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UNICEF Innocenti Film Festival returns in October

The best films on childhood from around the world to be screened online and in Florence
25 Aug 2021
UIFF frame

(26 August 2021) Showcasing the awe, excitement, uncertainty, and troubles of childhood, the UNICEF Innocenti Film Festival (UIFF) returns to Florence and online this October. 31 films from 26 countries depicting narratives of childhood will be shown, accompanied with dialogues between the film makers and UNICEF experts.

“Films have an unparalleled ability to give an insight into someone’s world, much like how our research attempts to paint an accurate picture of what life is like for children and young people across the globe,” said Dale Rutstein, Chief of Communication with UNICEF’s Office of Research. “Our primary criteria for selection is cinematic quality and somehow most of the films selected depict a story closely related to UNICEF’s work. This leads to fascinating post-screening dialogues between our experts and the filmmakers.” 

A diverse international jury will select the best films to receive an ‘Iris’ award in three categories: Under 18 filmmakers, Childhood in the pandemic, Open category. The award itself has been designed by students at the European Institute of Design (Florence).

2021 marks 75 years of UNICEF working for child rights and well-being. To celebrate this milestone, UIFF will also host a retrospective film exhibition featuring an iconic film from each decade that UNICEF has been in existence. A special Iris 75 grand prize will also be awarded to the overall best film in the festival.

“Childhood is a universal cinematic theme which is common in all cultures,” said Rutstein. “We’re excited to present our selection of the best films on childhood to an international audience—both in Florence and online.”

UIFF will include virtual screenings on www.MyMovies.it and live screenings at Cinema La Compagnia between 21 and 24 October 2021. UNICEF works very closely with Cinema La Compagnia and the Tuscan Film Commission to produce the festival.

UIFF International Jury profiles

  • Gelila Bekele (Ethiopia-U.S.A.) - Activist, filmmaker and model with credits Anbessa, which premiered in Italy in UIFF 2019 and Mai: Life Is Not Honey. 
  • Roberto Scarpetti (Italy) -  Playwright, screenwriter and director whose work includes With a Little Patience (2004) and Strani amori (2008).
  • Venice Atienza (Philippines) – Director of Berlinale-featured documentary Last Days At Sea, which premiered in Italy at the Florentine summer film series Aperiti Cinema July 2021. 
  • Inkar Karim (Kazakhstan) – The youngest jury member and student filmmaker whose 2019 short Tango was selected for UIFF 2019.  
  • Nicholas Saputra (Indonesia) – An acclaimed actor and environmental activist who is also UNICEF National Ambassador for Indonesia. 
  • Paulo Menezes (Brazil) – Film director and animator who co-directed the short film Lolo which featured at UIFF 2019.