Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cars, rats and cupcakes... IFI Family Festival 2011

Sunday afternoon at IFI, Dee Quinlan is reading subtitles of  Short Tales, our Family Festival short film programme, to an eager and appreciative audience aged between 4 and 8 in the cinema. Outside on Meeting House Square, 20 young artists are waiting for the grand ‘opening’ of their mural,  created under the guidance of expert visual artists Re-Ink-Our-Nation and inspired by Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams. As Diana Bunici, tRTE presenter and our hugely energetic and willing festival patron steps up to cut the imaginary ribbon, cameras click and admiring parents clap at the work their youngsters have put in to transform the construction hoarding. And what a transformation – a quick walk around the hoarding reveals their ideas on viking lives, future lives and what is important to them today. Realised as part of Temple Bar Cultural Trust’s Made in Temple Bar Festival, it’s been a great collaboration.

Young street artists and visual duo from Re-Ink-Our-Nation
Back inside, we’re just about recovering from having let a few beasts loose around Temple Bar, looking for The Lonely Beast, the character of Chris Judge’s children’s story and animation. Face-painting rules, with river rat whiskers sprouting on three-year-old faces. Said rats had made their first appearance on the banks of the Liffey with Diana, tRTE’s Stephen Byrne, and a handful of young film fans, posing and smiling behind beautiful painted boards featuring the Light of the River characters. The boards, painted by artist Li Aiken were a huge hit – with parents, kids and all posing behind them for photos over the weekend. Li turned her talents to the foyer too and, with volunteer Deirbhle, decorated the place with road markings, bollards and stop signs in preparation for Saturday’s Cars 2 rally - starring members of the audience in their own cut-out cars and waved off by Stephen in full rally mode. 

At the preview of Cars 2 

Volunteers truly got into the Festival spirit, and we really couldn’t have managed without the help and enthusiasm of them all –‘old’ hands Lauren, Gabrielle, Scott, Colm, Chloe were back for a 2nd year as well as newcomers: Odhran, who made the steps; Marina, Faye, Hazel, Eoghan, Kay, Michelle, Siofra, Rachel, Breffni, Veronica, Michael, Nicole, all of whom got stuck in blowing up balloons, facepainting, leafleting, minding workshops, running errands, tearing tickets and generally lending a hand - they were an amazing asset to the Festival. The street art was a huge project to manage, and this was made possible by the willingness and professionalism of our volunteer Sarah, who was invaluable throughout the whole event.

IFI Family Festival 2011 - one of the workshops

Back to the films, full houses for The Gruffalo and Cars 2, with appreciative and keen audiences for Light of the River, On the Sly and The Crocodiles Strike Back. We’d audiences from Donegal and Skibbereen, who travelled specially for the event, as well as new faces and IFI regulars, bringing young family and friends to experience some of the best family cinema from around the world. ‘Best day ever’ said Beibhin after attending Fergal’s music workshop. ‘Brillant’ and ‘Deadly’ were claymations with Estrella, ‘I’ll give it five and a half stars’ said one discerning viewer after the opening film. And for those who didn’t want a big screen, we set up a Secret Cinema too, with room for four viewers who could sit in the darkened room, with fairylight decor and cushions at their feet. As the lights go down on our closing film from France, On the Sly, stepping outside into the light and frequently bursting balloons, it’s hard not to think that alternative cinema has a great future here, if the openness and enthusiasm of this young audience is anything to go by. 

See more photos from the IFI Family Festival 2011 [here].  

Alicia McGivern
Head of Education

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