Children Meet Cinema
Our mission is to promote a bright future for children and cinema. We organize a series of film and moving image workshops for children throughout Japan. We take part in Cinéma, cent ans de jeunesse since 2017.
Launched in 2004 in Kanazawa, we have been developing and exploring the possibilities of workshops involving children and cinema. Through filmmaking workshops and film clubs that provide opportunities to watch films and have dialogues about them, we have encouraged children to familiarize themselves with film culture and cultivate their boundless imagination and creativity.
What makes our workshops unique is that we provide no specific instruction or method in filmmaking; we fundamentally don’t teach children how to make a film. Instead, we set up an environment with hints, in which they can find answers by themselves and in teams. I have witnessed children who participated in our workshops gain more confidence by learning different values through observation and discussion, working together in teams and seeing audiences react to their works.
Involving professional filmmakers is also something we value. We have worked with notable film directors such as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Nobuhiro Suwa, Naomi Kawase, and animation director Koji Yamamura, as guest lecturers. They are involved from the beginning of each workshop’s development, in picking the theme, be it fiction or documentary or we choose not to tell the difference, organizing the workshop’s activities, and so on. I believe the best way to get an idea of cinema culture is to see these professionals’ attitudes towards filmmaking. It provides an unusual experience apart from daily life.
Lastly, as we the grown-ups observe the children participating and finding answers by themselves, we also get stimulated and are influenced positively. We usually form teams with five to six children and two to three adult staff members who are also emerging filmmakers or writers / scholars by profession. In helping children make films, we are reminded how free and fun a film can be by nature.
I hope our activity will spread throughout Japan, give hope to children and cinema, and bring a better future.
Etsuko Dohi, Founder of CMC