The PRIX JEUNESSE Suitcase in Tel Aviv
On Thursday, June 8th, 2017, a one-day workshop on quality TV for children was conducted in Tel Aviv. This workshop was initiated by PRIX JEUNESSE, in association with Goethe-Institute, and CoPro, the Documentary Marketing Foundation, Israel. 35 independent and network film and TV professionals came together to watch, discuss, and be inspired by a selection of programs from the PRIX JEUNESSE Suitcase. The screening order was thematically motivated, and the day consisted of four separate sessions: Gender and Sexuality. Painful Situations, Unlikely Heroes, and Everyday Life.
Apart from the questions that concerned the specific sessions, some general points served as leitmotifs for the whole discussion: One such theme was the accountability and responsibility of television in providing explicit and accurate information. While some participants were very impressed with the matter-of-fact yet sensitive way some of the tougher subjects were dealt with (I.E., incest in SLEEPING LIONS, death in BEESTIE BOYS), others were troubled by the way such themes could affect unmediated viewing by young children. Another, was the resolution, or happy endings, of most of the programs. Some criticized such endings as being unrealistic in the lives of many of the children (Again, SLEEPING LIONS, with the mother believing the protagonist, or the very smooth transition of KY from a girl to a boy in HOW KY TURNED INTO NIELS), While others argued that it’s important to give children the possibility of a happy ending even in dire situations , even if just as something to aspire to. Other programs that participants found very inspirational were PUBERTY: VAGINA AND MENSTRUATION, an explicit sex education program, COUNTING DAYS, COUNTING YEARS, an animated documentary about children whose parents are incarcerated, MARINA’S OCEAN, a drama about an adolescent girl with Down Syndrome, and PRESENTS II – EMILIA, a high-school drama, dealing with immigrations in a way that doesn’t shy away from reflecting unflattering images of the privileged society. Although many of the questions raised in the passionate and elaborate discussions were left unanswered, the participants (many of which have been to the Prix Jeunesse workshops in previous years) agreed that being exposed to television from all over the worlds, together with opportunity to discuss these programs in the special setting provided by the Prix Jeunesse workshops is very beneficial to their creative work.
Galia Spring Betser, Tel Aviv