LAHORE - The Little Art organised the grand opening ceremony for the 8th International Children’s Film Festival at Faletti’s Hotel yesterday.

The guests list for the opening ceremony will include Minister of Education & Youth Affairs Rana Mashood Ahmad Khan, Alhamra Arts Council Chairman Kamran Lashari, Cinepax CEO Pir Saad Ahsanud Din, National Development Officer of the Royal Danish Embassy Ms Juwairia Sultan, and James Norton from Paper Planes Association Australia.

Films that have been made by Pakistani students and selected to screen at the festival this year were awarded certificates and prizes by the guests. The ceremony also screened a showreel of the officially selected films of the festival season.

Addressing the audience, Juwairia Sultan said the Government of Denmark has been supporting promotion of art and culture in Pakistan, because they believe it is important to nurture youth and introduce them to some of the most fundamental qualities of being human - such as creativity, freedom of expression, and innovation. “Our support is also driven by the fact there is a need to integrate creative art with education. We believe - as research also proves - that children who are engaged in creative art show stronger critical thinking and problem solving skills as well as display higher levels of social and cultural tolerance,” she added.

“I think this is a great initiative to provoke the creativity and imagination in children. It is my dream to see this culture develop inculcated in our children, only then we can see our children become the next creative leaders in Pakistan. This kind of forum is necessary for our collective future and I wish The Little Art the best of luck,” Kamran Lashari stated.

Rana Mashood, while addressing the audience, said: “We are putting emphasis on the development of children, and giving necessary resources for them to develop. It is a big way forward by the Punjab government to as we are opening up our public schools to such activities as organised by The Little Art to promote their development. This year, we are going to collaborate with The Little Art to take the festival to other cities in Punjab as well,” the provincial minister added.

This year, the festival will be presented by The Little Art in collaboration with Cinepax Cinemas from 21st November till 26th November, 2016 at the Cinepax Cinema, Fortress Square, Lahore. A total of 80 films for children from 26 countries will be showcased at the festival.

Festival Director Shoaib Iqbal said: “This year is a celebration of the most amazing experiences in children’s cinema in Pakistan. We are grateful to the CKU and Royal Danish Embassy for supporting our initiatives this year, through which we were able to go to remote areas like Bhakkar, Tando Jam and Jamshoro to develop their skills in film making and to experience an international film festival for the first time in their region.”