Picture the Cannes Film Festival coming to Pittsburgh -- then imagine a Cannes all about kids' educational television.
That's about the level of excitement over at WQED, which is presenting what their Executive Director of Educational Partnerships Jennifer Stancil calls a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" -- a French festival called the Prix Jeunesse, or "Youth Prize," making its first-ever stop in Pittsburgh on Oct. 12-13. The free event, with the help of The Fred Rogers Center and the Toonseum, offers both workshops for kids' media professionals and for parents, as well as screenings of many award-winning children's television shows from around the world. (Click here
if you want to attend one of the three Oct. 13 screenings for different age groups -- registration is required, due to limited seating.)
The family workshop, on Oct. 13 at WQED, lets you try your hand at cartooning and animation with the Toonseum's Joe Wos and the Schmutz Company, the local self-styled "performance and visual arts spectacle and arts education partnership." The Oct. 12 workshop for educational and other kids' learning pros delves into the essence and effects of quality kids' TV programming worldwide, and features presenters Sharon Carver (director of the Children's School at Carnegie Mellon University), Michelle Figlar (head of the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children), Jim Martin (children's television director and puppeteer), and Kevin Morrison and Michael Robb (The Fred Rogers Company's COO and director of education and research, respectively).
The workshops are run, and the festival is curated, by David Kleeman, president of the American Center for Children and Media. The selections include everything from game shows to serials and animation, and come from Brazil, Mongolia, Netherlands, Iran, Lebanon, Japan -- 15 different countries altogether.
Kleeman, says WQED's Stancil, "has done a super job of making sure that the world is represented. We're drawing from all the world's reaches and all of the storytelling that is done around the world," but with a selection chosen only for Pittsburgh, she adds. "It's really an exercise in learning. The kids and parents are not just watching, we're learning how television is a reflection of different cultures and different relationships."
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Jennifer Stancil, WQED