All different, all unique. Diversity celebrated at international youth film festival!

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© UNESCO

France was awarded the main prize at the CIAK JUNIOR International Film Festival with "Hassan and the fairy Morgana", which received special recognition from the UNESCO Venice Office. The short film exposes preconceived notions of ‘difference’ and teaches us to embrace diversity, which benefits society as a whole. In doing so, it highlights issues experienced by young people all over the world.

The films in competition at the 26th Edition of the festival, held in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Dolomites, from 29-30 May 2015, focused on the issue of cultural diversity and acceptance in all its forms. Philippe Pypaert, UNESCO representative, joined the members of the International Jury to review the films competing in the Festival. The UNESCO special recognition was awarded to the short film which best expressed the mission and mandate of the Organization.

On the occasion of its 70th anniversary, UNESCO appreciates the high quality of the films in the competition, and applauds their courage and determination in dealing with important, often difficult issues such as bullying, intolerance, solitude, war. Now more than ever, 70 years after the end of World War II, the human race needs to learn to respect, appreciate and defend diversity.” stressed Philippe Pypaert, at the award ceremony on 30 May.

The film that won this years’ competition was produced by 17 young people from France. It tells the story of a step brother and sister who are sent to an “art camp” to work out their differences through theatre. A spell causes them to switch bodies, and in order to break it they must learn to understand and accept each other. The issues surrounding diversity are presented in a fun, imaginative, but at the same time extremely poignant, format.

The prize for best subject went to "Two kids, one veil”, made by the students of Bucchianico (CH). The veil symbolizes increasing multiculturalism in Italian schools, but is also the target of unfounded fears and discrimination.

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Since 2001, the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), has collaborated with Gruppo Alcuni to support CIAK JUNIOR - Cinema made by Children. The Festival offers a creative approach to shaping future generations (school age) of actors, screenwriters and directors. It aims to increase public awareness of the educational role of cinema and at encourage youth creativity and the expression of cultural diversity as a means for dialogue and improved mutual understanding.