A PRIX JEUNESSE Suitcase for Czernowitz, Ukraine
„Gedankendach“, a centre in Czernowitz in the Western part of Ukraine which promotes cultural exchange in many dimensions, was the host of a PRIX JEUNESSE Suitcase workshop end of June. The city of Czernowitz is the capital of the Bukowina, a legendary European multi-ethnical region with a unique mix of people, languages and religions and home to lyrics like Paul Celan, Rose Ausländer and many more.
In a cooperation with Goethe Institute Kiev, “Gedankendach” invited media practitioners and academics for an exchange on quality in children’s media, with the PRIX JEUNESSE Suitcase in the centre. The participants of the workshop agreed on the challenging situation of children’s media in the Ukraine. Neither the public broadcaster “Suspilne” nor the various private channels offer children’s content comparable to the programmes offered in European children’s channels, in regard to the variety of genres.
Therefore the workshop was welcomed as an opportunity and source of inspiration for developing new perspectives for Ukrainian children’s television in general and for one’s own activities specifically.
The workshop participants were thrilled by the variety of input, with each programme from the Suitcase offering new aspects – different locations, protagonists, ways of storytelling or visual elements. And they felt encouraged to overcome the fear of tackling difficult subjects or taboos, like the topic of violence, or talking about handicaps or death in a constructive way that children can relate to. It became clear that the daily life of children is a valuable source for topics for good children’s TV, by developing programmes in close dialogue with children.
The high ratings the participants gave to the programmes reflected the overall appreciation of encountering so many new perspectives and examples. However, certain tendencies were noticed: The Norwegian series “The Games” from PRIX JEUNESSE 2014 was the big winner. The highly entertaining idea of presenting the daily life of a teenager in the form of a sports reportage convinced all participants, even though some doubts remained regarding the reaction of the target audience to this idea.
A programme with rather different content was highly appreciated as well: The British drama “Sleeping Lions” deals with sexual abuse within a family. The programme hit a nerve among the workshop audience as the topic of abuse currently is part of public discourse in the Ukraine.
The 2018 PRIX JEUNESSE winner of the Gender Equity Prize, “First Day”, an Australian drama on a transgender child, was considered as too far away from Ukrainian reality.
Programmes telling their stories in rather slow pace, like the Mongolian preschool documentary “Superman Gaanaa” or the Brazilian drama “Ba” were not considered as suitable for a children but rather targeting adults audiences.
Humour in general was highly appreciated, like in the Norwegian drama series for pre-schoolers “Summer with Dad”. Participants were impressed by the very authentic portrayal of children, like in the preschool documentary “I am Me: Luis is Feeding the Animals”, in which a small farmer boy presents his daily farm chores in an entertaining way to children of his age.
The presentation of the PRIX JEUNESSE Suitcase was followed by a presentation on KiKA, the German public children’s channel of ARD and ZDF. Dr. Matthias Huff, head of Non-Fiction at KiKA who had also moderated the Suitcase workshop offered insights into the daily programming work. The Ukrainian workshop participants welcomed the opportunity for this wider context which opened up additional perspectives for Ukrainian children’s television.