The biggest change maker in our world is technology, and the second biggest change maker of our world is ‘Migration’. People are moving from villages to cities, from cities to other countries, and from one country to another in search of better economic opportunities, war refuge, climate change escape, or political freedom. Whatever the reason, more people are migrating today than ever before in human history.
India is home to the world's largest youth population, with over 300 million people under the age of 18. As a result, India is a young country that is growing younger every year. On the other hand, most countries around the world are aging rapidly. Indians have a long history of migrating in search of better opportunities, and this trend is only likely to increase in the coming years. We are proud of the fact that several heads of state and CEOs of major corporations around the world are Indians. As more and more Indians move abroad to fill the labor gap in aging countries, this trend is likely to continue.
Educators and curriculum developers must recognize this reality and prepare our children to thrive as global citizens. Schools and colleges must look beyond the curriculum, beyond languages, and beyond nation-building. As Indians, we need to focus on building and sustaining the world of the future. It is essential that schools expose our children to world cultures, languages, stories, challenges, and issues. This is the best way to prepare children for the future.
In my experience, one of the best ways to expose children to the world is through film. Well-made, meaningful films produced with sensitivity and empathy are a powerful tool for raising awareness and understanding of the world around us. However, most children are exposed to very low-quality content on most channels and platforms.
Children’s film-makers across the world make some amazing films but the challenge is that most of these films are festival films and are featured only in International Film Festivals, they are not accessible on regular platforms and channels. Since children’s film festivals are not very common worldwide, especially in India, most children never get to watch these amazing films.
In 2017, our School Cinema films team decided to change this narrative and initiated a project called International Kids Film Festival (IKFF). This is not a regular film festival; it is an event run in schools by schools in November. Our festival teams carefully curate 100+ films in 20+ languages from 30+ countries and invite schools across India to host IKFF. The result of this has been absolutely amazing over the years IKFF has gone on to become one of the world’s largest film festivals with over 10,000 schools hosting the event in 2020 and the viewership was over 2 million children.
IKFF 2023 will be held from 14-30 November, it’s a great opportunity for schools to bring the best of world cinema for their students. Bringing meaningful world entertainment into schools is a great way to prepare our children to thrive in a world of tomorrow.