On the 2nd of December 2019, the first session of Kids Kino.Lab co-organized with Ale Kino! International Young Film Festival in Poznań, has coame to an end.

A week of hard work of creating future content for children and young adults was both challenging and rewarding. The participants went through intense brainstorming – from individual sessions with tutors to group discussions with fellow screenwriters. The tutors gave them the final tasks while guiding their work, whereas the organizers were gathering feedback from everyone involved – including the tutors:

“They are all exactly where I want themto be”, says Philip LaZebnik about his group of writers and producers of feature films. “When creating a story, it’s easy to try to hold on to the initial idea that started it”. During his sessions with participants, he discussed the outline and the very detailed plot of created stories. He says that after all the conversations they had, “a lot of our talks led to changing the film – a lot we needed to let go of in order to find the best version of the story”.

Kirsten Bonén Rask, the tutor of the second group of feature film creators, while similarly satisfied with her team, looks at their work together from a different perspective. “At this stage, we are generating a lot of material to shape from later”. Their group discussions were mostly about the characters and their motivations – putting them as a central and driving force of moving the story forward. “We don’t yet think of how to fix all the problems. For now, it’s about knowing what to write – and actually write. If your writing is in the characters, a lot of problems solve themselves”.

“With series it’s a bit different”, says Armin Prediger, the tutor of the group developing both animated and live action series. “All teams are in various stages of their work but they’re all equally invested in the main task of creating an interesting concept that will generate more than one story”. Throughout his sessions, his group was focused on the groundwork – diving deeper into the ideas of their stories, creating character arcs and season arcs that will benefit from an episodic narrative.

During the first session in Poznań, the producers’ tutor Ronald Kruschak had individual meetings with every group behind every project as well as group classes for producers. Ronald, who has been tutoring feature films for MEDIA/Creative Europe for fifteen years now, said: “It is an exciting learning experience for all the participating producers: we have people from the Czech Republic, from the Ukraine, from Poland, and from Greece. We all learn from each other and help each other. A couple of years ago in Poland, our workshop started out to bring back Polish children movie productions. There were none and we helped the first productions getting made. We succeeded. Now we have become international and we want to help producers from other countries as well. There are no Greek children movies – there will be. In our workshop, producers get informed and trained on an international level. I can’t wait until we meet for our next session – this time in Athens.”

As an addition to the sessions about their projects, the participants took part in three masterclasses: Armin Prediger’s writing exercise (“questions one should ask themselves when creating a series concept”); Philip LaZebniks presentation about eight-sequence story structure with a case study and a screening of Netflix’s recent Klaus and a presentation from a guest speaker: Jean Baptiste Weary from the France-based production company Dandelooo. As a founding member of the brand dealing with content from all around the globe, Jean Baptiste Weary engaged with Kids Kino.Lab’s participants in conversations about making, selling, and distributing series for children on both European and international markets. With active participation from the group, the masterclasses were certainly the highlights of the Poznań session. 

Along with developing their scripts, participants actively developed their social lives too! After the days filled with work, the session in Poznań was rich in official and casual gatherings – joined dinners, group chats in pubs, and attending the screenings of Ale Kino! Film Festival. How can you truly get to know other participants’ projects without getting to know the fellow writers and the fellow producers?

And this is all just the beginning. With even more to work on ahead and with such engaged participants and promising concepts of their stories, one can’t help but be excited. See you in Athens!