TIFF Interview: Kid Jurors

Posted on | April 28, 2012 | Add Comments

While at TIFF Kids International Film Festival we were honored to interview the Young People’s Juries. They are divided into three jury groups: Feature Films (Ages 8 to 10), Feature Films (Ages 11 to 13) and Short Films (Ages 9 to 13) to select the Golden Sprocket Award. We spoke with 6 of the 9 junior jurors. Three of them, Will (8 years old), Maggie (10 years old), and Jonathan (9 years old), selected one feature length movie to receive the Golden Sprocket. The other three we spoke to, Anthony (10 years old), Daniel (10 years old), and Dana (11 years old) selected a short film to receive the Golden Sprocket.  We did not get to interview the three 11-13 year old feature film juror’s. During two festival weekends, they take notes after seeing a film at the festival, rank it out of 10 then discuss it together with their adult jury leader to pick the winners.

8 of the 9 TIFF Kids Young People's Jury

To get selected as jurors, children write a movie review online and submit it (for some it was part of a school project). Nine kids are picked. The jurors we interviewed, reviewed Captain America: The First Avenger, Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Hugo, Bridge to Terabithia, and WALL•E (reviewed by 2 kids). The kids are only allowed to be picked as juror’s once, but they can enter more times just for fun.

While watching TIFF films, they look for good acted, well done feature films and shorts with a great story.  Films and shorts they juried included: Stay!, The Blue Tiger, Gattu, Alfie the Little Werewolf, Famous Five, Magic Piano 3-D, The Gruffalo’s Child, and Mouse For Sale. They watch each film only once with a regular audience or sometimes in a private theater. Then they agree on their favorite movies or shorts to award the Golden Sprocket.

It was interesting to hear how their jurying process is different from the Providence Children’s Film Festival‘s (PCFF) process. (awarding already picked TIFF Kid movies vs. selecting the movies to be in the PCFF)  It was fun talking to people who love movies as much as we do and hearing what their favorite movies are. The jurors’ favorite non-TIFF movies include: The Hunger Games, WALL•E, Hugo, The Sting, Nancy Drew, The Harry Potter movies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, John Hughes’ movies, and The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. We definitely enjoyed interviewing the Young People’s Juries, and it was loads of fun.

At a ceremony held April 22, 2012 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, the award winners for the 15th annual TIFF Kids International Film Festival were announced. In addition to Audience Choice Awards, three Young People’s Juries weighed in on the recipients of the coveted Golden Sprocket Awards. Winners of the Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase were also announced, as determined by a jury of film industry professionals.


TIFF Kids Audience Choice Awards are voted on by Festival-goers who attended public screening weekends (April 14 to 15 and April 21 to 22).

TIFF Kids Audience Choice Award — Best Feature Film
Cool Kids Don’t Cry (Achtste Groepers Huilen Niet), director: Dennis Bots, The Netherlands
Grade eight student Akkie has only two concerns: going to high school with her best friends and winning the soccer championship.
Tough-girl Akkie never backs down from a challenge or lets the class bully Joep target her friends. Her whole class is shocked when Akkie is diagnosed with leukemia, yet she faces the disease with unwavering courage. While on her class graduation trip she must rely on Joep, the one classmate who didn’t visit her in the hospital, to help her with a dilemma. Is this is the beginning of a new friendship? Akkie fears she won’t have time to find out. Based on the best-selling Benelux novel by Jacques Vriens, this film adaptation will leave viewers inspired by Akkie’s spirit and resolve in the face of adversity.

TIFF Kids Audience Choice Award — Best Short Film
Joanna Makes a Friend, director: Jeremy Lutter, Canada
Joanna likes to wear dark clothes and sketch spooky illustrations. As a result, the kids in Joanna’s class don’t like her, and she doesn’t much enjoy their company either. So, when her father tells her to “make a friend,” Joanna takes it a little too literally.

Two film juries representing different age groups — ages 8 to 10 and ages 11 to 13 — each selected a winning feature film. Another jury comprised of children aged 9 to 13 determined a winning short film.

Golden Sprocket Award — Feature Film
Jury 1 (Ages 8 to 10)
Famous Five, director: Mike Marzuk , Germany
Three siblings, their cousin and a canine companion become summertime sleuths in this adaptation of the famed Enid Blyton novels.
On choosing this film, the jury said, “Famous Five is a great mystery that keeps you guessing and makes you feel like part of the adventure.”

Golden Sprocket Award — Feature Film
Jury 2 (Ages 11 to 13)
Nicostrados, the Pelican, director: Olivier Horlait, France/Belgium/Greece
Fourteen-year-old Yannis enjoys a simple life with his widowed fisherman father on the Greek island of Zora. That is, until he trades his mother’s golden cross for Nicostratos, a neglected white pelican. This charismatic, mischievous and gigantic bird becomes Yannis’ best friend, but he also becomes a major tourist attraction.

The Young People’s Jury explained their decision, “We are in awe of how this movie took us on a rollercoaster ride of emotions in such a beautiful setting, which was exquisitely captured in the film’s photography.”

Honourable mentions go to Cool Kids Don’t Cry, The Netherlands and Havanastation, Cuba.

Golden Sprocket Award — Short Film
Jury (Ages 9 to 13)

The Little Team, directors: Roger Gomez and Daniel Resines, Spain
In this sweet and charming documentary, the fourteen little kids that make up the Margatania FC go over an unsolved football mystery, and they end up teaching an unexpected life lesson to grown-ups.

Said the Young People’s Jury of their unanimous decision, “We admire that this movie conveys messages of perseverance and inspiration that we can all learn from. And it is told from a great point of view.”

Photos Courtesy of TIFF – Toronto International Film Festival


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