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Festival aims to get children thinking about the magic of films.

A CHILDREN'S film festival opens in Wales this month.

New Horizons will offer children a chance to watch animated films fromWales and other countries such as France, Japan and Ireland.

The festival, which takes place at Pontardawe Arts Centre, will screen Brendan and the Secret of Kells, which is not available for general release in cinemas until March.

As well as encouraging young people to watch films in the cinema, the festival also hopes to encourage its young audiences to think critically about film, with a varied package of workshops and worksheets available.

The festival is supported by a grant from Film Agency Wales, with a goal of developing audiences of specialist films across Wales.

"It is important that children experience film in the immersive context of the cinema," said festival co-ordinator Tracy Evans. "Cinema contributes a spectacular magical element, something that is sadly lacking in the DVD format. We want to inspire and stimulate dialogue and debate about film in our new audience, whose opinions and ideas are central to our ongoing film programme for young people at the arts centre."

The UK Film Council launched its film literacy strategy across the UK last autumn.

Their new strategy acknowledges that "to participate fully in our society and its culture means to be as confident in the use and understanding of moving images as of the printed word".

New Horizons, planned as an annual festival, hopes to work towards providing young people with a film experience that can develop their film literacy skills. The New Horizons festival takes place at Pontardawe Arts Centre from January 18 to 22. For details, call 01792 863 722 or visit www.pontardaweartscentre.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 9, 2010
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