Armenia’s Moushegh Baghdasaryan’s short film "Intervention" won the the Kenneth F. and Harle G. Montgomery Prize for Excellence for Best Child-Produced Film or Video at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF).
Fourteen-year-old Moushegh’s 2 minute film transforms a symbol of war into a thing of peace–with a message that silence speaks louder than words.
The one-minute short "Waltz" by another 14-year-old–Elen Gyulnazarian of Armenia–competed in the same category of Children for Children nominations.
The Director of Armenia’s Manana Children’s-Youth Educational-Cultural Center–Ruzan Baghdasarian–revealed that only 24 films were nominated in the specific category.
Baghdasaryan’s award marks 15 victories for Manana in international competitions.
Thirty other films shot at Manana’s small studio have registered victories in various film festivals in England–Greece–Spain–Serbia–and the United States.
Founded in 1983–the CICFF is the largest festival of films for children in North America and features over 200 animated and live action films from 40 countries. The Festival welcomes over 24,000 Chicago area children–adults–and educators to the screenings–and over 100 filmmakers–media professionals–and celebrities attend the festival to lead interactive workshops with kids.
It is also the first competitive festival of films for children in the US. The impetus for the festival came from a need to introduce new–culturally diverse films for children to American children’s audiences–and to recognize excellence in children’s filmmaking. From its inception–the festival has had independent juries of children and adult media professionals awarding prizes in multiple categories.
The festival provides screenings both for schools and the general public. Educators bring their classes to school screenings during the fall festival to view international films. Films are used as a springboard to class-work in a wide number of subject areas–including geography–math–music–social studies–art–health and language studies. After screenings–children are engaged in discussions with filmmakers and festival personnel. These discussions are designed to lead children and teachers toward powerful dialogue about the role of television and film in their lives. The impact of violent films–and alternatives to them–are frequently explored.
Children attending the Festival are also instructed to view each film carefully and critically–so that they may cast an informed ballot for "Best of the Fest." These interactive experiences enrich festival audiences with a wide range of cultural perspectives and give them a "behind-the-scenes" understanding of the art and craft of filmmaking.