Next to love and death, childhood is one of the universal topics of cinema. Films determine the view on childhood and allow children to present themselves – different than in other media. Films convey an experience of childhood and can put us into the perspective of child figures. Films are also an expression of childhood memories: of those who make films as well as of those who are watching films as children and are influenced by them.
The upcoming 21st International Bremen Film Conference (April 27th until May 1st, 2016) focuses on the relation between cinema and childhood. International experts from science, mediation and production will discuss with the audience how children and childhood are presented in film aesthetics and cultural history. They will introduce current positions on the three main focuses: child figures in film, childhood as the spectators’ experience and point of view; and the role of childhood in the production process. This year, the conference‘s concept has been developed in the context of the DFG-funded research project „Film Aesthetics and Childhood“.
The topic of child figures deals with the construction of images of children and childhood in films, as well as with child actors who embody and shape film figures. As to the question of childhood as spectator’s experience and point of view we will discuss films conveying the perception and perspective of children. This also includes film-aesthetic theories referring to the gaze of the child. The question of the role of childhood in the production process brings us to those producing films, whether children or adults. How do contemporary digital practices of children re-invent cinema and which educational processes are reflected in films made by children? But also adult filmmakers refer to the experience of childhood – either as biographic memory or as aesthetic strategy of play.
The various films framed by the lectures and discussions show a kaleidoscope of various childhoods from the beginnings of film history to the present, from all continents and of different aesthetics – experimental, documentary and fictional.