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Interview with Elizabeth Muskala, Director of TIFF Kids (Flick’s Interview)

Posted on | April 28, 2012 | Add Comments

While attending the 2012 TIFF Kids International Film Festival we had a chance to interview Elizabeth Muskala, the current director of TIFF Kids. When we asked Muskala what she thinks moviegoers should experience from TIFF Kids, she said “at the end of the day you should leave the festival having had a good time.” However that “good time” should also be “enriching,” she says. It takes hard work to combine the two factors.

This year’s festival has films from 41 different countries. “It’s our biggest festival yet,” says Muskala. That’s easy to see. This year marks the 15th anniversary for the fest and the digiPlaySpace was introduced this year. This digital playground for kids is an outstanding, fun place to learn through technology.  For example in one of the sections, kids can play with engaging apps that also teach them something.  In one of the apps, you build a robot with quadrilaterals. I had two favorite sections. The first was one involves you driving a digital car with a video game controller, while avoiding real household objects. The second favorite was a table full of animals and a tree (mostly) sculpted out of clay which were easy to bend making for a great stop motion film which I participated in making. I glanced over at the computer screen that shows the pictures that are taken, and saw that over 750 pictures had been shot while I was there.This year’s selection of films ranged from Chimpanzee (the Disneynature opening night film) to Sky Force 3-D (an animated film geared to younger kids from Hong Kong, dubbed in English). Muskala says “Chimpanzee was such a natural selection.” Earth Day falls on April 22nd and there’s an environmental theme running through all our programming this year.  “Chimpanzee hit all the boxes.” On Sky Force she says, “Because opening night is good for ages 8-9 plus, we wanted closing night to be good for younger audiences (5 plus).” Note: While Chimpanzee and Sky Force are both big budget this year’s TIFF Kids also features many fascinating foreign and independent films.

I learned many things from interviewing Muskala, but the most interesting would be that she thinks people should have a good time, but also equally be enriched at TIFF Kids. I completely agree.

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