue bird, also screened at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and the Ghent Film Festival, where it received a Special Mention in the category Best Director. It grabbed yet another honorary mention at the Festival of New Cinema in Montréal last year.

On 10 June, baptised as Young Audience Film Day, the European Film Academy will screen all three nominees to a young audience of 10- to 13-year-olds in the European cities of Amsterdam, Belgrade, Copenhagen, Erfurt, Norrköping and Turin. All participating children will act as a jury and vote for the winner right after the screenings. The award ceremony will be held the same day in Erfurt, Germany.

Blue Bird was scripted and directed by Gust Van den Berghe and is based on Belgian writer Maurice Maeterlinck’s stage play The Blue Bird. Tomas Leyers of Minds Meet (Little Baby Jesus of FlandrLost Persons Area) produced the film with the support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF). International sales agent is the Paris-based Coproduction Office.

Published on Sunday 20 May 2012

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