Okuhle Mediaâ€™s Managing Director and Executive Producer, Wilna Van Schalkwyk recently returned from Munich, Germany where the worldâ€™s biggest festival celebrating childrenâ€™s television programming â€“ the Prix Jeunesse International 2018 â€“ took place. She was there to introduce SABC 3â€™s hit kids cooking show, Yum.Me to producers, creators, and distributors from all corners of the globe and to judge this yearâ€™s selection of TV shows.
The theme for this yearâ€™s event was â€œStrong stories for strong childrenâ€, which promoted the important role that great storytelling can play in developing empowered youngsters. The festival featured 95 finalists from 35 countries,â€ says Wilna, â€œand each of these was a brilliant example of how childrenâ€™s TV can be employed to really build up a childâ€™s resilience, especially in the world today.â€
Best of the best
Getting to see some the best that the world of kids entertainment has to offer is just part of the reason for attending the Prix Jeunesse International festival. The other is the prestigious competition that rewards both fiction and non-fiction stories across various age groups. Like most big award shows, Prix Jeunesse works on a peer-review system which allows all participating professionals working in the industry to vote in the competition.
â€œDuring the 4 days of the festival, everyone in attendance got to vote for the shows in the various categories,â€ explains Wilna. â€œI personally saw and voted for about 65 out of the 95 finalists and was blown away by what I saw.â€
And which shows were her favourite?
â€œIn the â€˜7-10 Years â€“ Non-fictionâ€™ category I loved a show that tells the story of 8-year old Pia from Vietnam as she tries to teach her new baby brother everything she knows about life. It was an absolute stand-out for me and the highlight of the festival.â€ says Wilna.
Other shows that Wilna loved, include I am Me: Luis is feeding the Animals in the â€œUp to 6 â€“ Non-fictionâ€ category, Â Kids on the Silk Road in the â€œ7-10 Years â€“ Non-fictionâ€ category, and My Life: Born to Vlog in the â€œ11-15 Years â€“ Non-fictionâ€ category.
Meeting the whoâ€™s who
The Prix Jeunesse Festival also enables industry professionals to engage with one another about their experiences and to learn from legends in the industry. Something that Wilna really appreciated. â€œIt was a very uplifting experience,â€ says Wilna. â€œI met with some of the biggest names in childrenâ€™s TV and was able to talk to others about being a resilient leader in the work place and about my experiences in childrenâ€™s television over the past 10 years with Hectic Nine-9.â€
The Prix Jeunesse International 2018 ran from 25-30 May and was hosted at the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation. The festivalâ€™s awards ceremony took place on 30 May at the LÃ¶wenbrÃ¤ukeller in Munich.