Critical Target Group:
The Children’s and Youth Juries at PRIX JEUNESSE INTERNATIONAL
Who better to judge children’s and youth television programmes than the target group itself? That’s what the organizers of PRIX JEUNESSE INTERNATIONAL (10 – 15 June in Munich, Germany), the world’s oldest and most prestigious children’s television competition, thought. For over 50 years, the festival has brought together mainly adult children’s television makers and creators. In the year 2000, however, a children’s jury was introduced. Munich-based children between the ages of 7 and 10 are invited to take a look at the competition programmes in the “Fiction” and “Non-Fiction” categories. The children’s jury is organized by the Munich youth center Feierwerk.
Before the children enter the television marathon, they first have to master a major work step: the international programmes have to be provided with a German voice-over. First, the scripts are translated into German. And then countless volunteers – children, young people and adults – help out and lend their voices to the German dubbing of the broadcasts. Once this step is done, things can finally really get started.
The children’s jury consists of around 500 Munich schoolchildren and a small “children’s expert jury” made up of around 15-20 children. Each school class watches three to four shows and judges and discusses them according to the PRIX JEUNESSE selection criteria. In the end, five shows per fictional and non-fictional category are selected. A group of children’s experts then meets over a weekend, watches the ten pre-selected programmes, and decides on the two winners after heated discussion. The decision, of course, remains secret until the festival. At the closing ceremony of PRIX JEUNESSE INTERNATIONAL (June 15, Volkstheater Munich), the children’s jury then presents the two coveted “Golden Elephants” to the filmmakers. To ensure that nothing is revealed before the gala, the “Holy Gumdrop Oath” must of course be taken.
International Youth Jury
But not only a children’s jury is at work at PRIX JEUNESSE. Every two years, young people from different countries also take a look at the final programmes of PRIX JEUNESSE INTERNATIONAL and choose their two winners in the 11-15 Fiction and 11-15 Non-Fiction categories. This year, youths in Egypt, Argentina, South Africa, Thailand and the United States are participating.
For the young people, taking part in the PRIX JEUNESSE international youth jury means getting to grips with other cultures and their view of the world. The television programmes at PRIX JEUNESSE come from a wide variety of countries. As a member of the jury, you are thus challenged to deal with values, perceptions and convictions that sometimes differ greatly from your own cultural perspective, which the young people often found enriching this year. This was the feedback from a participant in the Thai jury on a drama from Bhutan, “Dancing with cranes”. In it, a girl’s dream of being the chosen one for the crane dance in honor of her country bursts forth. The jury comment: “It’s totally interesting to get an insight into what kind of customs these people have and how they behave in daily life”.
In the Lebanese programme “A Story in the Attic”, characters from a painting come to life and discuss the pros and cons of forced marriage. A young juror from South Africa acknowledges that he lacks the cultural context to really understand the programme, but that for people from that culture the content must be of great importance.
This is probably one of the most important learning experiences that the young jury members take away with them: In order to judge fairly, you have to take into account the cultural background of a programme and try to take off your own “cultural glasses” for a moment.
At the festival week, which takes place from 10 to 15 June at the Bayerischer Rundfunk in Munich, the most exciting arguments of the children’s and youth juries will be made accessible to the international children’s television producers in the form of an exhibition. For them, it is extremely exciting and relevant to hear the opinions of their target audience, and in this case, even to get feedback from children from all over the world.
Kirsten Schneid, Festival Coordinator, PRIX JEUNESSE Foundation
Tel: 089/5900 42058
Dr. Maya Götz, Director of the PRIX JEUNESSE Foundation
Photos and further press releases can be found at www.prixjeunesse.de