Moy lichniy los' (My Own Personal Moose)
Director: Leonid Shmelkov
Russian Federation 2013, 17 min, Russian, age recommendation: 10 years and up
Misha is a quiet, dreamy boy. His dearest wish is to one day meet a real elk. He is always out and about in the countryside with his father where such magnificent animals seem within his grasp. And yet, years go by without Misha’s dream ever once having been fulfilled. A chubby dance teacher unsuccessfully tries to cheer up Misha, who has long since given up hope. But then, all of a sudden, an unexpected encounter occurs. But whether this is a stroke of good or bad luck will be food for thought for a long time to come. Reflecting the boy’s quirky fantasy world in a mixture of playful and surreal motifs, and making use of images which are as melancholic as they are endearing, the film conjures up the power of the imagination, loneliness and the passing of time.
Out of This World
Director: Viktor Nordenskiöld
Sweden 2014, 10 Min, Siriaki, age recommendation: 10 years and up
Twelve-year-old Mohammad Rizwan is happy when the filthy fuel tankers arrive. Here, next to Pakistan’s second largest oil depot, children crawl inside the dark interior of the diesel tanks to clean them – in spite of the fumes, which are extremely carcinogenic. For this Mohammad is paid one euro a day. His family needs the money and there’s no time for school. But Mohammad doesn’t seem unhappy; he adores his little sister and knows no other life. This decidedly sober documentary portrait shows how child labour has become a widespread normality. The fact that these horrific conditions are obviously taken for granted remains one of the film’s most shocking aspects.
The Dam Keeper
Director: Robert Kondo, Dice Tsutsumi
USA 2013, 18 min, English, age recommendation: 10 years and up
Pig does everything he can to protect his town but nobody shows any gratitude. He trots tirelessly up and down the stairs, moving heavy levers and making sure the windmill keeps turning. This is the only way he can hold back the billowing black clouds of smoke which threaten to engulf everything. In between all of this, Pig rushes to school before hurrying back to the dam each day. The townspeople continue to ridicule and scoff at him, and he finds himself sitting alone in the back of the bus. Everything begins to change when Fox, a new classmate, joins Pig's class.
Director: Abigail Greenwood
New Zealand 2013, 14 min, English, age recommendation: 10 years and up
A school sports lesson. Girls are playing netball on the court while Emily and Rebecca sit on a bench on the sidelines and muck about. There’s no mistaking how well they get on. Emily is pretty confident for a girl of eleven and has been known to give the older boys the one-finger salute. Rebecca would never dare do such a thing. It's no surprise, then, when she becomes a target of bullying. Emily clearly feels sorry for Rebecca but does not have the courage to openly defend her. Worse still, the others pressure her into playing a cruel trick on her friend, which leaves Emily with nothing but a guilty conscience. A sensitively made story about friendship and peer pressure.
Director: Laura Mohai
USA / Singapore / Malaysia 2013, 8 min, Malayan, age recommendation: 10 years and up
Iseng, a little boy with Down's syndrome, occupies himself by wandering about the pig-sty. His mother has lost her baby and is so wrapped up in grief she barely takes any notice of her son. A sick piglet gives Iseng an idea: in an attempt to comfort his mother and gain her attention he places the animal in the empty cradle. But when his mother discovers the piglet, it is already dead. Revolted by the sight, she initially rejects her son. But then she recognises Iseng’s need for love. Concentrating on looks and gestures rather than words and music – both of which are absent – this short film makes a silent appeal not to dwell on what is lost but to recognise and cherish life’s gifts.
Sepatu Baru (On Stopping the Rain)
Director: Aditya Ahmad
Indonesia 2013, 14 Min, Makassarese, age recommendation:10 years and up
Everyone’s feeling low. It’s been raining incessantly for days and there’s no end in sight. The water is already dripping through the roofs and children are playing barefoot in the puddles in between the rundown houses. A girl walks thoughtfully down the narrow alleyways. In Indonesia there’s an old ritual that can stop the rain. But for that, she needs a particular utensil.