Childhood and Nation in World Cinema: Borders and Encounters since 1980

Event Date: 18-19 April 2016

Management Building Auditorium

Royal Holloway University of London
Egham, Surrey
TW20 0EX

The School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Royal Holloway presents:

Childhood and Nation in World Cinema

Borders and Encounters since 1980

Figuring filmic representations of the child is an important recent trend in cinema studies. Adult cultural investments in the child are acknowledged whilst the most exciting work simultaneously pushes at the boundaries of film theory to create a new cinematic politics of childhood in filmic portrayals of the child’s experience. This conference aims to take forward children’s perceptions of, and involvement in, screen representation.  At the same time, it acknowledges the importance of the child in figuring ideas of nationhood in adult cultural and social consciousness, as it is explored through film.


Recorded contributions:

Welcome and introduction by Dr Sarah Wright (RHUL):


Keynote: Professor Karen Lury (University of Glasgow)  – Children, objects and motion… balloons, bikes, kites and tethered flight



Keynote:  Professor David Martin Jones (University of Glasgow) – Telling the Story of History with (to, or by) the Child: Non-National, National, and Transnational Takes



Screening of Little Soldier followed by Q and A with director, Stella Corradi, and producer, Carol-Mei Barker, chaired by Emma Wilson

Little Soldier is the story of 10 year old Anya (Amaris Miller). Anya’s mother Amanda (Zawe Ashton) suffers from addiction, forcing Anya into the role of carer and provider. She works for Derek (Morgan Watkins) a drug dealer who wants to keep Anya and Amanda under his control. However, Anya takes matters into her own hands, with darkly comic consequences. Told entirely from Anya’s perspective, the harsh realities of her life are punctuated with moments of colour and imagination, to suggest a sense of hope and the magic of a child’s resilience to life’s difficulties.

Stella Corradi is a filmmaker, writer, and director. Born in Italy, Stella emigrated to London as a child and has studied and worked in east London ever since. She graduated with a Masters degree in Film from Queen Mary University of London specialising in Latin American cinema. In 2011 she travelled to New York to work as a Production Assistant on A Late Quartet (2012). Stella went on to be mentored by Sally Potter working as Director’s Assistant on Ginger and Rosa (2012), and then with Justin Kurzel on Macbeth (2015). Stella continues to work closely with Sally Potter. Stella speaks fluent Italian and Spanish and is a skilled steel pan player. Stella has made several short films, documentaries and collaborated on various productions.

Carol-Mei Barker is a film writer and academic, with a PhD in Film Studies. She was winner of the 2010 UNESCO ‘City of Film’ Doctoral scholarship, and she specialises in Chinese and British cinema and the city in film. She taught film and media studies at the University of Bradford, and developed educational resources for the charity Film Education. She has written about film for various publications including Time Out London, and in 2013 sat on the short film jury at the Bradford International Film Festival. Carol-Mei lives in east London, where she grew up and also worked as a Learning Mentor to young people. She is also researching a book on social housing and British cinema.


Little Soldier – Indiegogo Promo Video from Stella Corradi on Vimeo.


“Films from Le Cinema Cent Ans de Jeunesse, an international film education programme” with Mark Reid (BFI), chaired by Stephi Hemelryk Donald

The international film education programme ‘le Cinema cent ans de jeunesse’ has been running for 20 years under the aegis of the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris.  Each year, groups of children and young people from all over the world participate in a ‘question of cinema’, led by French critic and cineaste Alain Bergala.  The ‘questions’ are always centred on an aspect of aesthetics or form: ‘why move the camera?’, ‘how do films use real things and people to tell stories’, ‘how do filmmakers use long takes in their films?’ The programme is highly structured, around a set of exercises that test and try out formal approaches, and a recommended viewing list of film extracts from all over the world.  At the end of each edition, all the participants make an 8-10 minute film around a common brief, which consolidates some of the learning from the programme. In this session, Mark Reid will share some of the work made by young people from recent editions of the programme, and the specific approaches and activities that support them.’

Mark Reid looks after film education programmes at BFI Southbank in London, England.  He originally trained in, and then taught, English and Media, before joining BFI in 1998 as their Teacher Development Officer, where he set up MA programmes for media and film teachers.  In 2006 he took over leadership of the Education teams at BFI, focusing on building programmes at BFI Southbank. In 2012 he led a research team in a survey of film education in Europe, published as Screening Literacy, and most recently he co-ordinated the EC-funded project that created the Framework for Film Education in Europe.  For the last year 6 years he has been leading the UKs participation in the international film education programme Le Cinéma, Cent Ans de Jeunesse.


Accompanying slides:


“Engaging Young People with Difficult Pasts through Film”, with Paul Cooke and respondent Kelly Royds

This session will present the results of an AHRC project that looked at the way film can be used to engage young people in discussion about the legacy of Europe’s ‘difficult’ past and its relationship to their place in the world.  The project worked with the Bautzen Memorial in Germany – formerly the main prison of the East German Secret Police – a German community filmmaking organisation and the BFI Film Academy to co-produce a series of films that explore the ways in which popular culture reflects the changing legacy of the GDR in contemporary Germany. The project provided young people, who received filmmaking training, with a means to reflect creatively upon the lessons to be learnt from the GDR dictatorship for contemporary understandings of democracy, global citizenship and the competing ways that notions of ‘heritage’ relate to our sense of identity.

Professor Paul Cooke is Director of the Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures at the University of Leeds. He has published widely on the legacy of the GDR, contemporary German cinema and European heritage drama.  He has undertaken community filmmaking projects with international development charities in Germany and South Africa, with further projects planned in 2016-17 for Bosnia and Palestine.


Bautzen from Paul Cooke on Vimeo.

Bautzen Project Trailer from Paul Cooke on Vimeo.

Memorial Group from Paul Cooke on Vimeo.

City Group from Paul Cooke on Vimeo.

Witness Group from Paul Cooke on Vimeo.

Response  by Kelly Royds (New South Wales):



Keynote: Professor Daniela Berghahn (Royal Holloway) – The Child As Victim and Creator of Postnational Affiliations in Diasporic European Cinema



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